By Dr. Andrew Jones
I have received numerous emails from pet owners asking me ..What should I do??
In most cases, NOTHING will happen to your pet. But a small number do react.
What is known:
Dogs affected will vomit with a few hours of eating either raisins or grapes. Then within 24 hours they may become anorexic and have diarrhea. These clinical signs can last for days to weeks.
Some dogs will develop kidney damage in the first day after exposure. As this damage progresses the dogs will produce less and less urine until they stop producing urine all together. Once that happens death will follow.
Dogs that are treated early and aggressively have a reasonable chance of recovery. If treatment is delayed the prognosis becomes very poor.
What is not known:
It is yet to be discovered what the actual toxin is. There has been speculation that it may be the grape itself, or possibly pesticides, heavy metals (zinc or lead), or perhaps fungal contaminants.
There does not seem to be a critical dose that the dogs need to be exposed to before seeing signs of toxicity. Some dogs eating a few grapes regularly can be affected, as can dogs that consume a large amount one time. There seems to be equal cases in dogs eating grapes as there are dogs eating raisins.
There does not seem to be a breed, age, or sex of dog that is more affected.
WHAT TO DO.
DON’T feed grapes or raisins.
If your dog eats grapes or raisins and vomits shortly after:
PURGE THE POISON. In most cases of poisoning, getting your pet to vomit is the most important thing that you can do. To induce vomiting, give hydrogen peroxide at 1 teaspoon per 10 lbs of body weight. If your pet doesn’t vomit in 10 minutes, repeat again. NEVER do more than 2 treatments of peroxide. You can also try salt: dilute 1 teaspoon of salt in a tablespoon of water per every 10lbs of body weight.
DELAY ABSORPTION. Activated charcoal is readily available at most pharmacies. It delays absorption of any toxin by binding to the toxic compound in the stomach. The easiest way is to give the capsule form. For those garbage-eating dogs (such as my own dog) it is a good idea to have hydrogen peroxide and activated charcoal always on hand.
Your veterinarian can do blood tests to check on kidney function, and provide immediate supportive care if needed.
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