We all love a perfectly seasoned dish. Of course, it’s a challenge to create one without onions and garlic, which are almost always imperative in every dish. But, did you know that onion-laced foods are dangerous to dogs? They contain a compound that can destroy a dog’s red blood cells and cause serious illnesses if left untreated.
Read on to know the threat of onion in a dog’s health and how you can avoid exposing your furry-loved one to this potential danger. More so, stick around for healthier alternatives that could equally satisfy a dog’s hunger.
Can Dogs Eat Onions?
Onions belong to the Allium species, which also includes garlic, chives, and leeks. They contain a compound known as Organosulfur which gives them that distinct taste and smell. Organosulfur can metabolize and damage the red blood cells of dogs that could lead to anemia.
Are Onions Toxic to Dogs?
The organic compound, N-propyl disulfide, is a type of Organosulfur compound that evaporates and irritates the eyes when one slices onion. This is also the culprit for onion poisoning among dogs. It is not removed even when food is cooked. It does not matter if the onion is yellow, red, green, or white. All of these contain N-propyl disulfide.
According to experts, the smaller the dog, the greater the threat of onion is to them. Poison is likely to occur when a dog eats onion that is about 15-30 grams per kilo of the dog’s weight. Roughly, this is about 0.5 percent of a dog’s total body weight (according to the blog, wagwalking.com).
Bigger dogs such as an English Mastiff may not be affected with small doses of onion but a smaller dog like a chihuahua may be easily poisoned even with small doses of the vegetable.
What Parts of Onions are Toxic to Dogs?
Every part of the onion is dangerous to dogs. There is no excuse whether to give them onion rings or any dish that is peppered with onions. Take a closer look at the ingredients of prepared foods as well because these usually contain onion or onion powder. Even baby food contains onions.
Experts at the American Kennel Club say it takes only 100 grams of onion per 20 kilograms of a dog’s weight to deliver poison to the dog. This means roughly one medium to large size onion could take down a 45-pound dog.
Symptoms of Onion Toxicity in Dogs
Stay alert and keep onions out of sight of your furry friend. Eating huge amounts of onion is highly poisonous to any dog and the toxins may quickly set in. In some cases, poisoning symptoms may appear after a few days. Here are the symptoms of onion toxicity in dogs:
- A lack of coordination in movements (Ataxia)
- Elevated heart rate
- Loss of appetite
- Pale gums
- Discolored urine
If your dog shows these symptoms, it is best to go to the veterinarian immediately or it may lead to kidney failure or death.
Treating Onion Toxicity in Dogs
In giving medical attention to a poisoned dog, the American Kennel Club said that a veterinarian may induce vomiting and offer supportive treatment until the dog’s body can produce red blood cells to replace the damaged ones. The blog, wagwalking.com, says a dog may also receive supplemental oxygen or a blood transfusion to support the production of new red blood cells.
Healthy Vegetables for Dogs
The American Kennel Club lists the following vegetables as good for dogs. These vegetables are rich in vitamins A, B, C, fiber, antioxidants.
- Broccoli — safe for dogs to eat in small quantities but huge amounts may cause gastric problems. Keep stalks out of sight as these cause obstruction to the esophagus
- Brussels Sprouts — high in nutrients and antioxidants. Large quantities of Brussels Sprouts may cause flatulence.
- Carrots — contains Vitamin A and is good for the dog’s teeth
- Celery — contains vitamins A, B, and C and promotes cardiovascular health, and has cancer-fighting properties. It can also give your dog a fresh breath.
- Green Beans — Ok for dogs and are full of fiber and low in calories
- Peas — Whether snow peas, sugar snap peas, English peas, or green peas, all of these are good for your dog to eat. They are rich in protein and fiber. Avoid canned peas with sodium.
- Spinach — feed them spinach in small amounts because large amounts of spinach may cause kidney damage in dogs. Spinach is high in oxalic acid that can damage the kidneys.
