Dogs are well-known gourmets, and it is not surprising that in summer, when fresh berries and fruits are in season, the owners do not deny their pets pleasure, without even thinking whether it is possible for dogs to have grapes and other fruits. Veterinarians sound the alarm – this product is dangerous!
About useful and harmful properties of grapes
Such a statement will surprise many, because doctors everywhere talk about the benefits of grapes. It has a beneficial effect on the entire human body: fiber improves digestion, and trace elements, among which there are potassium, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, sodium, iron in grapes, on the nervous system. The berries contain one of the plant estrogens – resveratrol, which helps to reduce blood cholesterol levels and relieve vascular inflammation.
Phenolic compounds – caffeic acid, myracetin and quercetin – protect the body from the development of cancer cells, and the bones contain natural oils and vitamins – A, E, K and others. In total, grapes contain more than 300 compounds that have beneficial properties for the body:
For humans, grapes are a whole storehouse of useful substances, then why are veterinarians so categorical in their assertion that dogs cannot have grapes?
What is the danger of grapes
Many pet owners believe that the more varied the pet’s diet, the more useful it is and are guided by what is useful and tasty for themselves. However, the body of a dog is arranged somewhat differently, and what is good for a person can be fatal for an animal.
The alarm was first sounded in the late 1980s by scientists at the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) Animal Poison Center. They were struck by the numbers: in two years, almost 150 cases of grape poisoning of dogs were recorded, and 7 animals died, and half of the poisoned were diagnosed with severe renal failure. Statistics said that gender, age, breed or health status of animals did not affect the risk of developing intoxication.
Serious scientific research in this direction has led to the conclusion that grapes are toxic to domestic animals, but the exact mechanism of poisoning has not yet been clarified.
There are assumptions, and in this direction and research is now underway, that the “culprit” of intoxication is mycotoxin – a natural substance that can be formed in many food products during storage under the influence of microscopic fungi developing in them. However, in many of the investigated cases of mycotoxin poisoning, no traces of mycotoxin were found in grapes. Therefore, until now, the dangerous component of grapes has not been clarified.
Studies have shown that in most cases of grape poisoning, dogs develop severe renal failure – proximal tubular necrosis of the organ. It is an acute disease with necrotic lesions of the tubular epithelium, which leads to acute renal failure. Up to 25% of blood passes through the kidneys, and the epithelial cells of the renal tubules are maximally sensitive to toxins that circulate in the blood. They perform a transport function that requires a lot of energy. Toxins disrupt the metabolism of epithelial cells.
During the research, a version was expressed that the poisoning was caused by seeds, but the reaction of the dog’s body to seedless grape varieties was similar. It is more likely that the intoxication is caused not by a single element of the composition of the berries, but by their combination. If in micro doses they are not dangerous, then their combination causes severe poisoning in the dog.
And the first to suffer is the digestive system. After eating the grapes, the dog begins to vomit violently; undigested residues of berries can be found in the vomit. Vomiting is accompanied by diarrhea. The kidneys try to neutralize and remove toxins from the body, but the increased load on them causes autointoxication syndrome after a while. Metabolic products accumulate in the blood, metabolic processes in the body are disrupted.
Not only fresh berries, but also raisins are dangerous for the dog. Even a small amount – 3-4 raisins – can be deadly.
Signs of poisoning
It is difficult to determine intoxication at once, at least a few hours must pass for the first symptoms of poisoning to appear. And every minute counts. Therefore, the reaction of the animal should be observed if there is even the slightest suspicion that it has eaten sweet berries. A slight change in the condition, behavior of the pet is a reason to immediately go to the veterinary clinic.
Grape intoxication is manifested by the following symptoms:
- vomiting, in vomit – the remains of undigested berries;
- frequent profuse diarrhea;
- lack of salivation or, conversely, increased salivation;
- refusal of food and water;
- lethargy, apathy;
- lowering body temperature.
The walls of the peritoneum are toned, this can be determined by palpation. The abdomen is painful; when touched, the dog begins to whine. Toxic shock develops up to two days, if the pet is not helped as soon as possible, it will die.
A deadly dose for a dog weighing up to 20 kg is 8-10 berries, 3-4 grapes already eaten can cause poisoning. For a small breed dog, this dose is much less.
Death is a consequence of the development of acute renal failure. Poisoning is caused by decay products of internal organs and stagnation of urine. The kidneys cannot cope with the increased stress, which leads to irreversible organ damage. If you seek veterinary care within 12-18 hours after poisoning, the survival rate is 100%. But inpatient treatment will be required.
First Aid for Dog if it eats Grapes
As a first aid, if you suspect that your dog has eaten at least a few grapes, you can try to induce vomiting. Then give an activated angle or any other enterosorbent. This will help collect residual toxins in the gastrointestinal tract before they enter the bloodstream and spread throughout the body.
It is impossible to completely self-medicate: after providing first aid, you should show the pet to the veterinarian as soon as possible, without bringing the situation to critical. In the veterinary clinic, specialists will take a blood test, which in case of grape poisoning can reveal an increase in creatinine, urea nitrogen, phosphorus and calcium.
The veterinarian will prescribe the necessary treatment, it may be necessary to leave the animal for several days in the clinic, where, if necessary, hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis will be performed, which will support the kidneys during the development of anuria (cessation of urine flow into the bladder). This is usually one of the causes of death. Other factors are hypercalcemia (an increase in the level of calcium in the blood) and oliguria (a decrease in urine production, as a result, intoxication of internal organs).
Do not believe those who claim that their dog is quietly eating grapes, and no negative consequences have ever been noticed. Do you want to check it out in person when your pet’s life is at stake?