This post is a warning.
Until a few days ago, I did not realise that raisins and other grape products were poisonous to dogs. After all some trainers used to advocate raisins or grapes as treats! You can still find recipes for birthday cakes for dogs with raisins baked in. Then in about 2004, a study did prove that an excessive consumption of grapes or grape related products can be fatal to dogs. There is anecdotal evidence about cats as well. At the moment, no one knows what a safe level of grapes or raisins is. Some dogs tolerate them. Others don't.
We have two border collie puppies -- Tess and Hardy. The reason why you do not get two puppies at once is that they are like twins. If one doesn't think up some mischief, the other one will. Anyway, they got into the store cupboard, and covered the kitchen in flour. A friend then issued the warning about raisins because she knew a dog who once ate half a fruitcake and ended up on a drip.
I duly put the raisins out of range.
My eldest son, trying to be helpful put the raisins back in the store cupboard. To compound matters, he then went and had a snack of raisins, and forgot to lock the cupboard. After all our other pets knew enough to stay out...
Tess & Hardy being partners in crime got into the cupboard. Tess explored the cupboard while Hardy decided to play with the nice raisin bag. I discover the pair in situ.
My son swore that there were very few raisins left and besides, Hardy could not have eaten very many. He implied that I was panicking over nothing. After all, Hardy would have to consume huge amounts of raisins and there were very few left.
So erring on the side of my son, I decided to wait and see.
Not all dogs are allergic. The main symptoms of raisin poisoning are vomiting and/or diarrhoea. Follow by loss of appetite, lethargy and ultimately complete kidney collapse and death. The vomiting normally occurs within 6-12 hours.
Hardy developed the runs with raisins the next morning so I knew my son's assertion was not correct. He had eaten raisins and a reasonable amount. Cue an emergency visit to the vet and Hardy on an IV for 24 hours as the test showed his kidneys were not working properly. As far as we can determine he ate about 20 raisins.
It was his size and his age. An older dog quite likely would not have had any problems.
He is now fine and there seems to be no permanent damage. He did, however, shred his discharge papers and attempt to destroy the dog bed at the vets. The raisins have now gone from the house and my eldest son is paying the pet insurance excess out of his money.I am hoping for no more than routine vet visits. However, note Hardy's interest in his bandage.
What to do if you suspect poisoning -- this includes the consumption by dogs (and cats) of chocolate, raisins and onions.
1. Make the dog vomit. A weak solution of hydrogen peroxide in milk will do it. Be proactive. Do not wait and see, even if your 18 year old son swears there was very little left and look the bag wasn't even ripped.
2. Call your vet immediately as the vet can make the dog vomit and may have other ideas about treatment. The vet would rather you call, then did not. The earlier the intervention, the greater the chance of saving the dog's life.
3. If you notice vomiting or runs with undigested bits of raisin or chocolate or onion, call the vet. Lots can be done. The vet will take a blood sample and if there is a problem, the dog will be put on an IV drip for 24 -48 hours. The IV treatment works the vast majority of the time.
4. Prevention is worth a lot. So keep chocolate, raisins and onions away from puppies and dogs.
It saves trouble in the end.
It saves trouble in the end.
When not playing with her border collies puppies, Michelle Styles is busy working on her next historical romance for Harlequin Mills & Boon. You can see more puppy pictures on her blog.