My Dog Ate An Onion, Are Onions Toxic To Dogs, What To Do?                                                                             Veterinary Advice From Dr Scott Nimmo MRCVS, BVMS.



Just how much onion is toxic to dogs? Dogs sometimes eat whole onions, or sometimes there is onion in human food such as pizza which a dog has got access to. What would the symptoms be likely to be where a dog has taken a toxic dose of onion? What would the treatment be?

onion dog toxicity poisonous treatment symptoms

Onions can be toxic to dogs if your dog eats enough

1. There are a number of potential toxins in the average house which are a danger to dogs which many owners are unaware of, one of these is onions.

You see dogs do not have the enzyme necessary to properly digest onion, where smaller amounts are involved then this can result in gastrointestinal symptoms such as vomiting or diarrhoea or indigestion. But where larger amounts of onions have been eaten then it can be much more serious dogs because the dog’s red blood cells may then become fragile and break down. This can cause a severe anaemia which can result in death in some cases.

The toxic element in onion which affects dogs is thiosulphate.

2. So how much onion is a toxic dose to a dog? : Thankfully it actually takes quite a lot of onions to be toxic to dogs in terms of anaemia. The rule of thumb which I personally apply is that a single meal of one pound of onions taken at one sitting can be dangerous to a 15 pound dog. { Which is quite a small dog }

However be aware that smaller amounts of onion fed on regular day in day out basis can still eventually cause anaemia.

3. What symptoms would you expect to see where a dog has eaten a toxic dose of onion? : Initially these could include drooling, vomiting, diarrhoea and lethargy, if anaemia is going to occur the symptoms will appear some days later and then you might see pale gums and mucous membranes, blood in the urine, an elevated heart and respiratory rate and extreme exercise intolerance leading to collapse.

4. What treatment is available where a dog has eaten larger amounts of onions? :

A. As with a great many toxins if you can induce vomiting to recover the drug within the first hour after ingestion { Two hours at the very outside } then things should be OK. A commonly used way to induce vomiting in the dog is with 3% hydrogen peroxide { Not hair colouring peroxide } A usual oral dose is one teaspoon { 5 ml } per 10 pounds of body weight. Vomiting should occur within 15 to 20 minutes but if no vomiting occurs, you can safely repeat the process a second time.

B. On top of that activated charcoal given orally as soon as possible after ingestion can often mop up some of the toxins, doses of around 2 gram per pound of the dog’s bodyweight given three times a day for a few days have been used.

C. If the amount of onions was significantly less than the toxic dose I mentioned above then the resulting gastrointestinal signs can be treated in a normal common sense way but you would still be wise to have your vet check your dog over just in case. A quick blood test will check for any more severe problems. As far as home treatment goes you could consider small frequent meals such as chicken, fish, scrambled egg etc. with a little rice, and if the dog picks up on this you can then gradually reintroduce his or her normal diet over the next few days.

D. If you are suspicious that anywhere near a toxic dose of onion has been consumed by your dog then you have no course other than getting your dog to a vet as soon as you possibly can. Your vet may induce vomiting and give activated charcoal if you can get there quickly enough. But once clinical signs develop then supportive care such as IV fluids may be necessary and some dogs may require a blood transfusion.


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