Dog Care

Can Dogs Eat Onions? Why Onions Are Toxic To Dogs

Can Dogs Eat Onions? Why Onions Are Toxic To Dogs

Written By Amica Graber

Mar 22, 2017

You’re chopping onions in the kitchen while your doggo watches with hungry eyes. As soon as you turn your back, Fido is counter surfing like a pro, gobbling up your expertly diced veggies in a millisecond.

Uh-oh. Is a visit to the V-E-T in your future?

Can Dogs Eat Onions?

No, dogs cannot safely consume onions, and they should be completely avoided. Even if your dog has previously scarfed down other foods on the no-no list and generally appears to have an iron stomach, onion is in a class of its own when it comes to toxic foods for pets.

It only takes a tiny amount of onion to poison your pet, so pay extra attention while using onions in your cooking, and make sure you don’t drop any on the floor by accident.

So, why can’t dogs have onions? Onions contain a toxic ingredient called thiosulphate, which is poisonous to pets, including cats. Should your pet eat onion, they’re likely to suffer from hemolytic anemia. Hemolytic anemia causes red blood cells in your pet to suddenly burst, and if left untreated, it can be fatal.

Unfortunately, onions are used so commonly in cooking that they’re lurking in places that you might not expect. Always double-check the ingredients if you’re feeding your dog people food or table scraps. Salads, pizza, soups, and other foods that may contain onions or onion powder should be avoided. And remember, when in doubt, as your vet.

In fact, veterinarians advise avoiding table scraps altogether so you don’t accidentally give your dog anything toxic. All members of the onion family also contain thiosulphate, so watch out for:

  • Garlic

  • Shallots

  • Red onions

  • White onions

  • Spring onions

  • Scallions

  • Leeks

Some dog breeds are even more susceptible to onion poisoning than others. Japanese dog breeds, such as the Shiba Inu and Akita, are prone to have severe reactions to onion toxicity.

Can Dogs Eat Cooked Onion?

All onions are toxic to dogs: cooked, raw, or in powder form. While most dogs will generally avoid the smell of raw onion instinctively, when it’s hidden in products like soup or pizza, there’s a greater chance that dogs will consume onions in toxic amounts.

How Much Onion Is Poisonous To Dogs?

Veterinarians have found that as little as 3 teaspoons of onion consumption can result in toxicosis. Dogs that eat a portion of onion more than 0.5% of their body weight are at high risk of suffering from onion toxicity, and they should be taken to the vet at once.

Help! My Dog Ate Onion! What Do I Do?

If your dog has eaten onion, get in the car and go to the vet. Symptoms of onion poisoning in dogs include:

  • Lethargy

  • Lack of appetite

  • Excessive salivating

  • Loss of motor skills

  • Pale gums

  • Weakness

  • Vomiting and diarrhea

Treatment For Onion Poisoning In Pets

If caught early enough, your vet may induce vomiting in your dog with activated charcoal. If the onion has already been digested, your dog may need an IV, oxygen, and possibly even a blood transfusion if symptoms have already developed.

How To Induce Vomiting In Dogs

Ideally, a vet will induce vomiting, but if you live far away from a veterinary clinic and time is of the essence, you can induce vomiting yourself. You’ll need either hydrogen peroxide or salt.

Add one teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide for every 10 lbs of your dog’s body weight to water. If you don’t have hydrogen peroxide, apply a pinch of salt to the very back of your dog’s throat. In some dogs, hydrogen peroxide has an immediate effect, so maybe consider doing this outside or away from a carpeted area.

Stay Away From Alliums

Onions, garlic, shallots and other onions are all from the allium family. If you grow your own alliums, keep an eye on your dog when they’re playing near your garden. Chomping down on alliums will have the same effect as eating onions.