04 October 2017

Is Grapefruit Poisonous To Dogs ?

Surprisingly the answer is yes, grapefruit can be toxic to dogs. While it is uncommon in my experience for dogs to eat grapefruit this is fact another potential household hazard which dog owners should be aware of, please read further for expected symptoms and usual treatments. The toxic elements in grapefruit are said to be essential oils and the substance psoralen but these are in much higher concentrations in the skin { Rind } of the grapefruit so the chances are that things will not be so serious if a dog just eats smaller amounts of the flesh. 

Are Grapefruit Poisonous to dogs
Grapefruit can be toxic to dogs.

1. Symptoms : The expected symptoms of grapefruit toxicity in the dog can include vomiting, diarrhoea, depression and also an inflammatory skin condition as the psoralens are known to lead to photosensitive dermatitis when ingested and then the dog is exposed to UV light from the sun.

2. Treatment : If you know your dog has swallowed grapefruit rind or larger amounts of the grapefruit flesh then one of the best things you can do in this sort of situation would be to induce vomiting. If you can do this within the first hour after ingestion then you may well save your dog distressing side effects. 

A commonly used way to induce vomiting in the dog is with 3% hydrogen peroxide { Not hair colouring peroxide } A usual oral dose is one teaspoon { 5 ml } per 10 pounds of body weight. Vomiting should occur within 15 to 20 minutes but if no vomiting occurs, you can safely repeat the process a second time.

However if you fail to induce vomiting and symptoms develop then you should take your dog to a vet as soon as you can, there is no antidote to grapefruit toxicity in the dog, just supportive measures so detoxification is the key. Your vet might give activated charcoal orally to help mop up any free toxins in the dog's digestive tract and then give any necessary supportive care such as fluids or anti-vomiting meds depending on the symptoms appearing at the time. Where the skin has been affected then anti-inflammatory ointments may be helpful, in this situation it would be important to keep your dog out of the sun until the danger { Photo-sensitisation } has has passed.

3. The bottom line is that with grapefruit toxicity in the dog deaths would be unlikely but it can potentially cause your dog distressing adverse symptoms and side effects. So the best plan would be to make sure your dog has no access to grapefruit, say via grapefruit rinds in the trash, and if you have a grapefruit tree in the garden then you should take measures to keep your dog away from it if possible.