It’s a well-known fact that a dog’s digestive tract is a lot different from ours. Dogs have shorter intestines, their stomachs are significantly higher in acidity compared to humans (dogs produce up to 100 times the amount of acid than that of a human stomach), and they lack the important enzyme amylase needed for digesting starch. This means that if dogs eat foods meant for human consumption, it will often make them very sick.
So, can dogs eat grape jelly? No. Why? Well, it’s bad news. Ingesting grape jelly could cause an upset stomach, diarrhea, vomiting, and possibly even lead to a blockage in your dog’s intestines. In 2013, when the ASPCA (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) found out that grape jelly contains acid levels that could irritate and potentially kill a dog’s stomach lining in some instances (which, in turn, could affect their kidneys and liver), they cautioned that it wasn’t wise to feed grape jelly to dogs.
To throw some light on the issue, in this article, we’ll go over 10 reasons why you should not feed grape jelly to dogs.
1. High Sugar and Acid Levels Can Induce Vomiting
Grape jelly is a type of food, specifically a fruit preserve that contains a wide variety of ingredients including black currants, sugar, and pectin. These ingredients have the potential to cause vomiting, even in healthy dogs. When the black currant is preserved in pectin, that is when things can get sticky (or should we say, stained?), as pectin is a thickener that contains a high amount of sugar and acids. This acidic nature is what can potentially irritate a dog’s stomach and result in vomiting and gastrointestinal upset.
2. The Preservatives Used in Grape Jelly Can be Harmful to Dogs
There are two main preservatives added to grape jelly that might not be good for dogs: sodium benzoate and potassium sorbate. While both preservatives are approved by the FDA for use in foodstuffs, they may still cause side effects in dogs, such as hives (urticaria), yellowing of the skin (jaundice), and anaphylactic shock.
3. Grape Jelly Could Cause Diarrhea
Grape jelly has the potential to cause diarrhea in dogs who have a sensitive digestive tract. For the same reason as causing an upset stomach and vomiting in dogs, grape jelly can also cause diarrhea because of its high pectin content. This ingredient is largely responsible for the jelly’s thickening capacity and the fact that it’s so rich in sugars isn’t helping matters. If your dog’s diarrhea lasts for over three days or is accompanied by other signs, like dehydration and mucus and/or bloody stools, then it might be best to take him to a veterinarian for further evaluation.
4. Vomiting and Diarrhea Caused by Eating Grape Jelly Could be Followed by Dehydration
In addition to the possibility of dogs vomiting from eating grape jelly, there is also a possibility that they can get dehydrated from it. This is because dogs who throw up tend to not be able to keep down water and food, and will thus lose water and nutrients through vomiting and diarrhea. Dehydration will usually be accompanied by other signs like depression, lethargy, sunken eyes, dry gums, increased thirst, and loss of appetite.
You might also be interested in “Can dogs eat apples?”
5. Large Amounts of Grape Jelly Could Lead to Liver Failure
As mentioned above, if a dog’s stomach is not able to handle grape jelly well, there is the possibility that the other internal organs of the dog may be affected. The gastric contents are likely to spill into other vital internal organs which can cause damage, the liver being one example. This organ is responsible for metabolizing (or turning substances into forms that are easier for the body to use, like proteins to sugar) and filtering blood in your dog. If the liver is infected or damaged, this could lead to a long list of dangerous health effects including vomiting, jaundice, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and death.
6. Eating Grape Jelly Could Cause Diabetes in Dogs
When a dog ingests a lot of sugar, it can lead to diabetes which can be fatal. To put it simply, for a dog with diabetes, the pancreas loses its ability to produce insulin, which is what regulates the amount of sugar going to the body’s cells. The resulting sugar levels could be too high for the body to use, causing serious damage to bodily organs. Even if your dog is not diabetic, eating foods that are high in sugar can cause him/her to get diabetes. This is especially true of grape jelly since it has a high sugar content.
7. Grape Jelly Can Trigger Lethargy in Dog
If too much grape jelly is eaten, it could cause lethargy in dogs. Lethargy (or feeling tired and sleepy) is often a sign that your dog isn’t happy or healthy. This could be due to any number of things, like not enough sleep, lack of physical activity, pain, stress, etc. However, if your dog is lethargic for no apparent reason for more than 24 hours (or lethargic after eating grape jelly), then this could be indicative of an underlying health issue such as liver failure, diabetes, and/or pancreatitis.
8. Eating Grape Jelly Could Result in Appetite Loss
Eating food that’s high in sugar can cause dogs to eat less. If your dog eats grape jelly on a regular basis, it could cause appetite loss because of the high sugar content. Not only can this cause weight loss, but it also could be indicative of other problems such as dehydration, liver failure, and/or acute renal failure. Moreover, this could include a decreased appetite for food other than grape jelly.
9. Grape Jelly Could Cause Kidney Failure in Dogs
It is common knowledge for any dog owner that even a small amount of grapes could lead to acute renal failure in dogs. So, it is safe to assume that grape jelly, which is made out of grapes, sugar, and other ingredients could potentially lead to renal failure. While this isn’t exactly common for dogs eating grape jelly, it is still something to be aware of. Additionally, dogs that have been diagnosed with renal failure from eating grapes should be even more careful about eating grape jelly.
10. Regular Consumption of Grape Jelly Could Lead to Pancreatitis
When a dog ingests a lot of grape jelly or other foods with high sugar content, this could potentially lead to pancreatitis. This is another condition where the pancreas becomes inflamed and can no longer produce enzymes needed for proper digestion. If untreated, this condition could lead to liver problems, and possibly even death if left unchecked. Take your dog to a veterinarian immediately if he exhibits symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, lethargy, loss of appetite, and jaundice.
As can easily be seen, there are several reasons why grape jelly could be dangerous for dogs. In addition to the digestive issues discussed above, this food could also cause liver damage, kidney failure as well as pancreatitis. While any dog can get sick from eating grape jelly, those with sensitive digestive systems or those prone to chronic diseases should avoid it altogether. If your dog does eat a small amount of grape jelly, you should monitor him/her for at least 24 hours for any illness or symptoms.
While dogs can survive a bout of vomiting or diarrhea from eating grape jelly, these conditions can be deadly if left untreated. The same goes for pancreatitis and all the other diseases discussed above. This is why it’s important to take your dog to the veterinarian if he/she is vomiting or has diarrhea after ingesting grape jelly.
Thank you for reading the article.
To explore more, check out our other articles on grapes for dogs.
Have you ever tried feeding grape jelly to dogs? What was their reaction like afterward? Leave a comment below and let us know.