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My dog ate onions

Golden retriever with a chef's hat and onions advice

If your dog has eaten an onion, go see your vet!

© Shutterstock

Dogs may like to sniff out and eat just about anything, but this isn't always good for them. In fact, eating onions can make them seriously ill.

By Dr. Liz Barton MA, VetMB, MRCVS

Updated on the 11/08/2020, 13:15

Whether a dog finds an onion itself and eats it, or you feed your dog one, the consequences are not good at all. In fact, anything from the onion family acts like a poison to dogs. Here you'll find tips on what to do if your dog does eat an onion.

What happens if a dog eats an onion?

If your dog eats an onion it can be toxic. You may not see any signs straight away – symptoms usually start a few hours or days after eating the onion. Your dog may have an upset stomach, or even develop anaemia (low red blood cell count). All members of the onion family (known as alliums), including garlic and spring onions, are also toxic. Even when they are cooked or in powdered form, they can still be toxic.

Talk to a vet online. Visit myfamilyvets.co.uk

How much onion is toxic to a dog?

It doesn’t take much onion to reach toxic levels. Depending on the size of dog, approximately 0.5% of your dog’s body weight (50g in a 10kg dog) can cause toxicity. Smaller amounts eaten over time can also build up to toxic levels.

Can dogs have onion and garlic powder?

The toxins are not destroyed in onion and garlic powders, so they are still toxic to dogs and should definitely still be avoided.

Talk to a vet online. Visit myfamilyvets.co.uk

Are cooked onions bad for dogs?

The toxins are not destroyed by cooking, so cooked onions, shallots, garlic, spring onions etc. will all still be toxic to your dog. As onion and garlic are commonly used to flavour foods, it is best to avoid giving food prepared for humans to your dog.

What to do if a dog eats onion

If you suspect your dog has eaten any part of an onion or it’s relatives, contact a vet immediately. They will be able to advise on the best course of action depending on the amount your dog has eaten and how long ago. The best thing is to make your dog sick as safely and quickly as possible after eating the onion – a vet will advise the safest way to do this.

Talk to a vet online. Visit myfamilyvets.co.uk

How do you treat onion poisoning in dogs?

If the onions were eaten recently, a vet will need to empty your dog’s stomach by making it sick or using a stomach tube. They may give your dog activated charcoal by mouth to bind the toxins in the onions. Keeping your dog hydrated is important – they may need to go on a drip if they are feeling nauseous or vomiting. A vet may also recommend monitoring your dog’s blood levels for anaemia.

What are the symptoms of onion poisoning in dogs?

Symptoms of onion poisoning can start within 24 hours, but can be delayed by several days. Common symptoms include drooling, nausea, lack of appetite (inappetence), sickness, painful tummy and diarrhoea. If there is anaemia, there may also be pale or yellow gums, rapid breathing, discoloured (red or brown) urine, weakness and lethargy.

Talk to a vet online. Visit myfamilyvets.co.uk

Can onions cause diarrhoea in dogs?

Onions can cause a wide range of different stomach upsets in dogs. These include lack of appetite, vomiting, diarrhoea and a painful tummy.

Can onions can kill a dog?

If your dog is not treated when it shows symptoms, the symptoms could progress to kill your dog. The good news is, with treatment the prognosis is favourable and your dog should recover.

Talk to a vet online. Visit myfamilyvets.co.uk