Can dogs eat grapes? No, grapes are toxic to dogs! Learn the signs & symptoms and what to do if your dog eats these fruits. Immediate vet action is crucial.

Are Grapes Bad for Dogs?

We are often asked WHY can’t dogs eat grapes, or, Can dogs eat sultanas? And “my old dog used to eat grapes and sultanas without problems”. Well, that could have just been lucky that certain individual dogs may not have been overly susceptible.

Grapes are TOXIC to dogs and can have very serious consequences. If a susceptible dog was to ingest even as little as 20grams of grape matter it could have a life-threatening outcome. 

Grapes, raisins and Zante currants, all members of the Vitis genus, have been associated with toxicity to the kidneys, resulting in renal (kidney) failure in dogs. The exact mechanism by which they cause renal injury and toxicity are still not completely known. Affected dogs develop renal failure generally within 72 hours of ingesting the grapes or raisins. 

A clear toxic dose has not been determined as there is a lot of variation between individuals, and possibly the grape substance.  While some dogs appear able to tolerate small doses of the fruit without consequence, others may develop acute renal/kidney injury after eating just a few grapes or raisins.  

Unfortunately, there is also no current testing that can be done to determine the individual dog’s susceptibility to the toxin. 

Therefore, ALL dog owners must be diligent.

If you think your dog may have eaten even a small amount of grape matter, it is best to contact your vet as soon as possible, as there are some things that can be done to reduce the exposure to the toxin.

Clinical Signs and Symptoms of Kidney Failure in Dogs

Clinical signs will only be seen once the toxin has taken effect. It is recommended that you should NEVER wait to see clinical signs or symptoms, as we may have missed the critical opportunity to help these patients. 

But, if you didn’t know there was any exposure and you see the following, it is possible the dog has  has been exposed to grape toxicity and needs urgent attention. 

  • Vomiting and diarrhoea (within 6-12 hours of ingestion) 
  • Lethargy 
  • Excessive thirst and excessive urination
  • Anorexia (not eating) or hyporexia (reduced appetite)
  • Uraemic breath (ammonia odour)
  • Abdominal pain 
  • Weakness 
  • Dehydration 
  • Tremors 
  • Coma

If you are aware there could be a chance your dog consumed grapes or sultanas there are steps that we will consider to reduce their exposure to the toxic effects, and advise close monitoring. 

Treatment and Management if your Dog has Eaten Grapes

  1. Gastrointestinal tract decontamination 🡪 including inducing vomiting and/or administration of activated charcoal (to help reduce absorption of the toxin from the stomach and intestines) 
  2. Blood and urine testing at the time or initial presentation, and repeat monitoring over the next few days to see if there are relevant changes to kidney levels.
  3. Hospitalisation and IV fluid diuresis can be offered to support the kidneys and try to reduce the level of damage that occurs to them, though there is little evidence this is going to avoid the toxic effects. 
  4. If the kidney parameters being tested for increase over the first 36 to 72 hours, then it is likely there has been damage to the kidneys, and it is very important for the dog to be hospitalised and managed for Acute Kidney Injury.  
  5. This involves intravenous fluids, stringent monitoring of urine output and volume of fluid therapy, electrolyte levels, and more. This is often best to be undertaken in a 24 hr hospital due to the need for such close monitoring.
  6. Medications may be necessary to manage urine production, to control nausea or  vomiting, and to manage blood pressure in certain cases. 
  7. Nutrition is also an important element to our hospitalised patients, and this will also be involved in the medical treatment plan. 
  8. Once discharged from hospital, follow up testing of kidney levels, and urine is also very important.  This is routinely done at our clinic. 


Prognosis depends on many factors, including;

  • how many grapes/raisins your dog ate;
  • how soon the patient is treated by their vet after ingestion;
  • whether the dog already has kidney disease or other health issues; 
  • how soon treatment was initiated;
  • whether the clinical signs and kidney function has improved since treatment began. 

For some cases of grapes ingested, rapid decontamination and treatment can lead to a great outcome and prognosis can be excellent. 

If the dog’s kidneys are damaged to the point of ‘shut-down’ and no, or little, urine is being produced then the prognosis is grave and unfortunately, death is a possible result, as kidneys are essential for our survival.

How to Prevent My Dog Eating Grapes

Prevention is truly the best approach!  Do not allow access to ANY kind of grapes, raisins, currants or foods containing these fruits (eg hot cross buns). Keep them out of reach of your dog! 

This may mean families with kids who love grapes in their lunch boxes have to be additionally careful around snack time and their dogs. 

While one grape may not cause a problem for most dogs, it is a good idea to avoid this habit and any risk for potential poisoning. 

If you think your dog may have eaten any grape or raisin material, please call the clinic or an after hours clinic immediately to get advice for you and your dog.

For any other information, please consult with your friendly Pet Society Vet Team.