Raisins are dried fruits derived from the dehydration of grapes. They make great snacks on their own and form a major or minor part of many delicacies across different cultures. They have been reported to contain nutrients that can help prevent anemia, relieve constipation, and protect against cancer and cardiovascular diseases in humans. Wouldn’t it be nice if our pet companions could enjoy a snack so tasty and nutritious as a treat? Unfortunately, all the dietary benefits of raisins mentioned above are limited to humans alone, as raisins can be very deadly to dogs if eaten. 

Why are Raisins Not OK for Dogs to Eat? 

Veterinary scientists and toxicologists are still baffled as to what makes raisins so poisonous to dogs. Pets like cats and ferrets are also reported to be negatively affected when they eat raisins. The most worrying consequence of consuming raisins for dogs is acute kidney failure. Kidney failure and other health ailments like dehydration and loss of appetite all set in within 24 hours of dogs ingesting raisins. Generally, larger dogs need to ingest more grapes than smaller dogs, but a lot of this can depend on the individual animal. 

Clinical Signs of Raisin Toxicity 

The severity of poisoning from raisins may depend on the dog’s health. After 12-24 hours of ingestion the early clinical signs include: 

  • Lack of appetite 
  • Lethargy 
  • Diarrhea 

More severe signs appear 24-48 hours after ingestion, which fall in line of kidney failure symptoms. These symptoms include: 

  • Vomiting 
  • Nausea 
  • Bad breath 
  • Diarrhea 
  • Loss of appetite 
  • Excessive urination 
  • Excessive thirst 
  • Abdominal pain 

If this continues without medical attention, the kidneys will stop functioning and be unable to produce urine. Once the kidneys have stopped functioning the chances of survival decrease drastically. 

What Can You Do If Your Dog Eats Raisins? 

In a situation where your dog has eaten raisins, you should treat the matter with the utmost urgency. Get your dog to a veterinary clinic and contact Pet Poison Helpline® at (855) 764-7661 for immediate medical help. At the veterinary clinic, your vet’s first line of action will most likely be to induce vomiting for decontamination. You should never attempt to induce vomiting on your own, especially if you have only noticed symptoms and cannot ascertain what your dog has eaten. Even if you have prior experience, you should not administer emetics if your dog is having trouble breathing or showing signs of shock. After your dog has vomited, your veterinarian will start decontamination by administering activated charcoal to absorb the toxins. Supportive care follows, with your vet monitoring your dog for a short while until body systems stabilize. If you find yourself in an emergency with your pet, trust the experts and give Pet Poison Helpline® a call for life-saving advice.