Food Guidelines

My Dog Ate Onion – What Now?

onionsThere are many kinds of food that humans eat which are unsafe for dogs. Onions are not an exception. Feeding your pooch onions can make him seriously ill, whether they are raw, cooked, or in powdered form.

What you Need to Know

Onions are toxic to canines because of the substance they contain known as thiosulfate. Since dogs do not have the enzyme used to digest this substance, onions become a harmful food for them. Although rarely any observable side effects can be seen if your pooch consumes just a minimal amount of onions. For example, he sneaks a piece of pizza off the counter or steals a bite of your burger, most likely he will be just fine. Too frequent feeding of onions, however, can affect your pet’s health and vitality. Additionally, onions contain a compound called organosulfur that results in toxicosi, a condition brought about by poisoning which can be easily absorbed by the dog’s digestive tract.

Onion ingestion commonly leads to liver damage, asthmatic attacks, allergic reactions, weakness, diarrhea, discolored urine, anemia, vomiting, and even dermatitis.

Onions and Heinz Body Anemia

One of the most critical problems that arises from onion toxicity is canine Heinz Body Anemia, also referred to as Hemolytic anemia. It is a condition that is brought about by the destruction of the dog’s red blood cells that leads to a decrease in red blood cell count; thus, causing anemia.

Symptoms vary depending on the amount of onions the dog has consumed, his size, and the time period for which they have been ingested. It is notable that consuming a large amount of onion in a single sitting is less dangerous that consuming a very small amount over a length of time. Remember this if you’re someone that feeds your dog from the table. Many of the foods we eat contain at least a small amount of onion or onion powder. Read your labels carefully and avoid feeding these foods to your dog.

Common warning signs for Heinz Body Anemia include pale mucous membranes like the gums, brownish or reddish urine color, rapid heart and/or respiratory rate, weakness, and depression. Vomiting, diarrhea, and loss of appetite may also be observed.

What to Do when Your Dog Ingests Onions

It is important that you immediately consult your vet if symptoms occur as a result of onion ingestion. Treatment normally involves inducement of vomiting, carrying out gastric lavage or flushing out the stomach, and making use of activated charcoal to treat not just poisoning but allergic reactions as well. Bathing and drying your dog may also be necessary in cases of skin infection.

Other treatment options include maintaining the dog’s hydration by providing fluid in his bloodstream, applying therapy for liver damage, and calling for blood transfusions if necessary.

64 Comments

64 Comments

  1. Just me

    May 8, 2017 at 9:59 am

    I fed my neighbors tiny dog two small bites of hamburger cooked in onions.It been 2 weeks and i just found out the dog has been throwing up and the dog stools are black tar.its 16 years old and my neighboe says its her age .I hope her dog isnt sick because of me?

    • William Henriques

      May 23, 2017 at 8:28 pm

      It is highly unlikely that the small amount of onion that you fed the dog would cause much of a reaction. The age of the dog is the biggest thing to think about because it will be more sensitive to the effects of anything ingestible. I'm sure you're not the only one that fed the dog treats. I hope the dog is doing better now.

  2. Pingback: Which Foods can Dogs Eat? - Emotional Pet Support

  3. Bob

    Feb 10, 2017 at 3:54 pm

    1/2 cup milk 2 Table spoons Hydrogen Peroxide….let them drink about half of it.

    My Greyhound just ate 1/2 a cooked medium sized onion left on the counter from chicken soup. (that's half the size of your fist) Thanks to this thread, I used 1/2 cup of milk and 2 Tbs of Hydrogen Peroxide…she drank 1/3 and it induced vomiting within 2 minutes. Went trough 10 catch-bowels but the onion came up -ALL of it. Less than 20 minutes.

    There was some digestional irritation for a few hours but it worked!!!

    Thank You.

    Bob and Sage in Wells Maine

    1 cup for a 60lb dog is OVERKILL….

  4. Rahul

    May 22, 2016 at 5:14 am

    Do dog eat grass as well?

