Grapes are delicious and healthy, right? Yes, when it comes to us.
However, when it comes to our dogs, they represent a big health risk as they lead to intoxication.
So, how should you behave if this were to happen to your dog?
As you know, dogs shouldn’t eat everything we do. However, that doesn’t stop them from tasting something that’s bad for them and even toxic in some cases. Grapes fall down under this category and they’re some of the most dangerous food your dog can have.
So, what do you do in the worst-case scenario – if your dog eats some grapes? Instead of panicking, this article will tell you what to do in this situation. Let’s start with the signs that will tell you something is going on.
What Are The Symptoms Of Grape Poisoning?
Grape (and raisin) poisoning can lead to various combinations of the following symptoms:
- Diarrhea and/or vomiting
- Lethargy and weakness
- Lack in appetite
- Abdominal pain
- Foul breath
- Passing only a small amount of urine
- Complete cessation of urine
The intoxication signs usually appear pretty soon after the grape ingestion – usually within 24 hours after ingestion. The first signs to appear are usually lack of appetite, diarrhea and lethargy and they can appear within 12 hours. More serious signs, such as vomiting, abdominal pain, nausea, usually begin 24-48 hours after and are indicating that kidney failure has begun.
Intoxication from grapes is pretty obvious and is easily noticeable. You will see symptoms like diarrhea, lethargy, vomiting, lack of appetite, etc.
What Amounts Of Grapes Are Toxic?
Unfortunately, the toxic dose can’t be determined that easily. Some reports say that the amount depends on the dog’s weight, while other state that the amount of grapes doesn’t influence the outcome that will be intoxication, no matter the amount. In addition, some dogs show signs of intoxication even after one grape, while others can eat more without showing symptoms.
The toxic agent hasn’t been revealed yet, but so far it seems that it’s associated with the flesh of the grape. In other words, peeled and seedless grapes are still toxic to dogs. Since no exact answer exists as of yet, you should consider any amount of grape as poisonous. Some fruit, like dragon fruit contains seeds that are so tiny and therefore safe for dogs to digest, but only in really small amounts, which isn’t the case with grapes.
Unfortunately, even smallest amounts of grapes can be toxic to dogs.
What Do I Do If My Dog Has Eaten Grapes?
First and most importantly – don’t panic! Easier said than done, we know. However, it’s very important to remain your calm as much as possible in order to help your dog.
If you suspect or know that your dog has eaten grapes in the last two hours, you should induce vomiting as soon as possible, so that some of the toxins from the grape can be eliminated. But, you shouldn’t induce vomiting if your dog is in a more serious state, such as:
- Experiencing respiration problems
- Severe shock
Additionally, you shouldn’t induce vomiting if you’re not sure of what your dog has eaten or if your dog has already vomited.
If you’re sure that your dog has eaten grapes in the last two hours, you should induce vomiting ASAP in order to remove toxins from the dog’s digestive system.
Check out the video below and find out more!
How Do I Induce Vomiting?
Before you do anything, call your vet and consult with him or her. If you get a “green light” to induce vomiting, follow these steps in order to make your dog vomit:
1. Give your dog a small meal if he or she hasn’t eaten anything in the last couple of hours. This can induce vomiting, but only if your dog wants to eat.
2. Use 3% hydrogen peroxide to induce vomiting. You should measure 1 ml per pound of your dog’s weight and give the appropriate amount to your dog. Just remember, the maximum amount is 45 ml even if your dog is heavier than 45 pounds. You can use a syringe and pour the hydrogen into the back of your dog’s mouth.
You can repeat this maximum once more. If your dog isn’t vomiting after the second time, don’t repeat if anymore. Also, don’t use anything stronger than hydrogen peroxide.
After that, even if your dog vomits or not, you should take him or her to the vet immediately. Your vet will have to prescribe a proper treatment in order to protect your dog’s kidneys.
How Is Grape Intoxication Treated?
Grape intoxication should be treated as soon as possible, by a professional. It’s vital that you take your dog to the vet right away, as the treatment can’t be postponed. The longer you wait, the bigger are the chances of kidney failure.
The vet will start by inducing vomiting, if you haven’t done it already or if the dog hasn’t already vomited. After that, your vet will perform a gastric lavage and administer activated charcoal that will absorb any remaining toxin. Finally, intravenous fluid therapy should begin in order to flush out the toxin of the bloodstream and keep the kidneys producing urine.
It’s also possible that your vet will prescribe medications that will reduce vomiting and keep the kidneys working. Hospitalization is also an option and some dogs may be under the vet’s surveillance up to a week. Don’t forget, regular check-ups are really important during the treatment period.
Grape intoxication should be treated by a veterinarian. Hospitalization might also be necessary in order to prevent fatal consequences.
Will My Dog Recover?
Prognosis depends on many factors – how serious the poisoning was, when the treatment began, if the dog has already had kidney failure and if the treatment was showing results.
Therefore, if your dog had a few grapes and got help immediately, chances of recovery are very big. On the other side, if the kidneys stop producing urine, it’s most likely that there’s nothing you can do. Kidneys basically can’t repair themselves and they can’t go back to the way they were.
The Worst-Case Scenario
The worst outcome is complete kidney failure. If the kidneys can’t produce urine any longer, the situations is really serious. Hemodialysis could be an option until/ if the kidneys recover and kidney transplant is also done in some cases. Unfortunately, euthanasia is the most common outcome of kidney failure.
How Do I Prevent This From Happening?
The only way to prevent this from happening is to keep all grapes someplace safe, where your dog won’t be able to reach them. Dogs will eat anything they come across, no matter how toxic to them. So, it’s your responsibility as a dog owner to prevent that from happening and keep all dangerous food – grapes, raisins, chocolate, onions etc. – out of reach of your dog.
Dogs can recover from grape intoxication if help is immediately administered. On the other hand, if the intoxication causes kidneys to stop producing urine, a complete recovery might never be possible.
Grapes should definitely be off-limits for dogs, as they lead to severe intoxication and kidney failure. If the kidneys stop working and producing urine, there’s usually nothing you can do. Even though it hasn’t been determined yet why grapes are toxic to dogs and how much they would have to eat in order to get poisoning, it’s for sure that grapes are in fact toxic and can cause problems with some dogs even after one ingested grape.
If your dog has eaten some grapes, most common symptoms are vomiting, loss of appetite, lethargy etc. These are all pretty general symptoms, which is why it can be difficult to know what they’re indicating. But if you suspect or know that your dog has found some grapes, you should react immediately.
Treatment should start as soon as possible, so take your dog to the vet right away or induce vomiting at home – if your vet approves it. The vet will later perform a gastric lavage and administer activated charcoal that will soak up the toxins. When that’s done, your dog will need intravenous therapy and/or prescribed medication. Many dogs stay at the hospital 2-7 days.
Unfortunately, if the kidneys have already stopped producing urine, there’s usually not much that can be done and euthanasia is the most common way to go. In order to avoid this worst-case scenario, it’s vital that you take your dog to the vet as soon as possible so the treatment can begin. And in order to prevent any intoxication at all – keep all grapes out of sight and reach of your dog!