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Can Dogs Eat Onions?

NO, dogs cannot eat onions!

black pug onions

Why You Shouldn’t Give Your Dog Onions

Dogs love table scraps and loving owners would gladly share whatever food they are eating with the pet. Some human-safe foods though have harmful effects on our four legged friends. Some people foods can make the dog seriously ill. It would be a dog owner’s responsibility to know what these foods are and to ensure that the pet is kept away from these harmful foods.

Onion is a cooking ingredient that causes sickness in dogs. Dogs must be prevented for ingesting onions, as canine stomachs don’t have the enzyme necessary to metabolize the theosulphate substance contained in these pungent bulbs. What is more alarming with onion toxicity is the fact that it is dose dependent. Small amounts of onion consumed may not have visible harmful effects on the dog immediately. As such the owner might unknowingly have fed salsa, pieces of pizza, hamburgers and any many other people safe food to their dog. Table scraps tend to go directly to the food bowl of the dog. However, extended period of consuming small amounts of onions will result to accumulated toxicity. Serious medical concerns can result to the death of the dog.

 onion dog

Why Onions Are Bad For Dogs

How does onion toxicity affect the dog? Hemoglobin in the red blood cells transports the oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body to be used by the cells. When dogs ingest onions, the thiosulphate that is not digested by the dog’s stomach will oxidize the hemoglobin causing the formation of bubble-like clumps in the red blood cells. These clumps that stick out from the cells are called Heinz bodies. Continued ingestion of onions will result to the formation of more Heinz bodies. These bubble-like clumps will eventually rupture causing the red blood cells to be prematurely destroyed. Bone marrows repair damaged blood cells but significant formation of Heinz bodies renders the work of the bone marrow ineffective. This is when the dog would manifest onion toxicity symptoms. Because less oxygen are delivered to the body of the dog, the functions of the vital organs will be hampered. The affected dog will weaken and be lethargic. Other symptoms would be vomiting and diarrhea, increased heart rate, bloody urine, jaundice and decreased appetite. The poisoned dog will have breathing difficulties. Continued onion consumption and non-treatment will eventually result to the death of the dog.


The poisoning occurs a few days after the pet has eaten the onion. All forms of onion can be a problem including dehydrated onions, raw onions, cooked onions and table scraps containing cooked onions and/or garlic. Left over pizza, Chinese dishes and commercial baby food containing onion, sometimes fed as a supplement to young pets, can cause illness.

This concern was aggravated by the fad of feeding dogs with homemade foods. Dog owners are aware of the hidden dangers of feeding the pet commercial dog foods so that what is eaten by the family will also be given to the pet. Home cooking will in fact be healthier for the dog but be very sure not to use onion as an ingredient.

In conclusion, it is always best to know the potential dangers of the food you feed your dog. While it may be tempting to give your dog some leftover table scraps after a meal (especially when he gives you that one knee-buckling look), you may be inadvertently giving him something harmful, like onions. We all love our dogs and want to make them happy, but as with people, we need to be smart about how we go about giving them everything we think they deserve.

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  1. I love how informative your bloggy is! Mum makes sure to keep me away from those evil onions! Love, Licks and Pugalier Hugs with tummy rubs from your Friend Frank xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

  2. My Beagle once at an entire bag (probably 5 lbs) of onions. Didn’t phase her. She also at a pound of butter, and an entire turkey. Not in the same sitting.

    • Haha! I’ve heard of dogs eating telephones too. I would play it save though, because it could very well be that your dog can tolerate one kind of onion but not another.

    • Me thinks your dog was vewy vewy lucky…..5 lbs of onions in one sitting can have toxic effects on humans too…..ever smelled someones breath with onion and garlic on it that’s half digested?

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