Why Are Onions Bad for Dogs?
Onions contain the organosulfur compound, N-propyl disulfide that can damage the red blood cells of dogs leading to Hemolytic Anemia. Symptoms of Hemolytic Anemia may begin to show as early as one day after ingestion of onions. Even if an onion is thoroughly cooked or powdered, it is still unsafe for dogs.
What Should I Do If My Dog Ate Onions?
Take your dog to the veterinarian right away, especially if you know that the dog has ingested large amounts of onion or if the dog is already showing signs of onion poisoning.
Each Layer Can Poison Your Pets
An onion’s leaves, juice, or flesh can cause poisoning to dogs. Every part of the onion is dangerous to your pet.
Are All Onions Dangerous to Pets?
Yes. All types of onions are dangerous to pets. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) said that vegetables belonging to the Allium species — garlic, onion, and chives — are dangerous to pets, especially to cats who are more susceptible to onion poisoning. But occasional small doses such as those found in pet treats are tolerable.
However, it’s best to feed your pet healthy treats with beneficial ingredients that are not from the Allium species.
Specific Foods To Think About
In principle, if you already know that a certain dish is laced with a generous amount of onion, chives, shallot, scallions, and garlic, never give it to your dog. As mentioned, whether in powder or juice form, onion remains toxic to your dog. The American Kennel Club also gives a list of human food that should not end up in your pet’s food tray.
- Almonds — can block the esophagus and tear the windpipe if the dog fails to chew completely.
- Chocolate — contains Methylxanthines that can interfere with a dog’s metabolism. It can cause seizures and even death.
- Cinnamon — the oils in Cinnamon can reduce a person’s blood sugar leading to vomiting, diarrhea, irregular heart rate, and liver disease.
- Ice Cream — high sugar may lead to lactose intolerance.
- Macadamia Nuts — can cause weakness, inability to walk, vomiting and may affect the nervous system of dogs
ASPCA adds that grapes and raisins may cause kidney failure and yeast dough, in large quantities, may cause gas in a pet’s digestive system. Raw or uncooked meat, bones, and egg pose the risk of E. Coli and Salmonella poisoning.
Symptoms of Onion Poisoning in Dogs
- Decreased appetite
- Reddish urine
- Increased heart rate
These symptoms, according to ASPCA, mean the dog should receive medical attention immediately.
Causes of Onion Poisoning in Dogs
According to vcahospitals.com, the organic compounds in these vegetables from the Allium family cause the bursting of the red blood cells. The red blood cells carry oxygen throughout the body and destruction of these means oxygen delivery is affected. This is the reason why the affected dog becomes weak and experiences anemia.
Moreover, there is also a relaxation of the heart muscle and dilation of blood vessels that cause low blood pressure.
Diagnosis of Onion Poisoning in Dogs
The veterinarian will combine physical findings and laboratory tests to diagnose your dog. The veterinarian will look for the presence of microscopic clumps of damaged hemoglobin inside red blood cells. This will confirm if the dog is indeed suffering from onion poisoning.
Treatment of Onion Poisoning in Dogs
Treatment includes vomiting (but this should not be done at home. Only a pet doctor should do this). A veterinarian may also use activated charcoal to decontaminate the Gastrointestinal tract of the dog. For severely ill dogs, they may require administration of IV fluids and medications plus blood transfusion and oxygen therapy to protect organs from damage.
Recovery of Onion Poisoning in Dogs
It is hard to say goodbye to a beloved furry friend so we should be mindful of what we are feeding them so they don’t leave so soon. Mild exposure to toxins from garlic or onions may lead to a swift recovery. Severe poisoning may take more time for recovery. A poisoned dog without medical treatment is likely to die from the toxins.
Onions are never good for dogs. Prevent poisoning by becoming aware of the food that you give your dog along with all the included ingredients. Make sure dogs are unable to access spices in the kitchen, garden, and trash.