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3 min read

Can Dogs Eat Onions?


By Wag! Staff

Published: 03/13/2023, edited: 03/22/2023

Reviewed by a licensed veterinary professional: Dr. Linda Simon, MVB MRCVS

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Onions and other members of the allium family, including garlic, shallots, leeks, and chives, can be fatal to our canine friends. Onions contain an ingredient in their makeup called thiosulphate, which is incredibly toxic to dogs and cats. If your poor pup eats onions, you can run the risk of them experiencing hemolytic anemia, a very painful, and potentially fatal condition.

In other words, keeping your dog far away from onions is always vital. Let's take a look at why onions can be so problematic for dogs.

How much onion is toxic to dogs?

Unfortunately, even a small amount of onion runs the risk of your pooch experiencing hemolytic anemia, if eaten over a long period of time. Dogs can also become affected if they eat a large amount of onion in one sitting. This very painful, and potentially fatal condition damages and destroys your pup's red blood cells, decreasing the number of red blood cells in your dog's body. 

There are a number of factors that determine how your dog will be affected by onions - like dog size and the amount of onion digested. A toxic dose is typically over 0.5% of your dog's body weight. This means it only takes 100 grams of onion (about the size of a medium onion) per 20 kilograms of a dog’s weight to cause toxic effects, which means that a 45-pound dog would only have to eat one medium-to-large onion to experience dangerous toxicity levels. A smaller amount of onion can still be dangerous, especially in smaller dogs. 

All onions, whether cooked, raw, sauteed, steamed, or in powder form, are incredibly dangerous for your dog. Onion powder is more potent than the other forms, so always be sure to clean up any spills while cooking and don't give any of your food flavored with onions to your pup. 

If you suspect that your dog has ingested onions, it's best to take your pup to the dog-tor immediately! The sooner you act and get your pup the professional care it needs, the better they will recover.

red onions being chopped on a cutting board - Can Dogs Eat Onions

What should I do if my dog eats onion?

If your pup ate any kind of onion, it is extremely important that you consult your veterinarian, an emergency clinic or the Pet Poison Helpline immediately. Symptoms occur as a result of onion poisoning can take a while to appear, generally after 3-5 days from digestion, and include:

Treatment normally involves the inducement of vomiting, flushing out the tummy, and using activated charcoal to prevent toxicity. Other treatment plans may include maintaining your pup's hydration by providing fluid in his bloodstream, medication for liver damage, and calling for blood transfusions in more serious cases.

You should not attempt to treat a case of onion toxicity by yourself. In certain cases, inducing vomiting can cause more harm than good, so it's best to seek veterinary attention.

shallots, green onions and other onions in a bowl

Do dogs like onions?

It’s pretty unlikely that your dog would be interested in chomping into a raw onion, but a slice of pizza may make them drool! Onions are a common ingredient in many of our foods to provide flavor, and we all know dogs love anything we are eating. Before you decide to give your pooch any kind of prepared food, make sure to consider what the ingredients include. For instance, pizza, tomato sauce, some Chinese foods, and some baby foods contain onions.

We know that you don't want your dog to feel left out! If you feel like treating your dog to some special food, try some gourmet dog-safe recipes. 

Can my dog safely eat a small amount of onions?

Onions are one of the most dangerous human foods out there for our canine companions, so even if your dog ate a tiny bit, you should monitor them for symptoms. There is a chance that a small amount won't produce harmful side effects depending on the size of your dog. Keep in mind the general rule of thumb that your dog may be able to consume up to 0.5% of their body weight in onions without experiencing poisoning, but always consult your vet or the Pet Poison Helpline if you catch your dog eating onions. 

It can be ruff trying to keep your dog out of human food. To keep your pup safe from onion poisoning, it's essential that you're aware of the ingredients in any of the human food you may give them, and the potential effects on your dog's health.  

If your dog is at risk of experiencing onion poisoning, check out our pet insurance comparison tool. See how insurance plans from leading companies like Figo and Healthy Paws compare and choose the right policy for your pet! 

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© 2024 Wag Labs, Inc. All rights reserved.