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How Grapes and Raisins can kill your dog!

Updated on May 22, 2014

As a dog owner you may not realise that both grapes and raisins can kill your much loved pet by bringing on rapid kidney failure (within 24 hours of consuming the fruit). Be aware that both grapes and raisins should never be used as treats for your dogs as anything over 2 ounces can be fatal.

The following information was obtained from the ASPCA's Animal Poison Control Center's EMail News Alert:

"In response to reports of dogs developing kidney failure after eating large amounts of grapes or raisins, the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) conducted a review of all related cases in its database. Veterinary toxicologists found that all of the companion canines developed vomiting within six hours of ingestion; the estimated amounts of grapes or raisins eaten ranged from nine ounces to two pounds. Other commonly reported signs included diarrhea, anorexia, lethargy and abdominal pain, and all of the dogs developed evidence of kidney dysfunction. Adds APCC's Charlotte Means, DVM, "Whether the ingested grapes were purchased fresh from grocery stores or grown in private yards didn't seem to matter, nor did the brand eaten." Clinical signs lasted for several days--sometimes even weeks. And after aggressive treatment, which included intravenous fluids and medications, half of the dogs recovered, while the others died or had to be euthanized.

At present, the exact role of grapes or raisins in these cases--what exactly is the toxic component--is still unclear. But a dog who has ingested large amounts can now be diagnosed and treated successfully. The first line of defense is decontamination, and the canine should be hospitalized and placed on IV fluids. If the blood work appears normal after three days, it's unlikely that kidney failure will occur; if there is evidence of renal failure, more aggressive treatment--including fluids, medication and possibly dialysis--is called for. For more on treating and identifying poisoning from grapes and raisins, please visit APCC online.

If you suspect that your dog has ingested large quantities of raisins or grapes--or any other potentially dangerous substance--call your veterinarian or the APCC's emergency hotline at 1-888-4-ANI-HELP for round-the-clock telephone assistance. For more information on poison prevention, go to APCC online."

This includes foods containing raisins such as raisin bread!
This includes foods containing raisins such as raisin bread!

Precautions and First Aid

1) Look out for signs your dog may have eaten grapes, such as bunches of grapes missing from your fruit bowl.

2) Help to prevent this problem by informing your family (including your children) of the risks involved in feeding grapes to your dog.

3) Don't leave grapes in any area easily accessible by your dog.

4) Remember these rules also apply to raisins and sultanas.

5) Look out for repeated vomiting or hyperactivity as a sign your dog has consumed grapes or raisins. Other symptoms after about 24 hours include, lethargy and depression. The dog may experience abdominal pain and may stop urinating, drinking, and/or eating. They will also become dehydrated. Both their vomit and feces will contain partially digested raisins or grapes. Their breathing may become irregular.

6) The first line of defense, if the grapes or raisins were eaten recently, is to induce vomiting and administer activated charcoal (it absorbs toxins in the GI tract). Vomiting is also the first sign that your dog is in trouble, so skip right to the activated charcoal if vomiting has already occurred. (In a pinch you can make your own activated charcoal by charring a piece of toast until it's blackened and crumbles easily.) Then call your vet right away.


7) Induce vomiting. Make a 50/50 mix of hydrogen peroxide and water and pour between a teaspoon and a tablespoon, depending on the size of your dog, down his throat. If it does not work within five minutes, repeat the procedure, but do it no more than three times.

After your dog has vomited, give him granular activated charcoal. Mix five heaping teaspoons of granules in one cup of water. The dosage is 1 teaspoon for dogs under 25 pounds and 2 teaspoons for dogs over 25 pounds.

If some time has already passed before you notice that your dog has ingested raisins or grapes, rush him to the vet immediately.

Remember without aggressive treatment, many dogs will die.

Did you know?

Toxins in grapes, raisins or sultanas can cause renal failure in dogs. In some cases, small dogs have died after eating as few as four grapes. Vets believe many owners are unaware of the dangers and have fed their pets cake and biscuits containing chocolate or grapes as treats. In other cases the animals have helped themselves.


The end result in nearly all reported cases of grape or raisin toxicity is acute kidney failure. (The term "acute" means that the condition is severe and comes on quickly.) The dog ultimately can't produce urine, which means they can't filter toxins out of their systems -- a process essential to life.


Without treatment, the dog will go into kidney failure, and may die a very painful death.
Raisins are more concentrated (and hence more toxic) than grapes.


Many dogs naturally love eating raisins and grapes and will seek them out; from the fruit bowl or growing in a vineyard on the vine. Pet owners have used raisins as a training aid, and in errorĀ some have used them as a snack alternative for their dogs.


