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Can dogs eat grapes? Are they a safe snack for canines?

A small dog eating grapes from a vine
(Image credit: Getty)

Some dogs will eat anything they can get their chops around - but can dogs eat grapes? The short and simple answer is no - they can’t, nor can they eat anything derived from grapes such as raisins or sultanas.

According to the American Kennel Club, even just a single grape can prove to be extremely dangerous - and even toxic - to your dog, so it’s something to take seriously should it happen. But try not to panic if you find your dog has ingested something they shouldn’t have - remain calm, contact your vet and monitor your dog closely for any symptoms listed below.

Happily, many foods that we eat are also safe for our canine pals. Make sure to check out our guide to what human food can dogs eat for a more comprehensive overview. 

Of course, you’ll likely want to feed your pet the best dog food, and we’ve also got some top tips for choosing healthy dog treats too - we’ve got your dog’s diet covered.

Are grapes good for dogs?

Lots of fruits and vegetables are perfectly safe - and even healthy - for your dog to eat. It’s probably not obvious therefore that grapes are poisonous for dogs - but they can be potentially fatal in any quantity.

Severe reactions can occur with even just a small amount, while raisins and sultanas can also prove deadly too.

The simple fact is that some dogs will have a very bad reaction, while others may not react at all. This doesn’t appear to be down to the size or the breed of the dog, so it’s best to make sure your dog doesn’t eat them in the first place if at all possible - and don’t second guess whether your dog will be one of the fortunate ones.

Make sure you keep grapes and raisins out of reach of your dog - if you like to keep your fruit in a bowl on the counter, on a table etc for example, if your dog has any chance of reaching it - make sure they’re moved to a much more difficult to seek out place.

Why are grapes bad for dogs?

Although grapes are known to be toxic for dogs, the exact reason why that is has not been proven - nor the amount needed to trigger such a reaction.

What we do know is that even small amounts (even a single grape) can cause severe problems - such as kidney failure, which can prove to be fatal. Raisins and sultanas can also trigger the same problems - so products such as cakes, desserts and other tempting treats which contain those should also be kept well out of reach from your pup.

Symptoms which may occur after eating grapes can include lack of appetite, weakness or lethargy, vomiting and diarrhoea, a tender abdomen, dehydration, increased thirst, extra urine production, and conversely decreased or no urine production at all. If you notice any of these signs, make sure you tell your vet as soon as you can.

What to do if your dog eats grapes

Eating grapes or raisins can be considered an emergency, but it’s important that you stay calm and don’t immediately panic. 

It’s not necessarily the case that ingesting grapes or raisins - especially a small amount - will be instantly toxic, but there are important steps to take. 

The most important thing you can do is get in contact with your vet as soon as possible. Whether that’s via the phone or in person, they will be able to give you the best advice on exactly what to do - usually depending on any signs or symptoms that they are following. 

Sometimes you’ll be advised to induce vomiting. It’s best to speak to a vet first before attempting this, to make sure it’s the right course of action - for example, if your dog is struggling to breathe, then inducing vomiting is not something you should do. 

Most dogs will be fine with the appropriate treatment, so if an accidental ingestion happens, try not to worry too much - but get help as soon as you can.

Conclusion 

Although dogs can eat many varied human foods, there are some which are dangerous and even toxic - sadly, grapes is one of those. The best advice is to do your best to ensure that your dog never eats one (or many) in the first place, but make sure to seek advice and help from your vet should the worst happen.

Amy Davies is a freelance writer and photographer with over 15 years experience. She has a degree in journalism from Cardiff University and has written about a huge variety of topics over the years. These days she mostly specialises in technology and pets, writing across a number of different titles including TechRadar, Stuff, Expert Reviews, T3, Digital Camera World, and of course PetsRadar. She lives in Cardiff with her dog, Lola, a rescue miniature dachshund.