Why Dogs Don't Like Raisins



In general, dogs love people food. Often he does not care what you are eating; the fact that you are eating it makes it desirable to him. As a pet owner, you might like to share your food with your pup in a moment of bonding or because he looks so cute when he asks you to share. Dog owners and trainers also use ‘people food’ to reward pets so it can seem like all people food is perfectly good for dogs. However, this is not the case as some foods can make your dog sick since his body is not capable of digesting them. Some people food is even toxic and possibly deadly for dogs. Raisins, which are dried grapes, are one of nature’s candies. Dogs probably would love their sweet taste, yet they are toxic. Do not give your dog raisins or foods with raisins at any point.

The Root of the Behavior

Raisins are a favorite treat for humans because they are full of vitamins and minerals, they are sweet, and they are easy to digest. They would seem to be a great high reward treat for a dog and easy for you to carry around at all times. However, they are a known toxin and can lead to gastric stomach upset and acute renal failure (ARF). Raisins are grapes with less water, so it is suggested that raisins are even more toxic than grapes because whatever aspect or aspects of grapes that are toxic is even more concentrated in raisins. Researchers have not determined what it is about grapes and raisins specifically that makes dogs sick. Some researchers suspect that grapes contain a salicylate, which is aspirin-like, that can decrease blood flow to the kidneys. Researchers also suspect that raisins contain a toxic substance produced by mold or fungus, called a mycotoxin, which may be too much for dogs to handle. Other theories on raisin toxicity include metabolic disruption and a unique reaction. It seems that some dogs do not struggle with raisins while others do, and it has nothing to do with age, gender, or breed. 

It is estimated that larger dogs can tolerate more raisins than smaller dogs, but this is not a guarantee. One of the lowest documented doses of raisins that caused ARF was .32 ounces of raisins per 1½ pounds of dog. There are typically 90 raisins in a 1½-ounce box, which could make a six-pound dog exceedingly sick. There are reports that just six grapes were responsible for the death of an 18-pound dog. But again, you never know how your dog will react and what are his particular limits. Researchers have looked into store bought grapes and raisins, different colored grapes and raisins, and different strains or breeds of raisins; all seem to be equally toxic to dogs. They have also tested grapes and raisins without the skin and it seems the flesh is the toxic part as skinless grapes were still toxic to dogs. Please note that it is important to not give your dog raisins, but also avoid foods that have raisins in them. Make sure he is not able to gain access to raisins or grapes in your home or yard.

Encouraging the Behavior

A dog can show signs of raisin poisoning within two hours of ingesting the raisins. Typically, the first sign is vomiting, and several hours later he may also present with extreme thirst, lethargy, and diarrhea. ARF may present within 24 hours and signs include the above plus tremors and decreased blood circulation. Often, undigested raisins can be found in the dog’s vomit or stool. Owners are recommended to take the dog to the veterinarian as soon as they suspect the dog has ingested raisins. If ingestion has been within the last two hours, your veterinarian will induce vomiting (if he has not vomited yet), as well as wash out the stomach, known as gastric lavage. 

The veterinarian will also give your pup activated charcoal to absorb any remaining toxins and then may give your dog intravenous therapy to flush out his system and encourage his kidneys to keep producing urine. Your vet will also run routine blood and urine tests and will monitor your dog for the next 72 hours to make sure his kidneys are not shutting down. The earlier you treat your dog for ingesting raisins, the better chance he has of coming out of the situation healthy. Removing the raisins from his system and blocking toxins within twenty-four hours is crucial. When the kidneys stop filtering his blood and producing urine, his blood pressure can rise and he can fall into a coma. At that point the prognosis is grim. Early intervention is key.

Other Solutions and Considerations

There are many foods that are not good for dogs and can be toxic, that you need to limit or avoid for a healthy pup. These foods include but are not limited to all members of the allium family such as onions, garlic, and chives, caffeine, citrus, chocolate, avocado, macadamia nuts, alcohol, yeast dough, coconut and coconut oil, Xylitol, undercooked meats and eggs, hot dogs and sausages, cooked bones that can splinter, fat trimmings, snacks that are high in sodium, and high fat cheese and dairy to name a few. Better choices are approved whole fruits and vegetables, lean unprocessed meats, peanut butter, and hard cheeses all in moderation and used as high value treats to reward them during training.


Your dog most likely would like raisins, and may try to sneak them if left to his own devices. Do not give him raisins or allow him access to raisins at any point as they are proven to be toxic to his system. While some dogs do not seem to suffer from raisin poisoning, and there are no solidly developed guidelines on limits, it is recommended to avoid them at all times. If you suspect or know your dog has ingested raisins, take him to the veterinarian immediately so that she can induce vomiting and administers charcoal to stop the absorption of toxins. Raisin poisoning can lead to ARF, acute renal failure, which can lead to death.