Can I Give My Dog Grapes?
Though we love fruit as a healthy ‘fast food,’ many of our favorite fruits are not the most practical portable snacks. Watermelon doesn’t fit in your purse (and the cubes manage to leak juice no matter how impenetrable your Tupperware claims to be), bananas are a mangled mess after an hour inside a backpack, navel oranges are impossible to peel, and blueberries permanently dye everything they come into contact with. Even apples have their downsides— though they do well if you leave them intact, the no-mess, easy-to-munch slices brown within minutes. There is one fruit that reigns supreme in practicality, and it is the delicious, nutritious, adorable grape.
Grapes travel well, boast a high vitamin content, don’t get stuck in your teeth, and are easy to eat without making a mess. All of these qualities make them the perfect snack for a Kindergartener or a runner, but what about man’s best friend? Should we pack an extra bunch for Fido? Can dogs have grapes?
The answer may surprise you: no, dogs cannot eat grapes. Though we consider them one of the healthiest foods for people, these little round fruits are downright toxic to our canine companions. A large dog can generally eat one or two without any danger, but smaller dogs may experience negative effects after eating just a few grapes. Your dog should never eat this food in any amount. If you drop a few grapes on the floor, pick them up before your beloved pet has a chance to come sniffing around.
Risks of Giving Your Dog Grapes
It is true that grapes are loaded with good-for-us (and for our dogs!) vitamins and phytochemicals. This fruit has a lot of fiber, antioxidants, and immunity-boosting vitamins, which can improve your dog’s health just as much as they can improve your own. But all of the ‘good stuff’ in grapes is offset by the high amount of a substance which is toxic to dogs. It doesn’t matter how much of a superfood grapes may be: if your dog gobbles up one too many and suffers from kidney failure, the Vitamin C boost will be irrelevant!
Here’s an example: imagine if someone took the healthiest, most phytonutrient-rich green juice and added half a cup of rat poisoning. That is what grapes are like for dogs. The vitamin content is not worth the poison!
Unfortunately, many pet owners and veterinarians have become well acquainted with grape toxicity. As our pets have become more valued members of our family, and as we have learned how to pay closer attention to the correlation between their diets and their health, we have become better able to recognize cases of grape poisoning. Because veterinarians now have the knowledge and awareness to identify grape poisoning, the number of recorded cases has increased in recent years.
As far as we know, there is no type of grape that is safe for dogs—or even ‘less dangerous’. All types of grapes appear to carry the same risk of toxicity, with the tolerated doses varying based on the dog’s breed, age, sex, and weight rather than the type of grape consumed. This means that it does not matter if your grapes are organic, home-grown, seeded, seedless, white, black, or red. All of them are equally poisonous and should be off limits to your dog.
Don’t assume that your dog’s breed or weight will protect them from the effects of grape poisoning. While it is true that a Great Dane will be able to tolerate more grapes than, say, a teacup Chihuahua, it doesn’t take very many grapes for most dogs to experience adverse effects. If you suspect your dog has eaten grapes, contact a veterinarian. There is no antidote for grape poisoning, so it’s important to seek treatment before your dog starts showing symptoms.
Things to Keep in Mind
What will happen to a dog who eats too many grapes? If your dog eats enough grapes, it will in result kidney failure. While a lot of unhealthy foods can damage your dog’s kidneys slowly or over a long period of time, the kidney failure caused by grapes often occurs very quickly. Even if your dog had perfectly healthy kidneys before they dug into your grape stash, they can suffer from life-threatening kidney failure.
Symptoms of kidney failure include fatigue, general weakness, poor appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, panting, bloated or sore abdomen, pale gums, cessation of urination, and refusal to drink fluids. The damage done is irreversible, so once your dog’s kidneys begin to shut down, their prognosis is not good. This means that you should contact your veterinarian before symptoms show up, if possible.
Though grapes will work wonders on your health and well-being, you should never feed them to your dog. Even if you only give them a handful of grapes as a one-time treat, they can cause life-threatening kidney failure. Instead, opt for dog-friendly fruits like apples and bananas.