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Grape and raisin toxicity can lead to vomiting and even kidney failure in pets

Dangerous food: grapes and grape products, including raisins, juice drinks and wine, are toxic to our pets, particularly dogs, who are not picky in what they might steal (Photograph by iStock/Irantzu Arbaizagoitia)

It’s Easter time, Spring is in the air, freesias are blooming, kites are flying, and hot crossed buns are everywhere. In the veterinary world, just like clockwork every Easter, we get a significant increase in calls, among other things, about raisin poisoning.

You can easily see how it happens at this time of year, kitchen counters are loaded with sweet smelling hot crossed buns, filled with juicy fat raisins which prove just too tempting for the household dog.

It is usually dogs in this instance as cats, although also being susceptible to raisin toxicity, are usually more discerning in their snack stealing. (But watch out for those Easter Lilies as they can be very toxic to your feline friends.)

So why are grape products, including raisins, juice drinks and wine so toxic to our pets?

It’s thought to be due to the tannins found within them, and certain toxins and pesticides found on the grapes skin which can lead to kidney disease in our pets.

Also, not every pet who eats raisins will show kidney disease, it is somewhat dependent on the animal themselves, their size and the number of raisins that they eat.

If your pet does eat raisins, call your vet for immediate advice.

The initial symptom of raisin toxicity is vomiting, which usually happens in the first few hours.

They can often seem better after this for 24-48 hours, but if kidney failure follows symptoms will include excessive thirst, loss of appetite, vomiting and diarrhoea.

Your vet will be able to see changes in their blood work and will immediately start your pet on intravenous fluid therapy and medical care.

As with many things, prevention is far better than cure when it comes to raisin toxicity.

Keep your hot crossed buns and raisins for baking in a secure place, well away from your pets.

Remember, their noses are very sensitive and can sniff out the tasty treats easily. And whilst we are talking about toxins, do not forget that chocolate is also very toxic to dogs and is in abundance in our homes at this time of year.

Be mindful of these notorious seasonal toxins and keep your pets happy and safe this Easter.

* Lucy Richardson graduated from Edinburgh University in 2005. She started CedarTree Vets in August 2012 with her husband, Mark. They live at the practice with their two children, Ray and Stella, and their dog, two cats and two guinea pigs. She is also the FEI national head veterinarian for Bermuda

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Published March 28, 2024 at 8:00 am (Updated March 28, 2024 at 11:44 am)

Grape and raisin toxicity can lead to vomiting and even kidney failure in pets

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