Dogs, Cats, Grapes (and Raisins) – What’s Safe, Not Safe, Cautions, Treatment

dogs, cats, grapes and raisins - what's safe, not safe , cautions and treatments
In This Article:
  1. Safe for your dog and cat
  2. Not safe for your dog and cat
  3. Truth and cautions
  4. Reduce risk of grape and raisin toxicity
  5. Symptoms of grape and raisin toxicity 
  6. Treatment for grape or raisin toxicity
Grapes and raisins, what’s safe for your dog and cat, what’s not? The truth will surprise you.  
Some grape products are 1safe, and can be health supporting for dogs and cats. Other grape products can cause grape, and raisin toxicity in dog and cats. But it’s not the grape or raisin that causes toxicity.

Safe for Your Dog and Cat

Organic Cold Pressed Grape Seed Oil, and Organic Grape Seed Extract - 1SAFE

Organic or wild crafted cold pressed grape seed oil, and grape seed extract are non-toxic to dogs and cats. 

Organic and wild-crafted grape seed extract is an alternative medicine. Grape seed extract contains natural compounds that can help support dogs and cats with specific health issues and conditions. Learn more about grape seed extract here.

I don't generally recommend adding grape seed oil to a dog or cat's diet as there are nutritionally more appropriate choices.  If you'd like to add a healthy omega-6 fatty acid to your dog or cat’s diet, see if your dog or cat self-selects organic coconut oil.

Not Safe for Your Dog and Cat

Conventionally grown Grapes (Flesh and Skin), Raisins are NOT SAFE

Many years ago the flesh and skin of the typical table grape, wine grape and raisins did not cause toxicity in dogs and cats.

However, now the consumption of grapes and raisins can result in serious health issues.

What happened? Why did grape flesh and skin, once non-toxic, become very toxic to dogs and cats?

Years ago, vineyard owners in North America did not use the toxic pesticides, fertilizers, and fungicides that are used today. The heavy use of toxins (poisons) in vineyards has transformed the once innocuous grape (and raisin) into a grave danger for dogs and cats.

In 1957, the inorganic fluoride-based pesticide Cryolite (Kryoside, cryolite fluoride, aluminum sodium fluoride) was first introduced for use on fruit and vegetable crops. Cryolite is still used today, primarily on citrus fruit, grapes and potatoes. Flouride is a very toxic substance to dogs, cats and us humans.

Conventionally grown white wine grapes and table grape vineyards in California are known to be heavy users of cryolite.  Cryolite fluoride is used to a lesser extent on red grape vineyards. Cryolite fluoride residue remains in the skin, and flesh of the grape after the fruit is harvested (and processed).  In 2002 Cryolite was banned for use on organic crops in California.

Fluoride causes many serious side effects – including:
  • Brain damage
  • Liver, kidney damage and failure
  • Immune system damage
  • Joint problems
  • Thyroid damage
  • Etc.
Cryolite is just one of many pesticides used by conventional domestic (Canada, U.S.A.) grape growers (wine and table grapes).

The USDA tested domestic and imported grapes – tests showed presence of residue from 56 pesticides. Of those 57 pesticides:
  • 8 are known or probable carcinogens.
  • 17 are suspected endocrine disruptors.
  • 10 are neurotoxins.
  • 4 are developmental or reproductive toxins. 
  • 18 of the 57 pesticides are not classified as having any adverse health effects properties, due to one or both of the following factors:
  •  Pesticide was not studied for carcinogenic, endocrine, neurotoxic, developmental / reproductive issues.
  • Pesticide was studied and the results deemed insufficient evidence of issues (in simple English that usually indicated the data studied was NOT comprehensive). PAN (Pesticide Action Network) provides a detailed breakdown of the above here.

This site provides an example of some of the herbicides used on domestic grapes - many of these herbicides are suspected and known carcinogens, endocrine disruptors, neurotoxins and developmental or reproductive toxins.

Conventional table grapes grown in California are treated with more fungicide than almost all other fruit crops grown in California - with the exception of pears...

Which begs the question - when does food stop being ‘food’?

USDA certified ‘organic’ produce is treated with some herbicides, fungicides, and pesticides - however much less so than GMO, and conventional produce crops. Organic grapes do not carry the same dangerous level of toxic poisons found in conventionally grown grapes. Imported conventional grapes can be even more toxic than domestic conventional grapes.

