Can German Shepherds Eat Grapes?

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Can German Shepherds eat grapes? I was having a picnic last weekend and I brought along the essentials: my dog Bobbie, the best dog food for German Shepherds, cheese, crackers, and some red grapes. Lo and behold, Bobbie was extra curious about the grapes. I thought about adding some flavor to his dog food by sneaking a few grapes in there, but…is that a bad idea?

So, can German Shepherds eat grapes safely? No. The answer is always no. Under no circumstances should you give your German Shepherd any amount of grapes (or raisins) as they are highly toxic to all dogs and can cause severe kidney damage and even death.

That being said, we can’t control what our dogs are doing all the time. We leave the house unattended; we leave food out. Mistakes are made- it’s a part of being human. So what would happen if your German Shepherd did eat some grapes, what could you do to prevent and help, and what other information should you know? Read my research below to get all the necessary information.

What to do if Your German Shepherd Dog Eats Grapes: A Step by Step Guide

If you think your German Shepherd may have eaten some grapes or raisins, one of two things will happen first.

There will either be symptoms, or not. Let’s go over some symptoms first.

Step 1: Symptoms of Grape Poisoning

  • Loss of Appetite
  • Hyperactivity
  • Depression
  • Lethargy
  • Tremors
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Won’t Drink Water
  • Vomiting and Dry Heaving
  • Dehydration
  • Urinating Far Less

Death is also a possible scenario.

But this is why acting quickly is paramount to your dogs health.

If any of these symptoms are present, it’s time to take your dog to the vet and let them know exactly what happened to the best of your abilities so they can begin their work faster.

However: bring your German Shepherd to the vet even if there are no symptoms.

Grape poisoning symptoms can often be delayed…but treatment cannot.

Make it to your local vet as soon as possible. This is what will happen next.

Step 2: Treatment at the Vet’s Office

1. Inducing Vomit

If grapes were eaten within two hours, the doctors might induce (force) vomiting by giving your German Shepherd some activated charcoal.

This would be a great start to getting as much of the grapes out of the dog’s system.

2. Fluids

Intravenous fluids may be deemed necessary if your German Shepherd is having trouble drinking water on it’s own or the vets don’t think it will if released back home.

This can flush out the toxins quicker and keep your dog hydrated, which is vital. This may be roughly for 24-48 hours.

3. Bloodwork

Tests will be administered to see if your German Shepherds blood reveals anything abnormal or dysfunctional in organs or tissue.

The period of time to continuously check on bloodwork is roughly 72 hours.

4. Urinalysis

Checking to see your dog’s urine sample to determine many abnormalities- including renal issues (the kidney)- will most likely occur.

A urinalysis can actually determine a lot of helpful things about a dog and is useful for a wide variety of medical reasons.

In this instance, the primary focus will likely be on the kidney, and if any abnormal results from the urinalysis come back, then the vets may order an ultrasound for kidneys to see if there’s risk of kidney stones.

You’re Finally Back Home!

After spending some time at the vets- whether it’s a couple of hours or a few days- your German Shepherd will eventually be discharged with homecare instructions.

You have to follow what your vet says and the individual treatment they prescribe.

Let me repeat that:

You have to follow what your vet says and the individual treatment they prescribe.

As if often the case with people as well, your dog will need to stay plenty hydrated and rested, but there may be additional instructions for you to follow.

When you’re at home, I would advise for your German Shepherd’s health- and for your own peace of mind- to take a good, hard look at your kitchen and dining room:

  • Are there any areas the dog can easily reach where you could leave food- not just grapes- unattended?
  • Is opening the fridge with his snout something your German Shepherd has a habit of doing, and if so, are there any baby proof locks you can install?

Prevention is easier and carries far less risks than dealing with the bad scenario once its already happened.

Why are Grapes so Toxic?

You may be asking yourself- as I did when I first began to research this topic- why are grapes so toxic?

In fact, scientists just don’t know exactly why.

There’s no consensus.

Seriously? This day in age?!

However, some researchers believe it has more to do with the flesh of the grapes than the seeds or the skin.

There’s plenty of anecdotal evidence to suggest toxicity varies according to dog. Some dogs ingest a load of grapes or raisins and are totally fine; others eat a few and are sick. Smaller dogs tend to be able to handle less grapes than larger dogs. Roughly speaking, according to dog size:

Grape Toxicity In Dogs

  • 1-2 grapes for a 10 pound dog or smaller
  • 3-4 grapes for a 20 pound dog or heavier

And still there’s evidence to suggest this doesn’t matter much.

In the study ‘Grape Toxicity and Dogs’ a Border Collie was able to eat a 16 ounce box of grapes and live.

A bigger dog, the labrador, ate a smaller box of raisins and subsequently died. The takeaway message therefore, is:

All grapes and raisin should be considered lethally harmful to all dogs.

What Other Fruits and Vegetables are Toxic to GSDs?

It’s important to remember that grapes and raisins aren’t the only foods toxic to German Shepherds. Yes, they’re omnivores, but their bodies weren’t meant to digest a vast amount of food humans can eat.

These are some other fruits and vegetables that you should never feed your German Shepherd, not even in tiny amounts:

Human Foods and Drinks to Avoid:

  • Grapes
  • Raisins
  • Milk
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Avocado
  • Swiss Chard
  • Potatoes
  • Chives
  • Tomatoes
  • Pear Pits
  • Plum Kernels
  • Apple Cores

What Human Foods are Safe for GSDs?

By now, you may be freaking out a little, and if you’re at home, you may be eyeing your kitchen with some undue hatred.

While this is totally understandable, be happy in knowing your dog can actually handle and enjoy (and probably does!) plenty of other fruits and vegetables.

Here’s a handy list for table and picnic treats for your German Shepherd.

  • Strawberries
  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Apricot
  • Pear
  • Blueberries
  • Pineapple
  • Watermelon
  • Mango
  • Cantaloupe
  • Asparagus
  • Celery (limited amounts)
  • Cauliflower (limited amounts)
  • Carrots
  • Pumpkin
  • Lettuce
  • Spinach
  • Sweet Potato
  • Cucumber
  • Broccoli (limited amount)
  • Kale (limited amount)
  • Cheese (in moderation)

Can German Shepherds Eat Grapes? The Takeaway Message

As stated earlier, German Shepherds are omnivores and can handle a variety of different types of foods (and, notably, a variety of foods they absolutely cannot handle).

Take the time to research more about their bodies and digestive system and what works best.

For me personally, I would advise in investing in good quality dry and wet food, and using the aforementioned safe fruits and vegetables as sparingly as possible.

These foods should be viewed as occasional treats and not staples of their diet.

The best dog food is good quality (hopefully organic) food that was designed for him and his wolfy body.

Related Questions

Should German Shepherds only eat meat?

No. German Shepherds are omnivores and need a balanced diet of protein, carbohydrates, and fats to keep them in tiptop shape.

Can cats eat grapes?

No. Grapes and raisins are very toxic to cats as well as dogs. If you’ve got either of these pets (or both, like me) never feed them grapes or raisins! Enjoy your wine, though.

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