    • PATTI

      Oct 2, 2016 at 11:13 pm

      Grass is normal though the dog may still vomit some up.
      Onions are a big issue. My little dog has discovered how to get up onto the kitchen counter. If salad bowls with salad residue are left unattended, he will try to lick them off. It cost me $1,000.00 the one and only time he got into the salad bowls. I think I have got to start eating food with out any onion to help him stay safe.

      • Patrcik

        Oct 7, 2016 at 6:19 pm

        My basset hound ate and onion from Burger King he just ate one is he gang to get sick or will he throw up?

    • Ethan russell

      Oct 7, 2016 at 9:08 pm

      My dog just a a sliver of onion will this affect her if it does how much does it cost to treat her

  5. Bob Ross

    Apr 9, 2016 at 12:57 pm

    Take her to an ER vet. Will make you feel better and just MIGHT save her life.

    • Nemo

      May 23, 2016 at 4:28 pm

      What’s wrong with onions and garlic?
      When my mother was growing up in Mexico the maids gave their dog onions and garlic every day and that dog lived for 14 years. Everybody did that. Dogs ate leftovers, even onions and garlic, and they were fine. ??

      • Anna

        Oct 8, 2016 at 8:50 am

        What’s wrong with it you’ll find out if you read the aricle.

        • Margaret Gibson

          Nov 12, 2016 at 3:58 pm

          My dog had some left over stew yesterday I forgot about the onion in it could I worm him out as not eaten anything today don’t think he well now.as its the weekend and my vet sit until Monday but not even been sick but he constipated

        • Sarah B.

          Nov 30, 2016 at 9:45 pm

          I just wanted to add that garlic, onions, leeks and green onions are all toxic to dogs and cats. So watch those relish platters and all holiday food out of the mouths of all animals. Also remember grapes and chocolate will poison them too! It’s safer to put your pets in a closed room with food and water and maybe leave a TV or radio so they aren’t listening in to every detail going on in the rest of the house. It is too difficult to keep your eyes on your guests, food and pets at the same time. Make this a safe holiday!

  6. Ida9464

    Feb 9, 2016 at 2:04 pm

    Onions and garlic do the same thing. Even in tiny amounts, they cause red blood cell lysis aka hemolysis aka hemolytic anemia if they get either a lot at one time or a little bit frequently. I know there is question of if garlic is bad but the fact is, they cause lysis of red blood cells and it takes awhile for spleen to make more. Period. Why would you take the chance? Ok I don’t want to argue about that. My little Maltese got two of my 1000 mg garlic gel caps Thursday. Today is Tuesday. So my ten pounder ate 2000 mg of this. I gave one tsp aka 4-5 ml of hydrogen peroxide 3 percent via syringe. Then I repeated after 15 minutes. She vomited twice but I couldn’t see gel cap but it probably dissolved in four minutes because that’s what happened in my mouth. Later I read one half tsp per ten pounds but maximum of three tsp for large dog. You may repeat one time as hydrogen peroxide has toxic problems on it’s own. Called vet next morning, watch dog. She was fine till this am, tired with vomiting. Read up on this and learn from my stupidity. It may take days to see effects.

    • William Henriques

      May 23, 2017 at 8:33 pm

      Hydrogen peroxide is a poison do not give it to animals. Not sure where this came from but I suspect it's to induce vomiting. There are other safer alternatives to hydrogen peroxide to make a dog throw up.

  7. Jimi

    Jan 22, 2016 at 12:43 pm

    those having emergency should consult vet instead of wasting time here!

    • Brandy Arnold

      Brandy Arnold

      Jan 22, 2016 at 1:16 pm

      Perhaps they’re hear to find out IF it’s an emergency…

  8. FINCH

    Dec 19, 2015 at 2:20 am

    A Long eaten Onion dog can she still survived it?Pls pals help

  9. michael leahy

    Dec 12, 2015 at 11:49 pm

    Its pathetic that no one on here told these people the quick and sure solution. IF YOUR DOG EATS ANYTHING TOXIC, MIX MILK AND ABOUT A CUP [ for a 60 pound dog] OF HYDROGEN PEROXIDE AND GIVE IT TO YOUR DOG. You have about 45 minutes to do this. You should do it right away though.

