Pups love their snacks, and as much as we tell them certain foods are off limits, that’s not always going to discourage them from trying to get a taste.
My shih tzu Lily loves to lick my lips when i’m drinking wine. As much as I love kissing my fur baby, I know that wine is made of grapes–and that’s a big no-no for our furry friends.
While many of us know that dogs can’t have grapes, or things made with grapes, many of us don’t actually know why that is. What are the risks of grapes and how do we know when we have a problem?
We want our dogs to have healthy treats, and it's true that some fruits and vegetables are are okay to feed them. It's dangerous to make assumptions, though, because there are some that can be quite toxic.
Grapes fall into that category, as do raisins, currants, and sultanas. These are ingredients that should never be offered, whether raw, cooked, dried or baked. Watch out for fruit cakes, muesli and similar foods which will often contain some form of dried grape, and, of course, that wine. If some happens to spill at your next dinner party, make sure your vino-loving pup doesn’t try to help out and lick it up for you.
It is not yet fully understood why grapes are toxic to dogs and why some dogs can eat grapes without issue while others will suffer fatal consequences. Though it's thought that there could be a genetic component, the individual sensitivity of this food has puzzled experts for decades. Some believe that it's the tartaric acid or mycotoxin in the grape that causes the toxicity.
Ultimately, why even take the chance? Assume that grapes are off limits for all dogs, in all circumstances. It’s much safer that way and a lot better than the alternative.
There is no exact quantity that results in toxicity to dogs. But generally, the larger the quantity, the more likelihood of toxicity.
So while a handful of grapes is pretty risky, a bag of grapes would be a red alert. A dog’s weight can factor in, but is not necessarily a determinant. For these reasons, no amount of grapes/raisins/currants can be considered “safe”. Don’t even test the waters on this one and consider all grapes off limits.
Any amount of grapes can end up being toxic to a dog, and the toxicity can lead to sudden kidney failure or even death. While this is not the case for all dogs, it’s impossible to know which dogs will be most affected, so there’s no reason, even in small quantities, that it should be used as a treat.
Sometimes, our pets get into food without us even knowing.
If your dog ate a grape, vomiting and/or diarrhea may start, and it will likely happen fast. This could be within a few hours of ingesting grapes, however, your dog may not show symptoms for another 24-48 hours.
In the initial stages of toxicity, you may also notice an increase in drinking and urination, followed by a decrease in urination due to the impact on the kidneys along with a loss of appetite, lethargy, and dehydration. This can be a sign of kidney failure, so it's important to contact a veterinarian immediately if you suspect your dog ate a grape.
If you suspect your dog has had access to grapes or similar fruits and may have eaten some, they need to see a vet immediately.
Sadly, any sort of delay to see if the problem passes may make it too late. At that point, the vet’s chief goal will be to try to minimize damage by blocking absorption of the toxins and reducing damage to the kidneys if at all possible. This could involve treatments such as activated charcoal, inducing vomiting, and administering intravenous fluids.
This treatment may continue within the hospital for several days and the vet will monitor the dog’s kidney function with blood and urine tests. Ultimately, time is of the essence and the sooner treatment commences, the better the prognosis.
The reality is, we can’t be too cautious when our fur babies are involved. Never underestimate your dog’s ability to eat tasty food.
Preventing your dog from eating grapes is best. It’s a lot easier to avoid grapes or raisins from being eaten than to deal with the potentially devastating fall out if the eating has already happened. But if something does happen, contacting a vet immediately is of the utmost importance.