Many delicious meals are made with onions, garlic, chives, and leeks. While these meals are tasty for pet parents to consume, they are toxic for our canine companions.
All plants in the Allium species are unsafe for pups to ingest and should be kept away from our four-legged friends. Garlic is incredibly toxic, as it is five times more potent than onions.
This means no spaghetti and meatballs for your pup unless you can ensure that you made a dog-safe pasta meal without using these plants.
This article has more information on why onions are unsafe for dogs: whatthepup.spotandtango.com/can-dogs-have-onions/
Continue reading below to learn about onion, garlic, chive, and leek toxicity and what you can do for your dog if you suspect they have it.
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What Makes These Foods Toxic?
While humans can eat onions, garlic, chives, and leeks with little to no problems, dogs cannot. These plants are from the Allium species and contain organosulfur compounds, which give them their distinct smell and flavor.
When dogs consume these organosulfur compounds, their bodies metabolize them into highly reactive oxidants. These oxidants will damage your pup’s red blood cells, leading to oxidative hemolysis.
This condition directly affects the blood’s ability to carry oxygen throughout your dog’s body. During oxidative hemolysis, red blood cells also rupture and are destroyed. Any plant in the Allium species or food that contains these plants is toxic to your pup.
What Foods Cause This?
As the name suggests, onions, garlic, chives, and leeks cause poisoning in dogs. Any plant of the Allium species is toxic for your pup to consume.
All types of onions are unsafe, including green onions and scallions. Seasonings that include these plants are dangerous for your pup, such as garlic powder, onion powder, and steak seasoning.
It does not matter if the plants are raw, cooked, dried, or powdered. In any form, onions, garlic, chives, and leeks are unsafe for your dog to eat.
Symptoms of Onion, Garlic, Chive, and Leek Toxicity
The main issue that results from a dog eating onion, garlic, chives, or leeks is anemia. Since the organosulfur compounds destroy your dog’s blood cells, your pup will lack an adequate amount of red blood cells.
Onion, garlic, chive, and leek toxicity can also cause your dog to experience vomiting and diarrhea. General gastrointestinal upset is common, as well.
There are several other symptoms to look out for if you suspect your dog has onion, garlic, chive, and leek toxicity, including:
- Excessive salivating
- Irritation of the mouth
- Lethargy or weakness
- Abdominal pain
- Fast heart rate
- Excessive panting
- Gums that look pale or blue
- Fainting or collapsing
If your dog’s symptoms are severe, they should not be ignored. A blood test, blood smear, or urinalysis can accurately identify if onion, garlic, chive, and leek toxicity is the cause.
How You Can Help
If you notice that your dog has gotten ahold of food containing onion, garlic, chive, or leek, you should remove any remaining food product from around them. Place any other food products containing these plants out of your pup’s reach.
Figure out how much your dog may have eaten, and call your pup’s vet. They will give you the best advice on how to handle the situation.
You can also induce vomiting in your dog in an attempt to get the onion, garlic, chive, or leek product out of their body. Giving activated charcoal to your pup can reduce the number of harmful compounds absorbed during digestion.
Ensure that you keep a watchful eye on your dog’s symptoms and keep them well-hydrated. Any sickness can cause dehydration, especially if vomiting and diarrhea are present.
Your vet may recommend that you feed your dog a low-oxidant diet to reduce their exposure while they recover from the onion, garlic, chive, or leek toxicity. Any signs of anemia, especially fainting or discolored gums, warrant a vet visit.
Things to Keep in Mind
Dogs tend to recover successfully after consuming onions, garlic, chives, or leeks. While the toxicity is dangerous, once the compounds are out of their system, your pup can fully recover.
If symptoms are ignored or left untreated, onion, garlic, chive, and leek toxicity can become fatal. Anemia is dangerous, and a dog’s body may lose too many red blood cells without producing more in time. In these cases, blood transfusions are needed to help your pup recuperate.
Avoiding exposure to onions, garlic, chives, and leeks is imperative to keeping your dog healthy. Foods that contain these plants should never be fed to your dog. This includes foods that contain seasonings made with these plants.
If you are unsure if a food contains these plants, do not feed it to your pup. Find them a dog-safe treat to eat instead.