Can I Give My Dog Onions? Frequent Question – Costly Mistake

can dog eat onions

It’s a well-known fact that onions cause bad breath. For the dogs, however, this vegetable has some pretty adverse effects, as it contains a toxin that’s capable of causing very severe complications. Even though this culinary favorite can add some flavor to your meals, you should think twice before giving some of it to your pooch.

In in this article, we’ll be searching for an answer to one of the most common questions of the dog owners – can my pup eat onions? We’ll also take a detailed look at the symptoms of onion toxicity in dogs, and also advise you what to do in case your pet ingests it. Read on!

Are Onions Toxic To Dogs? – Yes, Absolutely! 

As we already said, many people love this vegetable, and there are a number of different meals containing onions that you might enjoy. But, as always, one has to remember the fact that what’s tasty for the humans can also be extremely dangerous for the dogs.

Onions feature an ingredient that bears the name of thiosulphate that’s toxic to both dogs and cats. If these animals ingest this vegetable, their red blood cells will be damaged – it’s a disease called hemolytic anemia. This disorder will cause the red blood cells that are circulating through the pet’s body to burst.

It takes just a small amount of this vegetable to poison the pup – 15 to 30 g/kg causes clinically critical hematologic changes. It will only take about 100g of onion per 20kg of the pup’s weight for the toxic effects to appear. This means that a standard-sized dog could experience a severe toxicity level if he eats only one medium-sized onion. And since most of our furry companions are capable of eating a whole bag of onion rings given the opportunity, you can see why this can be a grave concern.

dogs onion toxicity symptoms

Garlic and onion powders are even more effective in this regard than the fresh vegetables. This is why it’s very important to put the onion powder on the food that dogs can’t eat list.

It can be very dangerous to your pets, so keep the tummies of your canine and feline friends free of all sorts of onion treats. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, breathlessness, as well as the loss of appetite. It may take a couple of days for these symptoms to appear, but more on that later.

Some Foods to Think About

As you already know, this veg can be found in a plethora of different foods humans like to eat. Unfortunately, this also includes some meals that the owner might not consider to be a danger to his pooch. Here’s a list of foods you need to make sure that they contain no onions before you feed your pup with them:

  • Chinese food
  • Tomato sauce
  • Pizza
  • Some types of baby foods

The already mentioned onion powder can be present in all sorts of foods in varying amounts. Never let your pet eat the table scraps before checking if there are any traces of this potentially very dangerous vegetable in them.

Symptoms of Onion Toxicity in Dogs

If you think that your furry companion may have eaten some of this veggie, look for the following signs:

  • Excessive salivation
  • Collapse
  • Irritation of the mouth
  • Reddish urine
  • Fainting
  • Pale gums
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weakness
  • Lethargy

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals also lists panting, elevated heart rate, and vomiting as the additional signs of the onion toxicity.

If you notice any of these symptoms, you’ll have to take him to your local veterinarian as soon as it is possible. He or she will diagnose the pup’s condition based on his blood work and the symptoms. If the veterinarian detects the formation of the so-called Heinz bodies or just the hemolytic anemia, and the pup was recently exposed to vegetables, all signs will inevitably point to onion toxicity.

There are many conditions that could be the possible causes of your pet’s hemolytic anemia, which is precisely why it’s essential to get an accurate diagnosis and give your pooch an appropriate therapy.

Causes of Onion Poisoning

Let’s have a look at some risk factors that are typically associated with the allium plants toxicity:

  • Ingestion of fresh garlic or chives
  • Chewing and opening a container of powdered or dried onions
  • Giving the pup food that was prepared for humans
  • Some breeds are more susceptible, like Shiba Inu or Akitas
  • Some factors make the pet’s red blood cells weaker and thus increase his susceptibility to poisoning, such as the glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase, zinc deficiency, as well as some drug treatments

What to Do When the Dog Ingests Onions

Immediately take your pooch to the nearest veterinarian.

If the poisoning has occurred just a few hours ago, the vet will induce vomiting and then give him some active charcoal that will reduce absorption in his bowels. He’ll probably tell you to closely monitor the pooch for the signs of anemia, and perhaps even recommend a diet that’s low in oxidants.

If your pup has ingested a sizeable amount of onions, he will probably have to stay in the veterinary hospital for an extended period of time. Severely ill dogs will usually be given supplemental oxygen and might even undergo blood transfusion process that will stabilize their bone marrows and allow it to produce healthy erythrocytes.

Possible Complications

It’s of crucial importance to watch the pup for the additional signs of distress, like pancreatitis, diarrhea, and gastritis. This is especially important if he has also consumed some fatty foods from the trash can along with the onions.

Knowing what foods your pooch might have eaten in the trash, in the yard, or in the house, could undoubtedly assist the vet in determining the nature of the issue, as well as the best way to treat the dog’s condition.

Supportive Care

If the onion ingestion was ongoing, the treatment is a straightforward one-stop feeding your pup with this and provide him with some supportive care. You’ll have to keep him quiet and comfortable.

If the pup has a low red blood cell count, you’ll have to prevent him from getting excited – the insufficient amount of red blood cells could cause him to pass out.

The good news here is that this kind of poisoning is rarely fatal. Once the onions get out of the pup’s system, his bone marrow will start to produce new blood cells and allow a complete recovery.

grapes and dogs

Other Typical Human Foods That Are Dangerous to Pets

Unfortunately, onion isn’t the only kind of food that could be harmful to your pet. Take a look at the following foods – you should keep them out of your pet’s reach:

  • Avocado – cats and dogs typically can have a bad reaction to avocados, but it’s the birds that are in greatest danger. If they eat some of this fruit, they will have severe respiratory problems and possibly die.
  • Raisins & Grapes– both of these fruits easily cause kidney failure in most breeds and some cats. Every form of these fruits should be kept out of the pet’s reach, and that includes grape juice and raisin bagels.
  • Caffeine– pets usually react to caffeine with increased heart rate, restlessness, increased thirst, diarrhea, and vomiting. The reason behind that is the fact that caffeine is, actually, a toxic stimulant for the pets.
  • Alcohol– pets can come into contact with alcohol through all sorts of untypical sources, like the rum-soaked deserts and unbaked dough, for example. Alcohol could cause your dog to have low body temperature and low blood sugar, which usually ends with seizures and even coma.
  • Chocolate – most pet parents see chocolate as a toxic substance for their four-legged companions. Here, a rule of the thumb is as follows – the darker the chocolate is, the more harmful it can be for the Buster. Darker chocolates have more theobromine and caffeine, and these substances can have a harmful effect on the pup’s organism.
  • Sugar-Free Foods (Xylitol) – Xylitol is a natural sugar substitute that’s quite dangerous for the pets. It’s capable of causing things like liver damage and the drop in the blood sugar.
problem with dogs and chocolate


All people eventually get tired of the food that they eat every day – they simply want variety. But do dogs need to eat nothing except their boring dog food? Well, no, they don’t. They can eat plenty of different meals intended for humans. But it’s of essential importance to remember that they don’t have the same bowels as we do – a pet owner should always be careful about feeding his four-legged friend with human food.

Onions are certainly something to avoid – they can cause some very severe health complications for the dogs, as they contain a lot of thiosulphates that lead to anemia and other serious health issues. Always check if the food you’re about to give to your pooch has some onions in it – if it has, just finds some other treat.