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What is Grapefruit Poisoning?

While you may enjoy sharing food with your dog, do not share your grapefruit with him.  While he may think he wants it, you will both regret it because it is toxic.  While he may only suffer mild symptoms like gastrointestinal upset, he can also experience more long term, severe symptoms from the photosensitive properties the grapefruit contains.  Even the mildest symptoms can turn into more severe problems if not treated.  Detoxification is key to treatment and recovery.  Once the toxin is out of your dog’s system, he should return to normal without any long term side effects.

The grapefruit is a citrusy fruit that many people enjoy eating.  This is one fruit you should not share with your dog as it is toxic to him.  If you suspect your dog ingested any piece of a grapefruit, the flesh, the seeds, or the peel, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Grapefruit Poisoning Average Cost

From 384 quotes ranging from $200 - $800

Average Cost

$400

Symptoms of Grapefruit Poisoning in Dogs

Symptoms of grapefruit poisoning can differ from case to case.  Symptoms may include:

  • Depression
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Photosensitivity 

Types

The grapefruit is a fruit belonging to the Rutaceae family with the scientific name of Citrus paradisii.  This fruit is native to more tropical climates and was introduce in Florida as a novelty.  Eventually, it became a popular fruit leading to nurseries being planted and people planting their own trees.  It can now be found growing in the southern regions of North America.

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Causes of Grapefruit Poisoning in Dogs

The essential oils and psoralens of the grapefruit are the toxic properties of the fruit.  Psoralens in plants can lead to phototoxic dermatitis when ingested and exposed to UV light from the sun.  The rind and seeds of the grapefruit also contain these toxins.

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Diagnosis of Grapefruit Poisoning in Dogs

When you first arrive at the veterinarian’s office, she will begin by asking you numerous questions to try and collect a history.  Questions like what your dog was doing earlier that day, if he got into something he shouldn’t have, and when he started acting abnormally.  While doing this, she will also perform a physical exam on your dog to collect his vitals and to verify the symptoms he is suffering from.

If your dog vomits while he is at the clinic, the veterinarian will examine the regurgitated contents for clues as to what he ingested.  If he is having diarrhea, a sample will be collected and diagnostics will be run to rule out other possible causes such as internal parasites or bacterial overgrowth.  The symptom of depression can be caused by many things so there is no test the cause of this can be determined.

If your dog is experiencing any type of skin related reaction from the photosensitivity, a skin scraping sample may be collected.  The veterinarian will scrape off a layer of your dog’s skin to view under the microscope.  This will allow her to rule out other causes of skin irritation.  

Lab work will be run to collect information on how your dog is functioning internally.  A complete blood count (CBC) and chemistry panel will be run to give a baseline of how your dog’s organs are handling the toxin.  These tests give a broad, overall look and will let the veterinarian know if further diagnostics need to be completed or not.  She may also want to run a urinalysis for evaluation of kidney function.  If dehydration is a concern, a packed cell volume (PCV) will be run to determine hydration status.

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Treatment of Grapefruit Poisoning in Dogs

The symptoms your dog is experiencing will determine his course of treatment.  If you know your dog ingested a grapefruit or highly suspect it, the veterinarian may induce vomiting.  This will rid your dog’s stomach of any remaining pieces before the body absorbs it.  If too much time has passed since ingestion and induction of vomiting is unsuccessful, she may administer activated charcoal.  This will bind and neutralize the toxins of the grapefruit before the body absorbs it.  If your dog is vomiting from ingestion of the fruit, an antiemetic will be given to stop the constant vomiting and to offer your dog some relief.

If dehydration is a concern from the vomiting and diarrhea, he will receive intravenous fluid therapies.  This will correct any dehydration he is experiencing and prevent it from continuing.  It will also help flush the toxin from his body system quicker than without it.  

If your dog’s skin is reacting in any way, a medicinal ointment or cream may be prescribed to apply to the affected areas.  This will help calm any irritation or itching he may be experiencing and will speed up the healing process.  Also, if he is suffering some sort of photosensitivity, he will need to remain out of the sun as much as possible until the toxin has left his system.

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Recovery of Grapefruit Poisoning in Dogs

Detoxification is key when recovering your dog from grapefruit poisoning.  As soon as you suspect he ate a piece of one, take him to a veterinarian.  If he receives medical attention in a timely manner, prognosis of a full recovery is good. If he ingested a large amount or if he does not receive medical care, his prognosis declines.  

If you have a grapefruit tree on your property, keep it in an area your dog does not have access to or consider fencing it off so that he cannot get to it; including the fruit that falls from the tree naturally.  Since most people do not have this tree, accidental ingestion typically occurs from them getting into the trash or on the counter to the fruit bowl.  Either way, keep the grapefruit out of the reach of your dog for his safety.

