Can dogs eat raisins?
If you love the tart, sweet, and fruity taste of raisins, you may have wondered if you can share some with your canine friend. Unfortunately, the answer is a resounding “no!”. Raisins are highly toxic to dogs and so are grapes from which raisins are made of. Raisins and grapes can cause severe acute kidney failure in dogs. Keep reading to learn more about raisin and grape toxicity in dogs and what you should do if your dog has eaten these treats.
What makes raisins toxic to dogs?
While the substance that causes kidney failure in grapes and raisins is not completely understood, pet owners should be fully aware that these are highly toxic to dogs.
For more information, check out our updated grape toxicity article, here!
How many raisins can a dog eat?
The lowest recorded volume of raisins that have caused kidney failure in dogs is 0.05 ounces per pound of body weight. For grapes, it’s 0.3 ounces per pound. But the potential risk is this - veterinarians don’t have an idea what the minimum dose is that could affect the kidneys.
There are no risk factors that have been specifically identified - any age, breed, or gender of dog is considered equally at risk of developing kidney failure after eating raisins. So it’s best to avoid offering even smaller amounts to your dog to avoid potential problems.
Not all dogs seem to be susceptible to the harmful effects of grapes or raisins. There appears to be “individual sensitivity” in dogs. Some can tolerate large quantities without developing problems, while some develop poisoning after eating just a few grapes. Unfortunately, what makes a dog susceptible remains a mystery.
Should I worry if my dog ate raisins?
If your dog ate raisins or grapes, you should call your vet or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center hotline in your area. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
Don’t wait for your pet to show signs of illness before calling. Seeking immediate medical advice from the experts may mean the difference between life and death for your pet.
Signs of Raisin Toxicity in Dogs
There are several ways that dogs can be exposed to raisins or grapes. Seedless or seeded grape varieties, grape pressings from wineries, grape juice, foods that contain grapes or raisins (such as baked goods, trail mix, raisin bran cereal, etc.) are all potential sources of toxicity.
Symptoms of toxicity usually start to manifest between 12-24 hours after eating grapes or raisins. You should take your pet to your vet immediately if you notice any of the following signs:
- Digestive upsets (vomiting and/or diarrhea) within 6-12 hours after eating grapes or raisins. Pieces of grapes or raisins may be seen in the stool or vomit of the dog.
- In the early stages of toxicity, there will be increased intake of water and a consequent increase in urination.
- Within 24-72 hours after consumption, the kidneys start to shut down and there will be a significant decrease in urine output. Some dogs don’t urinate at all. Once the kidneys start shutting down, the prognosis is poor.
- Loss of appetite
- Lethargy and weakness
- Bad breath (as a result of ammonia buildup)
- Abdominal pain
- Dehydration (you can check if your dog is dehydrated by pulling the loose skin on the back of his neck. Your dog is dehydrated if the skin does not spring back immediately once you release it.)
What to Do if Your Dog Ate Raisins
Raisin or grape ingestion in dogs should be treated as a medical emergency. Take your pet to the nearest veterinary facility or call the animal poison center for immediate assistance.
Don’t induce vomiting except if you have been instructed by your vet to do so. An unconscious dog, having trouble breathing, or exhibiting signs of shock should not be given something to induce vomiting.
Regardless, if your dog does or does not vomit on his own, taking him to the vet as soon as possible is still highly recommended.
How can a vet help a dog that ate raisins?
The main goal of emergency treatment is to remove the grapes or raisins from your dog’s system and prevent or minimize kidney damage. After examining your dog and getting the history, your vet will decide whether there is a need to induce vomiting or not. Activated charcoal may be given to bind and absorb any leftover toxins in the stomach.
There may also be a need for hospitalization for at least 48 hours so your dog can be given intravenous fluid therapy to restore the balance of fluids and electrolytes in the body, as well as maintain adequate urine flow. Your dog’s kidneys should also be monitored through blood work.
Will my dog survive raisin toxicity?
The prognosis of raisin toxicity in dogs depends on several factors:
- Quantity ingested
- How soon decontamination was done
- Whether or not kidney failure has already developed
- How soon treatment was started
- Whether there is an improvement of symptoms and kidney function levels since treatment began
Consuming a few raisins or grapes and receiving immediate treatment can greatly improve the prognosis. However, if there is already damage to the kidneys and there is no urine output, the prognosis is generally poor, and the dog may die.
Unlike the liver, the ability of the kidneys to regenerate is very little. Once there’s damage to the kidneys, their function will be impaired.
Need to speak with a veterinarian regarding your dog eating raisins or another condition?
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