Can Dogs Eat Onions?

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Can dogs eat onions? This question is widely addressed through out a great deal of dog related websites, which in a way is why we have taken so long to discuss it here. However, in the quest for thoroughness, and to eventually have every type of toxic dog foods covered on Can Dogs Eat This – here is the bottom line.

Dogs Cannot Eat Onions!

So we all know this really – but lets take a close look at exactly what is going on when a dog eat onions, the symptoms of onion toxicity and what you should do if your pet has consumed this dangerous vegetable.

Can Dogs Eat Onions – the Dangers

Onions cause toxicity by oxidizing an oxygen-transporting protein called hemoglobin in the red blood cells. Essentially what is happening is that your dog is starved of oxygen from the inside. The oxidized hemoglobin are unable to carry oxygen efficiently around the body.

The hemoglobin form into clumps called Heinz bodies, and when your dog’s blood is put under the microscope, the presence of these clumps more or less confirms the existence of onion toxicity.

While the clumped hemoglobin will not cause life-threatening conditions in your dog themselves, (in practice the red blood cells are still able to carry oxygen, just not as well as before), the lifespan of those cells is severely reduced.

The most common issue if a dog has eaten onions over a long period of time, is anemia. However, if a dog consumes too many onions in a short space of time, seizure and death have been known to occur.

Can Dogs Eat Onions – Symptoms of Onion Toxicity

There are a few signs of onion toxicity in dogs, we have already mentioned anemia and with that comes lethargy, weakness and decreased stamina. Physically you may notice that your dog has red urine, or pale and bluish gums.

If you spot any of these symptoms, or are aware that your dog has managed to get at the onions, (whether in whole form, or from onion presence as part of an food ingredient), you should take him to the vets as soon as possible.

If caught in time, your veterinarian will be able to induce vomiting or administer something to help decrease the absorption of the onions. All of which n the long run will prevent further discomfort for your dog.

Can Dogs Eat Onions – Common Occurrence?

For all the accounts discussing onion toxicity, the condition itself does not occur too often. Maybe it is due to the wide knowledge base and the fact most dog owners know that this is not a food they can give their dog.

Similarly, dogs do need a substantial amount to cause severe toxicity, and we are warned to not even allow dogs to eat anything containing even a small amount of onion. Which of course is good advice, why dance with the prospect of poisoning your dog at all.

Annually, the ASPCA National Animal Poison Control Center records very few calls on onion toxicity and toxicity related issues. (Garlic and Chives are also dangerous for dogs to eat). Again, this may be due to the low amounts a dog is likely to consume, not being problematic enough to cause symptoms severe enough to report.

Bottom Line

We all know it – dogs should not eat onions. There are no benefits for your dog to eat them, and the dangers, if enough onion is consumed can be rather nasty. That being said, the cases of onion toxicity are low. Education and Owner awareness may play a big part in this, along with the amount that needs to be eaten for issue to arise.

So well done us dog owners really – it seems we are looking after our dogs well. Awareness of toxic foods for dogs has probable never been greater. We hope that websites such as Can Dogs Eat This help keep the knowledge base growing. That is our predominant aim after all.

Happy feeding.