What happens if a dog drinks grape juice?

Grape juice is healthy for humans, so you may wonder if it’s good for your dog as well. Perhaps you want to add more antioxidants to your pooch’s diet, or perhaps they snuck a sip from your glass. Grapes are highly toxic to dogs, but grape juice is less of a concern.  

We’ll take a look at why grape juice is a bad idea, and what happens if your dog does drink it. You’ll also learn what to do if your dog has already drunk grape juice. 

Can dogs drink grape juice?

You probably know that some things humans love are toxic to dogs, while other foods can be a healthy addition to their diet. You should never give grapes to your dog. When it comes to grape juice, things are less clear. 

Grape Toxicity

What is it that makes grapes toxic to dogs? Scientists are still trying to discover the culprit. Some dogs can tolerate small amounts of grapes, while others can die from consuming them. 

There are a few theories as to what makes grapes so toxic to dogs. One theory is that it contains a  mycotoxin. This is a toxin present in mold or fungus. Other scientists believe that grapes contain a salicylate, similar to sprain, which is harmful to dogs. 

The most recent theory is that it’s the tartaric acid found in grapes that is toxic. Tartaric acid is perfectly safe for humans. In fact, it’s probably in your pantry right now, under the name cream of tartar. 

There’s still no clear answer on why grapes are toxic, but grape poisoning can be fatal. 

Grape Products That Are Harmful to Dogs

In addition to grapes themselves, other grape products should be avoided. Raisins are dried grapes. They are often an ingredient in trail mix and granola bars. Avoid giving your dog any product containing grapes or raisins. 

How Many Grapes Can Make Your Dog Sick? 

There’s no known dose threshold for grapes. This means there’s not a standard amount that is expected to be harmful to your dog. Chocolate is well known for it’s toxicity to dogs as well. Researchers have determined exactly how much chocolate is dangerous to your dog, based on the type of chocolate, your dog’s age and weight, and how much they ate. 

We don’t have this information for grapes. However, we do know that generally the more grapes your dog eats, the higher the danger. There’s also individual sensitivity. 

Some dogs can get very sick from eating just one grape. Others can eat a handful of grapes without ill effects. Why some dogs are so affected isn’t yet clear. There’s no way to know if your dog will have a severe reaction without giving them grapes, so it’s best to assume they will have a bad reaction to them.  

Is Grape Juice Toxic? 

We do know that grapes are toxic because of the grapes themselves. Avoiding seeds or peels doesn’t make any difference. So, it’s reasonable to assume that any product containing grapes would be harmful. 

Many sources state that the risk of poisoning is the same with grape juice as it is with grapes themselves. However, when you look deeper, this isn’t the case. Grape juice is diluted, which seems to have a protective effect. 

That being said, grape juice is still a risky proposition. The toxin in grapes is unknown, and it’s difficult to know how much grape is safe. In fact, it seems to vary significantly from dog to dog. For these reasons, it’s best to avoid grape juice, even if it is seemingly benign. There’s no reason to take the risk of it making your dog sick. 

However, if your dog accidentally ingests grape juice, you can take a deep breath. Chances are they will be fine. However, you’ll still need to monitor them for symptoms of grape poisoning.  

What happens if a dog drinks grape juice?

Your dog just drank grape juice. What do you do? Do you induce vomiting? Rush them to the vet? Watch and wait? Ban grape juice from the house? 

It’s natural to be worried about your dog, especially if you know how toxic grapes themselves can be. However, grape juice rarely causes problems. 

Grape Toxicity 

The symptoms of grape toxicity begin with vomiting and diarrhea. Then, they’ll experience lethargy or fatigue, and dehydration. They will stop peeing normally. Some dogs will pee very little, or not at all. Others pee more than normal.

They may stop eating and drinking, or be excessively thirsty. Some dogs have a sore stomach as well. If you touch their stomach, they may whine or pull away.

Very bad breath is another sign of grape poisoning. This indicates that the kidneys are not functioning properly. When the toxins in the body are not filtered through the kidneys, they will come out in the breath.  

Seizures, tremors, and unconsciousness can occur as symptoms progress. They may also be weak, and have difficulty moving. Unfortunately, within 1-3 days, the dog can die from kidney failure. 

Grape Juice vs. Grapes

It should be clear by now that grapes are a huge risk to your dog. Why is grape juice different? There’s no definitive answer on this, but there are some theories. 

