Person holding a bunch of grapes

Can Dogs Eat Grapes?

Some fruits and vegetables make excellent snacks for dogs, and they may even be healthier than the treats you would otherwise pick up at the pet store. This, however, depends entirely on what you plan to feed your dog with, as far from every veggie or fruit is healthy for our canine friends.

Some foods that humans eat regularly might be dangerous, or even life-threatening, and as a dog owner it is important to know which foods are good for dogs and which could potentially kill them.

So, how about grapes? Those small, sweet and delicious delights that many of us treat ourselves to all through the year, and that you may find in fruity salads, on the cake or as a popular kid’s snack. Is it okay for your dog to have some? The answer is no, absolutely not, as grapes (and raisins) are extremely toxic to dogs.

Health Consequences

Grapes on a bowl

At this point, it is still unknown what it is about grapes and raisins that cause such extreme reaction in canines, but what scientists do know is that dogs should not eat grapes of any kind (regular, peeled, seedless etc. etc.), nor should they eat raisin or any food that contains grapes.

While some dogs may be able to consume a large number of grapes without anything happening, others begin showing signs of kidney failure after only a couple of juicy grapes.

This is not a risk you want to take, and it is best to keep grapes as far away from your fur friend as you can. If you tend to keep a fruit bowl on the table, and if grapes are usually something you include, perhaps it is best to reconsider the placement for that bowl and instead keep it somewhere where your dog can’t reach.

The problem is that just because your dog has never shown any interest in eating grapes before, it doesn’t mean they won’t get bored one day and decide to give it a try.

Keep in mind that this also includes raisin – a snack you might be used to feeding to your kids, and you will want to make sure that none of those end up on the floor for your pup to munch on.

Red wine is another example, as it is made of grapes, and while we hope you weren’t planning on giving your dog wine anytime soon – we want to point it out, to remind you of the importance of wiping up spilled wine and to keep any wine glasses out of reach from your pup. This is in your best interest as well, because hey, more for you!

More research is required to try and figure out why some dogs could die from eating only a grape or two and to see what it is that makes them so toxic to canines. Some compare its danger level to that of chocolate, which most of us know not to feed our pets, and the greatest danger associated with the grape is that far from everyone knows the importance of preventing your dog from eating them.

There is also a lack of statistics for how many dogs that have fallen ill or died after eating grapes, like this – up until recently – wasn’t known to be an issue.

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Dog lying on the wooden ground

You could get lucky and your dog may never show symptoms of grape- or raisin poisoning, but this, unfortunately, is no guarantee for your dog having gotten away with eating grapes.

There could be damage to the kidneys that won’t be noticeable until much later, so just because your pup has eaten grapes in the past and been perfectly fine – it does not make it safe to continue feeding grapes.

If your dog does present symptoms, it is important to know what they are, so you know what to look for following a grape incident. Perhaps your dog eats a grape when you’re not looking, and if so – recognizing the symptoms could make the difference between life and death for your dog. Common symptoms of grape- and raisin poisoning are (but are not limited to):

Weakness or lethargy – Reduced energy can have several causes, but it is always good to be vigilant if you notice a change in your dog’s behavior, such as in their energy level. If your dog seems lethargic and reluctant to moving around – contact your veterinarian, and especially if it happens following an incident with grapes.

A decreased appetite – A lack of appetite is not necessarily a sign of grape poisoning, but it is a symptom of the condition. Your dog may turn their head away when offered food, or they might eat only a little, even if they normally finish their portion within seconds.

Increased urination and/or thirst – You will have to be observant to notice these changes, but if you usually spend a lot of time with your dog then chances are, you’ll pick up on it. If they start drinking more water than they normally do, especially during downtime when no physical exercise has occurred, there might be a problem with the kidneys. This usually leads to your dog’s increased urination at first, which is another sign to look out for.

A tender belly – The dog might start arching the back – a common sign of stomachache in dogs – or it might whimper if you try to touch their belly or lift them up. A tender abdomen is a symptom commonly associated with kidney failure, so call a veterinarian right away if this occurs.

Dehydration – If you pinch the skin gently, it should go back to normal the moment you let it go. Should the skin stay up or take unusually long to sink back down, it is a clear sign of your dog being dehydrated. Dehydration can also be spotted by inspecting the dog’s gum and mouth, and it is always a cause for concern no matter what provoked it.

Vomiting – Vomiting is great if induced right after a dog eats a grape, to get it back out, but if your pup starts vomiting once time has passed and the grape has already digested – you may have a problem.

Diarrhea – Another possible symptom is diarrhea and loose stools, and especially if this is not something your dog regularly suffers from. While the occasional stomach bug is normal, it could be a sign of grape poisoning if your dog has eaten grapes or raisins recently.

Related: Dog Food for Firm Stool.

Little to no urine production – At a more advanced stage of kidney failure, the dog could begin producing less urine, or the urine production could stop completely. Should you notice your dog intending to pee but with nothing coming out, or if they go unusually long without seeming interested in urinating, you will want to contact a veterinarian right away.

My Dog Ate a Grape – Now What?

“One grape probably won’t hurt,” is not something you can afford to think, as some dogs are affected after eating only one. It is rare, and it usually takes a larger quantity, but it happens.

If you are present when the grape is consumed, see if you can induce vomiting to eliminate the risk of consequences. Call your veterinarian for help and advice, as they can give you tips for how to induce vomiting, or if it is better to come in right away and have it done at the vets.

If the time has already passed, such as if you come home only to realize your dog has eaten the grapes you had left on the table, it is best to head straight to the vet and call while on your way. Your veterinarian might administer treatments and/or medications to try and stop the toxins from damaging the kidneys, and the sooner you can get there, the better.

Better Alternatives

Skip the grapes and the raisins and stick to fruits and vegetables like carrots, apples (just remember to remove the stem and the seeds), watermelon, celery, and pineapple, or opt for buying healthy and organic treats from your local pet store or online.

There is absolutely no reason why you would need to give your dog grapes, and especially not when there are so many good and cheap alternatives. If your dog is a beggar, and if you struggle to say no to those adorable puppy eyes, just be prepared and make sure you always have a safe snack available for your four-legged friend.

Final Words

It is easy to make mistakes when you have a dog because nobody can know absolutely everything, regardless of how much we try to prepare. If you have fed grapes to your dog in the past, just make sure you never do it again, and that you try to think twice before leaving grapes unattended in a place where your dog can get to them.

Also, don’t leave the Sunday night wine glass on “dog level,” and always contact a veterinarian if you suspect your furry buddy might have gotten his paws on grapes or anything made by- or containing grapes.

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