Raisin poisoning is a serious health risk encountered by pets too often. If your dog ate raisins, it could experience intense intestinal discomfort within a few hours and acute renal failure over time. Raisins are a healthy snack for people, and they are commonly found in a lot of other foods, increasing the likelihood of pet exposure compared to fresh grapes. But why is this delightful treat so poisonous to dogs? 

Why are Raisins Poisonous to Dogs? 

Some dogs can tolerate raisins more than others; hence it is hard to establish a general toxic dose. The exact reason why raisins cause kidney failure in dogs has not been ascertained, but poisoning has been reported to occur following the consumption of seeded and seedless grape varieties. There has been some speculation that the poisoning may have to do with the type of sugars in raisins, but the symptoms do not point to that. Other research assumes tartaric acid or mycotoxins produced by fungus may be the toxin responsible, but no toxic agent has yet been isolated as the cause. Since its cause is unknown, raisin poisoning has no antidote, and treatment is based largely on supportive care. Renal failure does not happen immediately and may take up to 72 hours, so it is important to take note of other accompanying signs pointing to the possibility of raisin poisoning. 

Symptoms of Raisin Poisoning 

The severity of poisoning from raisins may depend on the quantity consumed and the dog’s health. Early symptoms occur 12 to 24 hours after ingestion. These symptoms include: 

  • Lack of appetite 
  • Lethargy 
  • Diarrhea 

Severe signs are often associated with kidney failure. These signs develop 24 to 48 hours after ingestion and include: 

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

If treatment is not given, the kidneys will stop functioning and no longer produce urine. The chances of survival lessen significantly once the kidneys have stopped functioning and urine output has dropped. 

Treating Raisin Poisoning 

If your dog is ever in a raisin poisoning emergency, contact your vet immediately. Pet Poison Helpline® is always on call at (855) 764-7661 for additional online medical assistance. It is imperative you get your dog to the nearest veterinary clinic before the symptoms aggravate. To stabilize your dog, the initial treatment to be recommended by your vet may include induced vomiting and administration of activated charcoal. Afterward, urinalysis and blood biochemistry analysis will follow to determine the extent of the poisoning. To prevent kidney failure, your vet will hospitalize your dog and put it on IV fluids for 24 to 48 hours. The experts at Pet Poison Helpline® are always available to help you and your dog with emergency poisoning situations.