Toxic foods for dogs: grapes, raisins and sultanas

We had a small vet emergency last weekend. I am fairly diligent about watching my toddler when she has a pack of sultanas, as I know they are dangerous for the dogs. And so far Cress and Eddie have paid little attention when they spill on the floor or a single sultana is left on her high chair. On Sunday however I got distracted and five minutes later I found Eddie with a tiny chewed sultana packet up the end of the hallway. The problem I had is there was no way of knowing if she had happened upon the empty packet which my little girl had discarded or if she had taken a partially full packet and decided to consume its contents. Of course there were lots of questions asked but our 1-and-a-half year old witness had less than consistent testimony. So I called the vet and told them what had happened. They said bring her straight up and they would give her an injection to make her vomit. Half an hour later Eddie had been given the injection and she had vomited 22 sultanas, enough to make a little dog like her (9kg / 20lbs) sick.

So what is the issue with grapes, raisins and sultanas for dogs?

Grapes, raisins and sultanas have been shown to cause acute renal failure (the sudden development of kidney failure) in some dogs. This finding was first identified in 1998 and by 2001 the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) Animal Poison Control Centre (APCC) had documented enough cases for it to be classed as a real syndrome. In 2003 members of the Veterinary Information Network took part in a survey and 7.4% of respondents indicated they had treated at least 1 case of grape, raisin or sultana toxicosis.

Even though there has been some research, the reason as to why some dogs develop renal failure after eating grapes, raisins and sultanas is still unknown. Further work is needed to understand the toxicity and if there are other environmental factors that cause it to occur.

Grapes and sultanas are toxic for dogs

The toxic dose

Dogs that are affected by these foods can develop kidney failure 72 hours after ingestion. But how do you know when your dog has had a toxic dose? This is the hard part, as my vet informed me some dogs can eat relatively large volumes of grapes, sultanas and raisins without any issues while other dogs can consume one or two and become ill. Estimated amounts of fresh grapes associated with kidney injury are approximately 32g or 1.1oz per kilogram of your dog’s weight. Raisins and sultanas are slightly more powerful: from 11-30g or 0.39-1.06oz per kilo of your dog’s weight. BUT a study in 2005 looked at 10 dogs who had suffered renal failure after ingesting greater than or equal to 3g (0.11oz) per kilogram of raisins or dry matter of grapes (dry matter is calculated as 20% of grape weight). As you can see there are no hard and fast rules so if you suspect your dog has ingested any grapes/raisins/sultanas call your vet.


If your dog has eaten grapes, raisins or sultanas they might have some of the following symptoms:

  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • not eating
  • weakness
  • abdominal pain
  • increased drinking

Clinical signs your vet may look for in a blood test include things like increased blood urea nitrogen, creatinine, phosphorus, calcium. Plus they would ask about reduced urination or no urination.


If your dog has consumed these foods within the past two hours (as our dog Eddie did) your vet will most likely induce vomiting via an injection (hydrogen peroxide or apomorphine) followed by activated charcoal. If your dog has eaten a significant amount, started vomiting themselves or ingested the food several hours prior, intravenous fluid therapy might be suggested. In severe cases dialysis of the blood and peritoneal dialysis might be used to support the kidneys.

Hot Cross Buns, Fruit Cake and raisin toast are all also bad for dogs Scrumptious foods like Hot Cross Buns, Fruit Cake and Raisin Toast can also be toxic for dogs


Grapes, sultanas and raisins are popular foods in many households (ours especially) so it is best to be vigilant and ensure that your dogs do not come in contact with these foods. Don’t leave them lying around at their level or any place that they can access. I have made a new rule that my daughter now only has sultanas when we are out of the house. As for grapes she eats them at the dinner table under supervision.

But even if you have no children around the house you can easily slip up by leaving out raisin toast, fruit cake or — particularly at this time of year — a hot cross bun. So keep all these foods in your cupboard or fridge and make sure they are not shared with your four-legged loved one.

Even if your dog doesn’t get ill the stress and cost of an emergency vet trip is never a great way to spend your day.

Please note: Puppy Tales provides these articles for information purposes only. For any health problems with your pet always seek immediate veterinary advice from your local veterinarian.

Toxic foods for dogs- grapes, raisins and sultanas 





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Lisa Miller

Lisa Miller is a blogger, digital strategist, business coach, zoologist and crazy dog-lady! Lisa lives in Sydney, Australia with her husband, two kids, two dogs and two cats. That equates to a lot of fun and vacuuming. Her dog’s names are Cresswell and Edwina (or Cress and Eddie).
  • Calvert

    I truly appreciate for sharing this blog as the information you have provided is brilliant. It will truly be helpful to those people who are looking for authentic information on how a dog should be kept out of reach from toxic foods.

