Sunday, 3 November 2013

Grape Seed Extract - Alternative Medicine for Dogs and Cats

Safe to use as a dietary supplement, alternative medicine
for most dogs and cats.

In this article...

1. Grape Seed Extract

2. Health Benefits

3. Cautions

4. Side Effects

5. Drug Interactions

6. Selecting a Good Product

7. Administration

1.0 Grape Seed Extract (extract of Vitis vinifera)

What is safe/beneficial and what is dangerous...
The fruit of the grape vine – the grape (and dried grape - raisin), can be toxic and health threatening to dogs and cats.

  • The actual skin and flesh of some grapes contains substances that can cause renal failure in dogs and cats.  
    • Possible cause - the potent, toxic chemical pesticides, herbicides used in growing non-organic grapes.
  • While some dogs and cats are able to remain relatively unaffected by ingesting the flesh/skin of the grape other dogs and cats can and do suffer from a very serious adverse reaction – renal failure;

Safe and Beneficial...

  • The extract and the oil organic grapes is not toxic to dogs and cats;
  • The extract and the oil offer health benefits to both cats and dogs.  
  • The oil of grapes  is a good source Omega-6 fatty acids for dogs - when derived from organic grapes.

History of Grape Seed Extract

Since ancient times various parts of the grape plant (fruit, leaves, stem), however extract from the grape seed was not used until the 1970s, when a French biochemist, Professor Masquelier isolated the substance oligomeric proanthocyandin (OPCs) from the seed.

The professor first alerted to the possibility extract after studying the mission logs of the famous explorer Jacques Cartier. Cartier, his men and his ship had become ice bound during a particularly cold Canadian Winter – during that time his men had fallen victim to scurvy (caused by insufficient intake of vitamin C). During that ice-bound season Cartier had the good fortune to meet a helpful Indigenous person who taught Cartier how to make tea from pine bark. The resulting tea produced an immediate improvement in the ailing crew’s health.

The professor surmised that pine bark must contain high levels of vitamin C, he proceeded to investigate. His investigations revealed that pine bark contained substances other than vitamin C – in particular OPCs and procyanidolic oligomers (PCOs). In 1952 the professor patented his method of extracting PCO from pine bark. The trade name that he assigned to the extracted PCO was Pycnogenol.  In 1970 he successfully extracted PCO from grape seeds. PCO is one of many plant flavonoids. In 1986, the professor went on to discover more about grape seed extract and proved that the OPC strength of Pine Bark extract ranges between 80-85%. While grape seed extract has more efficacy as its OPC range is between 90-95%. Grape seed extract also contains high concentrations of Vitamin E and Linoleic Acid.

Grape seed extract is a by product of the wine manufacturing industry. The extract is made from the crushed seeds of the grape.

Grape seed extract contains active ingredients that are:

  • Anti-allergen
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Antioxidant
  • Antimutagenic

2.0 Health Benefits - a partial list…

Ingested Uses

  • Anti-allergen…
    • Asthma (an inflammatory disease)
    • Food allergies;
    • Skin Allergies;
      • Eczema;
      • Psoriasis;
    • Environmental allergies (hay fever).
  • Anti-Inflammatory;
    • Grape seed extract contains natural Cox-2;
  • Atherosclerosis - hardening of the arteries, (an inflammatory disease);
  • Arthritis;
  • Brain Health;
    • The active ingredients in grape seed extract can cross the blood-brain barrier;
    • Thus allowing the antioxidant properties to aid in the prevention of oxidative stress to the brain, eyes and nerves…providing protection from:
    • Canine Dementia;
    • Cataracts;
    • Macular degeneration, and;
    • Neurodegenerative diseases.
  • Cardiovascular Disease (an Inflammatory disease);
    • Grape seed extract increase the production of nitric oxide which dilates arteries and increases blood flow.
  • Cancer prevention and cancer fighting (an inflammatory disease), for example…
    • Grape seed extract has been proven to halt the growth and survival of colorectal cancer cells and kills the cancer cells in large numbers without harming healthy cells;
    • In contrast to chemotherapy to which cancer cells may become resistant, the many bioactive compounds in grape seed extract are able to target multiple mutations – with efficacy actually increasing in stage IV cells;
    • Grape seed extract has been shown to trigger the destruction of leukemia cells by turning on a protein called JNK that regulates the cancer killing pathway;
    • Decreases risk of prostate cancer and breast cancer;
  • Cholesterol lowering;
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome;
  • Chronic venous insufficiency;
  • Crohn’s disease;
  • Dental care, gingivitis;
  • Diabetes complications such as:
    • Blood Vessel damage;
    • Macular degeneration (AMD).
  • Diarrhea;
  • Fur growth after loss or damage due to skin conditions;
  • Insulin sensitivity ;
    • Grape seed extract improves insulin sensitivity;
    • Insulin sensitivity can lead to the development of metabolic syndrome (pre-diabetes).
  • Liver damage/disorders;
  • Lower Blood pressure;
  • Muscle fatigue;
  • Swelling caused by injury, sudden trauma;
  • Pain control;
  • Ulcerative colitis.

