Onion Toxicity and Our Dogs

Out of the various human foods that are poisonous to our dogs, one is particularly common because of its widespread use: onions. Here, a Tampa veterinarian answers your questions about onion toxicity and our canine companions.

How do Onions Cause Poisoning?

Onions contain a compound known as thiosulphate, which leads to hemolytic anemia. This is when your dog’s red blood cells are damaged, potentially even bursting as they circulate through your pet’s systems.

What are the Symptoms of Onion Poisoning?

The most common symptoms of onion poisoning in dogs are weakness, vomiting, diarrhea, and breathlessness. Because of the these symptoms, many dogs lose their appetite as well. It’s important to note that symptoms of onion toxicity can take several days to show up in your pet—don’t assume your pet is fine if nothing happens after a day or two.

What About Different Types of Onions?

Both cooked and raw onions contain thiosulphate, so they’re both dangerous for our canine companions. Whether onions are diced, chopped, red, white, green, or any other variety, it’s safest to avoid them entirely to make sure your pet stays safe. Also remember that many varieties of human foods contain onions—from pizza to sauces to salads, the danger to your pet is widespread.

How Much Does it Take to Poison My Dog?

As a general guideline, a pet that eats more than 0.5 percent of their body weight in onions can be poisoned. In other words, it doesn’t take much! A few grams of onions could be enough to cause serious symptoms in a small dog. Always keep onions off of countertops and tables so your dog doesn’t have the chance to swipe any.

What Should I Do if My Dog Eats Onions?

If you see or suspect that your dog has eaten onions, call your veterinarian right away. It may be necessary to take your dog to the veterinary hospital quickly. In most cases, quick veterinary action will return your pet to full health quickly. Severe cases of poisoning may require lengthy hospital stays or even blood transfusions. Keep your Tampa vet’s number on hand to call quickly in the event of an emergency.

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