Can Dogs Eat Onion? When it is or isn’t an Emergency

Disclaimer: The content on is for informational purpose only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a veterinarian when in doubt.

Dogs must never be fed onions or onion-based products. This pretty much applies to all plants that are part of the allium family including garlic and chives.

Why Onions are Toxic to Dogs

The main culprit is a compound that onions contain called N-propyl disulfide. In layman terms, this compound damages the substance that allows the red blood cell to carry oxygen. This can eventually lead to a dangerous health condition called anemia which would be when a dog’s body lacks enough healthy red blood cells to carry oxygen to their body’s tissues.

Dogs that suffer from anemia will display a number of concerning symptoms including rapid breathing, lethargy, and pale gums. It doesn’t take a lot of onions for the toxicity to affect your dog. According to American Kennel Club, it only takes 100 grams of onion per 20 kg of a dog’s weight to cause toxic effects. A tiny piece of onion, especially if it was a one-time occurrence, is unlikely to hurt a dog but half an onion or more definitely could so it’s important to keep onions out of your dog’s reach.

What to Do if Your Dog Ate an Onion

First, check how many pieces of onion your dog ate. If it was a large piece (relative to your dog’s body weight) then a call to the emergency vet or pet poison hotline would be recommended. This is especially important for puppies or dogs that have known sensitives or allergies to human foods. If it was just a tiny piece then you may just want to watch over your dog carefully for the next couple of days and make sure he isn’t exhibiting any concerning symptoms.

Want to know what other fruits or vegetables could be toxic to pets? Check out our human food for pet database to find out!


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