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Grapes toxic to dogs

Q: My rat terrier ate a few currant cookies. Are currants toxic to dogs?

A: True currants—black, white and red currants—are berries that grow on bushes of the plant genus Ribes. True currants, which are sold fresh or dried, are safe for dogs in limited amounts. In excess, they can induce stomach upset, but fortunately, they don’t cause any long-term problems.

On the other hand, Zante currants are not currants at all, but raisins, which are dried grapes. Zante currants are small dried black Corinth or Champagne grapes that grow on vines of the plant genus Vitis. Zante currants, sometimes labeled simply as currants, are easier to find in grocery stores than true currants.

A related fruit, the sultana, is a golden raisin. Grapes, raisins, sultanas—and Zante currants—can cause kidney failure and death in dogs, even in small quantities.

Whenever your pet steals these or other human foods, play it safe and call your veterinarian or one of the two national animal poison control centers: Pet Poison Helpline at (855) 764-7661 or the Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.

Editor’s Note: Knowing how to stabilize your dog during an emergency can help save its life. Here are some common emergency situations and pet first aid tips.

Lee Pickett, V.M.D. practices companion animal medicine. Contact her at

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