Every pet owner knows a dog can get into just about anything around the house. One woman found that out the hard way when her dog ate a bunch of grapes! Turns out, that's one of the most dangerous foods your dog can eat.
Chocolate is probably the most well known human food that is poisonous to dogs, but grapes are just as dangerous. Angela Poates shares the nightmare she went through with her dog, Rio.
Poates is rarely seen without Rio by her side. It's safe to say that the husky-border collie mix is her best friend. So when a sudden illness hit Rio one day, it was a devastating blow to Angela. She helplessly watched as her energetic, playful dog started slipping away.
The culprit was something that she didn't expect.
"I heard grapes were bad for dogs, but I've also heard chocolate is bad for dogs and I've known a ton of dogs that have eaten chocolate," says Poates. "Maybe [they'll have] an upset stomach and they're fine."
Rio went counter surfing and snacked on the seemingly harmless fruit drying in her kitchen sink. She says that Rio first had an upset stomach, but the next day he wouldn't eat. She took him to the veterinary emergency center and soon found out that Rio was having acute kidney failure.
Dr. Nathan Lippo says that any amount of grapes can be toxic to a dog.
"The toxin in the fruit is unknown, but we do know it's in the flesh of the grape -- not the seeds, not the skin. It's a water-soluble toxin, so it affects them pretty badly," says Dr. Lippo.
Dr. Lippo says there have been a number of cases reported since it was first documented in 1999. Chocolate tops the list for toxicity in dogs, followed by grapes and raisins, onions, garlic and macadamia nuts. Damage to a dog can vary with each food.
Dr. Lippo says that while chocolate can cause cardiac problems for a canine, grapes and raisins can lead to kidney failure.
"In onions and garlic, it's called a super-radical. It destroys red blood cells. For macadamia nuts, we don't know what the toxin is in that," says Dr. Lippo. "Unfortunately it takes about 12 to 24 hours for signs to appear, but at that point the damage is already done."
If your dog receives treatment right away, Dr. Lippo says the prognosis is good. Symptoms include acting lethargic, not eating and vomiting. Flushing the system and soaking up the toxin begins the recovery process.
It was touch and go for Rio.
He spent six nights at the emergency vet. When Poates couldn't afford the 24-hour vet care anymore, she started treating Rio at home. Four months later, Rio is almost back to normal -- but not quite.
"They think there's probably permanent kidney damage," says Poates.
While treatment is a huge expense, to Poates, the cost didn't matter. She spent more than $5,000 on vet visits.
She's had to change Rio's diet to accommodate for the kidney damage. Dr. Lippo says the majority of people food is safe for dogs, including green beans and carrots, but such treats should be given in moderation.
If you think your dog has eaten a toxic food, take it to the vet as soon as possible.
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