Raisins and Grapes Can Be Toxic To Dogs

The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center continues to caution dog owners that raisins and grapes may be toxic to some dogs. From April 2003 to April 2004, the Center managed 140 cases, each involving one or more dogs that ingested varying amounts of raisins or grapes. Of these cases, over 50 animals developed clinical signs ranging from vomiting to life-threatening kidney failure, and seven dogs died.

Sarah Wright of Wisconsin lost her two year-old Australian Shepherd / Saint Bernard Mix, Penny (see picture) early this April to kidney failure after Penny ingested approximately one cup of raisins. "Penny ate the raisins and vomited later that same day," recalls Sarah. "I took her in to be evaluated by our local veterinarian, who felt that she was simply experiencing stomach upset, as the clinic was not aware of the potential for toxicity with raisin ingestions in dogs. A few days later, when Penny didn't improve, my veterinarian ran blood tests and found that Penny had developed acute renal failure, and despite efforts to save Penny, she passed away."

Sarah wanted to share her unfortunate loss with others "so that other dog owners can be educated about the toxic potential of grapes and raisins, and avoid having their dogs go through what Penny did." She would also like to urge pet owners to educate themselves about issues pertinent to their pets' health, in order to become an effective advocate for the medical care they receive.

Much is still yet to be discovered about the toxic principle associated with grape and raisin ingestions, as well as the exact mechanism leading to kidney damage in some dogs. It is also not clear if only canines are susceptible to developing a toxicosis, and additionally if only certain dogs are affected, or if chronic, long term ingestions can lead to the same effects as large, acute or single ingestions. As there are still many unknowns with the toxic potential of grapes and raisins, the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center advises not giving grapes or raisins to pets in any amount.

In addition to grapes and rasins, you should be careful with certain candy and gum. Click here for more information.

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