My Dog Ate Grape Jelly. What Should I Do?

Published on
Fluent Woof is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you.

Key Takeaways:

  • Grapes and grape jelly are extremely toxic for some dogs.
  • The toxin in grape jelly is unknown, but it can cause acute renal failure in dogs.
  • Even a small spoon of grape jelly may be enough to poison some dogs.

Grape jelly is a popular staple in many households and pairs well with peanut butter. But is it safe for your pooch?

The quick and easy answer to this question is no. Grape jelly is not safe for dogs. All jams and jellies are high in sugar which can cause your pooch to have indigestion and diarrhea. But it’s the grapes that are toxic. While we’re not sure why or how this fruit poisons dogs, it can cause acute kidney failure in susceptible pups.

How Much Grape Jelly Is Toxic to Dogs?

Even a small amount of grape jelly is toxic to dogs. Grapes are extremely poisonous for some dogs. As a matter of fact, it only takes 1-2 grapes to poison some 10-pound dogs. Because grape jelly is made by boiling down several bunches of grapes and then adding sugars and other ingredients, it contains a toxin that’s harmful to dogs. Depending on your dog’s size, even a small spoon of jelly can cause your pooch serious health problems.

While grapes are the most concerning ingredient for dogs, other components of grape jelly can make your pooch sick. Most jellies contain corn syrup and high fructose syrup to sweeten the treat so that grape jelly can be at least 55% sugar. Unfortunately, this overload of syrups can give your dog the runs. 

Grape jelly is made from grapes which are highly toxic to dogs. Even a few grapes can make a 10-pound dog very sick, and it may take only a small spoon of grape jelly to poison some pooches. The high sugar content of grape jelly can also give your dog diarrhea.

What Should I Do if My Dog Ate Grape Jelly?

If your dog ate some grape jelly, you should remove any remaining jelly from the area and try to determine how much he consumed. Then call your veterinarian or the Pet Poison Hotline at (855) 764-7661 and let them know what happened. Report the amount of jelly you think your pup ingested, when he ate it, and any symptoms you observe. Let the doctor know what brand of jelly was eaten. If possible, have the jar handy to read the ingredients.

If your dog ate the grape jelly less than 2 hours before you report it, the doctor or technician may recommend that you try to induce vomiting. The best way to accomplish this is to offer your pup a small meal first to ensure there’s some food in the stomach. Then give your dog 1ml/pound of body weight(to a maximum dose of 45 ml) of 3% hydrogen peroxide to induce vomiting. If needed, you can offer a second dose after 15 minutes, but don’t give any more after that.

If your dog ate grape jelly, remove any remaining jelly from the area, assess how much your pup consumed, and call your vet or the pet poison helpline. You may be instructed to try to induce vomiting. To do this, feed a small meal then give your dog hydrogen peroxide.

What You Should Do Immediately If You Suspect Your Dog Has Been Poisoned by Grape Jelly

If you suspect your dog ate grape jelly, you should immediately contact your veterinarian. Both grapes and grape jelly can be extremely poisonous for some dogs. Take your pooch to the emergency clinic if you see any signs of poisoning(described below). The sooner he receives professional care, the better the chances for recovery.

Grape jelly is highly toxic for some dogs. If you suspect your pooch ate some jelly, contact your vet. When there are signs of poisoning, head to the emergency clinic immediately.

What if My Dog Ate a Lot of Grape Jelly But Is Acting Normal?

Grape jelly can be deadly for some dogs while others won’t react to it at all. It depends on your dog’s size, the amount of jelly consumed, and your pup’s sensitivity to the toxin. The problem is that you may not know if your dog has been poisoned until it’s too late.

Because the toxin causes kidney failure, it can take 6-12 hours or more for signs to manifest. By then, the damage to the kidneys is significant. If your dog ate a lot of grape jelly, the best thing to do is take him to the vet. The sooner he receives care, the better.

Some dogs are sensitive to the toxic substance found in grape jelly while others are not. The problem is that you may not notice signs of poisoning until it’s too late. It may take 6-12 hours or longer for symptoms to show up, but by then the kidneys can suffer significant damage.

Signs of Grape Jelly Poisoning

When dogs are sensitive to the toxins found in grape jelly, their symptoms usually start with vomiting and diarrhea within the first 24 hours. Many will start to get sick in the first 6-12 hours. As the poison affects the kidneys, you’ll notice signs associated with kidney damage.

