December 19, 2023

Is your dog sneaking a sultana raisin’ an emergency?

Is your dog sneaking a sultana raisin’ an emergency?
Dr. Chris Brown

’Tis the season for some food stealing! And with so many Christmas cakes, puddings or lunches featuring dried fruits, it’s important to know whether sneaking a sultana or raisin represents a full blown emergency.

Well, just like most situations at this time of year, it’s….complicated.

So I’ve made it simple for you below…

First of all, some background. This whole dried fruit sitch comes from the mystery surrounding grapes (including their dried cousins, sultanas and raisins) and their potential for causing kidney damage. Yet, here’s the challenge.

  • Millions of dogs have eaten grapes and sultanas over the years without any problems
  • Even in emergency hospitals, only 1-5% of dogs and cats who had eaten grapes showed any signs.
  • Two years ago, the chemical involved in the rare toxicities was finally identified as tartaric acid. Also known as ‘cream of tartar’. It’s what gives some grapes their bitterness. But even still, some dogs seem completely unaffected…

So back to the big question, what if your dog (or cat) pinches some sultanas or raisins over Christmas?

 Well, there does appear to be a possible ‘tolerance limit’ where you may not need to get to the vet for treatment…

For raisins and sultanas: 3g per kg of bodyweight. So that’s 30g for a 10kg dog.

And for grapes: 1 grape per 5kg

Interestingly, the lowest toxic dose ever recorded was 4 grapes in an 8kg dachshund.

Now obviously, please avoid them at all costs. But as you can see, one stray sultana, raisin or grape shouldn’t trigger a panicked trip to the emergency vet in the middle of Christmas lunch. Now that might just make for a more Merry Christmas…

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