Dogs and Onion Poisoning

Did you know that onions are a common pet toxin? While they can cause harm to our feline companions, dogs are the most commonly affected pet. Here, your Cameron Park, CA veterinarian tells you more.

Why Are Onions Toxic?

Onions contain thiosulphate, a chemical substance that causes the dangerous symptoms associated with onion poisoning. The major danger of thiosulphate is that it can cause hemolytic anemia, a condition in which your dog’s red blood cells become damaged and might even burst as they circulate through your pet’s bloodstream.

What are the Symptoms?

Symptoms of onion toxicity include lethargy and depression, drooling, a loss of appetite, vomiting and diarrhea, abdominal pain, and trouble breathing. If anemia occurs, symptoms like elevated heart rate, pale gums, collapse, and more may be seen.

Onion poisoning is also dangerous because it may have a delayed effect, meaning that symptoms might not appear until days after the initial ingestion.

How Much Causes Poisoning?

The rule of thumb is this: a dog who eats more than 0.5 percent of their own body weight in onions can experience symptoms of poisoning. Only a few tiny grams can cause a problem! If your dog is on the smaller side, onions present an even greater risk.

What About Related Foods?

Onions aren’t the only thing you have to worry about. Other related foods—garlic, chives, leeks, scallions, and shallots—are all members of the allium family of foods, and they’re all toxic for animals. Garlic, in particular, has a high concentration of thiosulphate and should be avoided at all costs.

What Do I Do If My Dog Eats an Onion?

If you know or suspect that your canine companion has ingested onions or a food containing onions, take them to the veterinarian’s office for an examination. You may need to keep a close eye on your dog over the next several days to see if any symptoms appear. If that occurs, your pet will need quick veterinary attention.

How Do I Prevent Onion Poisoning?

It goes without saying that it’s far easier to prevent poisoning by onions, garlic, and related foods rather than deal with it after the fact. Luckily, this is as simple as restricting your dog’s access! Keep all hazardous foods stored inside cabinets or the refrigerator, where your pet can’t reach them.

Do you have further questions about onion toxicity? Call your Cameron Park, CA animal hospital.

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