Are Raisins Safe for Dogs to Eat?
Raisins were probably a staple in your childhood. Your grandma always had a small box of these sticky treats in her purse, while your teacher handed them out as a snack before recess. You’re an adult now, but that doesn’t stop you from rummaging through the Raisin Bran to get the most raisins in your bowl. Enjoy your Raisin Bran every morning, but keep it to yourself. Under no circumstances should your dog ever eat raisins.
Are Raisins Safe for Your Dog?
In case you didn’t know, raisins are dried grapes. Grapes are a well-known and guaranteed toxin to dogs. Unlike chocolate or onions, there’s no known reason why grapes are so dangerous to dogs, but that doesn’t change the fact that even a few raisins can be enough to hurt or even kill your dog.
What part of the body is affected by raisins?
The kidneys are directly impacted by raisins or grapes in any form, and any damage done is usually irreversible. The most serious effect of raisin toxicity is acute kidney failure. Acute means it comes on very suddenly, and it’s accompanied by a lack of urine production. Kidney failure doesn’t show up in every case, and how much it takes to actually affect the kidneys depends on the dog. Oddly, your dog could eat a small box of raisins and be fine, then eat a few grapes at another time and be struck with kidney failure. Other dogs can snack on grapes and not be affected at all.
Symptoms of Raisin Toxicity
So what does raisin toxicity look like? Vomiting and diarrhea will typically appear within a few hours of ingestion. Your dog will lose their appetite and appear weak or unusually withdrawn. If their abdomen becomes painful, they will walk around with their back arched and cry when you try to touch them. When the kidneys become affected, you’ll notice a change in their urine output. If the kidney involvement isn’t that serious (yet), your dog will only be able to pass a small amount of urine. More serious kidney damage is indicated by your dog not urinating at all, and at this point, it’s absolutely imperative you get them to their vet immediately.
Treatment of Raisin Toxicity
When it’s been less than two hours since your dog ingested the raisins, your vet can still induce vomiting and hopefully get most of the raisins out of their system. If your vet feels comfortable in how your dog is acting, you can expect only a few hours at the vet. You might have to leave your dog for a few hours of observation, subcutaneous fluids, and some activated charcoal. Don’t be surprised if your vet asks to run some labs on your dog’s blood to see if the kidneys have been affected.
If the toxicity has progressed to kidney involvement, the care your dog needs is a bit more involved. Whether there’s a decrease in urine or a complete lack of it, your dog is going to need intensive IV fluids, frequent bloodwork, and careful monitoring of their urine. How badly the kidneys are damaged is directly related to how quickly they’ll recover–or if they do at all. The seriousness of kidney damage should emphasise how important it is to keep raisins and grapes away from your dog. Once the kidneys are damaged, it can’t be fixed; it can only be managed.
Teach your kids and guests that grapes in any form are very dangerous for your dog. Kids who are habitual food droppers should be reminded with each grape that it’s important to keep their food to themselves. It certainly isn’t overkill to keep your dog away from the table during snacktime if there are grapes or raisins involved. Remember that grapes in all forms are dangerous for dogs. This includes wine, grape juice, grape jellies and preserves, and grape flavored snacks. If you aren’t sure, err on the side of caution and keep your dog safe from a very preventable illness.