    This is the solution.

    LIVE BY IT.

    • Bobbie

      Dec 15, 2015 at 5:07 pm

      YES Michael! Thanks for posting this! I knew this, but it’s been a while since I had to do it. My dog ate cooked onion I threw out of the crock pot. I went online as a reminder and saw this. I gave him the 3 percent hydrogen peroxide(the normal hydrogen peroxide kept for cuts, etc. A reminder for people NOT to use stronger-the kind for hair colouring! This can cause damage). But, gave him about 8 teaspoons as he is around 80 lbs. I recall it is recommended approx. 1 teaspoon per 10 pounds. Walked him around calmly on a leash. He just threw up the onion after about 20 minutes. It looks like it all came up! This is a life saver! Thanks again for posting on here!!!

    • JoAnne

      Jan 6, 2016 at 9:00 pm

      Yep, or just hydrogen peroxide did the trick today (will depend on dogs weight). My 42 pound took 1 TBSP

    • Robert

      Jan 3, 2017 at 2:44 pm

      This is insane. Do not drink oxidizing agents. Even 3% hydrogen peroxide is dangerous. If doctors no longer recommend putting it externally on a cut, then why would you consider DRINKING it? Of course it’ll make you throw up, it’s oxidizing your stomach lining.

    • John

      May 24, 2017 at 6:10 am

      THIS IS INSANE! Do NOT give your dog HYDROGEN PEROXIDE, unless you are trying to poison it. The hydrogen peroxide would be worse than the onion. Call your vet, ask the professional. Don't believe some nut job online.

  10. Charles

    May 16, 2015 at 12:18 pm

    We have a Jack Russell Terrier that we have had since she was a year old. She is 11 years old now. She is my wife’s service animal (seizure response dog). I have fed her table food for as long as we have had her, she eats what ever I do. I love my onion and garlic so she has had quit a bit of it as long as we have had her. We would never do anything to harm her but didn’t know about the onion thing until this year. I try not to give her any actual onion pieces now but I still use onion to season with and she does get an occasional piece in some foods. She weighs 14 pounds and has never had any medical problems. She’s a active as any 11 year old if not more and has never had ant medical problems. I’m beginning to think all this is a big scare tactic or a way to make money for vets.

    • Doug

      Jul 19, 2015 at 1:14 pm

      Right, Charles; and many people smoked cigarettes while pouring gasoline out of a can, and never set themselves on fire. Others weren’t so lucky, and were severely, even fatally, burned.
      Some years back, it was found that onion powder in meat baby foods (fed to infirm cats while they were under vet care) was found to cause hemolytic anemia. (Major baby food brands don’t use onion powder anymore.)
      But if you think it’s “a big scare tactic or a way to make money for vets,” just go on doing whatever you think is right for your dog. You probably won’t post back here if some day you find out the hard way that you were wrong. It’s too bad the faithful dog would have to suffer because you think you know more than veterinarians do.

      • hermes

        Nov 24, 2015 at 9:25 am

        You are right. Our dog is in the vet right now pinned with dextrose. He ate onions and garlic from scrap last week and I still have to tell the vet 1st thing tomorro morning about what I just read. The symptoms are exactly the same as in the article.

      • Bob Ross

        Apr 9, 2016 at 12:53 pm

        Some idiots do NOT deserve the ownership loyalty and friendship given from an animal that trusts his or her LIFE to your stupidity.

    • greg

      Aug 17, 2015 at 12:48 pm

      maybe cooked onion or in very small amounts is okay? not sure, but this is definitely not a scare tactic. my friend’s dog got a hold of some raw onion and started vomiting and became very ill. he is now in the ER! please be careful!

    • Chicken Wangs

      Feb 24, 2016 at 9:26 am

      don’t you think vets would be telling us to fed onions to them so that you have to bring them in? telling us not to is avoiding going to the vet. are you retarded?

