How toxic are onions to dogs?
The toxic substance in onions is known as N-propyl disulfide and thiosulfate which breaks down the red blood cells and leads to anemia in dogs.
It can also cause oxidative damage to your dog’s blood, by attaching itself to the oxygen molecules in the blood cells. As a result, it reduces their ability to carry oxygen and tricks your dog’s body into thinking that the red blood cells are an invader.
The dog’s body then destroys the red blood cells which lead to anemia.
Which parts of the onion are toxic?
All of the parts of onion are toxic for the dog.
This includes the juice, the flesh, and the leaves as well. Whether cooked, fried, raw or even powdered, onions and the rest of the allium family which includes garlic, leeks, chives, and shallots are incredibly harmful to your dog.
Onion powder is available in plenty of foods, and you must always be extra careful with this because just 100 grams can be very toxic to your dog. Since dogs will eat almost anything, avoid leaving food containing onions within your dog’s reach; and this includes things such as onion rings that may fall accidentally as you enjoy them.
Things to watch out for
As already mentioned above, onions contain a highly toxic substance that can cause great harm to your dog. The problem is that your dog does not have the enzyme required to digest these substances, and therefore, you must exercise care with the following foods:
- Tomato sauce.
- Some form of baby food.
- Chinese food.
These contain some pieces of onions in them. So, ensure that your dog does not ingest any of them, and when buying, keep a close eye on the ingredients to determine whether they contain onions. You must also be careful with garlic powder because it is said to be even more toxic than fresh onions.
Symptoms of onion toxicity in dogs
Onions also contain a substance known as organosulfur which results in a condition known as toxicosi. Which is brought on by poisoning and it affects the dog’s digestive tract.
Other conditions that can result from onion poisoning include:
- asthmatic attacks
- liver damage
- discolored urine
- and also dermatitis.
Sometimes you will find your dog exhibiting symptoms that you may not have any clue what has caused them. It becomes difficult for the vet to diagnose your dog with onion poisoning especially if he’s fed on things that do not contain fresh onions, and this is why you should be careful with all ingredients such as onion and garlic powder in his food which may be hard to identify.
If your dog shows the following signs, he or she may have ingested some onions, and it is important that you take them to the vet immediately;
- a pale mucous membrane.
- reddish or brownish urine.
- rapid heart rate.
- loss of appetite.
What you should do when you notice the symptoms
If you suspect that your dog has onion poisoning, call the pet poison control immediately, or your vet. The condition is treatable, but you must seek help immediately, as a matter of emergency. This will help to prevent excessive damage to the dog’s red blood cells.
If the condition is too severe, you may need to leave your dog in the hospital for an extended stay, and he may even require to have some blood transfusion.
He may also require to induce vomiting in order to get rid of the onions in his system and also maintain his hydration by providing fluids in his system. This will help prevent liver damage.
Pro tip: Always keep the emergency number for the vet handy so you can call him whenever an emergency situation arises.
Training your dog to avoid onions
Onions are no joke, as noted above, and just a small portion of it is fatal to your dog.
We cannot emphasize this enough.
Even if you have a large dog, do not allow him to ingest any onions, it can harm them terribly.
Something else you should consider is training your dog that onions are bad. This ensures that even when you are not around, the dog will not dare consume anything that contains onions. It may be hard at first, but dogs are generally obedient creatures so, they will understand in due time.
What you do is use a series of commands that your dog much obey. E.g. if you happen to find your dog with onion, be very adamant with your NO! and DROP IT!! So, they can know what they are doing is very wrong, and this will save them from toxicity.
If you have a garden filled with onions, put us a strong perimeter fence and ensure that the dog never crosses that fence. If he ever does, you must be very firm in training him that that is extremely wrong, Dogs do listen and you may notice that whenever he gets near the fence, he will tend to retreat and not cross over it.
Final say on dogs eating onions
It is also very difficult at times to say no to their big puppy dog eyes.
Dogs will beg you for what you are eating, and you must never give them this incompatible food.
You must teach them to avoid this habit entirely so they will not borrow anyone else even on the streets when you are not around. You can also train your dog to hang out in his crate or bed when the family is eating, and also not to pick up things off the floor.
All of this training will go a long way in saving your dog from onion toxicity.