Grapes, Sultanas, Currants and Raisins

Grapes, Sultanas, Currants and Raisins

Home » Common Poisons » Grapes, Sultanas, Currants and Raisins
Grapes, Sultanas, Currants and Raisins

Can dogs eat grapes?

They may seem like a perfectly harmless treat, but did you know that grapes, sultanas, currants and raisins can all cause kidney injury in dogs? The mechanism of toxicity was previously unclear but it is now thought to be related to tartaric acid, a compound found in high concentrations in grapes. If your dog has a habit of stealing food off the table, be sure to put dried fruit out of reach (including, fruit cakes, hot cross buns and raisin toast).


What Makes Grapes Toxic to Dogs?

This has been a topic of hot debate for many years, but the most recent research has shown that grapes contain a high concentration of a compound called tartaric acid. Dogs are known to be uniquely sensitive to tartaric acid, and this is the likely toxic component in grapes.


Is Tartaric Acid Present in any Other Foods or Products?

Tartaric acid and its salts can be found in other fruits such as tamarind, pharmaceuticals, and cosmetics. A common form of tartaric acid is “Cream of Tartar” which is a commonly used food additive that can be found in some baked goods and homemade playdough recipes.


Health Problems Associated with Grapes And Dogs

If your dog ingests grapes or raisins, the most pressing concern is that it may lead to kidney failure which can be very expensive to treat and is potentially life-threatening. Symptoms may not be immediately apparent, and prompt medical treatment may reduce the risk of kidney injury occurring. Some animals that develop acute kidney injury will go on to have problems with their kidneys for the rest of their lives, significantly affecting their quality of life.


Signs That Your Dog Has Eaten Grapes

The Animal Poisons Helpline is often contacted about dogs eating grapes. Many cases occur when people leave grapes in reach of pets or feed them as treats not knowing the associated risks. Sometimes people drop grapes on the floor when handling or eating them, and dogs consume them before they can be stopped.


If you suspect that your dog has ingested any grapes, sultanas, currants, or raisins then please contact the Animal Poisons Helpline on 1300 869 738 (AU) or 0800 869 738 (NZ) or your veterinarian immediately. Whilst there are certain symptoms that may occur from grape ingestion, you should never wait for symptoms to develop before seeking help (symptoms can be delayed and may not occur until the damage has been done). In most cases if early treatment is sought, outcomes are good.


What About Cats?

Whilst there is less evidence to suggest that cats react to tartaric acid in the similar way to dogs, there are anecdotal reports of kidney injury in cats ingesting grapes.


How Many Grapes Are A Problem?

There can be quite a variation in the amount of tartaric acid in grapes and this can vary depending on the cultivar (or strain) of grape, growing conditions and size of the fruit. Cooking removes some, but not all the tartaric acid in grapes. The Animal Poisons Helpline can assist you in forming an individual risk assessment for your pet to determine the level of risk and need for treatment.


How To Prevent Grape Poisoning In Dogs And Cats

To prevent your pet from ingesting grapes, never leave them within reach of your pet. Common examples include a child leaving a half-eaten bowl of grapes on the couch, a fruit bowl in easy reach of a daring dog or a moment of distraction while groceries are being unpacked. Extra care should be taken when feeding grapes to children to minimise inadvertent ingestion of dropped grapes by hungry pets.