Can Dogs Eat Onions? Is Onion Safe For Dogs?

Can dogs eat onion?

This is a complete guide to answer this question.

I am going to be covering everything about the safety of feeding onion to your dog and some dangers associated with doing that.

So without much being said, let`s get started.


onions on a table

Onions are classified as vegetables and they are the most widely cultivated species of the genus Allium family.

The vegetable has been known to add flavor to food and packed with nutrients that have a lot of health benefits for humans.

But are onions safe to dogs just as they are to humans?

Can Dogs Eat Onions?

Dogs are allergic to onions and they should not be allowed to eat it in any amount. Onions are one of the most dangerous foods to feed your four-legged friend because they contain a toxin that is safe for humans but poisonous to dogs.

The toxin will attach to the oxygen molecules inside your dog`s red blood cells and cause damage to your dog’s red blood cells.

The ability of the dog`s red blood cells to carry oxygen molecules is reduced and the body is oftentimes tricked to consider the red blood cell as a foreign body and the red blood cell will be destroyed as part of the defence mechanism of the body.

Is Onion Safe And Good For Dogs?

It is not safe for dogs to eat onions and as mentioned earlier, onions contain a toxin that is safe for humans but is extremely dangerous to dogs. The toxin is called n-Propyl disulfide and it is this compound that causes a breakdown of red blood cells which the leads to anemia in dogs.

is onion safe for dogs to eat

Can Dogs Eat Onion Rings?

Any part of an onion is not for dogs to ingest. Onion is very toxic and poisonous for the four-legged animal so the safest thing is to avoid the vegetable at all cost.

Can Dogs Have Onion Powder?

Onion powder is simply dehydrated onion so it is still not safe for dogs to eat it. Dehydration does not remove the n-Propyl disulfide chemical which is the substance toxic to dogs.

What About Cooked Onions?

Dogs should not eat onions whether cooked or raw. n-Propyl disulfide does not fully decompose even at higher temperatures so it is still active in cooked onions.

Why Are Onions Not Safe For Dogs

n-Propyl disulfide affects dogs by attaching itself to the oxygen molecules inside the red blood cells of dogs and reducing the ability of the blood cell to carry sufficient oxygen for the body`s metabolism.

The body is then confused and will start to consider the red blood cell as a foreign body. As part of its defence mechanism the body is forced to destroy the affected red blood cell in a process known as hemolysis.

Hemolysis will then result in hemolytic anemia which is a disorder in which red blood cells are destroyed faster than they can be made.

hemolytic anemia in dogs

The susceptibility of different species to the effects of onion toxicity is controlled by a lot of factors like the hemoglobin structure and their protective enzyme systems.

Will A Small Amount Of Onion Hurt Your Dog?

Onion toxicity is very fatal in dogs and it has been proven that consumption of as little as 15 to 30g/kg can cause some serious hematologic changes for the man`s best friend.

The effects have been consistently noticed when animals consume 0.5% of their body weight in onions and studies have also proven that a very high dosage in one meal or spread apart over some days can also trigger the damage of red blood cells and lead to hemolytic anemia.

What Happens If Dogs Eat Onions?

There are two stages for the visual symptoms of onion toxicity in dogs and here is a quick breakdown of each stage:

Stage One

The first symptoms usually include:

  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • abdominal pain
  • loss of appetite
  • depression
  • dehydration.

Stage Two

The signs and symptoms associated with the loss of red blood cells and their damage through hemolysis will usually take a few days to be noticeable. Here is a brief list of some of the observed signs:

  • pale mucous membranes
  • rapid respiratory rate
  • difficulty to breath
  • lethargy
  • dark coloured urine – reddish or brown
  • jaundice, weakness
  • rapid heart rate
  • Haematology processes may also reveal neutrophilia, lymphopenia, Heinz-body anaemia and methaemoglobinaemia.

The bottom line is the fact that onion toxicity is very critical in dogs and it is very important to seek professional medical attention once you suspect that your dog eaten onions or you are actually aware that they have taken a bite of the vegetable.

Can A Dog Recover From Eating Onions?

The is no medical antidote to treat the effects of onion toxicosis in dogs but medical professionals have come up with effective ways of treating this life threatening condition.

The first thing that you have to do once your dog has eaten onions is to induce vomiting so that you can get rid of any piece of the vegetable that is in the body system before it can actually cause harm.

But we do not advise you to ever try to treat your dog on your own so the best option is to call the pet poison helpline ( (888) 426-4435 ) or run to your nearest veterinarian once you suspect that your dog has eaten some onions.

Can Onions Kill Dogs?

Dogs are allergic to onions and it is not safe for them to eat this vegetable in any form.

This is because onions contain a toxin called n-Propyl disulfide that is safe for humans but is extremely dangerous to dogs. n-Propyl disulfide causes a breakdown of red blood cells which the leads to anemia in dogs.

Once you find out that your dog has eaten onions or even suspect it the first thing that you have to do is to induce vomiting.

You can do this on your own depending on the nature and level of the situation but we strongly advise you to always seek professional help in times like this one.

You can call the pet poison helpline ( (888)- 426-4435 ) or visit your nearest vet for professional advise and checkup.

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This site does not constitute pet medical advice, please consult a licensed veterinarian in your area for pet medical advice.