Thursday, August 19, 2010

Lovely Lucy's Luxury Lunch

Some of you already know that Kim caught Lucy scarfing up grapes this past Monday, grapes that had fallen into our yard from a neighbor's vine. And some of you know that grapes are usually toxic to dogs. (Raisins are even worse, by the way.)

We feel lucky on several counts: first, that Kim had actually followed the dogs into the yard, witnessed Lucy's feeding frenzy, and investigated; and second, that we had had recent experience in how to induce vomiting in a dog.

We spooned hydrogen peroxide into Lucy's mouth immediately. While we waited for the desired result, Kim went outside, cut off all the grapevines that hung over the fence, picked up all the grapes she could find in the grass, and set up a dog fence to keep the dogs away from that area of the yard. She came back inside just in time for us to give Lucy a second dose, after the first one didn't work.

By that time we were worried that my bottle of peroxide, which had failed to work with Oliver, had somehow lost its potency. Kim made a quick run to the drugstore for new peroxide, and just before she got back, Lucy threw up. Just foam, not grapes.

More or less as a precaution, Kim called the veterinarian. They told her that four or five grapes are enough to kill a dog Lucy's size and advised that she bring Lucy in immediately. Kim hung up the phone, and Lucy threw up again: one grape. Knowing Lucy's tendency to gobble her meal like a TV prison inmate, we were pretty sure she'd eaten more than one grape, so Kim packed her in the car and headed to the vet.

After Kim came home, she discovered another little puddle of vomit, tucked away beside the toy box, that contained four grapes. Apparently the first dose did work, and I missed it. Not that it's ever fun to come upon unexpected dog barf, but we were quite relieved to find those unchewed grapes.

Kim and I tried our best to figure out why the grapes have never been a problem before; the grapevine has been there for years. We thought maybe it had only recently grown long enough to hang over into my yard, but I have a photo from three years ago that shows grape leaves on my side of the fence. After giving it a lot of thought, I suspect the real reason this hasn't happened sooner is that Lucy never hung out on that side of the yard before. Every summer of her entire life, until this one, she'd leave the backdoor, race to the opposite side of the yard, and hang out under the fig tree, where she'd stuff herself with fresh, juicy figs. (We cut down the fig tree earlier this year, sadly, because the neighbor on that side was concerned that its roots might soon breach the lid of her septic tank.)

The animal hospital kept Lucy for two days. Her treatment included administration of activated charcoal to thoroughly clean out her stomach and IV fluids to clean any toxins out of the rest of her organs. She came home yesterday, slightly traumatized but with a clean bill of health.

Oliver had searched for Lucy for two days and seemed overjoyed to have her back. He, Butch, and Kadi surrounded her and sniffed her unusual, "doctor's office" scent for many long moments, while she tried her best to find a place where they couldn't get to her. I talked to Kim awhile ago, and she said Lucy is quiet this morning. She's sleeping a lot and hiding out under Kim's desk.

The ultimate cost of those five grapes? $575!!!


  1. Oh my, those were some expensive grapes! Glad Lucy is doing fine. I have grapevines along my fence but I've never seen grapes, I'll certainly start checking now though.

  2. I mentioned to Kim on Facebook that I used to GROW grapes for Maggie. It didn't start that way. Maggie ignored my grapes in spite of eating every other veggie / fruit in my yard...including LIMES! Then she saw her Granny eating grapes from the vine. From that day on, I rarely had grapes below waist high! I even caught her picking a bunch, curling up in a sunny patch and spitting out the seeds! I planted the same vine when I moved here...before hearing that grapes were bad for dogs. They never made til this year... Mabel ignores them.

  3. that dog is the cutes dog .

  4. Janet and Holly, I wonder if most dogs don't just ignore grapes. Our other three haven't shown any interest in them. We called the neighbor who owns the grapevine when Kim got home from the vet. She has a little dog, too, and we wanted to warn her. She didn't know about grapes' toxicity, either, and was alarmed. She's never seen her dog mess with the grapes, but she's blocked off the area around the vine so he can't get to them now, just in case.

    Patsy, she is cute. Once I saw her, I knew why Kim couldn't resist bringing her home.

  5. Oh wow! I'm so glad she's okay.

  6. I had no idea about grapes. And I often let my dog PLAY with frozen grapes in the summer. Either he has been extremely lucky or perhaps he never ingested one...

  7. I've had a couple of dogs that loved green grapes and ate them all the time. This was before we learned about toxicity to a lot of things, chocolate, onions, grapes, etc. Nothing ever happened to the dogs either. Tinker has never even gotten close to chocolate, onion or grapes because now I know. Is there anything else I should know about?

  8. Duly Inspired, she still has a mild case of diarrhea, but seems fine otherwise.

    Maria, I remember giving grapes to Butch and Kadi when they were young (before I knew they shouldn't have them), and both dogs spit them out and left them on the floor. To quote my daughter (who was paraphrasing what the vet said), "Apparently, some dogs aren't affected by grape toxicity. I don't know if Lucy is or not, but the problem is that if you wait until symptoms start to appear before getting treatment, by then it's often too late to save the dog. They go into acute kidney failure very quickly."

    Anonymous/Noel(?), there are lots of lists on the internet. I don't know how to add a link to a comment, but you can copy and paste the following to get to one of them:

    I'm pretty sure I contributed to the death of one dog by sharing chocolate with him. About a year and a half after a divorce, I moved into an apartment that wouldn't allow dogs, so Radar went to live with my new boyfriend. A few months later the dog got sick and died. I always blamed the boyfriend until I learned a few years later about the toxicity of chocolate.


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