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Can Dogs Eat Grapes?

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As most pet owners are well aware, most dogs will eat absolutely anything. They will snack on grass, vomit it up, and then eat that. They will inhale another dog’s pile of poop like it was a Michelin-starred meal. If humans stuck to a canine-approved diet, we would grow alarmingly ill, family members gathered around our hospital beds to keep vigil as our condition deteriorates, all while our dog munches on discarded syringes.

Despite their constitution, however, some seemingly harmless foods tend to challenge a dog's cast-iron stomachs. A common question: Can dogs eat grapes? If not, why not?

There’s absolutely no ambiguity about the former. Grapes—a fruit from the genus Vitis plant—are confirmed to be highly toxic to dogs. Ingesting even a tiny bit of a grape can, in extreme cases, lead to acute kidney failure. Your dog may also experience lethargy, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dehydration, and reduced urine output.

If your dog is suspected of having ingested a grape, urgent medical attention is necessary. You would need to induce vomiting to try and clear the grape out of the dog’s digestive tract. A veterinarian can guide you through the steps.

Whether the dog is able to upchuck or not, urgent veterinary attention is essential. The vet might use activated charcoal to absorb the grape or begin to monitor for signs of kidney damage.

All this over a grape? It might seem ridiculous given a dog’s hearty appetite for things that would make a human double over, but it’s a fact. Researchers don’t yet know why dogs react to grapes in this way, other than recognizing some component of the fruit is absorbed as a toxin in the animal’s system. This also holds true for raisins (which are actually dried grapes, of course), another seemingly harmless snack that can prove fatal for dogs.

If you ask a friend or family member whether dogs can eat grapes, they might tell you it’s breed- or size-dependent. It is not—any dog of any breed or size can have a serious reaction to grapes and raisins. You also want to avoid garlic, onions, chocolate, almonds, and macadamia nuts, For a healthy pet, be responsible and limit their diet to commercial dog food, water, and the occasional turd.

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Big Questions
Why Does Turkey Make You Tired?
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Why do people have such a hard time staying awake after Thanksgiving dinner? Most people blame tryptophan, but that's not really the main culprit. And what is tryptophan, anyway?

Tryptophan is an amino acid that the body uses in the processes of making vitamin B3 and serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps regulate sleep. It can't be produced by our bodies, so we need to get it through our diet. From which foods, exactly? Turkey, of course, but also other meats, chocolate, bananas, mangoes, dairy products, eggs, chickpeas, peanuts, and a slew of other foods. Some of these foods, like cheddar cheese, have more tryptophan per gram than turkey. Tryptophan doesn't have much of an impact unless it's taken on an empty stomach and in an amount larger than what we're getting from our drumstick. So why does turkey get the rap as a one-way ticket to a nap?

The urge to snooze is more the fault of the average Thanksgiving meal and all the food and booze that go with it. Here are a few things that play into the nap factor:

Fats: That turkey skin is delicious, but fats take a lot of energy to digest, so the body redirects blood to the digestive system. Reduced blood flow in the rest of the body means reduced energy.

Alcohol: What Homer Simpson called the cause of—and solution to—all of life's problems is also a central nervous system depressant.

Overeating: Same deal as fats. It takes a lot of energy to digest a big feast (the average Thanksgiving meal contains 3000 calories and 229 grams of fat), so blood is sent to the digestive process system, leaving the brain a little tired.

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Big Questions
How Are Balloons Chosen for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade?
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The balloons for this year's Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade range from the classics like Charlie Brown to more modern characters who have debuted in the past few years, including The Elf On The Shelf. New to the parade this year are Olaf from Disney's Frozen and Chase from Paw Patrol. But how does the retail giant choose which characters will appear in the lineup?

Balloon characters are chosen in different ways. For example, in 2011, Macy’s requested B. Boy after parade organizers saw the Tim Burton retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art. (The company had been adding a series of art balloons to the parade lineup since 2005, which it called the Blue Sky Gallery.) When it comes to commercial balloons, though, it appears to be all about the Benjamins.

First-time balloons cost at least $190,000—this covers admission into the parade and the cost of balloon construction. After the initial year, companies can expect to pay Macy’s about $90,000 to get a character into the parade lineup. If you consider that the balloons are out for only an hour or so, that’s about $1500 a minute.

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

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