can dogs eat onions

Can Dogs Eat Onion? Toxicity, Risks, Concerns

Can Dogs Eat Onion? Toxicity, Risks, Concerns

Because of the aromatic and flavor-enhancing qualities that they possess, we love incorporating ingredients such as onions, garlic, leeks, and scallions into our food. However, our dogs should avoid onions at all costs - onions are highly toxic to dogs. Even a small amount is enough to put our canine companions in a dangerous situation, and it could even result in their death. Let's dig a little deeper into onions to discover why they pose such a significant threat to our canine companions.

cut onions on a table

Why Are Onions Toxic To Dogs?

The presence of a chemical compound known as N-propyl disulfide in all Allium plants, including onions, is a significant contributor to the toxicity of onions when consumed by dogs. It has a direct effect on the red blood cells in your canine companion. N-propyl disulfide is problematic because it disrupts the production of an antioxidant in red blood cells.

These antioxidants play an important role in preventing the breakdown of hemoglobin, which is responsible for transporting oxygen throughout the body. After the hemoglobin in the red blood cell has disassembled, it will eventually settle out on the surface of the red blood cell, where it will be recognized by the body as an alien substance.

Hemolysis is the process by which your dog's immune system, which is only attempting to do what it was designed to do, begins the process of destroying the red blood cells of your dog. This ultimately results in a condition known as hemolytic anemia. Onions contain a number of other substances, some of which are known to cause low blood pressure, problems with blood clotting, diarrhea, and pain in the intestinal tract in dogs.

What Parts Of Onions Are Toxic To Dogs?

All parts of onions are toxic to dogs, from the leaves to the flesh to the skin to the juice. In addition, it makes no difference whether the onion is raw or cooked. Even cooking an onion does not remove the disulfide chemical, making it just as hazardous for your dog. It is essential to keep in mind that consuming any kind of onion can be harmful for your dog.

small dog at veterinarian sick from eating onions


No matter what color they are, white, yellow, red, or green, onions of any kind should never be given to your dog. Onions can also come in a variety of forms, each of which poses a hazard to your dog. The most hazardous form of onion for your dog to consume is powder, but consuming onions in any of their other forms also puts your dog in danger.

How Much Onion Can Make A Dog Sick?

In most cases, toxicity will develop in a dog if they consume more than 0.5 percent of their body weight in onions and the condition is allowed to progress without treatment. To put this into perspective, if a dog weighing 66 pounds consumed 5 ounces of onion or onion product, which is equivalent to the weight of just one medium onion, the dog would be at risk of being poisoned.

It is important to keep in mind that the onion plant is poisonous throughout its entirety, including after it has been cooked. If a dog is fed progressively increasing amounts of onion over the course of several days, the effects may also become more severe. Keep an eye out for onion powder because it is frequently added to a variety of different processed foods.

Symptoms Of Onion Toxicity In Dogs

If your dog consumes onion or any other vegetable in the Allium genus and becomes anemic as a result of the effects of the onion, you will start to see the following signs & symptoms:
  • Lethargy
  • Weakness
  • Decreased appetite
  • Pale gums
  • Fainting
  • Uncoordinated gait
  • Red-tinged urine
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Fast heart rate
  • Panting

There is a possibility that you will notice symptoms right away if your dog consumes onions or any other member of the Allium family. Unfortunately, the more severe symptoms that are indicative of anemia might not appear for a few days after the condition has already developed.

red onions in bowl


There appears to be a select few dog breeds that are more vulnerable to the effects of onion poisoning than others. There is also evidence from research that these breeds with a particular hereditary condition are more susceptible to the effects of the toxin and develop a more severe form of anemia as a result of exposure to it.

What To Do If Your Dog Eats Onions

Take The Onion Away From Your Dog

Keep your dog from consuming any additional onions or products containing onions. It is essential to keep the quantity consumed at a minimum as much as possible. If you know that your dog has consumed processed food that contained onion, you should check to make sure that there are no other sources of onion in any other foods.

Get The Details

Determine the quantity of onion that your dog has consumed and make a note of the time it happened. It is critical that you make an effort to estimate approximately how much onion product your dog has consumed so that the veterinarian can use this information in conjunction with the body weight of your dog to determine whether or not this is likely to be a toxic dose.

It is also helpful to try to determine when the onion was eaten by your dog, as this will allow the veterinarian to better plan the treatment that should be given to your pet.

Call Your Veterinarian

It is absolutely necessary to consult with your veterinarian, even if it's just to have a brief conversation about the problem over the phone. Give the information that you have gathered to the veterinarian, and they will be able to assist you in developing a strategy to deal with the situation.

Follow Your Veterinarians Advice

Your dog may need to be seen and examined in the clinic by the veterinarian, and the sooner this takes place, the better your chances will be of a positive outcome. If the amount that was consumed does not constitute a toxic dose, the veterinarian may be content for you to monitor your dog at home.

dog not feeling well

Treating Onion Toxicity In Dogs

When your dog is taken to a veterinary hospital, the veterinarian may give him or her a medication to make the dog throw up. This will depend on when the onions were consumed by your dog. When all of the onion that was in your dog's stomach has been vomited up, your veterinarian will administer a medication to stop the vomiting and then some activated charcoal to bind and neutralize any remaining onion matter in your dog's digestive tract.

In addition to that, they will draw some blood from your dog in order to determine the number of red blood cells he has. It is possible that your dog will require hospitalization, fluid therapy administered through an intravenous catheter, and, if the anemia is severe enough, a blood transfusion. These treatments will depend on the severity of your dog's condition.

In dogs, onion toxicity can result in fatal anemia if the condition is not treated quickly; therefore, it is imperative that you take your dog to a veterinarian as soon as you notice any signs of illness.

Can Dogs Eat Cooked Onions?

You should keep your dog away from onions in any form, whether they are raw or cooked. The cooking process has no effect on the safety of onions, and even cooked onions are dangerous for dogs due to the toxic effect they have on the dog's red blood cells. Toxic effects can be caused in canines by all preparations of the onion, including powder, dried, fresh, and cooked forms.

diced onions on plate

Review: Can Dogs Eat Onions?

Although onions are a common ingredient of a wide variety of dishes, it is not recommended that dogs consume them. Onions contain a substance known as thiosulphate, which is known to be harmful to dogs and can cause them to become anemic. Lethargy, weakness, vomiting, and diarrhea are all signs that your dog may be suffering from onion poisoning.

It is imperative that you seek immediate veterinary attention if you discover that your dog has consumed any amount of onions, even in trace amounts. Even though dogs shouldn't eat onions, there are a lot of other foods that are perfectly fine for them to enjoy. Onions aren't one of them. Have a conversation with your dog's veterinarian about the kinds of foods that are ideal for your canine companion.

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