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Published: Apr 27, 2012

A number of common household items and foods are toxic to dogs, so owners need to be especially watchful of what their canine ingests at home. Grape and raisin toxicity in dogs is a common problem, and something that all canine owners need to look out for.

It's currently unknown what causes raisins and grapes to be toxic to some dogs, reports VCA Animal Hospitals. These foods are capable of causing kidney failure that can ultimately be fatal in some dogs. Raisins are thought to be more toxic than grapes, likely because their dry nature makes them more concentrated.

A dog will usually begin vomiting within a few hours of ingesting these foods. This may be followed by diarrhea, dehydration, excessive urination and lethargy. Acute kidney failure can develop within three days of grape or raisin ingestion.  If you suspect your dog has eaten grapes or raisins, it's important that you contact your veterinarian immediately. Time is of the essence in treating this issue, and the earlier the dog is seen by a professional, the better the chances for a full recovery.

Grape poisoning treatment involves your veterinarian inducing vomiting if your dog has eaten grapes or raisins within a few hours, especially if they have not already thrown up.   Your veterinarian may also administer activated charcoal to block further absorption of the toxins from these foods.  From there, the dog will be given intravenous fluids in an attempt to flush any toxins from their body and support their kidneys.  Your dog’s kidney values will be monitored during treatment to determine whether damage has been done.  Unfortunately, dogs that do not receive treatment right away risk permanent damage to their kidneys.

Prevention is the best approach and it is important for owners to keep all grapes and raisins, as well as other known toxic foods, out of reach of your dog.