Every dog owner has heard this before: grapes are poisonous to dogs. Under no circumstances should a dog be given grapes, it can even die from it. The warnings are something like this, but nobody knows why that should be the case. So – fairy tale, myth, or is it the truth?
Dog Ate Grapes – Can dogs eat grapes?
The answer is: “No!” Because a meal of grapes can be fatal for dogs. This is not the case with all dogs, but there is simply no reason to test this on your dog for better or for worse. It is also clear: grapes must never be left unattended in dog households.
Why are grapes poisonous to dogs?
No one has figured that out exactly yet. There have been repeated incidents in which dogs died after eating grapes, mostly from kidney failure.
In milder cases, dogs showed symptoms of intoxication such as vomiting and seizures but survived these with emergency veterinary treatment.
Again and again, however, some dogs digest grapes completely undamaged. What ultimately determines whether a dog reacts to grapes or not has yet been researched. There is evidence that it could be breed-specific. Genetic disposition can be assumed.
Caution is advised
For some dogs, the sweet grapes are simply irresistible. The risk that they will provide for themselves with it lurks less in their own home. It is more important to watch out for decorative fruit bowls or otherwise unsecured grapes when you are a guest elsewhere – especially if the host does not own a dog.
Caution is also advisable – wine grows in many gardens because of its decorative foliage, and if you are taking a vacation walk in a vineyard, it is better to keep your dog on a leash if you are not sure that he will not touch the grapes.
Symptoms of grape poisoning in dogs
Should you ever worry that your dog might have caught a few grapes, weakness, excessive salivation, cramps, diarrhea and vomiting can set in within 24 hours.
If he does not show any symptoms, after this period of time you can carefully assume that your dog is either one of those who can tolerate grapes or that there were not enough grapes to produce a toxic effect.
Veterinarians assume a toxic dose from around 10 grams of grapes per kilo of bodyweight of a dog. A bunch of grapes weighs around 5 grams on average. This means that the smaller a dog is, the more dangerous grapes are for it because even a comparatively small amount of grapes is enough to poison it.
But it also means that you don’t have to worry too much if your four-legged friend weighs forty pounds and was able to secretly nibble on five grapes.
Particularly at risk: small dogs and dogs with kidney disease
As already described, small dogs are more susceptible than large ones. For a tiny person weighing 5 kilos, ten grapes are enough to cause poisoning.
In addition to small dogs, dogs with kidney dysfunction are also particularly at risk, because if grape poisoning is fatal, this is usually due to kidney failure. This can happen all the faster if the kidney function of a dog is impaired beforehand.
Dogs with kidney disease are therefore more careful than anyone else to keep them away from grapes.
Emergency measures if grape poisoning is suspected
If your dog has eaten grapes, you must take him to a veterinarian immediately. If you can do this, you can try making him vomit to increase his chance of survival.
However, that does not mean that the danger has been averted, especially not if the dog is already vomiting on its own.
If the dog fails to vomit, charcoal tablets from the medicine cabinet can help prevent the worst. It has been found that grapes stay in the stomach for an unusually long time. It is therefore possible to use charcoal tablets to bind part of the poisonous substance before it enters the organism through digestion.
Vomiting and charcoal tablets only serve to gain time to go to the vet. They are by no means a substitute for medical treatment in the event of grape poisoning.
Raisins are also tasty and dangerous
If your dog likes grapes, he will also like the dried grapes in the form of raisins. Since they are a concentrate of the grapes, the toxic dose is even higher.
Just 3 grams of raisins per kilo of body weight can be enough to cause poisoning. You should therefore pay attention to cookies and other biscuits with raisins, especially at Christmas time. This also applies to sultanas and currants.
Can grapes be found in dog food?
No, grapes do not appear in the commercial ready-made feed. It’s also inconceivable that grapes and dog food could be accidentally mixed in a normal production process, so you shouldn’t worry about that.
No to grapes – always and absolutely
Even if your four-legged friend may taste good grapes, there is no reason to take the risk of poisoning. Because there is simply nothing to gain.
It is also not advisable to give the dog individual grapes in a controlled manner. He would just learn that he could eat grapes. But it is better if he knows that grapes are always and everywhere forbidden.