Can Dogs Eat Onions?


Onions are added to a wide variety of recipes, from sauces to soups. The vegetable brings an unforgettable flavor to our dishes and culinary masterpieces for their taste and aromatic enhancing properties. With onions contained in most recipes, you probably wonder if dogs can eat onions or foods containing onions as a pet owner. Here is an exclusive look at if onions are toxic for your dog and everything you need to know about feeding onions to your dog.

So, can dogs eat onions?

The simple answer is no! You should not feed onions to your dog. According to scientific research, onions are one of the dogs’ most toxic human foods. Eating onion can harm the dog’s red blood cells, resulting in a severe health problem known as hemolytic anemia. Even a small number of onions can leave your dog in hazardous conditions and probably cause death. Onions contain N-propyl disulfide, a toxin substance that initiates red blood cells breakdown, causing anemia. The toxin in the onion results in oxidative damage of the dog’s red blood cells. This happens since oxygen molecules bind to red blood cells, reducing their capacity to transport oxygen. Additionally, the dog’s body starts to mount an immune response to its own red blood cells, as they view them as foreign intruders. The red blood cells are then destroyed via hemolysis resulting in hemolytic anemia.

What Onion Parts Are Poisonous to Dogs?

Any onion parts are toxic to dogs, including the leaves, juice, flesh, and processed powders. Whether cooked, raw, or in powder form, onions are harmful to dogs. It’s also crucial to note that all onion types are hazardous. Red onions, white, green, yellow, and yellow onions are all not safe for your dog. Onion powders are even more toxic compared to fresh onions. Therefore, it is always important to check the label of any human food you give to your dogs, and any food containing onion powder should not be given to dogs. For those with multiple pet species at home, onions are also very toxic to cats as well as the dogs, so keep both your canine and feline meals free of onion treats.

What Are Other Harmful Foods for Dogs Similar to Onions

Onion is a species belonging to the allium family of root vegetables. Other species of the allium family include; shallots, garlic, scallions, leeks, and chives. All these allium species are lethal for dogs. Research reveals that garlic has a higher N-propyl disulfide concentration than regular onions meaning it can harm your canine friend even quicker. Also, remember that most foods contain garlic, onions, or onion powder. While your dog won’t eat a whole onion from the kitchen floor, although it’s still possible, the dog will readily eat a tasty onion ring or a bit of the breakfast quiche.

What Are the Signs of Onion Toxicity in Your Dog?

If a dog eats onions, the possibility is that the dog may get sick. Hence, it is essential to keep a close eye on any of these symptoms of your dog’s onion toxicity.

  • Decreased appetite
  • Pale gums
  • Fainting
  • Lethargy
  • Weakness

Reddish urine

According to ASPCA, other possible symptoms of onion poisoning include; vomiting, panting, and elevated heart rate. If not readily treated, a dog with these symptoms might experience serious complications such as kidney failure or death.

Treatment Of Onion Toxicity in Dogs

The best thing as a dog owner in treating and preventing onion toxicity is never to allow your dog to eat onions. However, if your dog suffers from toxic onion effects, you will need to take it to your veterinarian as fast as possible. Onion toxicity can be lethal, and the quicker you get your dog to the vet, the better the chances your dog will survive. The vet uses a microscopic test on a blood smear to diagnose onion poisoning or hemolytic anemia. The veterinarian might induce vomiting based on how recent your dog consumed the onions or administer activated charcoal to suck up the toxin in the gut. The vet will also provide supportive medical care until your dog can generate sufficient healthy red blood cells. The dog might require a blood transfusion to replace the damaged ones in more severe cases.

How Much Onion Can Affect Your Dog?

One of the things that make onions and other allium species dangerous for your canine friend is that it just takes a little to cause severe health issues in dogs. Generally, toxicity happens when a dog eats more than 0.5 percent of its total body weight in onions at once. In simple terms, even a small amount of onion or other toxic allium species can poison the dog. The smaller the dog, the higher the danger the onion will cause. A little piece of onion may not hurt a 150-pound dog, but it can cause severe health problems in a small dog such as a chihuahua. It is essential to understand the types of human food your dog can eat safely, as some foods are beneficial for dogs while other human foods can be dangerous for the dog’s health.

Healthy Vegetable Options for Dogs

Now that onions are toxic for your dogs, you probably wonder about the healthy vegetable options for your canine friend. Fortunately, many healthy vegetables are very safe for dogs instead of onions. Vegetables such as cucumbers, carrots, or green beans provide a healthy treat for your dog. You can also research other healthy vegetables and fruits for your dog.

Bottom Line

In the end, onions are toxic for your dog. They are one of the most hurtful human foods for our dogs. The onions are more dangerous because they are available in various forms. Onions are contained in everything from gravy and risottos to baby food and tacos. Additionally, it just takes a little onion to cause health issues to your dog. Therefore, always ensure to keep your dog safe from onions by restricting its access. Pay close attention when you have onions at home or when preparing food with onions or other allium species, so it doesn’t eat the pieces or the dishes containing them. It’s best to keep your canine friend entirely away from the kitchen, mainly when preparing meals.

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