Mystery Solved: Why Grapes are Toxic to Dogs

Mystery Solved: Why Grapes are Toxic to Dogs

January 4, 2023

If you are a dog owner, you have probably heard warnings about feeding dogs grapes. It is a well-known fact that dogs shouldn’t eat grapes, but have you ever wondered why can’t dogs eat grapes?

Most people are not aware why, but if you ask any veterinarian, “Are grapes poisonous to dogs?” they will answer you with a definitive yes.

The mystery, however, behind why these sweet little fruits are so bad for your dog, has recently been solved. Keep reading to find out why dogs shouldn’t have grapes.

What Happens If Dogs Eat Grapes?

 It has long been understood that dogs may experience some of the following symptoms if they eat grapes.

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Excessive thirst
  • Kidney damage or failure

These symptoms were associated with grapes, raisins, and sultanas. However, one strange fact was that not every dog reacted the same. This is one reason why it has been difficult to develop hard and fast rules concerning grapes and dogs, so the general rule has been no grapes at all.

The Grape Playdough Connection

Colette Wegenast is a senior consulting veterinarian at the APCC, and she was instrumental in discovering what it is about grapes that affect dogs so negatively. The discovery came about while she was investigating a case of toxicity that affected a dog that had ingested some homemade playdough. The dog was exhibiting symptoms similar to that seen in dogs that had ingested grapes.

The doctor requested to review the homemade playdough recipe that had been used. This particular recipe contained cream of tartar. Cream of tartar contains high levels of tartaric acid, which is also found in grapes in high amounts. After further testing, it was determined that it is indeed the tartaric acid present in grapes that affects dogs.

Tartaric acid levels differ greatly though from variety to variety of grapes, which also explains why some dogs have an extreme reaction while others do not.

Dog Toxicity

If you are a dog owner, it is very important that you are aware of all substances that are toxic to dogs. You should consult your veterinarian for a list of these items.

You should create hard, fast rules in your home concerning what can and cannot be fed to your dog. You should also keep trash secured so that your dog cannot get into the trash and eat things that could be harmful.

Substances That Are Toxic for Dogs 

This is in no way an exhaustive list. You should consult your vet concerning all of the substances that could be toxic to your dog, but this is a good starting place to help you stay aware of dangers. You should always keep animal poison control contact information close by just in case your dog does ingest something toxic. 

  • Chocolate
  • Onions
  • Corn on the cob
  • Avocado 
  • Alcohol 
  • Bones- not toxic but dangerous choking hazard 
  • Artificial sweeteners 
  • Macadamian nuts 

If you think your dog ingested any of these items, you should contact animal poison control quickly.

Categorised in: