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Raisins, currants, and sultanas are varieties of dried grapes that come in various colors. From golden and yellow to classically dark, purplish brown, these dried treats allow the nutrients in grapes to be concentrated and clarified into bite-sized calorie-dense snacks.
Raisins are a great source of potassium, antioxidants, and soluble fiber. For humans, this means a moderate number of raisins can help lower blood pressure and the risks of stroke and heart disease. Raisins can also hinder cell damage and promote healthy digestion.
With our dogs being such reliable companions, they spend a lot of their time with us as we have our favorite snacks. Are raisins healthy for dogs to eat? If they sneak a few raisins while we’re not looking, will they be safe? The short answer is no.
Why Dogs Can’t Have Raisins Even for humans, raisins should be eaten in moderation. Raisins have a high concentration of sugar and calories, so the number of raisins we consume should be noted, especially for those of us with forms of diabetes or weight concerns. Dogs, however, shouldn’t have raisins at all.
For one, grapes are toxic for dogs, and since raisins are essentially dried grapes, they are just as poisonous and pose the same threat to dogs. Grapes and raisins alike are linked to sudden kidney failure in dogs. Since all dogs are different and their tolerance levels will vary, it’s safe to say they should never consume raisins at all just to be safe.
Tartaric Acid According to the ASPCA Poison Control Center, the reason dogs can’t have raisins, grapes, or sultanas is because of the tartaric acid in them. Since the amount of tartaric acid differs in the types of grapes used, where they were grown, and how ripe they are. That said, the types of raisins your dog consumes, and their tolerance level will be key factors in how aggressive poison symptoms will affect them.
Toxic substances produced by molds are naturally found in grapes of all varieties. These are called mycotoxins, which have been known to cause negative health effects like cancer and immune deficiencies in humans. For dogs, these toxins can be metabolized in the liver which is likely to cause necrosis.
Dogs who have eaten raisins will start to experience toxicity symptoms 12-24 hours after ingestion. After 24 hours, more severe symptoms may begin to manifest. At this point, acute kidney failure will have already begun. For starters, dogs are uniquely
sensitive to tartaric acid, causing them to vomit and have diarrhea. Dogs who eat raisins or grapes will experience symptoms of kidney failure in the form of increased urination, increased water intake, loss of appetite, weakness, and overall dehydration.
After the poison intensifies and your dog’s kidneys become more affected, they may become unable to urinate. Their blood pressure will begin to raise, and it’s possible that they could slip into a coma. If it reaches this point, getting them the help they need may become more difficult.
If your dog, unfortunately, gets into some raisins or grapes, you should treat it as a medical emergency, no matter the number they consume. Make an emergency appointment with a veterinarian and call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center on the way for advice and further steps.
A vet may perform diagnostic tests in the manner of a serum biochemistry profile, a urinalysis (if possible), and a complete blood count. The results of these tests will assist with the determination of whether or not your dog can recover.
Your dog may be vomiting on their own, so you shouldn’t induce vomiting unless instructed to do so. If your dog isn’t convulsing, a veterinarian may induce vomiting or pump the stomach. In some cases, they may give them activated charcoal so that the toxin can be absorbed and kept from traveling through the body any further.
After diagnosis and ridding the body of the toxins, they may need to be given further treatment. Sometimes they will be given intravenous fluids to help with their dehydration and support their kidneys from taking on any more damage. They could also be given supportive medication to help with any continued vomiting, adjust blood pressure, and optimize blood flow.
You should expect your pup to be hospitalized for a few days after they’ve eaten raisins and you’ve followed the proper veterinary protocol. If the raisin intake was minimal, and your dog has been detoxed and treated, you should be able to take them home with a few follow-up appointments or medications to take at home.
Some nuts are toxic, like walnuts and macadamia nuts. Many nuts don’t provide many nutritional benefits, but if they simply must have a nutty snack, dogs can eat pistachios and peanuts in moderation without causing harm. Always make sure these are not salted or seasoned. There are many dry fruits that dogs can eat.
Naturally, we want our dogs to eat what’s best for them and have snacks and treats that they love. When they give us those big puppy dog eyes for our food, remember some foods are dangerous to them and go for some of these nutritional choices instead.
Many fruits can provide great nutrition to your dog’s diet. For example, dogs can have watermelons, bananas, apples, kiwis, oranges, and mangos. Other fruits are very healthy for dogs, including blueberries and strawberries. As we mentioned, grapes should be avoided since they are very toxic. Cherries are not considered safe either because their pits and stems could be obstruction hazards. The same can be said for peaches, which have toxic pits.
Dogs can eat seafood if it doesn’t have high concentrations of mercury. The meat from shellfish like lobster and crab is safe, but their shells and legs should be removed. Dogs can also enjoy shrimp, tuna (in moderation), salmon, and sardines as long as their bones are removed. These are all great sources of omega-3s and should always be cooked thoroughly.
Onions and garlic are toxic to your dog but there are a few other healthy veggie choices that are great for your dog. For instance, dogs can eat broccoli, carrots, spinach, kale, and a few other vegetables. These are wonderful sources of nutritional benefits like vitamins and fiber.
Some beans are excellent products packed with fiber and protein for dogs. Dogs can have kidney beans, pinto beans, and also garbanzo, black, lima, soy, and butter beans. Beans can give dogs a bad case of gas, however. Too many beans will give them an upset stomach.
You can give your dog many treats without putting them in harm’s way. Raisins and grapes should be avoided at all costs. If you like to enjoy them yourself, you and your furry companion will benefit from hiding them or putting them someplace high where they can’t be sneakily snagged.
In the case of fruits, dogs can have so many different fruits without causing harm to them. In fact, dogs can eat fruits that are considered great supplements in their well-balanced diet. Too much of anything can be a problem which is why moderation is key. For raisins and grapes, however, even moderation can be deadly.
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