    • kierston

      Jul 18, 2016 at 6:16 pm

      you are lucky my dog wont eat because of eating onions.

  11. Kathy Greer-Gregory

    Feb 16, 2015 at 6:58 am

    Does anyone ever answer anyone’s questions here at all?????!!!!!

    I have really screwed up this time….. I gave our precious little Chihuahua quite a bit of onion tonight. I could just shoot myself now! She had about 3/4 cup of Rice-@-Roni with burger and a lot of diced onion added in it. If I’ve hurt her, I’ll never forgive myself…… I will call the Vet in the AM, but I sure wish there was someone here who answered these questions!!
    See, our Vet told me that onion was poisonous to dogs, and I gave it to her anyway. I don’t like myself very much at all right now……. 🙁

    • Kathy Greer-Gregory

      Feb 16, 2015 at 12:09 pm

      I think this comment section here is just for making comments, not for asking questions. There’s nothing on this site that says there’s someone here who’ll answer questions if we post them in this comment section.

    • Warren

      Apr 17, 2015 at 12:20 am

      Kathy,
      I am not sure what to have told you at that time nor can I tell you now. All I need to know is how is your dog, did you have to do anything for her? I am asking because I dropped as smaller piece of onion and my 4 pound chihuahua got it. I am not feeling so good about it either.

      Warren

  12. sam r

    Dec 2, 2014 at 11:31 pm

    My small 6lbs 10 year chihuahua ate a small piece of cooked onion that fell on the ground when my mom was cooking. My mom noticed her walk away with it but got away with eating a bit. I’m so scared I don’t know what to do. She burped (she burps all the time) and I smelt the onion. I’m so scared someone please help me! If something happens I don’t know what I’ll do!

  13. Alex

    Nov 27, 2014 at 1:28 pm

    My 3 year old 70 pound coonhound Ruby got into some of the stuffing for Thanksgiving, the stuffing contained a fair amount of onions and she ate about a cup of it. I need to know what to do! She is a really big dog and she has passed lots of chicken bones before. I need to know and fast!

  14. Blanca

    Oct 13, 2014 at 1:19 pm

    Can they die by eating or tasting an onion?? Please I need an answer fast!!

    • Blanca

      Oct 13, 2014 at 1:21 pm

      And my dog is a toy poddle

  15. RC

    Jul 18, 2014 at 1:21 am

    My dog got into a Mongolian beef dish that was left out and ate a lot of it, her mouth reeks of onions. What can I do to prevent her from getting sick

  16. Janet Jordan

    Jun 23, 2014 at 1:40 pm

    My three year old Chihuahua came down sick on Thurs night after super. Took her to Vets on Fri they said her heart was good and no temp. I told them she wasn’t eating and acting completely out of character. He gave me a tube of stuff to stimulate appetite . She won’t walk on her own, she wants to be picked up to go pee, then she stands there till you pick her back up. She hasn’t played in all these days, which is quite alarming as she is so active and playful. She wouldn’t eat her treats. Yesterday we hand fed her a little plain white turkey. She ate it. She acts like she has had a stroke. She’s confused, walks side ways .fireworks went off on the night we gave her a little part of meatball, which had onions and little garlic. We thought it was the fireworks because she really is petrified of the noise. Please advise me what to do, she just sleeps. It’s been three and a half days. Two vet visits later. Help please.

    • Janet Jordan

      Jun 23, 2014 at 1:46 pm

      How fast do you reply? I need to know quickly

      • Kathy Greer-Gregory

        Feb 16, 2015 at 7:08 am

        Did anyone reply to you?
        We have an urgent situation here too.

    • Julie M

      Jul 12, 2014 at 12:27 am

      Can you tell me what the out come was please?? My chihuahua is experiencing the same symptoms!! Please help if you can, thank you!