A computerized animal toxicity database helped veterinarians see a trend in 1989, noticing that in some cases of acute renal failure (sudden kidney failure) dogs shared a common history: the consumption of raisins or grapes just prior to the kidney failure. The type of grape or raisin doesn't seem to matter, and the amount consumed may be a single serving of raisins or a pound or more of grapes. (Raisins are much more concentrated.) Researchers are exploring the possibilities: a mycotoxin (fungal toxin), pesticide, herbicide or heavy metals, but thus far the actual toxin is unknown at this time.


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    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image

      Cindy Lawson 4 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      I think you will be okay with just a couple of raisins in a dog that size, but if she shows any signs at all of becoming lethargic or listless in the next 24 hours or so take her to your vet asap.

    • profile image

      Coastie Mom 4 years ago

      I knew about this but this morning had a total lapse in judgement. I don't know what I was thinking honestly. I have 3 dogs and rarely do I get to share because all 3 are there begging together. This morning just my lab was sitting watching me eat some cereal. She LOVES cereal. She also eats off a spoon better than some people I know. So I gave her a little bit. In all I shared maybe 4 teaspoons of milk and cereal with her. I was eating Raisin Bran. It really didn't even cross my mind. I think she may have had one or two raisins. She is approx 60-65 pounds. Should I be concerned and get her to a vet or am I simply overreacting because of my ridiculous stupidity and temporary brain loss this morning?

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image

      Cindy Lawson 6 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Yes, as I explained in this hub. They can literally die within several hours if they have more than a few, (how many depends on the size of the dog). I have worked in two vets surgeries and have plenty of knowledge in this area.

    • profile image

      Crunchy1029 6 years ago

      Can they really die from grapes

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image

      Cindy Lawson 8 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Thanks retromum, it is devestating to lose a dog for such a reason due to a sheer lack of knowledge over how dangerous such a simple piece of fruit can be to a dog. I am truly sorry for your loss, but please keep spreading the word as you may prevent many other people from suffering in the way you have.

    • profile image

      retromom 8 years ago

      I just lost my puppy a few daya go to grape poisoning. I had no idea they were so dangerous when he gobbled up the few I had dropped while cooking. Please please tell your animal loving friends- many of mine had never heard of this either.

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image

      Cindy Lawson 8 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      You are welcome ajcor. :)

    • ajcor profile image

      ajcor 8 years ago from NSW. Australia

      obviously ignorance is not bliss!!! cheers

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image

      Cindy Lawson 8 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Hi Ajcor, phew, I am really glad you read this then :)

    • ajcor profile image

      ajcor 8 years ago from NSW. Australia

      thanks Misty - I knew about chocolate being poisonous but not the grape/raisin info. Our dogs love grapes but no more will they be able to indulge.....cheers

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image

      Cindy Lawson 8 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Thanks Coolmon2009, glad you enjoyed it :)

    • Coolmon2009 profile image

      Coolmon2009 8 years ago from Texas, USA

      Good information - Good Hub

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image

      Cindy Lawson 8 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Thanks Paradise, again, very crucial info that I hope prevents the death of a much loved pet.

    • Paradise7 profile image

      Paradise7 8 years ago from Upstate New York

      My friend Jan has just acquired a couple of dogs. I must tell him--no grapes or raisins for the pooches. Thanks, Misty.

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image

      Cindy Lawson 8 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Good idea fishtiger, the risks are very serious. Thanks for commenting :)

    • fishtiger58 profile image

      fishtiger58 8 years ago from Momence, Illinois

      Wow that really very interesting, I don't have a dog but my sister is a huge dog lover and has 2. I am going to give her a call today about this.

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image

      Cindy Lawson 8 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Hi Hello Hello, Thanks for the feedback as always.

      Hi Ocbill, of course you are right, it isn't a good idea to let a dog lick a baby for a lot of health reasons, and dogs do lick rather unsavoury places as well!! Thanks for the feedback :)

    • ocbill profile image

      ocbill 8 years ago from hopefully somewhere peaceful and nice

      very good information to know. but what isn't good to know is people letting their dogs lick a newborn.

      Don't they know dogs lick other places too?

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 8 years ago from London, UK

      Goog advice and very cute pictures. Thank you

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image

      Cindy Lawson 8 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Please do tell her Suikki, as it is scarily important that she knows that so few of these raisins, sultanas or grapes can rapidly kill a much loved dog. Thank you for the feeback also :)

    • Suiiki profile image

      Suiiki 8 years ago from City of the Newly Wed and Nearly Dead

      I might have to print this article and give it to my grandmother-in-law...She's just gotten a puppy and is always feeding her various fruity breads when she behaves well. I didn't know raisins where so toxic...I'll have to make sure she does!

      Thanks for this.


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