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Onion and Garlic Poisoning

Onion, garlic, leeks and chives are all poisonous to dogs. As little as 2.5gms of onion per kilogram of weight can cause serious effects in a dog. 

  • All dogs who eat onion should be made to vomit as susceptibility varies.

  • The effect of onion is cumulative, so a little eaten on a daily basis will build up to toxic levels over time. 

Onion, whether cooked or raw, contains sulfur compounds that cause oxidative damage.

When dogs or cats eat onion, their red blood cells undergo chemical attack. Two serious consequences arise:

  1. Haemoglobin (the molecule that carries oxygen) is deactivated

  2. Cell walls are ruptured and red blood cells are destroyed

The result is anaemia and a reduced ability to deliver oxygen to the body.

Symptoms Of Onion Poisoning

Signs of onion poisoning typically appear after 1 to 3 days when the anaemia develops. They include:

  • Lethargy

  • Weakness

  • Laboured breathing

  • Pale gums

  • Collapse

  • Red urine and yellow eyes from pigments released by the destruction of red blood cells.

 

Treatment Of Onion Poisoning

Dogs that have eaten onion within the last hour can be treated simply by making them vomit.

There is no antidote for the toxin that reaches the bloodstream.

These dogs need daily monitoring via blood tests. Some will need oxygen support or transfusions but the good news is that most will recover uneventfully.

Image by Önder Örtel