  • Lethargy
  • Weakness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Increased thirst and urination
  • Dehydration
  • Abdominal pain
  • Foul-smelling breath
  • Oral ulcers
  • Tremors/shivering
  • Depression

Once kidney failure sets in, your dog will drink and pee less. Some pups will die less than 72 hours after eating grape jelly.

Dogs that eat grape jelly and react to the toxin will usually show signs of poisoning in 24 hours or less. The symptoms start with vomiting and diarrhea but include signs pointing to kidney damage and failure including depression, lethargy, and dehydration. At first drinking and peeing increase, but drops off later on. 

What Happens to Dogs When They Eat Grape Jelly?

When dogs consume grape jelly, some pups will be perfectly fine. In other pooches, the toxin attacks the epithelial cells of the kidney. Because the poison damages kidney tissue, it causes acute renal failure. If your dog doesn’t receive treatment, she could die in a matter of days.

Some dogs experience no negative effects when they eat grape jelly. For other pups, the toxins in the tasty treat will cause kidney failure and death.

Why Is Grape Jelly Toxic to Some Dogs?

The poisonous substance in grapes and grape jelly has not been identified yet. However, there are some theories about what causes toxicity in dogs.

  • Dog digestive systems can’t metabolize tannins and flavenoids found in grapes
  • Tartaric acid or bitartrate in grapes may be the culprit
  • There may be mycotoxins in some grapes used for grape jelly

Whatever the causative substance is, we do know that it damages the epithelial cells in kidney tubules. As kidney failure sets in dogs will stop drinking and producing urine. At this point, most dogs won’t recover from the poisoning.

The toxic substance in grape jelly has not been identified. However, when it affects susceptible dogs, it will cause acute kidney failure.

How Will My Vet Treat Grape Jelly Poisoning?

When you bring your dog to the vet for grape jelly poisoning, he’ll collect a history and conduct a physical exam to confirm the diagnosis. After that, he’ll start treatment which may include:

  • Inducing vomiting if your dog ate the jelly less than 2 hours before the office visit
  • Giving your pooch activated charcoal to neutralize any toxin still in the stomach
  • Hospitalization and IV fluids to flush the kidneys for the first 48 hours after ingestion
  • Monitoring bloodwork every few hours for 72 hours to evaluate your dog’s kidney function

Once the vet confirms a diagnosis of grape jelly poisoning, he’ll work to eliminate or neutralize any remaining toxin in the stomach. After that, he’ll administer fluids to flush and support the kidneys and draw periodic bloodwork to monitor kidney function.

How Long Will it Take for My Dog to Recover from Grape Jelly Poisoning?

The recovery period for dogs that suffer grape jelly poisoning depends on how much your pup ate, how severe the symptoms are, and how quickly you sought emergency care. Dogs that receive immediate treatment usually have a good prognosis and recover in a matter of days. If your dog develops kidney damage, the prognosis is guarded at best. Renal failure is not reversible.

There is no set recovery period for dogs that suffer from grape jelly poisoning. The prognosis and expected time of recovery depend on how much your pup ate and how quickly she received treatment. Once a dog has kidney damage, the prognosis is poor.

The Final Woof

Dogs should not eat grape jelly because it contains an unidentified toxin that can cause acute renal failure in some canines. Even a spoonful of grape jelly can be enough to poison some dogs. If your pooch consumes any amount of this tasty treat, you should contact your vet or the Pet Poison Helpline immediately. Early treatment can be the difference between life and death.

The unknown substance in grape jelly causes damage to epithelial cells in the kidney. As a result, dogs that are susceptible to poisoning suffer kidney failure. It may take 6-12 hours or longer to notice the first signs of poisoning, but don’t wait. Getting your dog to the vet for immediate treatment may result in a better prognosis and faster recovery time.

Photo of author
Dr. Libby Guise earned her DVM from the University of Minnesota in 1994. After working in private practice in Wisconsin for two years, she joined the USDA as a Veterinary Medical Officer. In 2011, Libby came home to focus on raising and teaching her adoptive daughter. She lives in Wisconsin with her daughter, husband, and two furbabies: Charis, a lab-mix rescue pup, and Chesed, a Springer Spaniel.

Leave a Comment