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Grapefruit Poisoning Average Cost

From 384 quotes ranging from $200 - $800

Average Cost

$400

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Grapefruit Poisoning Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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labrador mix

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Ten Years

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Unknown severity

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1 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

None Yet

Dog ate a small piece of grapefruit. (less than one half of one small section that fell on the floor - contained no seeds but some skin). Should I be concerned?

July 24, 2020

Owner

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Jessica N. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Hello- Thank you for your question. I would not be concerned about the ingestion of a small amount of a section. It should not cause an issue. You can monitor for GI upset which is possible but unlikely.

July 24, 2020

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Envy

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Pit bull mix

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5 Months

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Fair severity

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2 found helpful

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Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Lethargy
Vomiting

I have a pitbull german shepherd mix puppy about 5 mo. Old. She was fine yesterday now she wont eat,& hardly drinks water. She is still alert, but more mellow than usual. She vomits yellow liquids, little to no white foam. She rather sleep more. I do have a grapefruit tree, so imsuming she got to one of the fallen fruits when i wasnt looking. I tried giving her wet food, seems like she wants to eat, but hesitates. What should i do?

May 20, 2018

Envy's Owner


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recommendation-ribbon

3320 Recommendations

Grapefruit may affect a dog in various different ways, but generally it causes irritation to the gastrointestinal tract, may cause lethargy and when consumed in large amounts may cause photosensitisation of the skin. It is important to keep Envy hydrated during this time; however other causes for vomiting and lethargy may be other poisons, foreign objects, other intestinal obstructions, infections, parasites among other causes. If there is no improvement you should visit your Veterinarian for a checkup. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

May 20, 2018

Thank you, she drank water on her own, threw it up but is now a whole lot better. She is drinking on her own eating a whole lot more.. But thank you.

May 21, 2018

Envy's Owner

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Allie

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Doxy

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11 Years

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Fair severity

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0 found helpful

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Fair severity

Has Symptoms

No Symptoms As Of Yet!!!

I just gave my Doxy about two table spoons of the juice of pink grapefruit! My husband asked was it ok to let her drink some! Then I looked it up on line!! Should I worry!!

April 28, 2018

Allie's Owner


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3320 Recommendations

Grapefruit may cause gastrointestinal issues (vomiting and diarrhoea) as well as photosensitivity among other issues; if the grapefruit juice was freshly consumed I would recommend inducing vomiting but if it was more than two hours ago you should ensure that Allie is hydrated and visit your Veterinarian if you are concerned. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

April 29, 2018

GEEEEZ!!GLAD WE DECIDED TO GOOGLE THIS!!!WE HAVE A SHAR-PEI/ PIT HE EATS PINK GRAPEFRUIT WITH US REGULARLY?? HE'S 2 1/2 YRS OLD AND LITERALLY CRIES FOR SOME AS MY WIFE EATS IT!! HE EATS ORANGES GRAPEFRUIT, GARLIC ONIONS, TOMATOES AND WE HAVEN'T EVER HAD ANY ISSUES?? NO VOMITING, NO DIARRHEA,WE ARE JUST TOTALLY SURPRISED TO FIND THIS INFO OUT??? HIS DEMEANOR DOES NOT CHANGE HE DRINKS WATER LOTS, RUNS AND PLAYS REGULARLY??? NOW WE'RE CONFUSED??

June 6, 2018

Laura C.

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Penny, Mila, Cesar

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Chihuahua

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1 Year

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Fair severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Sleepiness

What if the dog eats the leaves of the grapefruit tree. We have a tree in the yard but it has not produced fruit. The dogs will eat the fallen leaves. Can this cause the same issues as the fruit? They do not have any symptoms.

March 10, 2018

Penny, Mila, Cesar's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1611 Recommendations

Thank you for your email. The leaves and plants can cause phototoxicity and skin disease if eaten, and it would be best to stop them from eating the leaves or block access. I hope that everything goes well with them!

March 10, 2018

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fred

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Labradoodle

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3 Months

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Fair severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Diarrhea

my mom gave fred 1/8 of a section of grapefruit. it's been about 9 hours and he's acting kind of strangely and has been having loose stools. what point should we take him to the vet?

Jan. 5, 2018

fred's Owner

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3320 Recommendations

Most of the time grapefruit causes gastrointestinal distress which may explain the strange behaviour is there is some abdominal discomfort; normally vomiting and diarrhoea are the usual symptoms with some skin sensitivity in some cases. If Fred’s symptoms continue or get worse, visit your Veterinarian for an examination to be on the safe side. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Jan. 5, 2018

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Rocky

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Pit bull

dog-age-icon

12 Years

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Mild severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Diarrhea

My pit bull is 12 years old. I ate grapefruit last night and gave him probably four slices of it. He just woke me up to go outside and has diarrhea. He weighs about 70 lb. it's been about 7 hours since I gave it to him so I know and not to induce vomiting. I hear his stomach rumbling.

Grapefruit Poisoning Average Cost

From 384 quotes ranging from $200 - $800

Average Cost

$400