Grapes And Your Dog

Grapes and your dog

Grapes And Your Dog

Grapes and your dogYou may have heard that grapes are toxic to dogs, and yes, we can confirm that grapes, raisins, and sultanas are all bad for your pooch. Whether they are black, red, or green, peeled, seedless, store-bought or home grown, fresh off the vine or days old, organic, or not; it doesn’t seem to matter.

The mechanism of toxicity was unclear for many years but is now thought to be related to tartaric acid, a compound found in high concentrations in grapes. Dogs are known to be uniquely sensitive to tartaric acid, and this is the likely toxic component in grapes. Some dogs seem to be able to eat grapes and not develop any complications. The reason for this is not clear and it is not known if this is because only certain dogs are sensitive to the toxin or if there are other unknown variables involved. There is however a definite link between grape ingestion and kidney injury in dogs, and unfortunately there is no way of reliably predicting which dogs will become unwell after eating them. Whilst we have not personally handled any cases of cats becoming unwell after eating grapes, there are anecdotal reports of this.

For that very reason, we recommend to never feed grapes, raisins, or sultanas to your dog or cat. This also includes food items that may contain them such as hot cross buns, raisin toast, certain cakes/tarts/puddings/mince pies, some cereals/muesli and trail/snack bars. Tartaric acid and its salts can also be found in other fruits such as tamarind, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics. A common found 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.

The Animal Poisons Helpline is often contacted about dogs eating grapes. Many cases occur when people leave grapes in reach of pets or a child leaving a half-eaten bowl of grapes on the couch. Sometimes people drop grapes on the floor when handling or eating them, and dogs consume them before they can be stopped. To prevent your pet from ingesting grapes, never leave them within reach of your pet. Extra care should be taken when feeding grapes to children to minimise inadvertent ingestion of dropped grapes by hungry pets.

If your dog or cat has eaten any grapes, raisins, or sultanas please contact the Animal Poisons Helpline on 1300 869 738 (AU) or 0800 869 738 (NZ) or your vet immediately, even if your pet looks well.