    • Amy Reed

      Sep 12, 2014 at 7:49 pm

      Never give dogs turkey. It nearly killed my mothers 2 dogs last year on Thanksgiving. The smaller dogs are more at risk. Please do your research on turkey. The ingredient that makes us sleepy is toxic to dogs. It cost my mother almost $1500 and a week of IV fluids to save he 2 pups.

    • delrashell

      Feb 9, 2015 at 10:13 pm

      I too have had a dog that did the side walking we later found out she was toxic, the toxicity was due to a condition called hepatic encephalopathy or liver shunt and we were giving her human food which we no longer do because basically with liver shunt every time she eats she is protein poisoning herself she has also had seizures due to this condition. I would definitely quit giving my dog people food maybe try giving her a low protein canned food like merrick vegetable medley has 9 percent protein it’s a food for senior dogs so it is highly digestible. Do you know if the meatballs contained sage and if so she needs vet care immediately. No people food and if she doesn’t eat don’t force her…my dog now does a 12 hour fast every night last meal time 9 pm next meal 9 am and for treats I open a can of dog food role it into balls or cookies and bake at 350 degrees until browned pull them out let them cool and refrigerate. Last time we fed her our food cost us about 3000.00 dollars to save her so lesson learned…absolutely no turkey and old mother Hubbard makes some bone treats called char tar bones I always have those on hand

      • Kathy Greer-Gregory

        Feb 16, 2015 at 7:06 am

        OMG!!!!!!! Thank you SO, SO much for posting that about turkey!!! And about people food being toxic too!! I thank God I ran across this site or our little one may not have made it.

        Thank You again!

  17. Charlie

    Jun 3, 2014 at 7:58 pm

    My dog at spag bowl with onion in it! what should i do?

  18. Cydney Danese

    May 9, 2014 at 5:16 pm

    Puppy’s got into onion rings the little one ate 3 and the palmaranian ate 1 will they be ok?

  19. Cydney Danese

    May 9, 2014 at 5:15 pm

    My two puppys got into onions the littlest one ate 3 onion rings the palmaranian ate 1 will they’ve ok?

  20. Vero

    Apr 19, 2014 at 12:07 am

    I think my amstaff has been eating onions. It was only today I saw onion and garlic all over our back yard floor. We had no idea we had them growing in our backyard and my puppy must have just dug it up. I was reading symptoms on onion eating and I don’t think this is the first time she has eaten garlic or onion. I’m so scared, it’s Easter and the vets are closed!!

    She has the symptoms were she has really runny stools and she gags when she eats. She is only 19 weeks 🙁

    • Vero

      Apr 19, 2014 at 12:08 am

      10 weeks **********

  21. Julie

    Apr 15, 2014 at 1:12 am

    My dog, about 40lbs or so, ate some onions on a chicken taco… she got very very sick later that night… she was whining all night in pain. We took her to the doctor and they said nothing was wrong. As I was researching what could make a dog sick, I saw onions were toxic and remembered about the taco I gave her. I don’t think it’s a good idea to assume a dog must eat a large amount to have toxicity. Don’t feed your dog onions.

  22. Brian

    Dec 18, 2013 at 1:11 pm

    Mahogany. I’d bet that the onion has absolutely nothing to do with the problems. I hope that a vet has seen Zyan and that the situation is under control. I did pray for you and your little dog.

  23. Mahogany

    Dec 3, 2013 at 4:02 pm

    My 10 month old maltese shizu mix ate a piece of a green onion and we gave him a little of thanksgiving dinner. after a few hours he threw up a lot and now he has been having tremors and even seizures. we have been to the vet and they have tested him ran blood work and all of the test have been negative. my wife and I am completely scared and do not know what to do. Our other dog had the same food and is showing no symptoms at all. he is just a lively as he ever is. My 10 month cannot walk and has lost all sense of balance. he will barely eat and we are scared and overwhelmed with what to do. it is suggested that he sees a neurologist to see if there is anyhing wrong with his brain. Please can anyone help us with this. We are so scared as parents and we truly miss his personality. If you read this please pray for our son his name is Zyan.

