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Can Dogs Eat Grapes?

Humans and dogs go way back. Our ancestors traveled together, lived together, and hunted together. As a result, we have an ingrained tendency to want to share food with our dogs, just like we did thousands of years ago on a hunt. But as close as man and man’s best friend are, our stomachs are not equal. Humans may enjoy eating grapes, but are they safe for dogs? Have you ever wondered Can dogs eat grapes?

Dog next to boy holding bunch of grapes.  All dog owners should know the answer to the question: Can dogs eat grapes?
Have you ever wondered “Can dogs eat grapes?” If not, the answer may surprise you!

The short answer is “No” and in this article we’ll fully answer the question for you. Read on to learn about why you shouldn’t feed your dog grapes and what should you do if they do happen to eat some.

Can Dogs Eat Grapes?

The answer is a resounding NO. Grapes are toxic for dogs. Scientists are unsure exactly what chemical in grapes makes them toxic, nor do they know if there are different toxic thresholds depending on a dog’s weight, age, or breed. Dogs have become ill from all amounts. There are no breeds of dog that are immune to grape’s pernicious effects. As little as one grape can cause kidney failure for a dog.

Zero Grape Policy For Your Dog — Including Raisins!

Dogs should not eat grapes in any form. All varieties of grapes can be toxic, whether they are green, red, or purple. There is no difference in toxicity between seeded and seedless grapes either. Grapes are poisonous in liquid form, like grape juice and grapeseed oil, as well as in raisin form. Keep dogs away from any food or meal that includes these items. There are dishes with raisins baked in, for example, which should be avoided (raisins are just dried grapes, after all).

A small dog looking at a platter of food that includes grapes.

What Happens If My Dog Eats a Grape?

Grape toxicosis is the official diagnosis for when dogs consume grapes, raisins, or related grape products. If they’ve ingested any grape pieces, owners need to monitor their dog closely to watch for symptoms of illness. See if they are sticking to their normal routine when it comes to eating, going to the bathroom, and general energy levels. If you find them deviating in any way, reach out to your vet.

Symptoms of Grape Toxicosis

Some signs of grape toxicosis are a loss of appetite, lethargy, and constant vomiting and/or diarrhea. Monitor their food and water bowls to determine how much they’ve eaten. Check to see if your dog is unusually still and not wanting to move. Do they not want to go on their walk? Do they not come when called? That could be a sign of an upset stomach.

Abdominal Pain

Dogs will also have unique abdominal pain. If you notice any of the symptoms mentioned above, gently feel around their stomach. See how they react to your hands. Do they wince or moan? Many times, if a dog is having digestive issues, their stomach will be tender when touched. If their skin feels softer than usual and they’re more sensitive to that area, it could be a sign of sickness.

Dehydration

Another big sign to look out for is dehydration, especially if they are losing a lot of fluids from vomiting and diarrhea. They will have an increased thirst and drink at their water dish more frequently. They will also urinate more. However, if they aren’t going to the bathroom at all, then the grape toxins have already begun impacting their kidneys and you need to get them to a vet immediately.

Dogs will start panting if they are dehydrated. You can examine their nose and mouth to see if they are dry. Also check inside their mouths for pale gums, another red flag. One of the quickest ways to test for dehydration is to test the buoyancy of their skin. With a gentle hand, pull at the skin at the back of your dog’s neck. If they are healthy, it should spring back immediately. If it lacks that elasticity, then they are likely dehydrated.

Have an Emergency Plan of Action

Take your dog to the vet or an emergency animal clinic if they are showing any of these signs within the first 6 hours. You can also err on the side of caution and take them right away before they start having symptoms. Calling the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (888-426-4435) can help you with figuring out symptoms, coming up with a plan, and determining next steps.

Your vet may have you induce vomiting to get the grape toxin out of your dog’s system if your dog isn’t throwing up already. Inducing vomiting is most effective within the first two hours of them ingesting grapes. You should not induce vomiting if your dog is unconscious, having breathing difficulty, showing clear signs of panic, or if you’re simply not sure what he has eaten. Inducing vomiting should only happen under supervision from your vet. Some provide live chat and video options to walk you through this process.

One of the most popular methods to induce vomiting is squirting a small dosage of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide into your dog’s mouth, which you can do via turkey baster. But please speak with your vet or the ASPCA hotline first before moving forward. You don’t want to risk exacerbating the situation.

A dog picking up a bunch of grapes in its mouth.
Grapes and dogs should be kept apart so as not to risk grape toxicosis.

How to Treat Grape Toxicosis

There is no antidote to grape toxicity in dogs. The best treatment is to get it out of their system as soon as possible. If your dog hasn’t vomited out the grape element, the vet may give them some activated charcoal. Activated charcoal acts like a magnet that pulls toxic chemicals to it as it travels through and exits the digestive tract. It can be given as a liquid or a powder mixed with water. It’s fed to dogs either mixed in food or with an oral syringe. Timeliness is important: if the toxin has been in their system long enough, it will get absorbed into their bloodstream and the charcoal will be ineffective.

Activated charcoal isn’t sold over the counter. You can only get it from your vet, and with good reason. The vet will be able to determine if it’s the right solution for your dog. Not all dogs respond well to activated charcoal. Also, don’t try to make your own version at home. While charcoal can be made by burning wood at high temperatures, the activated part is a specialized process the chips undergo to make them absorbent. Unless you have the proper equipment, it’s best not to try and activate the charcoal yourself.

Depending how sick they were, your vet may have your dog on IV fluid for the next 2-3 days to help them recoup the liquids they lost. They may also require overnight monitoring to check on kidney functionality.

A dog being examined by a vet.

Make the Right Decisions to Keep Your Dog Safe

As you can see, putting your dog in contact with grapes or raisins is a dangerous proposition and not worth the risk. Dogs evolved to have a meat-based diet. Their bodies don’t require the vitamins and minerals that fruit can provide. However, if you wanted to add some sweet to their diet, there are safe fruits they’re able to eat.

Strawberries and peaches are two of the popular fruits for dogs. The best way to feed fruit to your dog is to cut it up into small pieces, mash it up, or puree. Don’t serve them any pieces bigger than a single berry or one peach slice. Since some dogs will be confused by the new texture, you can introduce fruit to them as frozen treats. Don’t feed your dog fruit more than a few times a week. Some dog foods are infused with fruits and vegetables. But before feeding your dog fruit or putting them on new dog food, please consult with your vet.

The Final Word on Dogs and Grapes

A person holding a bunch of grapes a dog is interested in.

In conclusion, while there are lots of foods that humans and dogs can enjoy together, grapes are not one of them. If your dog has ingested grapes, monitor them closely and contact your vet immediately for guidance.

To paraphrase Coach Carr in Mean Girls, don’t feed your dog grapes because they will become sick and potentially die. Don’t feed them fresh grapes for nutrition. Don’t feed them grape juice or raisins. Just don’t do it, promise?

Are you wondering what other fruits are and aren’t safe for your dog? You’ll find the answers you need to know in our other “Can Dogs Eat” blog posts (don’t forget about kitty if you’ve got one of those too!). To learn more about grapes in general, click here for out grape blog posts.