A veterinarian explains how the common fruit could be fatal for your dog.

By Nicole Letts
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We've all been there: that panicky moment when our dog eats something he shouldn't. Sometimes it's harmless, and we wait for the end result (no pun intended), and yet other times, we are met with a scary trip to the veterinarian. While some fruits and vegetables are excellent healthy treats for dogs, not all produce is created equal. At the top of the no-no list? Grapes.

Aziza Glass, DVM, is the owner of Personal Touch Veterinary Clinic in Houston, Texas, and the expert veterinarian for Freshpet, an all-natural and fresh pet food company. "What dogs eat is going to be used for their bodies in order to power organs, whether it's their heart, brain, lungs, or gut," she says. Trouble can arise when there are disturbances such as eating toxic foods like grapes, raisins, and currants.

Why are grapes bad for dogs?

The main problem with these fruits is that when a dog eats grapes or other fruits from the grape family, it can wreak havoc on his kidneys. "When the raisins and grapes are ingested, they essentially destroy the mechanisms; the little cells that help to process and remove the toxins from the body," Dr. Glass says. The results range from an upset stomach to death.

Are grapes toxic to dogs?

Yes. Grapes are poisonous to dogs. Evidence of a dog eating a grape can happen as early as six hours to as late as three days later, so it's dire that you act fast. Dr. Glass says it best, "For something like this, it is better to be safe than sorry because the worst-case scenario for this type of toxin is death. We want to intervene as soon as possible, so we can increase the possibility of [the dog] being able to survive and overcome this emergency."

My dog ate grapes. What do I do now?

Grape toxicity is not dose or even dog-size-dependent. If your dog consumes any number of grapes, even just one tiny grape from your muscadine vine, you need to immediately transport him to the veterinarian. Once you arrive, your veterinarian will likely start the decontamination process. "We're going to try to get them to expel the grapes by vomiting. While I know that might be gross, that's the only way that we can get it out before the gut starts to break down the grapes, and the toxin is absorbed into the body," says Dr. Glass. From here, your pet will be monitored and will likely be subjected to bloodwork too.

My dog can't have grapes, but how can I incorporate fresh fruits and vegetables safely into my dog's diet?

Since our pets are such a part of our family, there's a desire to treat them like family, too, and that sometimes means offering them bites from our human plates. "Instead of doing grapes, there are definitely some great fresh produce options like the blueberries, cranberries, bananas, and strawberries. Some of which are available in foods such as Freshpet," Dr. Glass explains.

The bottom line is to do thorough research about what's safe to feed your dog and speak to your veterinarian, too. Your dog might love catching a falling snack, but understanding exactly what he can and cannot consume is the key to a long, healthy life.

As always, consult your veterinarian before adding new foods to your dog's at your pup's next appointment.