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The Dangers of Onions For Dogs

Trace amounts will likely not cause problems but large quantities can lead to anemia in dogs

 

MetPet.com Staff Writer

Onions in any form may cause anemia in dogs.  Whether raw or cooked, fresh or dehydrated, onion seasoning or onion powder, a large enough quantity in comparison to the dog's size may create anemia. 

Onions are very common in human food and are often included in a variety of processed foods including baby food.  People food manufacturers use onions to make food tastier and they can often be found within the long list of ingredients. 

Onions are very palatable to dogs in the form of onion rings, onion seasonings, raw onions in salads, dips, baked goods, processed meats, etc.  A small quantity of onions may not create any serious illness in most dogs but, since there is no real need to feed onions to dogs, it is best to keep them away from your dogs. 

Small dogs in particular who find a cache of tasty foods laced with onions should be watched carefully for symptoms of onion toxicity. 

What is Anemia?
Red blood cells contain hemoglobin, a molecule that carries oxygen to the tissues.  The oxidants in onions cause the formation of Heinz-bodies creating red bloods cells that are rigid and unable to function properly.  The red blood cells rupture and are filtered out of the bloodstream. 

Anemia is the condition where the number of red blood cells and/or hemoglobin is unusually low.  Since red blood cells carry much needed oxygen to the tissues and organs, lack of red blood cells can create a range of problems including heart failure. Onion toxicity in dogs can create what is called Heinz-body hemolytic anemia.

The Symptoms of Onion Toxicity in Dogs
Signs of onion toxicity include:

general weakness
increased heart rate
increased respiratory rate
vomiting
decreased appetite
diarrhea
depression
blood in the urine
jaundice appearing as a yellowing of tissues such as eyes, gums and skin

If you suspect onion toxicity, contact your veterinarian for blood and/or urine tests.

Related Information:
Chocolate poisoning in pets
Salmon Poisoning in Dogs
Xylitol Toxicity in Dogs
Toxic plant list
 

 

 
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