Raisins and grapes were traditionally used as treats by many dog owners and dog trainers however, raisins and grapes are actually harmful to fogs. In some cases where grapes and raisins were consumed by dogs, they can even be lethal. Just a handful of raisins or grapes can already make a dog very ill.
- Vomiting repeatedly soon after eating the grapes or raisins (the vomit as well as feces will contain partially digested raisins or grapes)
- The dog will become jittery or extremely hyperactive
- After 24 hours or so, the dog will become lethargic
- The dog may experience abdominal pain and would stop drinking, urinating and eating
- The dog will become dehydrated
- The dog’s breathing may become irregular
Generically speaking, it’s because grapes and raisins can cause rapid renal failure (kidney failure). The exact mechanism behind the kidney failure after consumption of grapes or raisins isn’t known. Potential agents spelling the canine’s kidney’s kismet, such as common pesticides used when growing grapes or various fungi, have been ruled out.
It doesn’t matter whether the grapes were grown in your own garden or were commercially grown, nor whether they are seeded or seedless (grape seed extract actually seems to be perfectly safe for all dogs). So something inherent to the grape itself, and apparently to all types of grapes, seems to be the culprit, but beyond that, nobody knows (yet).
So the bottomline is, do NOT give your dogs raisins or grapes. And though there have been no account (that we know of) yet about cats falling ill after ingesting raisins or grapes, just don’t give your cats grapes or raisins as well just to be on the safe side.
In case your dog accidentally ate grapes or raisins, you should do the following:
Make them vomit (if they are affected by grapes, they probably will vomit anyways, but if not, make them).
If you have it on hand, make them eat activated charcoal. This will decrease the absorption of whatever is causing the kidney failure. If you don’t have any activated charcoal handy, burn some toast (the blacker and more charred the better), then make them eat it. Normally getting dogs to eat things is amazingly easy, but you might find it significantly more difficult in this case, as dogs that are affected tend not to want to eat anything.
Take them to a veterinarian. Aggressive introduction of intravenous fluids for about 48 hours has been shown to drastically increase the odds of your dog surviving. The quicker treatment begins, the more likely they’ll survive it, so don’t wait around for your dog to show symptoms. Plus, in the cases where the dog isn’t likely to survive, the dog can be euthanized on the spot without having to suffer a slow and painful death from kidney failure.