Will a Small Amount of Onion Hurt My Dog?

Have you ever been tempted to share your food with your dog? If you think of giving them food with onions, think again, as onions are toxic to dogs.

You should never feed your dog onion, period. Even in small quantities, onion can be dangerous to dogs. One medium onion can be toxic, and if a canine eats .5 percent of their body weight in onions in any form, it can trigger onion poisoning.

If your dog consumes onion, you must get them to the vet immediately. If you want to know more about the toxicity of onions for dogs, peruse this article.

are onions bad for dogs atlanta ga

Are Onions Toxic to Dogs?

Eating onions can seriously harm your dog, as they contain a compound that is toxic to dogs. They cause toxicity by affixing an oxygen-transporting protein, hemoglobin, in red blood cells. When oxidized, it forms clumps, rendering it extremely difficult for oxygen to be delivered to different organs in the body.

The condition is called Heinz body hemolytic anemia, and it is life-threatening. Heinz bodies cause problems by reducing the red blood cell lifespan, and the dog becomes anemic. It fools the body into believing that the red blood cell is an invader, and the red blood cells are promptly destroyed.

Any food in the allium family, including onions, is toxic to them. These foods include:

  • Shallots
  • Garlic
  • Chives
  • Leeks

It does not matter if it is cooked, fried, or powdered. You must keep your furry friends away from onions.

What Part of the Onion is Toxic?

All kinds of onions are toxic to dogs. Whether red, yellow, green, or white, they are all harmful to pets. When you bring onions home for cooking, keep them out of paw’s reach. It only takes a modest amount of onion to make your canine sick.

Onion powder is even more toxic, and it is often found in baby food. It is imperative that you meticulously clean up after your child when they eat, as babies can be messy and leave food lying around for your dog to get to. Only allow your child to feed your pets food that is safe for them.

How Much Onion is Toxic to Dogs?

If a canine eats more than 0.5 percent of their body weight in onions in any form, it can cause onion toxicity. The exact quantity it takes to become deadly depends on your canine’s weight. Smaller dogs are more susceptible to onion poisoning due to their size. However, even if your dog is larger and consumes a small piece of onion, it can still lead to health complications.

What Are The Symptoms of Onion Poisoning in Dogs?

Your dog may not demonstrate any outward symptoms directly after eating onions, but symptoms can start within 24 hours after eating onions or garlic. However, it is not unusual for it to take a few days for signs of toxicity to show. One of the most apparent signs of onion poisoning in dogs is the smell of onion on their breath. Some other symptoms include:

  • Irritation of the mouth
  • Pale or bluish gums
  • Excessive salivation
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Exercise intolerance
  • Abdominal pain
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Weakness, panting, or collapse are a few other symptoms you may see in your dog. Their urine may be red, and there can also be a loss of balance. Treatment for onion poisoning must begin as soon as possible to prevent organ failure. Do not wait until you see signs. As soon as you see them ingest even the smallest amount of onion, get them to the vet.

Treating Onion Toxicity in Dogs

Even if you are unsure whether your dog ate onions, you should still take them to the vet to be examined. If you do know that your pup ate onions, and it has been within the last two hours since ingestion, the vet will likely induce vomiting and administer activated charcoal. The toxins must immediately come from your pup’s body to prevent organ failure.

However, if you do not think you will make it in time to the vet, you may need to induce vomiting at home. Call a vet or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center for assistance. If you can get your pup to the emergency vet, they may need to stay for a few days to be monitored until they are stable.

If your dog is seriously ill, they may require supplemental oxygen to help improve the circulation of red blood cells. Intravenous fluids will also likely be given to help eliminate toxins from the bloodstream and correct dehydration due to vomiting. A blood transfusion may be the only option if your pup’s red blood cells are deficient. Most pets who are treated for onion toxicity fully recover and go on to live happy and healthy lives.

What Is Safe to Feed My Dog? are vegetables safe for dogs to eat atlanta ga

You may be the type of pet parent that likes to share food with your pup, as it can be a bonding experience. Just know that onions are off-limits to your dog for sure, but there are safe options for your dog and certainly vegetables they can safely eat. If you are going to feed your dog any of these vegetables, be sure they are not seasoned, buttered, or fried. Raw or steamed is best for your pup.


Broccoli is suitable for your dog, as it is high in fiber and vitamin C. Be careful not to give them too much broccoli, however, as it can cause significant gas in dogs.


Carrots are great for your dog’s teeth as they are a dental chew. They are also high in beta-carotene, which assists with eyesight.


Asparagus is high in potassium, thiamin, and vitamin B6, which is good for the heart, muscles, and nervous system.


Zucchini has vitamins A, C, B6, and K. It is good for the skin and coat condition.


Regardless of whether it is cooked, raw, or in powder or seasoning form, never give your dog any onion. Even just a small amount of onion can cause onion poisoning in your pup, regardless of their size. If you suspect your dog has ingested onion, get them to the vet immediately.

For those in the Atlanta, GA area, The Village Vets offers 24/7 Emergency Veterinary Care for your pets. Give us a call today at (404) 371-9774.

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