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My Dog Ate Onion – What Now?


There 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.

15 Responses to My Dog Ate Onion – What Now?
  1. Julie
    April 15, 2014 | 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.

  2. paige
    February 8, 2014 | 9:05 pm

    I gave my dog (pug) a bowl of Chinese food and it had onions in it. I didn’t know onions were bad for her! This was only yesterday. Will somebody please tell me how to help her quickly! This dog is my little baby I need help now! Somebody please tell me how to help her at ~paige

    Thank you!

  3. Brian
    December 18, 2013 | 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.

  4. Mahogany
    December 3, 2013 | 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 anyone can help please email me at . If you read this please pray for our son his name is Zyan.

  5. Brian
    November 24, 2013 | 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?

  6. Chris
    November 7, 2013 | 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!

  7. Sonia
    September 7, 2013 | 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!

  8. Nick
    August 10, 2013 | 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??

  9. Robert
    July 16, 2013 | 10:50 pm

    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,

  10. hiamnshu ghangas
    May 24, 2013 | 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
      December 11, 2013 | 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.

  11. Terri Simeone
    April 15, 2013 | 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.

    • Vicki
      May 16, 2013 | 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.

  12. Jan Jones
    June 20, 2012 | 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?

  13. Virginia McGrath
    June 20, 2012 | 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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