Can Dogs Eat Onions?

Sep 21, 2023 | Dogs & Puppies | 2 comments

Imagine preparing dinner with onions as one of the ingredients, and your canine companion, with those big, innocent eyes, is looking up at you. The question pops into your mind, “Can dogs eat onions?” Well, let’s unravel this culinary mystery together.

Onions: a culinary delight or a canine dilemma?

Often termed the backbone of savory dishes, onions frequently find their way into our kitchens. From salsas to stews, they are almost everywhere. They’re a delight; for our furry friends, not so much. As tempting as it might be to give in to those pleading eyes, sharing that onion-laden snack isn’t the best idea. Onions can be extremely harmful to dogs due to a compound called thiosulfate found in them.

The hidden perils of thiosulfate

Thiosulfate might sound like something from a science textbook, but stay with me here. It’s a compound found in onions that don’t mesh well with our dogs. While it doesn’t bother us humans, it’s a completely different ballgame for dogs.

The canine body’s struggle with onions

When dogs ingest thiosulfate, their body struggles. This compound wreaks havoc on their red blood cells, causing these cells to burst.

Visualize a room filled with popping balloons; that’s what’s happening inside them on a smaller scale. Consequently, they might develop hemolytic anemia, where the body doesn’t have enough red blood cells to function correctly.

The lack of these cells means insufficient oxygen is carried to the dog’s vital organs. And yes, it’s as alarming as it sounds.

onions are toxic for dogs

Onions: not just an occasional treat

Some pet owners wonder if a little nibble here and there is genuinely harmful. But even small amounts can be dicey. Certain dogs might start showing symptoms after minor onion ingestion, while others might take a bit more. Why risk it?

What to do in case of an onion mishap

We’ve all been there. You drop a piece of food, and before you know it, your dog’s snapped it up. If that food contained onions, it’s essential to monitor their behavior. Symptoms to watch out for include excessive drooling, nausea, abdominal pain, or even fatigue. Don’t hesitate to contact your vet if you observe anything unusual or they seem out of sorts.

Onions: beyond the immediate threat

Apart from the thiosulfate concerns, onions in any form, raw, cooked, or powdered, can upset a dog’s stomach. Just like some people can’t handle very spicy or rich foods, dogs can react similarly to onions. They could experience stomach pain, gas, or even diarrhea. It’s clear; onions and dogs don’t mix.

But what about onion powder?

Onion powder, often a staple in many kitchens for seasoning, is just as harmful, if not more. It’s concentrated, meaning even a tiny bit can harm our furry friends. So, if you’re whipping up a dish and some seasoning spills, clean it before your pet can get to it.

Healthy alternatives for our four-legged Friends

Our pets often look at us with those puppy eyes, longing for a bite of what we eat. Instead of onions, there are numerous dog-friendly options out there. Fresh veggies like carrots, cucumbers, or green beans can be a fantastic treat for them. And if you ever wonder about a particular food, always remember your vet is just a call away.

Wrapping it up

Navigating the dietary needs of our pets can sometimes feel like stepping through a minefield. There’s so much information out there, and knowing what’s beneficial and harmful is essential.

When it comes to onions, it’s best to keep them off the menu for our canine buddies. The risks far outweigh any potential benefits. After all, our primary goal is to ensure our furry family members stay healthy, happy, and by our side for many years to come.


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Are garlic and leeks as dangerous as onions for dogs?

Onions, garlic, leeks, and even chives belong to the Allium family. They all contain thiosulfate, which is toxic to dogs. Garlic, in particular, can be even more potent and dangerous than onions.

How soon after eating onions will a dog show poisoning symptoms?

Symptoms can appear anywhere from a few hours to a few days after ingestion. It’s essential to monitor your dog closely if you suspect they’ve eaten any onion and consult with a vet if you observe any signs of distress.

Are cooked onions just as toxic to dogs as raw onions?

Cooking onions doesn’t eliminate the thiosulfate that makes them toxic to dogs. Whether fried, boiled, or baked, onions remain hazardous for our canine companions.

Can a small, continuous intake of onions harm dogs over time?

Absolutely. While a tiny piece of onion might not cause immediate symptoms, regular exposure to small amounts can accumulate in the system and lead to chronic health issues.

Is red onion more toxic than white or yellow onion for dogs?

All red, white, yellow, and sweet onions contain toxic thiosulfate. While there may be slight variations in concentration, it’s best to consider all onions as potentially harmful and avoid giving any to dogs.

Do commercial dog foods contain onion?

Most reputable dog food brands ensure their products are safe and free from harmful ingredients like onions. However, reading the ingredients list carefully is essential, especially with treats or less well-known brands. If you see onion or onion powder listed, choose a different product.



  1. ConcernedCanineCathy

    Had no clue onions were bad for dogs until recently. rosie once got into a bag of them

  2. Olivia

    Just found out onions are a no-go for dogs. I occasionally gave my dog a bite my sandwich.

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