  • Kelly

    Thanks for the info on this site. Yesterday evening, my 7 month old pup got into the pantry and consumed probably close to half of a 2kg bag of sultanas. We thought it was really cute and funny until she started throwing up. Called the vet, and they said to keep a close watch. I then read your site along with several others and alarm bells started ringing. She threw up another 5 times after that and 1.30am we called the emergency vet. They instructed us to bring her in straight away. Things are looking positive but still unsure at this stage as she is still in hospital. If this happens to your pup or dog, don’t ‘wait and see’ as I nearly did as it can potentially be fatal. Thank goodness I got insurance a couple of months ago.

    • Lisa Miller

      Oh Kelly, I hope your pup is okay!! Let us know how everything goes.

  • Kelly

    Thanks Lisa. Puppy survived and is back to her usual playful self now… 🙂

  • Mike

    Good solid information, well presented and very useful to know.

  • PAT

    thank you so much. For approx 2 months, about 5 times a week, I have given my 2 year old Sheltie 4 to 6 sultanas, for a treat, from my lunchtime scone, never thinking I could be doing her harm. I will be passing the word !!

  • Miche

    My two dogs will be 13 soon and I have been making their biscuits with sultanas in them since I went to the natural food raw bone diet when 6mths…they are sisters and what is notable is my short hair girl loves sultanas while her long hair sister leaves them alone on her bowl…but since reading about the toxicity for some dogs maybe why my long hair does not eat as she knows toxic for her…but as her sister does not get the signs of toxicity she eats…hope your dog recovered…but I am letting the evidence of 12 and half years not make me refrain from giving sultanas to the short hair as if no signs of renal failure in last 12.5 years then I think will not occur and I know the long hair does not even touch…

  • Sue

    My thieving six month old lurcher stole and ate a large chunk of rich friuit cake after supper. Thanks to this website we got to the emergency vet in less than an hour. After an injection she was royally sick and is being kept in for 24 hours on a drip just to be on the safe side. Beware of telescopic puppies reaching shelves!

    • Lisa Miller

      Hi Sue, So glad you got the information you needed and your dog is okay!! We have had a vet visit in the past that sounds very similar.

  • Elizna

    I love this post! I can now really understand why not to give my dog this. I have a big, clumsy Labrador and she eats everything. When she was a baby she ate a whole big 10kg pack of sugar…paper and all. We had such a shock but at least she is fine. I have a list of food I try to remember not to feed my doggie and keep far away from her…I found this infographic that nicely show me everything

  • Stephanie

    Hi, this page was really helpful when yesterday my 11 month old cockapoo(poodle/spaniel) decided to snatch a fruit scone with raisins in it. At first I didn’t even know raisins were so poisonous I just assumed like chocolate they were toxic in mass, however I was told tonight by a vet that unlike chocolate they cannot predict the dogs reaction and cannot say how much is a ‘safe’ quantity to consume. After phoning the vets this morning (12hours after he had ate the scone), they still recommended I take him in as kidney damage can take a few days before sumys show. I was at first of the impression that the vets were playing on my worry and had a great opportunity to over charge an over concerned dog owner however after mulling it over all day I decided, better to be safe than sorry. So, Toby the 11month cockapoo is now safely in a the vet hospital with a lovely nurse on a drip to flush out any toxins. I might be a fool for panicking but if he had taken a funny turn I would never have forgiven myself…. They are little rascals puppies! They get into everything regardless of how careful you are! And my pup seems to enjoy the challenge of getting into the things he knows he should not have!!

    • Hi Stephanie, thankyou for sharing. I’m so glad that this was helpful and that you got professional care from your vet. General information and guidance online is never going to match the advice of a vet, particularly as there may be something unique or different in your circumstances. Always better to the safe when we love our dogs so much. I hope Toby is all good very quickly and up to cheekiness that isn’t potential dangerous for him.

  • Dominic

    Hi everyone, my 16 week old German Shorthaired Pointer puppy just stole and ate about 80-100 grams of sultanas. She is 14 kg. Is that harmful

    • Hi Dominic, We can’t give specific advice. If you have any concerns for your dog we highly recommend seeking advice from a vet. It’s always better to be sure and get expert advice. Hope your puppy is fine.

  • BD

    Hi, I just found out the hard way what saltanas can do to a puppy. I have a 4 mth old staffy and he jumped at the opportunity to eat a grape I had dropped. He loved it so much I gave him another 1. The next day I was cooking up a batch of puppy treats with peanut butter and thought I wander if I could put some saltanas in it so I gave him a couple to see if he liked them, STUPID ME. I didn’t even think to check. A few days later he started getting really sick and off his food and wouldn’t drink, very lethargic and giving me the “im sick look”. Not knowing still that they were poisonous I took him to the vet. Well, at a very large cost I can say he is much better but I have to watch out for any kidney problems down the track. PLEASE, PLEASE people check what is safe before giving anything to your pet and don’t learn the expensive hard way as I did. Now I check everything but am more inclined to stay with brand name dog food, playing it safe.

    • Oh what a scary experience and a difficult way to learn. Always best to double check when it comes to the human food we give our dogs as treats. Some are very good for them, some ok and some to definitely be avoided. Wishing your pup a speedy recovery xx