Grape juice contains a significant amount of water. It’s possible that this dilutes the toxin in the grape, making it less likely to cause harm to your pooch. 

Not all grape juices are created the same. Some are a blend of juices. Cran-grape juice, for example, contains both cranberry and grape juice, which further dilutes the grapes. 

Some juices aren’t technically made from juice, or are made from small amounts of juice. Juice beverages or juice flavored drinks don’t always contain actual juice. So, if you pick up a grape flavored juice beverage, it may have no grape in it at all. 

There’s also a possibility that the concentrating process makes a difference. Most juices, even if they are 100% juice, are made from concentrate. This means the juice is made into a concentrated form. When the juice is made, this concentrated form of the juice is added to water, to reconstitute it. 

We know that this process removes some of the nutrients from juice, so it’s possible that it removes the toxin in grape juice as well. 

What Happens if My Dog Drinks Grape Juice? 

Probably nothing. There are no available reports of grape juice causing harm to dogs. Reports of injury or death from grapes themselves abound.

It’s important to note that we don’t know for sure if grape juice can be toxic. A lack of reports doesn’t necessarily indicate safety. Because we know so little about grape toxicity and why it has such a toxic effect on some dogs, but not others, it’s impossible to know for sure how your dog will react to drinking grape juice. 

The amount of grape juice they ingest, and the type of grape juice may also be important. A few sips of grape juice shouldn’t be a concern, but a cup of grape juice bears careful monitoring. 

What to do if my dog drinks grape juice?

If your dog has accidentally gotten into the grape juice, it’s natural to be concerned. Even though it’s probably not going to harm them, you’ll need to take some steps to keep them safe and healthy. 

We’ll look at how to monitor your dog, and what to do if they begin displaying symptoms of grape toxicity. 

Remove the Juice

This should go without saying, but sometimes the simplest things are overlooked. The first thing you’ll need to do is remove any remaining grape juice. Be sure that it’s somewhere the dog can’t access it. The last thing you want is them ingesting more juice. 

Check the Label

Once your dog can’t get to the juice, you’ll need to take a look at it yourself. The type of juice has a major impact on the risk of your dog getting sick. If it’s 100% grape juice, there’s a small cause for concern. If it’s a juice blend containing grape juice, the odds of them getting sick are lower. If it’s grape flavored or only contains a small amount of juice, rest assured your pooch will be ok. 

Monitor Your Dog

If your dog ingested any amount of grape juice, it’s important to monitor them. Vomitting and diarrhea are the first symptoms. These occur within 24 hours of ingesting grapes. 

Seek Medical Attention

If your dog begins vomiting or experiencing diarrhea after ingesting grapes, even grape juice, this is a medical emergency. Kidney failure can develop within 72 hours, so you’ll want to get them to the vet as soon as you see symptoms. 

Again, grape juice isn’t expected to be toxic. However, if your dog experiences stomach upset after drinking grape juice, they need to be evaluated by the vet. Grape poisoning could be the cause. 

Pet Poison Control Helpline

If you are concerned about your dog, but not sure if they need veterinary care, call the Pet Poison Control Helpline. They work with pet owners as well as vets. They have a vast database of poisons. They combine this with a mathematical formula to determine your pet’s level of danger. 

They will consider the substance, the amount of the substance, and your dog’s age and weight. They will then recommend a treatment plan. Depending on the severity, this may include visiting the vet. The Helpline will also speak with your vet about their treatment plan. 

What Not to Do

It’s important to realize that the situation is completely different if your dog drank grape juice versus eating actual grapes. Don’t panic if your dog drinks grape juice. They should be fine. 

There’s no need to induce vomiting if they ingested grape juice. You should only be concerned if they begin exhibiting symptoms. 

What If My Dog Ate Grapes? 

If your dog eats grapes, you’ll need to induce vomiting. Give them one tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide. If they don’t vomit, give them another 15 minutes later. This should remove the grapes from their system, and greatly reduce the amount of toxicity. 

Next, call your vet or bring them in. 

You can wait and see if your dog shows symptoms. Some dogs aren’t bothered by grapes, while others can easily die from eating just one. However, if they do have a reaction, the faster they get medical attention the better their odds of a successful recovery. 

You’ll need to weigh the risks and benefits of waiting, vs taking your dog in immediately.