Grape, Currant, and Raisin Toxicity in Dogs
By Tressie J., Recptionist, with edits by Kelsey G., Marketing Manager
This June at Stream Valley, we've been focusing on nutrition, weight loss, and maintaining a healthy weight. When we think about nutrition, it's important to know what foods are most nutritious for our pets, but we should also know what can be poisonous. Some of these foods include grapes, raisins, or currants. Any and all foods containing these ingredients should be kept away from dogs at all times to avoid possible exposure.
It's known that grapes and raisins are poisonous to dogs, but the exact cause has been a mystery. There's good news, however; as a recent research study may have finally found the cause. In the Journal of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care, research has concluded that kidney failure has been seen in dogs after they've ingested cream of tartar and tamarinds. Dogs can also experience kidney failure if they are exposed to the above poisonous fruits. Therefore, this research helped toxicologists finally connect the dots--tartaric acid is the cause of kidney issues in grapes, raisins, tamarinds, and cream of tartar. If your dog has ingested any of these toxins, please reach out to your veterinarian, Pet Poison Hotline, or Poison Control service immediately.
The earliest signs of raisin or grape poisoning are vomiting and/or diarrhea, which may develop within 6-12 hours of ingestion. Other signs seen in the first 24 hours include lethargy, lack of appetite, abdominal pain, hypersalivation, and dehydration. Inducing vomiting is very important if ingestion is recent and the dog hasn't vomited. Hydrogen peroxide (maximum 45mls) can be used, but only if the dog hasn't already vomited. Veterinarians will administer activated charcoal if the induction of vomiting is unsuccessful.
If a dog only ate a few grapes or raisins and received successful, immediate treatment, the outcome is typically excellent. If urine production has stopped and the kidneys are damaged, the chance of recovery is poor; death is likely. It is very important to begin treatment as quickly as possible following ingestion, because the kidneys will never return to normal functionality as they have very little ability to regenerate or repair themselves.
Overall, we recommend keeping all grapes, currants, raisins, and all food or drinks containing these fruits out of reach of your pets. So far, grape and raisin poisoning has only been identified as a problem in dogs, but since there are still many unknowns associated with this type of poisoning, it's a good idea to avoid giving these to any of your pets. Along with grapes, raisins, and currants, other foods to avoid include onions, garlic, alcohol, chocolate, macadamia nuts, fatty foods, and anything containing xylitol. If your pet has ingested any of these, please contact the Pet Poison Helpline at 800-213-6680, or for more information, go to their website: petpoisonhelpline.com. If immediate treatment is needed, you can reach out to Stream Valley Veterinary Hospital at (703) 723-1017 so that we may triage and stabilize your pet.