Are Grapes Really That Poisonous for Dogs?

Have you heard that grapes are poisonous for dogs? It’s true that they can kill, but do you know just how many are dangerous for your dog?

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Can you help? My dogs ate yogurt-covered raisins, around 50 and she weighs 80 pounds. My 7-month-old puppy ate 2 grapes. She is approximately 20lbs. Will she be okay?

Okay, so my next question was sent in by JP who writes to ask if his dog had eaten a dangerous number of grapes. How many grapes will kill a dog?

Grapes and raisins can kill

Well, both of these owners are right in thinking that raisins and grapes can kill dogs.

Now we don't know exactly what it is that causes the poisoning, but what happens is that whatever is in the raisins and grapes, results in kidney damage and kidney failure, which ultimately can lead to death and can be quite efficient at killing a dog.

Toxic dose

Different individuals have different susceptibilities and this is where the challenge comes in with knowing how many is dangerous for an individual dog and what to do about it if they do get into a bunch of grapes or a box of raisins or baking or cakes or anything like that which has raisins in it.

Some dogs can cope with a belly full. Others will develop acute kidney injury and die after eating a handful. It really can be that varied.

So over Easter we think of hot cross buns and you've potentially got lots of raisins and can be very dangerous.

Over Christmas there’s the raisin-filled fruit cake to watch out for.

Grapes and raisins are everywhere.

Treatment after eating grapes or raisins

Because of this, it's always best to air on the side of caution because if we wait too long, it may be actually too late to successfully treat them and to help their kidneys once we're seeing signs of illness. Kidneys are very sensitive to different toxins and they don't regenerate. So if we're getting an awful lot of damage then it may potentially be too late. No amount of treatment will be able to save them and to reverse some of the damage that's been done.

Now I've actually just produced a calculator so that you can see the potential toxic dose for your dogs. So for an eighty-pound dog we're talking about eighty-four grapes is the dangerous dose. So getting into fifty, he's potentially safe and I say potentially because there's also been cases where dogs have had kidney damage occur at lower than the supposed toxic dose.

Be cautious

So like I say, I think it's always best to air on the side of caution, and in this case I would definitely recommend going and seeing your vet, having the dog checked over, potentially going on IV fluids and having some blood tests done to check that the kidneys are working fine. Really, we don't want to mess around with this if kidney damage has happened and we're only picking that up two, three, four days later because a dog is becoming really unwell. Then the likelihood is that it's going to be too late to do anything really significant about that.

The flip side is that a lot of dogs will be able to eat raisins and grapes without having any problems at all. There's just no way of knowing. We don't have a test that we can look at that says which dog is going to be sensitive and which isn't. That would be a fantastic thing to have, but we just don't have that certainly at present. That may be something that comes around in the future.

So if you're ever concerned, go and check out that calculator. It’s also available in my resource center along with a load of other free downloads and resources to help your pet. You can gain access here.

The above is a transcript taken from “The Dr Alex Answers Show”.

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