Truth and Cautions

Grapes are not the source of grape and raisin toxicity in dogs and cats. The toxic substances used in non-organic grape vineyards are the source of toxic poisons that can seriously harm your dog and cat.

Wild Crafted and Organic Grapes and Raisins

We have wild growing Ontario fox grapes on our property. My dogs have eaten small amounts (not gorged on!) these wild grapes – no ill effects whatsoever. My dogs also self-select and self-harvest other wild fruit and herbs – for example: wild juniper berries, hawthorn berries, common wood land strawberries, wild blackberries, and raspberries, old orchard and wild apples (yes, complete with the seeds – no harm), wild grasses, golden rod, and more. Wild dogs forage in the same manner, as do some coyotes and wolves.

Do I recommend feeding a dog or cat organic or wild crafted grapes? No, but primarily due to the fact most grapes (and raisins) are very high in sugar. I prefer that calories come from more appropriate whole fresh foods, such blueberries, cranberries, dark leafy greens, etc.

Before we talk about grape toxicity let’s talk about food intolerance to grapes.

Food Sensitivity to Grapes is NOT Grape Toxicity

Like all foods, an individual dog, cat, human or other animal can have food hypersensitivities (intolerance or allergy to a food). If your dog or cat is hypersensitive to grapes, a reaction is likely even if the grape or raisin is organic or conventionally grown. 
Food intolerance can result in loose stools, diarrhea, vomiting and other symptoms. Food allergies can result in leaky gut syndrome leading to overgrowth of candida. Symptoms of food allergies include: itchy, inflamed skin, ear infections, eye infections, respiratory issues, etc. Extreme allergic response to grapes - anaphylaxis, is rare but can occur.

Consumption of Grapes or Raisins, May or May Not Harm Your Dog or Cat

Harmful or not depends on many factors.

Some dogs and cats have a naturally stronger constitution, are less sensitive to substances that cause immediate harm to a more sensitive animal with a weaker constitution.

Risk Factors
  • If one or more high-risk factors are present the threat to your dogs (or cats) health rises. The following provides some high risk factors…
  • The grapes are conventionally grown, and from i.e. California.
  • Your dog or cat drinks fluoridated water on a daily basis - any additional fluoride load increases the risk of harm.
  • Your dog or cat is on a daily diet of highly processed pet ‘food’ – your animal’s system is therefore already dealing with a heavy toxic load.
  • Your dog or cat is over-vaccinated, and/or has been or is on conventional drugs (both place a burden on the liver and kidneys).
  • Your dog (cat) is on conventional off the shelf or veterinarian prescribed flea, tick preventatives; and / or your dog is on heartworm ‘preventatives’ – in which case your animal is already carrying a health deteriorating toxic load of synthetic chemical pesticides.
  • The state of your dogs’, cats’ health at the time the grapes are consumed.
  • If an animal has a known, or underlying health condition that weakens his/her ability to remove toxins from his/her body, i.e. poorly functioning liver and/ or kidneys, weak immune system, etc.

Reduce Risk of Grape and Raisin Toxicity

  • Don’t bring conventionally grown California grapes or raisins into the house, especially if you have children. 
    • Those grapes / raisins can end-up in your dogs, cat’s mouth!
  • If you have a dog (or cat) and young children:
    • Don’t bring ANY grapes into the house until your children are of an age to be trusted not to ‘drop’ grapes, or feed grapes to your animals.
  • Purchase organic grapes, and organic raisins, for you and your children.
  • Grow your own grapes, chemical-free.
  • Don’t give your dog or cat the flesh and skin of grapes and raisins.

Symptoms of Grape Toxicity or Raisin Toxicity

  • Appetite loss
  • Abdominal pain
  • Breathing is unusual
  • Change in behaviour, e.g., abnormally quiet or unusually inactive
  • Dehydration
  • Diarrhea
  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness
  • Extreme Emergency:
    • Get your animal to a veterinary hospital ASAP
    • Sustained:
      • Diarrhea
      • Lethargy
      • Vomiting
      • Weakness
      • Urine flow is unusual –
        • Only small amounts of urine are passed
        • No urine is passed
      • Exhibiting other signs of stress, or shock
      • Tremors
      • Seizure
      • Loss of consciousness
      • Coma
  • Onset of symptoms may occur several hours after consumption of grapes or raisins.

