Can dogs eat onions? You may be asking this because your dog accidentally ate some onion you chopped up for your salad, or perhaps you are looking for healthy human snacks to share with your dog. Humans can eat onions, but are they safe for dogs to eat?
The short answer is no, dogs cannot safely eat onions. In fact, onions are one of the most dangerous human foods for dogs, and onions and other members of the allium family can prove fatal for your pup.
As always, you should ask your veterinarian about sharing any human food with your dog because some can be lethal, like onions. Here’s everything you need to know about how onions are dangerous for dogs.
Why Are Onions Bad For Dogs?
Onions contain a chemical called N-propyl disulfide, which is incredibly toxic for dogs. This chemical latches onto the oxygen molecules on your pup’s red blood cells, which causes oxidative damage.
The molecule also tricks your dog’s body into attacking its own red blood cells as if they were foreign, which is known as hemolysis. If left untreated, this could lead to hemolytic anemia, and that can be a deadly condition.
If your dog ingests a large amount of onions, symptoms could occur quickly. More likely, however, is that your dog accidentally got into a smaller amount of onions, which means symptoms of onion poisoning may not show up until a couple days later.
Signs your dog might be suffering from onion poisoning include:
- Pale gums
- Discolored or dark urine
- Unsteady breathing
- Elevated heart rate
- Ataxia, or uncoordinated movements
Any form of onion–raw, cooked, dried, powdered, the leaves, etc.–is dangerous to dogs.
What Should I Do If My Dog Ate Onions?
If your dog accidentally ate some onions, no matter how small the amount, contact your veterinarian.
If possible, let your vet know the amount of onion ingested and around what time your dog ate the onions. Your vet might have you come in with your dog and induce vomiting or flush the stomach, depending on the severity of the situation.
If your vet is unavailable, contact your local emergency animal clinic or call the Pet Poison Hotline at (855) 764-7661 for guidance. They may charge you a fee for the call, but if your dog’s life is on the line, it’s worth it.
Has your dog accidentally eaten onions before? What did you do? Let us know in the comments below!