3.0 Cautions...

  • For pregnant or lactating dogs and cats use only when absolutely require and not for an extended period of time.

4.0 Side Effects...

  • Allergic reaction to grape seed extract is very rare – symptoms include the following:
    • Itching/swelling (particularly face, tongue, throat);
    • Diarrhea;
    • Nausea;
    • Rash;
    • Severe dizziness;
    • Sore throat;
    • Trouble breathing.
  • If allergic reaction occurs cease use.

5.0 Drug Interactions...

  • Anticoagulant, Antiplatelet drugs;
  • Medications changed or broken down by the liver;
  • May interact with NSAIDs (non steroidal anti-inflammatory)

6.0 Selecting a Good Product…

  • Grape seed extract is available as a:
    • Gel/capsule;
    • Liquid;
    • Powder.
  • Make sure that the grape seed extract does not contain:
    • Alcohol;
    • Fillers;
    • Sweetners.
  • Organic is best as non-organic grape seed extract can be very high in pesticide residue;
  • Look for a product that contains 90 to 95% oligomeric proanthocyandin (OPCs).

7.0 Administration …


  • Provide with food – just add the grape seed extract drops, capsule or powder to food twice a day.

8.0 Holistic Support

Additional Assistance - Holistic Health and Wellness Service
If you require additional support, and guidance - contact me to discuss your requirements. I will determine the appropriate course of action for your situation and I will let you know the applicable fees. I offer consultative services to clients around the world...
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  • Holistic Diet, Nutrition Wellness Plans - information and payment here >>.
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  • In-Person sessions - information and payment here >>.
  • On-Line consultation and sessions - information and payment here >>.


  1. can you give your dog grape seed extract if they are currently on prednisone? and how much would you give a 33 pound dog?

    1. yes you can give with prednisone. Follow the manufacturer's dosage as strength/dilution varies per product

  2. Replies
    1. Leah Atopica is deadly. The first thing you should be doing is getting your dog off of it. I worked with many dogs that become very ill on Atopica - three canine patients last week, two almost died on Atopica. I addressed those dogs health issues via a custom holistic diet nutrition wellness plan - and removed the Atopica.


Note -

1.0 Use of Foods, Herbs, Nutraceuticals and Alternative Medicines:

When choosing to use any of the items or protocols in the article above, it is your responsibility to ensure safe use of the item/protocol. Food, herbs, nutraceuticals and alternative medicines all have drug interactions, most have health issue contradictions, some have side effects. Use of substances and protocols are your responsibility. Prior to use of any substance or protocol make sure you do your research - check for all cautions, contradictions,interactions, side effects. If in doubt do not use the substance or protocol. If the substance, or protocol is contradicted for your animal do not use. If your animal has an underlying condition you are not aware of substances may conflict with that condition.

2.0 The Real Meaning of Holistic…

Food, herbs, nutraceuticals and alternative medicines are NOT ‘holistic’ they are a substance and MAY, or may NOT be ‘NATURAL’. It is important to keep in mind that the supplement industry is just as unethical as BigPharma, the Food and Pet Food Industry, and unfortunately many veterinarians.

If you use a ‘natural’ substance (i.e. an herb) you are using a natural substance, this is not synonymous with holistic.

Holistic is a way of approaching life, and within that - overall health, and wellbeing.

Please do not expect a natural substance to miraculously remedy a health or behavioral situation. A natural substance may be used to treat symptoms. However, if the factors causing the underlying issue are not properly identified, analyzed and addressed you do not have a remedy.

Remedy requires a comprehensive approach that identifies root cause, seeks to remove items that trigger, cause or otherwise contribute to issues, and builds a complete, and detailed approach to immediate treatment, remedy, and maintenance of long-term health = holistic.

I offer extensive consultation services - Holistic Diet, Nutrition Wellness and Holistic Behavioral, for people that are serious about looking after their dogs and cats holistically. If you want to engage my services you can contact me via email or phone.

If you are looking for additional free advice, please refer back to the articles on my site, do not contact me via email or phone - personalized service is for my clients / patients only.

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Wishing your dog and cat the best of health!

the Ottawa Valley Dog Whisperer
Holistic Behaviorist - Dogs
Holistic Diet Nutrition Wellness Adviser – Dogs and Cats

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1-613-293-3707 (cell)

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