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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

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Average Cost

$400

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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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ELWIN

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Shiba Inu

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7 Months

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

Mild severity

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0 found helpful

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

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Vomiting

My puppy started to puke at 1:30 am this morning and has puked an additional 2 times. Yesterday we we're at my sister's house whose neighbor has a grapefruit tree that drops fruit into her yard. I was not aware grapefruit was so poisonous I'm thinking she might have gotten into some of it when I wasn't big a good dog parent and paying enough attention. I have no idea how much she got. Her 1st 2 pukes had kibble that was not totaly digested. 3rd was just clear yellow liquid.. she still has an appetite and is drinking water. I am thinking about feeding her some chicken and rice.. when should I take her to the vet? So far her bowels have not changed.she is 16 pounds. Also she is still a little playfully and curious.. but she is also a little extra mellow.( the kind of mellowed you get after you puked)

Nov. 20, 2017

ELWIN's Owner

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0 Recommendations

Considering the timeframe, any therapy given would be purely supportive and symptomatic; giving a bland diet of chicken and rice is a good idea but an antiemetic may be needed to control the vomiting, also hydration is important as well. Grapefruit poisoning may also cause sensitivity to sunlight so keep Elwin indoors; if you have concerns you should visit your Veterinarian for an examination. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Nov. 20, 2017

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Luna

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Lab mix. Med. size

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1 Year

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

Fair severity

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1 found helpful

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

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

None

My dogs only had a few licks of the leftover rine and separations of a grapefruit and there wasn't really any juice or pulp left for them to injest. Will this do anything to them or cause any problems?

July 26, 2017

Luna's Owner

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1 Recommendations

A few licks shouldn’t cause much of an alarm, grapefruits usually cause gastrointestinal problems (mainly vomiting). I don’t have any information regarding the quantity of grapefruit required to show signs of a poisoning event. Just keep an eye on Luna and if she shows any symptoms, consult your Veterinarian. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

July 26, 2017

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Moe

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English bulldog

dog-age-icon

2 Years

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

Mild severity

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0 found helpful

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

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Blood In Urine
Frequent Urination

My dog is two years old, for the last year I'd say she has suddenly started to have blood in urine. I brought her to the vet multiple times she was put on tablets for a week none of them worked, she does not seem to be in pain. Please help

July 26, 2017

Moe's Owner

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0 Recommendations

Blood in the urine may be caused by a number of different conditions, your Veterinarian may have put it down to an infection and prescribed antibiotics. Other causes of blood in the urine include urinary stones, tumours, trauma, poisoning, low platelet count, kidney disease among others. If there is an infection, culture and sensitivity may point to a more suitable one; for other conditions, blood tests and x-rays would be needed to confirm the diagnosis. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

July 26, 2017

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Maggie

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Schipperke Pomeranian mix

dog-age-icon

3 Years

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

Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

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

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Shaking
Vomiting
Lethargic

My dog ate about a quarter to half a slice of grapefruit yesterday and has been throwing up all day and is very lethargic, slightly shaky randomly throughout last night until today; over 24 hours later. I didn't think it was the grapefruit until a friend asked if she ate anything and I put it together. What should I do?

July 26, 2017

Maggie's Owner

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0 Recommendations

It is good that Maggie is vomiting and I hope a lot of the grapefruit came out. Grapefruit poisoning causes severe gastrointestinal signs, lethargy and photosensitisation of the skin which is normally treated with induction of vomiting and activated charcoal (too late now) followed by supportive treatment of fluids and topical ointments for skin lesions. If Maggie isn’t getting enough fluids and gets dehydrated, you may need to visit your Veterinarian for intravenous fluids. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

July 26, 2017

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Dee oh gee

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Pittbull mix

dog-age-icon

3 Years

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

Fair severity

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1 found helpful

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

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

None

I gave my dog a quarter of a piece of a peeled grapefruit before checking it online.. It's been 20min.. He hasn't shown any symptoms yet. Should I be worried? Shoul I take him to the vet? He is a bigger dog, a pitbull and Australian shepherd mix.

July 26, 2017

Dee oh gee's Owner


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1 Recommendations

If you can, induce vomiting using 3% hydrogen peroxide solution, ensure that Dee oh Gee remains hydrated. Vomiting, diarrhoea, photosensitivity and depression are all symptoms of poisoning. I don’t have any data on the quantity of grapefruit which causes these symptoms. If you have any concerns, visit your Veterinarian. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

July 26, 2017

I was eating a grapefruit and gave my dog less that half the pulp of a slice... I read this article before giving him any more and want to know if this is enough to cause poisioning!

July 26, 2017

Meramerita65 ..

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Grapefruit Poisoning Average Cost

From 384 quotes ranging from $200 - $800

Average Cost

$400

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