Treatment for Grape or Raisin Toxicity

If your dog or cat has consumed some wild or organic grapes or raisins, don’t stress – he/she is unlikely to have any adverse reaction unless he/she has a food intolerance or food allergy to grapes – no different than any other food allergy. Remember, it’s not the grape that causes toxicity, instead it’s the method of growing the grape that can cause toxicity.

If your dog or cat has consumed conventionally grown grapes or raisins and hours after ingesting, is NOT showing ANY symptoms of toxicity:

It is a good idea to provide your animal with liver and kidney support for at least ten days.
  • You can do this by adding wild crafted or organic milk thistle to her diet, or choose another equally supportive, appropriate herb.
  • For more information on milk thistle, including cautions, interactions, dosage, go here.
If your dog or cat is showing signs of grape or raisin toxicity, you do need to take immediate action.

If signs are indicative of extreme emergency (see list of symptoms above) get your animal to a veterinary hospital ASAP.

1.0 If your dog / cat has vomited / is vomiting:
  • Do NOT do anything to induce further vomiting.
2.0 If your animal is:
  • Showing signs of toxicity, BUT has NOT vomited:
  • And your dog or cat is experiencing one or more of the following do NOT induce vomiting:
    • Experiencing –
    • Breathing problems.
    • Other distress.
    • Shock.
If conditions 1.0 and 2.0 do not apply to your animal, you may help induce vomiting by doing the following –
  • If no food has been consumed in the past two hours you can offer a little food to help her system regurgitate. If your animal does not want the food do NOT force her to eat.
  • If ingestion of the grapes occurred no more than 2 hours previous, you can then choose to try inducing vomiting with a 3% hydrogen peroxide (do not use anything stronger!). Note - if ingestion occurred more than 2 hours previous hydrogen peroxide is unlikely to induce vomiting - in this case (if your dog is showing symptoms of toxicity) call your veterinarian.
You Will Need:
  • 3% hydrogen peroxide solution.
  • A spoon or syringe to administer the solution.
  • For animals less than 45 pounds:
    • A dose is 1 ml of 3% hydrogen peroxide per every 1 pound (.45 kg) of body weight, up to 45 lbs. Don't exceed this dosage.
  • For animals 46 pounds and over:
    • A dose is 45 ml of 3% hydrogen peroxide (do not exceed this dosage).
Administering the Dose
  • Administer directly into the mouth aiming for the back of the mouth.
    • After this initial dose, wait 15 minutes.
    • If vomiting DOES occur do NOT re-dose.
  • At this time you will need to quickly access your animal’s condition - decide whether further intervention is required, such as a treatment of activated charcoal, or a more invasive intervention your veterinarian will need to perform.
  • If, after 15 minutes vomiting does NOT occur;
    • You can re-dose making sure to follow the directions above.
    • Wait another 15 minutes.
  • If vomiting does not occur, and your animal IS experiencing signs of toxicity, get your animal to a veterinarian hospital ASAP.
  • Individuals that have a food hypersensitivity to the item (food intolerance or allergy), in which case the item is contradicted for use.
  • Individuals with health issues and/or medical conditions that contradict consumption of the item.
  • Individuals on conventional drugs that contradict consumption of the item.
Holistic Diet, Nutrition, Wellness Services Tailored to Your Individual Dog and Cat

For information about my holistic diet, nutrition and wellness services, visit my holistic wellness services page.

Maintain good health | Address acute and chronic health issues | Pre and post surgery support and recovery

My holistic wellness services are available worldwide via video consultation.

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To set-up your holistic wellness consultation get in-touch via email, go to my contact me page.
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For information about my holistic behavioral services, visit my holistic behavioral services page.

For dogs of all ages, sizes and breeds.

My behavioral services are available worldwide via video consultation.

🌎 USA | Canada | UK | Europe | Australia | New Zealand | Asia | South and Central America | Africa | UAE

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To set-up your holistic behavioral session get in-touch via email, go to my contact me page.
Affiliations to Companies  
✓ None. 
✓ I don't sell food, supplements, or other products.
I'm not aligned with any companies. 
Article by Karen Rosenfeld.

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