Easter signals the arrival of some delicious treats including chocolate eggs, chocolate bunnies and the delicious hot cross bun. We are all aware that chocolate can cause toxicity in our furry friends however did you know that sultanas/raisins can have some disastrous effects in our doggie companions too?

Grapes, sultanas, raisins and currants have been shown to cause acute kidney failure in dogs. The exact mechanism by which this occurs is still not identified thus we can cannot determine how much is toxic or which animals are going to be affected. Some dogs can eat a few grapes with no ill effects, whereas others may become severely ill with the same amount. As mentioned, we cannot say which dogs are more sensitive however, consumption of large quantities of grapes/sultanas has often been shown to result in toxicity.

So, what are the signs of grape/sultana toxicity?

Initial signs include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Dullness


  • Drinking lots of water
  • Dehydration
  • Going off food
  • Extreme lethargy
  • Back pain/abdominal pain
  • Little or no urine production
  • Signs of uraemia which are oral ulcers, foul smelling breath, seizures
  • Tremors
  • Coma

Can it be treated?

If you suspect your dog has eaten grapes/sultanas/raisins then please call your vet ASAP. They will advise you to come down and if the grapes have been eaten within the last 2 hours, we will likely make your dog vomit to prevent absorption. A gastric lavage (under anaesthetic) may also be performed if indicated.

To prevent further absorption your vet will likely administer activated charcoal. Intravenous fluids will be given to support the kidneys to keep producing urine and help flush out the toxin. Other medications may also be given to prevent further vomiting etc. Blood test and urine tests may also be performed to help us determine the severity of toxicity and thus formulate appropriate treatment plans.

There is no antidote for grape toxicity thus prevention is the best way to avoid this nasty toxicity. As previously discussed, we don’t know which dogs are most affected so it is better to negate all risk by not feeding your dog grapes, sultanas, currants or, in this Easter season Hot Cross Buns. Contact us if you have any questions.