Can Dogs Eat Onions? What Is Onion Toxicity?

Can dogs eat it

Written By: Angela Jakeson

Can Dogs Eat Onions? What Is Onion Toxicity?
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Can dogs eat onions? No. Onion is an essential ingredient in different cuisines worldwide. It adds flavor and aroma to a range of human food. Unfortunately, this vegetable is highly toxic to dogs and may place them in a life-threatening situation.

Find out the dangerous side effects of onions on dogs and know what to do if your dog ate them.

Can dogs have onions?

A bowl filled with sliced red onions.Onions are not suitable for dogs as they can cause Heinz body anemia or hemolytic anemia. It is a condition wherein a dog’s red blood cells (RBCs) are eradicated and removed from the bloodstream before the end of their usual lifespan.

Naturally, the bone marrow produces more blood cells to replace those that are defunct. However, in the case of hemolytic anemia, the bone marrow’s ability to produce enough RBCs for the body is significantly reduced.

Why can’t dogs eat onions?

A toxin compound called N-propyl disulfide is found in onions, making it toxic to dogs. N-propyl disulfide damages RBCs as it attaches to the oxygen molecules in blood cells.

This makes it difficult for the RBCs to carry oxygen. Moreover, it causes the body to view RBCs as foreign objects. As a result, hemolysis, a process in which RBCs get obliterated, occurs. If this condition is overlooked, it can develop into hemolytic anemia.

Every part of the onion plant is toxic to our canine companions, so make sure to keep its flesh, leaves, juice, and skin away from your dog. If you suspect that your dog has ingested onion, watch out for signs of hemolytic anemia such as:

  • Lethargy
  • Weakness
  • Decreased appetite
  • Pale gums
  • Rapid breathing
  • Jaundice
  • Brown urine
  • Enlarged lymph nodes

Take your dog to the vet immediately if he is showing these symptoms. Proper vet care is vital to ensure that he recovers from this condition.

Delayed medical treatment can lead to fatal consequences, including heart enlargement and, eventually, heart failure.

How much onion can a dog eat?

A closeup look at white and red onions.

Even a small amount of onion can be poisonous to a dog.

Generally, it can happen when a dog eats more than 0.5% of his body weight. For instance, it takes ¼ cup of onions to make a 20-pound dog sick.

Other factors can affect how much onions can cause toxicity. This includes your dog’s breed and size.

Japanese dog breeds like Shiba Inu and Akita are observed to be more vulnerable compared to other breeds. Small and toy dog breeds are also more at risk of onion poisoning.

What to do in case of onion toxicity?

If your dog ate onions, it is best to get him checked by the vet as soon as possible. Symptoms of onion poisoning may take days to appear. In some cases, it may be too late for treatment.

Bulbs of red onions fill up a bowl.

Symptoms of Onion Poisoning

Vomiting, lack of coordination, weakness, diarrhea, increased heart rate, hypersalivation, and appetite loss are common signs of onion toxicity.

If your dog exhibits these symptoms, bring him to the vet right away for diagnosis and treatment.

Diagnosis of Onion Poisoning

Your pet will need to undergo tests by the vet to determine what treatment is suitable for him. He may be required to take a microscopic test to detect hemolytic anemia by finding Heinz bodies on a blood smear.

Treatment for Onion Poisoning

If onion ingestion happens within 30 minutes to about an hour, induced vomiting will be performed to remove the toxins. However, if it has been over an hour, the vet will use activated charcoal to reduce the toxin absorption in the digestive tract.

Flushing out the stomach or gastric lavage is also another option. Then your dog will receive IV fluids to keep him hydrated.

In some cases, dogs that have eaten large amounts of onions may need a blood transfusion. In addition, dogs with liver damage due to the poisoning will likely require therapy.

Once the treatment is administered, all that is left is to do is monitor your pooch’s condition. Fortunately, dogs with mild cases of onion toxicity can recover quickly.

Can dogs eat cooked onions?

Cooked onions are bad for dogs as they can still cause poisoning. Cooking an onion will do nothing to its toxin level.

Can dogs eat onion rings?

Fried onion rings on a smooth surface.Onion rings are a tasty snack for humans but not suitable for dogs. Aside from toxicosis, this human food can also cause pancreatitis in canines. That’s because it is fried in oil and therefore contains high fat levels.

Can dogs eat green onions?

Bunches of green onions on the ground.Green onions or scallions are a member of the allium family, together with chives, leeks, garlic, and shallots. These are all potentially poisonous foods for your dog.

Any leftover human food, especially those containing these ingredients, should be properly disposed of.

Can dogs eat onion powder?

A small bowl filled with onion powder and surrounded by different types of onions.Feeding your dog onion and garlic powder is extremely harmful and life-threatening. In fact, the powder form is more potent than fresh onions. Note that they are commonly used in various types of food, including baby food and soups.

Other forms of onions, such as dehydrated, fried, and juiced, can also endanger your dog’s life. Do not give him human food to prevent your dog from accidentally ingesting onions.

Make sure to teach children not to share their snacks with dogs. Placing your spices in properly labeled containers and storing them where your dog cannot reach them is another good preventive measure.