Can dogs eat onions? Why you should not feed them to your dogs

We adore using onions, garlic, leeks, and scallions in our culinary creations because of their aromatic and flavor-enhancing capabilities.

This plant family, however, is the most hazardous to our pets. Even a tiny quantity can put our canine pals in danger and lead to death.

Let’s look at onions in more detail to see why they’re so toxic to our pets.

The Onion

Onions are root vegetables that belong to the allium family. Garlic, leeks, scallions (green onions), shallots, and chives are all good choices.

Onion toxicosis can be caused by any type of onion, including white, yellow, and green onions.

All components of the onion, including the leaves, meat, skin, and juice, are poisonous to your dog, whether cooked or raw.

Onion toxicosis is more common among dogs of Japanese heritage, such as Akita and Shiba Inu, according to the ASPCA.

Are onions toxic to dogs? Here is what happens if your dog eats onion

N-propyl disulfide is the chemical component in onions that causes onion poisoning. Hemolytic anaemia is caused by the destruction of red blood cells.

This is how it works:

N-propyl disulfide is a sulfur chemical that may be found in all sections of allium plants. Dogs are unable to digest it because they lack the enzyme required to do so. That’s fine, and you’d think they’d simply dump it out, wouldn’t you? Nope, as soon as it enters your dog’s system, it becomes a harmful substance.

This sulfur molecule binds to the red blood cells of the dog, specifically haemoglobin, the oxygen-carrying protein in the blood. The red blood cells suffer oxidative damage as a result, and they are unable to transfer oxygen throughout the body effectively. On a blood smear, they form aggregates called Heinz bodies, which are the unmistakable symptom of onion poisoning (under the microscope, it looks like a purple glob on the red blood cells).

A struggle begins within your dog’s body. Their bodies perceive Heinz’s bodies as intruders, and they strive to exterminate them. It’s important to remember that these are the red blood cells that are now considered the enemy. Hemolysis, also known as the damage of red blood cells, is the term for this process.

The struggle will continue if left uncontrolled. The body is destroying red blood cells quicker than it can make them, and those that are produced have shorter lifespans. When your dog’s body doesn’t get enough oxygen to keep its organs and systems functioning, it swiftly devolves into severe anaemia.

Symptoms might emerge fast, although they usually take a few days to appear after intake. Onion poisoning causes the following symptoms:

  • Lethargy
  • Abdominal pain
  • Elevated heart rate or respiratory rates
  • Decreased stamina or even fainting during or after exercise
  • Loss of appetite
  • Pale gums
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Loss of coordination (ataxia)
  • Discoloured urine

Kidney failure or death might result if medical treatment is delayed.

Is there a safe quantity of onions for dogs to eat?

The short answer is no.

Only .05 percent of your dog’s body weight in onions will be harmful if he gets into them one day and consumes them. For a 45-pound dog, that’s one little onion. Consider the ramifications for a Yorkie puppy!

Hemolytic Anemia is particularly frightening since it may slowly build up in the circulation over time.

Consider this: You eat egg bits or quiche for breakfast every morning, and they contain onions or onion powder, and you give your dog a little taste every morning. Then you eat a hamburger for lunch, and your dog grabs a mouthful (the raw or grilled onions leave their juices on the bread and the burger). You serve onion rings or sautéed mushrooms and onions with your steak for supper, and you give your dog a piece of meat. In his system, toxicity builds up. Onion toxicosis symptoms will appear eventually.

When dealing with any amount of onion, particularly onion powder and garlic powder, which are more powerful than genuine onion, speed is the key. Also, garlic powder and garlic are more harmful than onions, so don’t give your dog any of these.

What is the treatment for onion poisoning?

Take your four-legged companion to the vet immediately away if you believe he or she ate an onion, even a piece of one! When it comes to onions, remember that timing is everything.

  • Diagnosis: 

A urinalysis will be performed to search for increased haemoglobin in the urine, as well as blood tests to look for Heinz bodies on the red blood cells. If you have any questions, the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Helpline is there to help you 24/7.

  • Treatment:

If onions have been consumed lately, vomiting may be produced. There might also be a gut flush to get rid of any poisonous or undigested food.

To absorb toxins in the intestines, they may use activated charcoal.

The bloodstream will be flushed, and hydration will be maintained with IV fluids.

Supplemental oxygen and blood transfusions may be required in severe situations.

  • Prognosis:

Until the crisis is passed, your dog will spend some time in the veterinarian’s office, where he will be attentively monitored. Most dogs will recover quickly after a moderate case of onion poisoning, but more severe instances may take longer.

Pet insurance can come in handy in situations like these, enabling you to focus on your dog’s health rather than worrying about vet bills. Pumpkin recognizes this and offers “Best In Show” pet insurance to provide you peace of mind in the event that your pooch needs medical attention.

It’s worth noting that cats are more likely than dogs to get onion toxicosis. A few years ago, there was a rise in onion poisoning in cats. Veterinarians frequently utilize baby meals to persuade cats that have gone off their diet to eat again. They determined that the problem was a result of the onion powder in the infant’s food. Thankfully, onion powder is no longer used in infant food.

The bottom line for dogs and onions

It is unsafe for your dog to ingest raw onions, dried onions, onion powder, onion juice, fresh or cooked onions of any sort (yellow, green, white, etc.) in any form. Because it can build up in their blood over time, even a small amount administered on a daily basis might cause severe anaemia and even death in your cherished canine companion.

There is nothing like a safe amount of onion for your dog, and the toxicity levels are determined by its size, age, breed, and overall health. A little dog may be able to get away with a modest bit of onion, whereas a large dog may not. However, we should never offer onions to our dogs in any form, even human food. It’s as easy as that—onions and other members of the allium family may be fine for us dog owners, but they’re a no-no for dogs.

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