Raisins and Dogs - Are They Really That Dangerous?

Raisins and Dogs - Are They Really That Dangerous?

Author WDF Staff


Most dog owners are familiar with problems arising from mixing raisins and dogs. The rule is - never give raisins to your dog. If you are new to the canine world and just started looking into things your dog can or cannot eat, raisins are the ones to remember. These tiny things humans often put into different cakes and pastries can be incredibly toxic to dogs. Here is what dog owners should know about raisins and dogs.

What are raisins?

The shortest explanation is - raisins are dried grapes. They are usually produced by drying matured grapes in the sun. They can be dried on a drying paper, and some are left on the vines to dry.

Raisins are a popular ingredient in different types of pastries and foods. Some foods that often have raisins in them are:

  • Cinnamon rolls
  • Pistaccio raisin bars
  • Stuffings
  • Different types of pies

raisins white background

These are all delicious treats we love, and the most important thing to remember is not to give any to your dog.

Can dogs have raisins?

The shortest answer to the question “Can dogs have raisins?” is - absolutely not. Although scientists and researchers have yet to fully understand which substance is so toxic to dogs, we know with absolute certainty that raisins can be deadly.

According to the ASPCA, around 10 dogs each day suffer raisin poisoning. If the vet isn’t immediately contacted and the dog is taken to the animal ER, the consequences can be tragic. Most cases are accidents. Dogs got their paws on some delicious treats that contained raisins. Other cases happen because owners didn’t know about raisins and dogs.

Which dogs are affected by this?

Some dogs indeed have better tolerance than others, but there are no rules. Some small dog breeds like the Boston Terrier or Papillon can tolerate raisins with no significant issues. Sadly, there have been reports of large breeds like the Saint Bernard, who suffered the worst-case scenario and died after eating a couple of raisins. There are no upsides to giving your dog raisins, so you should avoid it at all costs.


There was a case where two Boston Terrier littermates (brothers) got into a package of raisins at their owner’s home. One had minor health issues, and the other one ended up in the vet’s clinic. Within 48 hours, his kidneys completely shut down, and the dog died a couple of hours later. 

What to do if your dog ate raisins?

It doesn’t matter how careful we are as owners; accidents can still happen. It is even possible that your dog comes across raisins on the ground while you are taking them for a walk. Maybe you had no time to react, and the dog ate raisins. The most important thing you can do is not panic. This is a serious situation that can be life-threatening, so try to remain as focused as possible. What you do next can mean the difference between your dog’s life and death.

1. Call your vet or Pet Poison Helpline. They will tell you what the best course of action is. Make sure you don’t waste any time, and if your vet or animal ER is near, take them there as soon as possible.

2. If you do not have a vet close by, another possibility is to make your dog throw up. Don’t try to put your fingers in the dog’s throat. That won’t work, and you are only risking losing a couple of fingers. There are safe ways to do that, and you can check them out here - How to make your dog vomit? However, you should not do that unless you are absolutely sure what your dog actually ate. Also, do not induce vomiting if your dog has trouble breathing or they are unconscious.

black raisins

3. Monitor your dog while driving to the ER or your vet’s clinic. Make sure you notice any changes in behavior and look for any raisin poisoning symptoms.

Symptoms of raisin toxicity in dogs

If you think your dog ate raisins, and you have not witnessed it yourself, you should look for raisin toxicity symptoms. They should not be difficult to spot, as long as you know what you are looking for. The most common raisin toxicity symptoms are;

  • Loss of appetite
  • Weakness, lethargy
  • Diarrhea and vomiting, usually after only a few hours
  • Abdominal tenderness
  • Increased urine production
  • Increased thirst
  • Diminished urine production (the dog can even stop urinating altogether)
  • Kidney failure

All of these symptoms are severe, and some, like kidney failure, can be deadly. Make sure you react as soon as possible. Take your dog to the vet and get them the care they need.

Raisins and dogs do not mix well together. If you ever thought, “Can dogs have raisins?” keep in mind that they are not safe, and you would be risking your dog’s life if you give them any. Keep your dog safe at all times, and make sure they have a healthy diet.

World Dog Finder team

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