Can Dogs Eat Onions? Is It Really That Bad?

Written by: Bojana Radulovic
If your dog eats onion, even the smallest bite, he is danger of having his health disrupted. Learn why.

Onions are popular as a nice addition to tasteful meals. But, although they are popular people either love them or not. And what about dogs, can they eat white, red, or yellow onion? If your canine ate onions, what should you do?

Can Dogs Eat Onions?

Long story short, no. Onions are not dog-friendly and you should avoid feeding your canine with this human vegetable. Onions can cause more damage to your furry friend than just disturbing breath. This culinary addition contains a toxin that can cause some really serious complications for dogs.

Thiosulfate is a regular substance found in onions that is toxic to canines. But, why is this substance dangerous to dogs? Dogs don’t have the enzyme used to digest this substance and therefore it can be extremely dangerous to them. How eating onions can affect your dog’s health depends on the amount of onion that he eats. So, if your dog eats a small piece of pizza with onions on top of it the chances are that he will probably be fine, as long as it’s just a minimal amount of onions.

However, if you feed your dog with a significant amount of onions on a daily basis you should be ready for some major health issues. In that case, you should have veterinarian number on a hand reach. Onion also contains a compound named organosulfur that results in toxicosis – a condition that appears only in poisoning situation. Onion ingestion leads to:

Are Onions Toxic To Dogs?

Onions are known for containing a toxic principle known as N-propyl disulfide. In most cases, N-propyl disulfide leads to a breakdown of red blood cells, that unquestionably leads to anemia in dogs. Furthermore, red blood cells are mostly destroyed in a process known as hemolysis, resulting in difficult type of anemia, named hemolytic anemia.

Dogs And Hemolytic Anemia

Hemolytic anemia is a condition that can destroy a dog’s red blood cells depending on how much onions dog consumed. Interestingly, it’s safer for your dog to ingest a large amount of onion in a single sitting than a very small amount of onion over a length of time. Remember this in case you have guests over with a strong urge to feed your canine with some onions.

Also, food, in general, contains at least a small amount of onion or onion powder. This is just one of the many reasons why you should always read food labels. There are a few symptoms that serve as a common warning sign for this type of anemia, including:

Also, signs such as vomiting, loss of appetite, and diarrhea may be noticed as well.

Signs Your Dog Has Eaten Too Many Onions

All onions are dangerous to your dog, no matter how they are prepared. So, bear in mind, cooked, raw, steamed, and even sauteed onions are dangerous and you should keep your dog away from this delicious meal addition. But, what happens if he still manages to have a bit or two without your knowledge? How to know should you call for help, or you should just wait for a few hours and monitor his behavior.

First things first, look for any sign of extra lethargy. If your dog is more lax than usual, it is your first sign that something is wrong. Secondly, you should look for symptoms like panting, fainting, and breathlessness.

What Parts Of Onions Are Toxic To Dogs?

This one is easy, as every single part of the onion plant is dangerous to your dog, including juice, the leaves, flesh, and extremely processed powders. Again, fried, raw, or cooked onion is bad for your dog.

It only needs 100 grams of onion per 20 kilograms of a dog’s weight to cause toxic effects. This formula means that a 45-pound dog would have to eat one medium-to-large-size onion to reach dangerous toxicity levels.

Garlic and onion powders are more dangerous than fresh onions. If you also have a feline as well, you should know that onions are even more dangerous to cats than to dogs, so always keep any form of the onion away from your pets and offer them more safe treats.

Can You Train Your Dog To Avoid Onions?

As we mentioned earlier in this article, even a small amount of onion can potentially poison your dog – even if your dog is a larger breed. Although it’s vital not to feed your dog with onions, it’s also important to train your dog to not get into the food that he shouldn’t eat.

The best way to protect your dog is to train him. A simple obedience command could save your dog’s life. A simple ‘no’, or ‘drop it’ should be a mandatory part of your dogs’ training as it really can save a dog’s life from toxicity. In addition, it’s important to teach your dog not to beg for food, because some people can find it really difficult to say ‘no’ to those big and round puppy eyes, and without knowing the non-healthy onion and dogs relationship, someone could hurt your dog from the best intention.

How Is Onion Poisoning Diagnosed?

It is easy for your veterinarian to diagnose onion poisoning. The poisoning symptoms are easily seen and additional blood test can confirm the condition, as a low red blood cell count will be likely visible. A proper blood test will show the best how severe poisoning is.

During a blood test, the veterinarian can see little clumps that will appear purple on the red blood cells. Besides, other health conditions can cause these symptoms, but if you suspect that your dog ate onion with should be enough for a proper diagnose. In other cases, the veterinarian can also conduct a urinalysis to see if there are high levels of hemoglobin in the urine.

Anemia can be visible in a blood smear examination even before the condition has caused a drop in a dog’s red blood cell count. Furthermore, you may check the dog’s stool for undigested pieces of onion or even analyze his vomit if he has become nauseous. Your veterinarian will probably ask what food you regularly give your dog, so you should know about food ingredients and labels.

How To React If Your Dog Eats Onions?

  • Contact your veterinarian
  • If your dog ate a bigger amount of onions, take him to the veterinarian immediately
  • If necessary and advised by your veterinarian induce vomiting in your dog
  • Find a new place for onion storage, out of your dos’s reach
  • Do not feed your dog table scraps that might contain onions

How Can You Protect Your Dog From Onion And Garlic Poisoning?

The best and the easiest way is to avoid exposure of both onions and garlic in any form. Re-think feeding your dog humans food like pizza and don’t let him eat food scraps. If you insist on sharing your food with your canine make sure that you read food labels before you start cooking. Last, but not least, keep the trash covered to prevent your dog from eating the discarded onions.

Can Dogs Eat Onions – Key Takeaways

Make sure that you always know, from day one, what food is safe for your dog and what can lead to severe damages and veterinarian visits and check-ups. Sharing food with your canine can always lead to unexpected outcomes if you are not well informed on ingredients that are safe for your dog to eat. That being said, make sure that you avoid any food that contains onion, even in smallest trails. Simple said, that’s the best way to keep your dog healthy when it comes to onion safety.

Frequently Asked Questions On Can Dogs Eat Onions

1. What Happens If A Dog Eats Onion?

Onions, just like garlic, are not safe for dogs and even the smallest amount can be toxic for them. However, the level of toxicity depends on how much of an onion a dog consumed. A significant amount of onions can destroy a dog’s red blood cells, leaving the dog without enough of them for proper, or healthy, functioning.

2. How Much Onion Is Bad For A Dog?

Only 100 grams of onion per 20 kilograms of a dog’s weight can cause toxic effects. If you don’t know how much 100gr is in onions, it is usually one medium onion size.

3. Can Onions Kill dogs?

Spicing up your food with onion is always a good and healthy option for you, but for your pet, it’s usually extremely dangerous as it can lead to numerous health problems. And yes, in some severe cases, onion can kill your pet. Furthermore, toxicity can occur with any kind of onions and in any form. Cooker, dried or powdered onion is equally dangerous.

4. What Are The Symptoms Of A Dog Eating Onions?

The most common symptoms of onion poising are vomiting, lethargy, diarrhea, excessive salivation, rapid heart rate, and usually the first one is the smell of onions or garlic on the breath.

5. How Do You Treat A Dog Who Ate Onions?

There are a few things that you should:

  • Induce vomiting to get the onions out of a dog.
  • Take your dog to the veterinarians office.
  • Give your dog enough rest and if needed dog-proof the area where you hold onions.