4 min read

Can Dogs Eat Grapes?

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By Wag! Staff

Published: 03/05/2021, edited: 04/11/2023

Reviewed by a licensed veterinary professional: Dr. Linda Simon, MVB MRCVS

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Overview

Grapes are super healthy for humans — they're an excellent source of fiber, vitamins, and potassium. Plus, grapes help protect against cardiovascular disease and certain cancers. 

But can dogs eat grapes? The answer is no. Grapes are toxic to dogs and can cause kidney failure even in low doses. Let's take a look at how toxic grapes are to dogs, what you should do if your dog eats grapes, and other frequently asked questions.


two punnets of red and white grapes side by side

How many grapes are toxic to a dog?

Dogs should never ingest any amount of grapes. Even a small amount of grapes can be lethal to dogs and cause acute kidney failure. As a result, you should keep your grapes somewhere secure and out of your dog's reach. 

Symptoms of grape toxicity in dogs typically appear within 24 hours of ingestion. Common symptoms of grape poisoning in dogs include:

Vomiting is usually the first symptom of grape poisoning and occurs within a few hours of ingestion. Diarrhea, lethargy, and a loss of appetite are other prevalent early symptoms. More severe symptoms, like a painful abdomen, occur within 24 to 48 hours, usually after the kidneys are already damaged. 

Late-stage symptoms of grape poisoning in dogs include a sudden increase in blood pressure and coma. A dog's chances of survival drop significantly after the kidneys shut down and urine production ceases.


My dog ate grapes — what should I do?

Take your dog to the vet immediately if they eat grapes. The faster you take your dog to the vet, the better their prognosis. Your vet will start treatment by inducing vomiting and administering activated charcoal. 

Induced vomiting will purge your dog's stomach of any remaining grapes, while activated charcoal absorbs toxic substances. Dogs digest grapes slowly, so these treatments can be helpful if administered within 6 hours of ingestion.

Your vet may recommend you induce vomiting at home if you can't get your dog medical attention immediately. You should avoid inducing vomiting if your dog is unconscious, distressed, or has difficulty breathing

Dogs showing signs of grape poisoning are usually hospitalized for several days and put on intravenous fluids for at least 48 hours. Your vet will monitor your dog's kidney function during this period to determine the best treatment. 

Dogs treated for grape poisoning immediately before kidney damage occurs have a good chance of surviving. However, kidneys have very few regenerative capabilities — once they're damaged, they'll likely never function the same again.


Do dogs like grapes?

So we've established that grapes are highly toxic to pups, but do dogs enjoy the taste of grapes? Dogs aren't normally fussy eaters and will eat anything that smells good if offered to them. Really, it depends on your dog's preferences whether they'll like grapes. 

Dogs have sweet taste receptors and may enjoy the highly sweet taste of grapes. They may also find the watery texture of a grape refreshing. Some dogs may like grapes, while others won't. There's no real way to know if your dog likes grapes, so it's best to keep them well out of your pup's reach just in case.


Why are grapes toxic to dogs?

For over 20 years, vets and scientists were unsure why grapes are toxic to dogs. Initially, experts thought fungal mycotoxins or salicylate present in grapes might reduce blood flow to the kidneys. 

However, a recent scientific breakthrough involving a dog ingesting homemade playdough led scientists to discover that tartaric acid is the cause of grape poisoning in dogs. 

Tartaric acid became the prime suspect after a dog ingested homemade playdough made with cream of tartar. Cream of tartar contains tartaric acid and potassium bitartrate, both of which are present in grapes and also cause renal failure in dogs.


An overflowing scoop of raisins on a burlap cloth

Can dogs eat raisins?

Grapes are poisonous, but can dogs eat raisins? The answer is no; dogs can't eat raisins, currants, or even sultanas. All three are different types of dried grapes that still contain tartaric acid. 

Eating raisins and other dried grapes are one of the most common ways that grape toxicity in dogs occurs. Pet parents will give them a small piece of a cookie or cake without realizing or thinking that it contains raisins, currents, or sultanas.


Can dogs drink grape juice?

As you've probably already guessed, the answer is no, it's not safe for dogs to drink grape juice. Aside from the risk of grape toxicity, fruit juice is also high in sugar and may contain xylitol, which is also toxic to dogs.


Grape toxicity and poisoning in dogs: recap

  • Grapes are highly toxic to dogs. If left untreated, grape poisoning is lethal to dogs.

  • Just a few grapes can cause sudden renal failure, with initial symptoms including lethargy, vomiting, and loss of appetite.

  • Take your dog to the vet immediately if they eat grapes for the best prognosis.

  • Keep grapes, raisins, grape juice, and other foods containing grapes out of your dog's reach.

  • Think twice before feeding your dog human food, and always check the ingredients before feeding your pup a human treat.


Grape poisoning in dogs can be expensive to treat.

Fortunately, most pet insurance companies reimburse claims within 3 days, putting 90% of the bill back in your pocket. Compare leading pet insurance plans to find the right policy for your pet.

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