Garlic and Onion Poisoning in Dogs - Symptoms and Treatment

By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. October 9, 2016
Garlic and Onion Poisoning in Dogs - Symptoms and Treatment

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Deciding to share your home with a dog makes you responsible for ensuring its complete welfare. This means caring for many different aspects, which above all include providing proper socialization, adequate companionship and affection, and an optimal diet.

Dog food is highly important because it has a direct impact on its health. In fact, inappropriate nutrition acts as a trigger factor for multiple diseases. Many owners decide to feed home-made food to their pet as a complement to store-bought dog food. Therefore, they must be well-informed about what foods may be toxic. However it is also necessary to know how to interpret that information.

In this AnimalWised article we will talk about garlic and onion poisoning in dogs, two vegetables that do not necessarily have to be left out of your dog's diet.

Are onion and garlic toxic for dogs?

For many years, and even today, it has been firmly claimed that garlic and onions are toxic to dogs. However, this is true only to an extent; it is only the case in excessive amounts. In fact, an adequate amount will have many health benefits for your dog.

This misleading myth is due to the sulphur compounds present in both garlic and onions, which thankfully possess many medicinal properties. One of these compounds - n-propyl disulphide - has been identified as a substance toxic to dogs. In high concentrations, this component destroys red blood cells and causes a type of hemolytic anaemia in dogs.

Garlic and Onion Poisoning in Dogs - Symptoms and Treatment - Are onion and garlic toxic for dogs?

Symptoms of garlic and onion poisoning in dogs

If your dog has consumed garlic and onion in unsuitable quantities - for several days or in an excessive amount over a shorter period of time - you should know that symptoms of poisoning do not manifest immediately, but approximately 5 to 6 days after.

The symptoms of poisoning in dogs will appear gradually and encompass the following:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Red-colored urine
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Lethargy
  • Increased heart rate

If these signs appear, it is important that you go to the vet as soon as possible. Here you can learn more about dog poisoning, including more specific symptoms and first aid.

Beneficial properties of garlic and onion

Garlic and onion, however, do have numerous medicinal properties which include:

  • Allowing the body to cleanse itself and facilitating the removal of waste substances.
  • Antibacterial and antiseptic properties.
  • Improving blood circulation.
  • Increasing immune response.
  • Protecting the cardiovascular system.

Contrary to popular belief, these benefits are not observed only in the human body. Thanks to the mechanism of action of these two foods, a dog's health can also be greatly enhanced.

Here you can learn more about using garlic to deworm cats and dogs, for instance.

Can I give garlic and onion to my dog?

To answer this question, let's use with a practical real-life example.

One day for lunch I decided to treat my dog and I put some sautéed potatoes with egg and onion in his dog bowl. Then I remembered the most widespread myth in canine nutrition: "Onion is toxic." Of course, I went into a state of hysteria. Searching desperately for more information I realized that I had used a medium-sized onion to prepare about 3 plates of food, and that the toxic dose for my dog (a Labrador) was three average onions. I breathed out and watched quietly as my pet continued to enjoy optimum health.

If you are going to give a Yorkshire Terrier a plate of home-made food containing onions, are you going to use a whole onion just for your dog's portion? Probably not, and that is the crucial point.

For a dog to be poisoned by an onion - and it doesn't always happen - it would have to consume 0.5% of their body weight in onions. That's an excessive amount that has no place in a balanced diet for dogs, even if it wasn't poisonous.

If you want to give your dog food containing onions, you can give it 2 to 3 tablespoons without any problems. Besides, are you going to give your dog food made with onions every day? If you're using them in a reasonable manner, you have nothing to worry about.

As for garlic, you should worry even less because it contains a lower proportion of sulphurous substances that can be toxic. Therefore, a dog can eat 1 to 2 garlic cloves each day, depending on its weight.

Garlic and Onion Poisoning in Dogs - Symptoms and Treatment - Can I give garlic and onion to my dog?

This article is purely informative. AnimalWised does not have the authority to prescribe any veterinary treatment or create a diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian if they are suffering from any condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to Garlic and Onion Poisoning in Dogs - Symptoms and Treatment, we recommend you visit our Intestinal problems category.

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Joe Gordier
Stop using hamsters for pets if you put them on the floor and call them and they don't come then they're not pet material
Rudy Estrada
It's very important to have this site thank you I. Need help for my pet it may concern .
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