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Why You Should Never Feed Your Pet Grapes or Raisins

November 1, 2021

Have you ever been tempted to feed your cat or dog a grape or its dried version, the raisin? It’s not a good idea. In fact, grapes and raisins can actually be toxic for our animal friends. These humble fruits can cause poisoning, and in the most extreme cases, death. Read on as your local veterinarian tells you more about grape and raisin poisoning in pets. 


Why are grapes and raisins poisonous?

It may come as a surprise to hear that it isn’t known exactly why grapes and raisins are toxic to pets. Some think that a fungal byproduct called mycotoxin is responsible. Others believe that pesticides sprayed on the fruit could be the culprit. And some pets seem to be able to eat the fruit without suffering any ill effects, which makes matters even more confusing. Whatever the cause, it’s just not worth the risk to feed grapes or raisins to your pet.


What are the symptoms of poisoning? 

Symptoms of grape or raisin poisoning typically appear within a few hours after they’re eaten by your pet. Clinical signs include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, and increased thirst. Without treatment, renal failure (the medical term for kidney failure) can occur. This is why it’s so important to have your veterinarian’s number on hand in the event of an emergency. If you know or suspect that they’ve ingested grapes or raisins, take your pet to the vet’s office as soon as possible. 


What’s the treatment? 

Getting the toxin out of your pet’s system as quickly as possible is the goal of treatment. This might be achieved by activated charcoal, which absorbs the remaining toxin in your pet’s stomach, or by induced vomiting. Pets that have progressed to kidney failure might require intravenous fluid treatment, or in the most serious cases, blood transfusions. 


How do I prevent grape and raisin poisoning? 

Clearly, preventing grape or raisin poisoning ahead of time is preferable to having to deal with it once it’s happened. And fortunately, that’s as easy as restricting your pet’s access to these foods at all times. Keep them in closed cabinets or containers, or the refrigerator, so that pets can’t reach them. Also beware of foods that contain grapes or raisins, like desserts or salads.


Would you like more advice on foods your pet shouldn’t eat? Give your vet’s office a call today. We’re always happy to help.

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