  24. Brian

    Nov 24, 2013 at 2:17 am

    Before I knew anything about dogs I had a dog from a pup to a 16 yr 11 mo. I cooked veges every day for this dog, with a bit of meat. Because I grew lots of onions he had half of a large one every day. He also ate whole cooked chicken carcases, chop bones, indeed a cooked bone every day of his life. At Christmas time, he usually got away with a box of chocolates from someone careless enough to leave it lying around. He was a bitzer–about a spaniel size. Now, of course, I know a lot about dogs and have two. I wouldn’t DREAM of giving them all those toxic things would I?

  25. Chris

    Nov 7, 2013 at 5:35 pm

    There is no F’N worry with the onion crap! Unless your dog eats 8 whole onions he or she is fine. Think about dogs in the wild!

  26. Sonia

    Sep 7, 2013 at 10:02 pm

    My dog (Jack Russell/Mini Aussie mix) has a history of autoimmune hemolytic anemia. I am mindful of what table foods he eats, however, a couple pieces of pizza were left out on the kitchen counter and he along with my other 2 JRT mixed dogs got it. I was not home at the time this happened, so I don’t know how much each dog ate. There wasn’t many onions on the pizza, but my concern is whether my dog with a history of AIHA is more predisposed to developing HA as a result of eating onions. It tore me up to see him suffer through AIHA 3 years ago, and I don’t know if I could handle seeing him go through more blood transfusions, antibiotics, and steroids. Thanks!

  27. Nick

    Aug 10, 2013 at 5:31 pm

    My 5 lb chihuahua ate a small preace of onion. Maybe and inch long. Finely sliced. Should I be worried!!?? When will syntoms occur? What will they be? And how long with they last??

  28. Robert

    Jul 16, 2013 at 10:50 pm

    Hello,
    I just now discovered that my 65-70lb Portuguese Water Dog ingested a small amount of onion (smaller than a pea). I have called my local veterinarian, he gave me some information on various symptoms that may come as a result of my dog eating onion. It has been about 5 hours and I have not noticed any of the mentioned signs. What is your opinion, should I still worry, is there anything that I can do to ensure that he is still healthy? I am very shaken up as my dog is still very young.
    Please Help,
    Robert

  29. hiamnshu ghangas

    May 24, 2013 at 12:53 pm

    Hi, my dog eat lots of pedigree and his stomach is now paining now what can I do ? Tell me fastly? ??? ?Please

    • amy

      Dec 11, 2013 at 3:07 pm

      if your dogs gets into food and eats A LOT of it it can cause bloat which can kill a dog. Also large dogs can not play run after eating they can twist their gut and die.

  30. Terri Simeone

    Apr 15, 2013 at 6:28 am

    my family just adopted a one year old chihuahua named April, she was acting like she was going to trow up, at bed time, but nothing came up this went on
    till 2 in the morning caughing, and such every now and then. So I decided
    to check and see on the internet what may cause this! Got to a list of foods
    that are not good for dogs and see that garlic and onions are dangerous!
    We had meatballs for dinner and she ate one, and I know it had garlic and onion
    powder in it. After reading the dangers I got scared, and I am planning on sitting with her the rest of the night! Would one meatball have enough, to be concerned about!!! Please let me know.
    Terri

    • Vicki

      May 16, 2013 at 4:09 pm

      If it was a whole meatball, maybe. It may have just upset her stomach. I have 5 Chihuahuas. smallest one is 3 pounds, largest is 8. They love meat balls, but the tiny one gets like 1/8th of a meatball and the rest get 1/4.

  31. Jan Jones

    Jun 20, 2012 at 6:55 pm

    Our dog was diagnosed with hemolytic anemia. He had gotten into some soup which had onions in it but did not show any symptoms. Is it temporary or will he always have it?

  32. Virginia McGrath

    Jun 20, 2012 at 1:45 pm

    One of the worst things a pet parent (owner) goes through is receiving the news that their dog has Hemolytic anemia. For those who have heard those words avoiding onions or being really careful with onions around our pets is no problem.

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