There’s a lot of truth in the old “my dog ate my homework” joke: many dogs will eat anything! So naturally, as a good pet owner, you probably want to know what foods can be dangerous for your furry friend. Can dogs eat grape jelly? The short answer is no, but here, we’ll jump into why (and what to do if your dog eats grape jelly by mistake).
Can Dogs Eat Grape Jelly?
You’ve probably heard that dogs shouldn’t eat grapes before. And as toxins go, grapes are especially dangerous: they can cause kidney failure in dogs! Since grape jelly almost always contains at least some grape juice, it isn’t safe for dogs — don’t offer it to your pet in any amount!
Why Are Grapes Dangerous?
Veterinarians and pet owners have long known that eating grapes is dangerous for dogs. But historically, nobody has known exactly what toxin in the fruit is dangerous.
Some recent research suggests that the large amount of tartaric acid in grapes and raisins may be the main cause of grape poisoning. But ultimately, veterinarians aren’t 100% sure.
Grape ingestion can cause pain, vomiting, and other symptoms in dogs. But grapes kill dogs by attacking kidney function. The toxic ingredients in grapes can cause acute kidney failure, and that often leads to sudden death.
How Many Grapes Does It Take to Kill a Dog?
There is no exact toxic dose of grapes or raisins. However, the dog’s weight usually will influence the level of toxicity. Larger dogs typically would need to eat more grapes to develop symptoms.
However, the American Kennel Club notes that breed, age, or sex of a dog has no bearing on how sick they will get if they eat grapes. Sometimes, even one grape can give your pet complications.
Some dogs who eat grapes develop severe kidney failure, some develop mild illness, and some may not get sick at all. Some individual dogs seem to be more sensitive to grapes than others.
It’s impossible to predict how your dog’s health will be affected until he or she actually eats grapes. Of course, this isn’t something you want to test! Thus, it’s safe to assume that any number of grapes will be dangerous for your dog.
Why Is Eating Grape Jelly Dangerous?
It’s never a good thing if you’ve just discovered your dog has eaten grapes. But how about grape jelly? Grape jelly usually contains grape juice, pectin, and sugar. (Many types of jellies also include various dyes and natural or artificial flavors as well.) And of course, grape juice contains compounds that are very toxic to dogs.
As you likely already know, it takes a large number of grapes to make a relatively small amount of grape juice. Like dried grapes, grape juice will contain a higher concentration of grape toxins by volume. In some cases, it may be worse if your dog ate grape jelly than if they ate actual grapes.
It’s worth noting that your dog also should not eat jelly made from plants in the same family as grapes. For instance, the currant is a related fruit that is sometimes made into jelly. It’s toxic to dogs too.
How Much Grape Jelly Will Kill a Dog?
Some dogs may be able to eat a whole handful of grapes without repercussions, while others may get very sick from a single grape. Likewise, it’s impossible to know how much grape jelly will kill a dog.
In addition, there’s a huge range of jelly variants out there. Some types of grape jelly may contain a lot of natural fruit, making them more toxic than most. Others may be made up of almost all artificial flavors, making them comparatively safe.
Even if a dog doesn’t suffer serious health consequences from eating grape jelly or other grape-containing products, they are likely to at least feel sick or experience vomiting, nausea, or diarrhea. Therefore, you shouldn’t consider it safe to give your dog even a small amount of grape jelly.
Is Grape-Flavored Jelly the Only Dangerous One?
You already know that you shouldn’t let your dog eat grape jelly. But what about other types? After all, most types of fruits aren’t toxic to dogs.
Even if another jelly type contains no grape juice, it can still cause problems. Lots of dog owners don’t know that dogs cannot break down and use sugar as efficiently as we can. So if a dog has a large sugar intake (even occasionally!) it can cause some unpleasant and potentially painful digestive issues.
If you regularly give your dog human food with a lot of sugar, your pet can eventually develop health problems. These are similar to the health problems humans can develop after years of an unhealthy diet: obesity, diabetes, and heart problems are common.
If you often give your pet sugary foods, make sure you stop feeding your pet junk food and move to healthier alternatives! There are plenty of delicious and healthy snacks out there for your dog, and you’ll be ensuring that your pet has a bright and happy future, too.
Watch Out for Sugar-Free Jellies!
You now know that too much sugar is bad for your dog. So does that mean sugar-free jellies are dog-safe?
No! Grape-flavored and other sugar-free jellies might sound like a delicious treat, but they are arguably more dangerous to dogs than grapes.
That’s because sugar-free products often contain xylitol. This is a sugar alcohol that is extremely toxic to dogs, even in very small amounts.
Xylitol can make your dog’s blood sugar rapidly fall, potentially causing seizures. It is also known to cause sudden liver failure and even death.
Jellies aren’t the only things containing xylitol: it’s commonly found in sugar-free gum, candy, and mints.
Signs of Grape Poisoning in Dogs
Most dogs are curious and will go after any food within reach. But sometimes, despite your best efforts, your pet might manage to eat grape jelly behind your back. Make sure you know the signs of grape or grape jelly poisoning:
- Signs of abdominal pain
- Excessive thirst
- Weakness or loss of energy
- Not producing urine
What to Do If Your Dog Eats Grape Jelly
Whether you’ve seen your dog eat grape jelly or have just seen poisoning symptoms in your dog, call your emergency vet right away. Immediate treatment is crucial. And don’t be fooled if your dog is acting fine; in many cases, it takes a bit of time before your dog has noticeable symptoms.
Luckily, there are several things your veterinarian can do to help your pet. If your dog ate grape jelly very recently, the vet may be able to induce vomiting to purge the toxins from your dog’s system.
In some cases, the veterinarian may instruct you to try and get your dog to vomit at home. If the grape poisoning seems mild and your dog can vomit right away, further treatment may not even be needed.
The vet also may administer activated charcoal, a compound that binds to poisonous substances and stops the body from absorbing them. If you aren’t sure what your dog may have ingested, a blood test will often give your vet an idea of the type of poisoning occurring.
If your dog has eaten grapes or grape jelly, your veterinarian will often administer IV fluids. Fluids will help make sure your dog is producing enough urine to rid the body of harmful toxins.
Protecting Your Dog From Grape Poisoning
Now that you know how dangerous grape jelly can be, it’s a good idea to take a few precautions to protect your pet. Luckily, protecting your furry friend from grape poisoning isn’t too hard. Make sure to keep grapes, grape jelly, or a peanut butter jelly sandwich out of your pet’s reach. The same goes for anything with raisins in it (like trail mix and some types of cereal).
And remember — if your dog eats grape jelly, acting fast is the best way to help reduce the risk of severe health problems. Call your vet immediately!
Still not completely clear on what jelly types can be toxic? Here are some answers:
Technically, yes. Unlike grapes, strawberries aren’t toxic to dogs. But strawberry jelly simply has way too much sugar to be good for your dog.
However, strawberry and other flavors of sugar-free jelly can be dangerous for dogs. Many of these contain xylitol, an artificial sweetener that can be highly toxic to dogs, even in small quantities.
It’s hard to know exactly how much grape jelly would be fatal, as grape products have varying amounts of grape juice. But since even a few grapes can kill small dogs, even small amounts of grape jelly can cause severe injury or death. Don’t test your dog’s limits!