Did you know – Grapes, raisins and sultanas are toxic for dogs

Bowie vs Sultanas: 0 – 1

Amount of sultanas: About half a kilo – Bowie’s weight was about 30kg

Collateral damage: Signs of acute kidney failure, 3 nights stay at the hospital, 7 litres of IV fluids

Outcome after treatment: Urine and blood tests came back normal, negative blood in the urine, no damage to internal organs, manhood intact

Cost: $1150

Lesson to be learned: Always have soda crystals handy (especially when you have a Labrador) and puppy proof the kitchen

It was early April 2017, Bowie (13 months old then) was left by himself for literally 10 minutes. My husband and I were outside talking to a friend. We came back inside and found him in the living room with a destroyed tupperware container. We quickly put two and two together and realised that he managed to get a sealed tupperware container full of sultanas from the kitchen bench and devoured almost half of a kilo of them. FYI – the tupperware had been sitting there for many months and he didn’t even touch it – until now.

Our first response was to google ‘Can dogs have sultanas’ and ‘How to induce vomiting in dog’. We tried salt and baking soda to induce vomiting with zero result. It was 10pm and no pharmacies or vets opened. As a last resort, we called the after-hours emergency vet and explained the situation. This is where it got interesting.

Vet #1 said and I quote: “In my 15 years of experience as a vet, I’ve never encountered dogs got sick eating sultanas. In fact, in the old days people used to feed them grapes. He should be fine. Just see how he goes tomorrow morning.” Okay, we thought we did the right thing – we called the vet and he assured us Bowie would be fine.

Morning came and we noticed that Bowie was drinking excessive amount of water and eliminating it almost immediately. His urine colour was very clear. It didn’t feel right. Coincidentally, he was scheduled to have castration that day so we flagged the ‘sultanas episode’ to Vet #2.

Vet #2 wasn’t overly concern but told us he would run a test anyway just to be sure. Urine test came back abnormal with trace of protein, glucose and blood. We were told Bowie had to have a 48 hours IV fluids treatment to flush the toxins through his body system. The fluids would dilute the concentration of the toxins and support circulation to his organs, especially his kidney and liver. However they could only have Bowie during the day at the cost of $800!! They couldn’t provide the necessary overnight or weekend care so Bowie had then to be moved to another hospital for further care. Well, that’s not acceptable!

We had to make a few phone calls and source other vets that provided overnight and weekend care. We found one, so off we went to Vet #3. He was very helpful, comforting and made the whole process so easy for us. He personally looked after Bowie during the weekend and kept us updated with his progress. We came to visit Bowie in the weekend to keep his spirit up.

Bowie recovered well. He’s as cheeky and boisterous as ever when we picked him up. The vet prescribed him with VetACE and Bowie had to have another urine test done in a month. The urine test came back normal and the vet gave him a clean bill of health.

We would joke now that he concocted the ‘sultanas scheme’ so he could keep his manhood intact.

In summary, it was the most expensive 10 minutes of my life. If Vet #1 did the right thing and didn’t give us the wrong information, the whole thing could be avoided. Anyway, what’s done is done. We’re grateful we found Vet #3 who had been very accommodating throughout the whole ordeal and didn’t charge exorbitant amount like Vet #2.

Helpful Tips
Vet #3 advised us to get soda crystals (eg. Bexters Soda Crystal) as first aid for inducing vomiting. Induce vomiting should be done immediately (no more than 2 hours) after the dog ingested the substance.

You may need another person to help you hold your dog as he’s likely to put up a fight. Tilt the dog’s head back and open his jaw. For Bowie’s weight (30 kilos), a teaspoon of soda crystals (not crushed/diluted) to be administered down the throat. Make sure you clamp your dog’s jaw shut with your hands until you are certain they swallow the crystals. Vomiting should occur immediately. If you’re unsure or your dog hasn’t vomited, please call your vet.

Soda crystals have saved us two times – one when Bowie ingested a cherry liquor chocolate with its wrapper and two when he swallowed a cricket ball leather covering. Certainly a handy first aid kit to have especially when you own a Labrador.