Grapes, Nuts, and Your Dogs Health – Foods that Fido should Avoid


“Magoo was an enormous, playful Labrador retriever who often got himself into sticky situations…”

So begins a story in the newest report from the ASPCA on foods which may be toxic to dogs. It seems that Magoo got into the pantry and snagged himself a few pound of raisins. He ate the entire thing, in fact.

The ASPCA never mentions Magoo’s fate. But they do tell us that as little as a handful of raisins can impair a dogs health and has been fatal for some. Ditto for the grape.

Who Knew?

Growing up, I regarded our family dogs as “the primary cycle of the dishwasher”. They were good about waiting their turn for whatever we left on our plates, and we weren’t too concerned about offering them “people food”. It never crossed our minds that our dogs health could possibly be affected by a number of measly table scraps. What was secure for us, we figured, was secure for our pets.

What’s more, each time I ate grapes, I liked to offer one or two to our German Shepherd “Tiffany”. The grapes all the time popped out of her mouth when she tried to bite into them and Tiffany, ever the nice sport, refused to offer up until she’d squashed each into submission. It guaranteed at the very least 60 seconds of harmless fun.

Tiffany was also keen on chewing gum (she chewed it — wrapper and all — but didn’t swallow it!) We had the sugarless kind, which is usually sweetened lately with xylitol.

Little did I do know that I might need been poisoning our family pet! (More on xylitol below).

Why are grapes harmful?

So far as grapes and raisins go, nobody is certain why they’re harmful. It has been confirmed that even grapes grown without fertilizers or pesticides may be toxic to dogs. But not to each dog, and never each time. It is also not known whether small amounts eaten over a protracted time period could have a cumulative effect.

What we do know is that the top end in nearly all reported cases of grape or raisin toxicity is acute kidney failure. (The term “acute” implies that the condition is severe and comes on quickly.) The dog ultimately cannot produce urine, which suggests they cannot filter toxins out of their systems — a process essential to life.

In the course of the twelve-month period through which the consequences of grapes were studied, the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center handled 140 cases involving a number of dogs. Over a 3rd of the dogs developed symptoms starting from vomiting to kidney failure, and 7 dogs died. The ASPCA based their study on reported cases, so naturally there could also be cases where a dogs health is entirely unaffected by eating grapes. But until they know all of the facts, the Society advises against feeding pets grapes or raisins in any amount.

An oz. of prevention

So, your dog just scored himself an enormous box of raisins. What’s a pet owner to do?

The primary line of defense, if the grapes or raisins were eaten recently, is to induce vomiting and administer activated charcoal (it absorbs toxins within the GI tract). Vomiting can also be the primary sign that your dog is in trouble, so skip right to the activated charcoal if vomiting has already occurred. (In a pinch you may make your individual activated charcoal by charring a chunk of toast until it’s blackened and crumbles easily.) Then call your vet immediately.

Cannot reach the vet? Call ASPCA Poison Control: 888-426-4435

The vet will keep your dog on intravenous fluids for at the very least 48 hours and monitor blood chemistry every day. Normal blood work after 3 days normally means your dog is within the clear.

Keeping a watchful eye out, in fact, is the very best approach to keep your pet out of trouble. Like children, dogs (and other pets) have a knack for entering into mischief once we’re not looking.

It’s Not Just the Grapes…

There are other foods your dog needs to be evaded, and a few of them may surprise you.

Listed here are another foods that may put a dogs health in harms way:


Who can resist chocolate? Prefer it your not, your dog.

Chocolate is made with cocoa beans and cocoa beans contain a chemical called Theobromine, which is toxic to dogs. Various kinds of chocolate have various effects on dogs health. Dark chocolate has the biggest theobromine, coming in at a whopping 450mg (in comparison with 1mg for white chocolate). So on Valentine’s Day, you are actually being kind to your best buddy in case you eat all of the chocolates yourself!

Cocoa Mulch

Cocoa bean shells are a by-product of chocolate production (which is how mulch made it into the “foods” category) and are popular as mulch for landscaping. Homeowners just like the attractive color and scent, and the proven fact that the mulch breaks down into an organic fertilizer. Nevertheless, some dogs prefer to eat it and it incorporates Theobromine.

Fatty foods

Fatty foods are hard for a dog to digest and might can overtax the pancreas, resulting in pancreatitis. This may threaten your dogs health and is potentially fatal.


Macadamia nuts needs to be avoided. In reality most nuts will not be good for a dogs health since their high phosporus content is claimed to steer to bladder stones.


Mulch is not food, but there’s one type tempting enough for dogs to eat. Some dogs are interested in cocoa mulch, and can eat it in various quantities. The coca bean shells can contain from 0.2% to three% theobromine (the toxin ) as compaired to 1-4% in unprocessed beans.


Onions, especially raw onions, have been shown to trigger hemolytic anemia in dogs. (Stephen J Ettinger, D.V.M and Edward C. Fieldman, D.V.M. ‘s book: Textbook of Veterinary Internal Medicine vol. 2 pg 1884.) Avoid onion powder too.


Potato poisonings amongst people and dogs are rare but have occurred. The toxin, solanine, is poorly absorbed and is simply present in green sprouts (these occur in tubers exposed to sunlight) and green potato skins. This explains why incidents seldom occur. Note that cooked, mashed potatoes are effective for a dogs health, actually quite nutritious and digestible.

Artificial Sweeteners

Xylitol is used as a sweetener in lots of products, especially sugarless gum and candies. Ingesting large amounts of products sweetened with xylitol may cause a sudden drop in blood sugar in dogs, resulting depression, lack of coordination, and seizures. Based on Dr. Eric K. Dunayer, a consulting veterinarian in clinical toxicology for the poison control center, “These signs can develop quite rapidly, at times lower than half-hour after ingestion of the product” states Dr. Dunayer, “…subsequently, it will be significant that pet owners seek veterinary treatment immediately.”


Turkey skin is currently thought to cause acute pancreatis in dogs, partly because of it’s high fat content.

Other foods listed by the ASPCA as harmful:

Alcoholic beverages

Avocado (the one “fatty” member of the vegetable family)

Coffee (all types of coffee)

Moldy or spoiled foods


Yeast dough


The Bottom Line

Because of a more educated public, fewer fatalities from foods like chocolate are being reported lately. Nevertheless it’s vital to maintain up with what’s currently known about foods and their effects on dogs health. Grapes and cocoa mulch, for instance, were only discovered very recently to have harmful effects.

Check continuously with sources just like the ASPCA, or enroll for the “Cold Noses News” and we’ll keep you informed. (You will also get a bunch of cool dog stuff along along with your free registration).

After all, being alert and getting your pet to the vet promptly will help assure a comfortable consequence if something unlucky should occur.

Here’s to your dogs health and good nutrition!


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