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
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:
increased heart rate
increased respiratory rate
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
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