Why Are Grapes Poisonous To Dogs?

When it comes to superfoods, dogs can really use the nutrient properties of fruits and vegetables. However, determining which fruit or vegetable is safe for your dog is hard, and you need to do a lot of research before giving your dog a health threat.

So, can dogs eat grapes?The answer is no. Grapes are not safe for dogs to eat. The same goes for raisins or dried grapes. Grapes and raisins can be very toxic to dogs, no matter the breed, sex, or age of the dog.

The Discovery of Grape Toxicity For Dogs

We’ve always known that grapes are not good for dogs and can have harmful effects on their health, but we didn’t know what causes that problem. This 20-year mystery was solved by ASPCA Poison Control Center where a group of vegetarians discovered why grapes are poisonous to dogs.

It has been proven that tartaric acid in grapes can cause unwanted symptoms like:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Excessive thirst
  • Kidney damage or failure

Over the years, grape toxicity has been difficult to assess and find a pattern of what causes such problems. Some dogs suffered mildly, while others had more severe issues even had acute renal failure.

Depending on the type of grape, its ripeness, and where it was grown, grapes and raisins can contain different levels of tartaric acid.

This breakthrough was discovered by analyzing homemade playdough toxicity in a dog. Homemade playdough contains enough salt that dogs will develop severe signs secondary to hypernatremia.

When the veterinarian of clinical toxicity requested the recipe for the playdough and found out it to be different from most. The playdough contained cream of tartar, which is also a source of tartaric acid.

After finding out that tartaric acid is the problem in playdough, veterinarians quickly discovered why grapes cause such severe reactions for dogs. It has been proven that dogs are species that have proven to be sensitive to tartaric acid.

Can a Single Grape have Fatal Consequences For Dogs?

As we mentioned before, it all depends on the type of grape, where it’s grown, and its tartaric acid concentration. Unfortunately, even one grape or raisin has the toxicity to be fatal for dogs. There is a high risk of sudden kidney failure in dogs, after eating as much as one grape.

With that said, it is best if you completely remove grapes from your dog’s diet and even go to the point of keeping such ingredients in a place where they couldn’t reach them

How to Determine if Your Dog has Toxic Ingestion?

Several symptoms may suggest toxic ingestion, which possibly needs further assistance by a vet. If you indicate some of these symptoms in your dog’s behavior, you should immediately go to the nearest vegetarian center for assistance.

  • Lethargy (weakness and unusual stillness)
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting or diarrhea (often frequent within a few hours)
  • Dehydration (signs of dehydration include dry nose and mouth as well as pale gums. Another way of finding out if your dog is dehydrated is by pulling the skin at the back of its neck. The skin should spring back immediately, if not, your dog might be dehydrated)
  • Abdominal pain (sensitiveness when you touch their stomach)
  • Increased thirst and urine production
  • Kidney Failure (this can be fatal)
  • Bad Breath

Things to Do IfYour Dog Ate Grapes or Raisins

If you find out that your dog ate grapes or raisins, you should treat this as an emergency situation, even if symptoms are still not kicking in. The most obvious thing is to visit your local veterinarian or pet emergency center for assistance.

Try not to induce vomiting if you have not been instructed to do so, especially if you are not sure what your dog ate or if your dog is:

  • Having trouble breathing
  • Unconscious
  • Showing signs of serious distress or shock

Your dog may vomit, but no matter the case, you should visit your local vet immediately.

Once you take your dog to your local vet, the procedure starts with decontamination just to try to stabilize your dog and remove any unwanted toxins. Some vets can even induce vomiting just to get the grapes or raisins out.

Then they will give activated charcoal just to help bind any leftover grapes in their stomach. Expect your dog to be hospitalized for at least 48 hours just to monitor your dog’s kidneys through their bloodwork.


Grapes and raisins can be fatal for dogs, which is why you need to take this seriously. Try removing any grapes and raisins from your dog’s reach since they cannot determine their toxicity and will still eat them.

Such severe symptoms, even organ failure is not guaranteed in all cases and it all depends on the type of grapes, and the amount that is ingested in the body.

With that said you should always contact your vegetarian and take your dog for a check even if symptoms haven’t still appeared.

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