The Cost of My Dog Eating a Cup of Raisins

The raisins were in a plastic container that was inside a zippered backpack—but Lucy was determined.

Photo credit: Jenn Durfey, CC BY 2.0.

My dog Lucy’s favorite snack is garbage juice: the stinky sludge that leaks out of the bottom of piled-up trash bags on the sidewalk. Obviously her tastes are not discerning — if it has a smell, she wants it in her mouth.

To her credit, Lucy generally confines her grazing to the sidewalk and knows to leave indoor “people food” alone. Therefore, I thought the 10-oz. plastic container of raisins ($4.99) I bought to take to work the next day would be safe in my zippered backpack. Unfortunately for both of us, Lucy’s dachshund nose and determination not only sniffed out the raisins, but liberated them from my bag while I was out running errands.

I arrived home to find the annihilated raisin box on the floor. There was nary a raisin in sight — just a wagging dachshund sitting proudly next to her kill. I turned immediately around and ran to the pharmacy down the street for first aid supplies.

Raisins and grapes are toxic to dogs, but it’s an idiopathic toxicity, meaning no one is exactly sure what element of the grape causes the ensuing kidney failure, and it’s impossible to predict which dogs will react and which won’t. A chihuahua could eat an entire bunch of grapes and be fine, while a single raisin might fell a Great Dane. I knew from prior dog CPR and first aid training that I needed to get Lucy to barf up those raisins ASAP.

At the pharmacy, I grabbed a bottle of hydrogen peroxide and a dosing syringe ($5.48). I ran back home and administered 20 mL to Lucy, who was decidedly less pleased with herself by this point. A few short minutes later, the raisins reappeared all over the rug, which got a thorough dousing of Nature’s Miracle ($7.06) later that night.

Next was a call to the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center ($65) to find out if we needed to go to the ER. The kind staff on the phone explained that we could wait and see if Lucy developed a reaction, in which case we’d need to rush to the hospital and she’d need intensive, expensive treatment, or we could go in right away for preventative care.

I leashed up poor, bewildered Lucy, her tummy still rumbling from the hydrogen peroxide assault, and we made the 15-minute dash to the nearest animal hospital. Lucy was admitted for 48 hours of IV fluids and monitoring of her renal values ($1,166.64).

I waited anxiously the following day for news from the vet about the state of Lucy’s kidneys. I lose my appetite when I’m nervous or stressed, so to maintain my energy, I splurged on a food I can almost always get down, even in my darkest hours: a stupid-expensive acai bowl from Liquiteria ($9.50).

The constant IV fluids kept Lucy’s kidneys flushed and safe, so 48 hours later I was able to bring my little buddy home, with instructions to come back the following evening for a final renal values check.

The vet told me to feed Lucy a bland diet for the next week, so I bought six organic chicken breasts ($35) and a large bag of white rice ($3) to cook for her.

The follow-up blood test the next evening ($59.70) was normal. Lucy was in the clear.

Total cost of my dog eating a cup of raisins: $1,356.37. The vet said it’s unlikely that Lucy will have any long-term effects, so despite the brutal hit to my emergency fund, I think we were both pretty lucky. I learned never to underestimate a hungry dachshund, and Lucy lived to empty my wallet another day.

Erin Webreck lives in Brooklyn with her rescue pup, Lucy.

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