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Can Dogs Eat Onions? Facts You Must Know

People food can cause problems for your dog. Foods which are safe and healthy for us can be unsafe and toxic for our companions. Onion which is considered as one of the healthiest food for humans, full of vital nutrients but the question is, whether is it safe for your dog? Can dogs eat onions? Let’s find it!

can dogs eat onions

Are onions good for dogs?

Onion like garlic, chives or leeks belongs to the allium family and is highly toxic to both cats and dogs and should always be kept far away from canine’s reach.

Why are onions bad for dogs? Thiosulphate and Organosulphur, substances present in onion are actually toxic for canines and can cause gastrointestinal irritation and could even lead to red blood cell damage as dogs do not have the enzyme to digest these substances.

Onions and Heinz body anemia: While any dog can develop onion toxicity but certain breeds like small and toy breeds and breeds of Japanese descent including the shiba inu, Japanese chin and Akita are highly sensitive to onions. Dogs affected by onion toxicity may develop Heinz Bodies Hemolytic Anemia, where the red blood cells rupture while circulating in the body.

Onions actually cause toxicity by oxidizing hemoglobin in the red blood cells. This oxidation of hemoglobin results in small clumps in the red blood cells. These small clumps also known as Heinz bodies prevent the red blood cells to carry oxygen that is needed for the proper functioning of the body. Heinz bodies are not considered life threating as red blood cells still carry oxygen but can cause problems like decreasing the life span of the red blood cells which eventually results in anemia.

How much onion can cause toxicity?

An occasional small amount of onion is not harmful to dogs but the consumption of a large amount of onion at a time as well as the small amount for quite some time can be highly toxic.

Can dogs eat cooked onion? Onion in any form is toxic for canines. The toxicity can occur if a dog has taken onion in any of the forms raw, dehydrated, cooked or powdered.

It also varies depending on the kind of onion and the total amount consumed. If your dog has ingested a high amount of onions at one time then he/she may develop sudden anemia which will continue for several days.

If your dog eats a small amount of onions for many days then he/she may develop anemia gradually for weeks to months. The exact amount of onion to make a dog sick will depend upon the size of the dog, however, consumption of 15-30 g/kg onion can cause serious problems in a dog. To put it in perspective one quarter cup of onion, raw or cooked, can make a 20 lb. dog sick.

Signs of onion Toxicity in dogs

If your dog has ingested onion, the toxicity may vary from one to several days depending on the amount of onion consumed. Veterinary experts say that toxicity from onion can include:

  • weakness
  • Lethargy
  • Diarrhea,
  • Vomiting,
  • Depression
  • Dermatitis
  • Pale or bluish gums
  • Increased heart and respiratory rate
  • Elevated temperature
  • Dark colored urine
  • Labored breath

What to do if your dog has ingested onions?

If you suspect that your dog has recently eaten onions the best approach would be to induce vomiting using household hydrogen peroxide (a 3percent solution) about 1 tablespoons for a ten pound dog.         Note: Do not induce vomiting if your dog has ingested a caustic substance as it will have an even dangerous effect. Monitor your dog very carefully and if you see any problem call your veterinarian immediately. Only prompt treatment could save the life of your pet. Treatment usually involves inducement of vomiting, flushing out the stomach, bathing and drying the dog, or will depend upon the severity of the condition. In case the dog is severely anemic blood transfusion may be conducted.

can dogs eat onions

To cut long story short can dogs have onions? No, never, onions like other members of the allium family including garlic, chives and leeks are poisonous for dogs and should be avoided in whatsoever form.

As responsible pet parents, you need to be very much cautious about the safety of your pet. You may not be aware that many things in your house that are healthy and safe for you are greatly harmful and toxic for your canines. If you have a pet companion it is always wise to pet proof your house and provides a safe environment so that your dearest buddies remain safe and sound from all those life threating stuff.




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