Grape & Raisin Toxicity in Pets

Who would have thought this fruit to be a problem? But, unfortunately ingestion of grapes/ raisins by dogs, cats and ferrets may cause kidney failure and potentially death.

Why are grapes and raisins toxic?

The toxic substance in grapes and raisins that affects pets has not been identified. Surprisingly, the toxicity of grapes/ raisins wasn’t recognized or reported until around 1999. Although smaller than grapes, because raisins are dried grapes, they are more toxic. Seedless, non-seedless, homegrown grapes and grape pressings from wineries are all toxic. The estimated toxic dose of grapes is 0.5 ounces per pound (for example, 1 pound of grapes can be toxic for a 30 lb dog). Raisins are toxic at 0.18 to 0.48 oz/lb (for example, 8 oz of raisins can be toxic for a 30 lb dog).

What are the symptoms of grape/ raisin toxicity?

Vomiting is the most common symptom and is usually seen within the first several hours of ingestion. Other clinical symptoms may include lack of appetite, diarrhea, abdominal pain and lethargy. Many dogs will develop kidney failure within 36 to 72 hours. Treatment needs to be aggressive to counteract kidney failure.

Treatment

Don’t wait, seek emergency care immediately. It is important to induce vomiting early to prevent absorption. Further treatment involves administering activated charcoal to stop further absorption and drugs to protect the gastrointestinal tract. IV fluids and additional treatments are implemented to protect and assist kidney function. Prognosis is difficult to predict – depending upon the amount of grapes or raisins eaten and how early treatment is initiated.

Prevention

Keep grapes, raisins, and foods containing grapes and raisins away from your pet. Obviously don’t use grapes and raisins for doggy treats. Take precaution with how you dispose of left-over grapes/ raisins or food with grapes/ raisins- especially if your dog may get into the garbage. Make sure children know not to share their grapes/ raisins with your four-footed family members.