What Should I Do If My Dog Ate A Small Piece of Onion?

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In this article, you will know the answer to the query “What Should I Do If My Dog Ate A Small Piece of Onion?“.

It is good to know that you are aware of how dangerous eating onions can be for a dog- this saves us some time!

In this situation, you have two options.

Acting swiftly and decisively is necessary for each option.

Consider doing a quick calculation to see if your dog ate enough onion to make it toxic, even if the amount of onion was only a small amount.

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Your dog’s weight and the amount of onion they ate are necessary for this calculation.

The following is a more detailed explanation.

In case your head is spinning too much, you can also call your veterinarian.

However, a veterinarian will probably want to know the same information…

What is it about onions that makes them so problematic?

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Why is onion toxic?

The chemical n-propyl disulfide in onions makes them toxic for dogs.

In large enough amounts, however, it can kill a dog even though the substance isn’t toxic to humans (because our bodies can absorb it).

N-propyl disulfide cannot be absorbed or processed by dogs.

Therefore, it attaches itself to the outside of red blood cells within a dog’s body, causing them to explode.

Red blood cells are the ones that carry oxygen around the body, so they can’t be messed with.

The more onions a dog eats, however, the more n-propyl disulfide is produced in their body and the more red blood cells are destroyed.

If your dog isn’t treated by a vet, it will become anemic and eventually starve to death.

How many onions will kill a dog?

One positive aspect of all this is that onions don’t kill dogs on sight or at first sniff.

Onions need to be ingested by dogs in a certain amount, and that amount varies with the size of the dog.

Larger dogs have a higher tolerance for onions than smaller dogs.

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If a Chihuahua, Labrador, and Great Dane all ate a few slices of onion, the Chihuahua would be in much greater danger than the Labrador or the Great Dane.

In addition, you should be able to find out roughly what level of onion tolerance your dog has.

By this, I mean the amount (by weight) of onion your dog can safely consume before going over the edge.

My use of the phrase safely eat doesn’t mean you should add onion to your dog’s diet (as you shouldn’t), I’m just pointing out that every dog has a margin of safety. 

To use the best formula, say that your dog can eat up to 5% of his body weight in onions before the levels of n-propyl disulfide become so high that your dog will need urgent medical attention. 

I first noticed how many onions there are when I first saw this: “wow, that’s a lot!”

I’m thinking “wow, that’s frighteningly small” after having done the calculations, particularly for smaller dogs.

Imagine a Chihuahua that weighs 2.5 kg (5.5 lbs).

Their body weight is 12g or 5% of their weight.

It is, therefore, safe for them to consume 12g of onion per day.

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12g is nothing, especially when it is mixed in with a delicious bit of spag bol that they’ve just shared with their owners. 

The French Bulldog my stepdaughter has weighs around 25 pounds or 12.5 kilograms.

Now he can consume 60 grams of onion without putting himself at risk.

However, that is still a very small amount.

There are some very small onions in our cupboards right now. They are about the size of a golf ball. 

One of those onions still weighs 40 grams!

Symptoms of onion poisoning in dogs

As a result, your dog ate some onions by accident.

What symptoms should you be on the lookout for?

Your dog will often look and feel sick when he is poisoned with onions.

It’s your vomiting, diarrhea, sore stomach, and general lethargy.

Over a couple of days, your dog’s symptoms change as his red blood cells are attacked. 

You may notice that your dog is panting a lot more than usual, their gums are pale, and their heart is beating very quickly- all they can do is lie on their bed staring at you.

You should contact your veterinarian as soon as you notice early signs of stomach upset.

By the time you see panting or a rapid heartbeat, it could be too late. 

Two forms of onion poisoning

The answer depends on a few different factors such as how much onion your dog has consumed and how big he is.

Onions can now be poisoned in two different ways.

When they are poisoned all at once, their body experiences a massive overdose.

The most common type of onion poisoning suffered by dogs is this one, which is the most feared by dog owners.

Taking the Chihuahua as an example, they may have eaten most of the spaghetti bolognese leftover from the night before.

The French Bulldog who ate those huge and delicious onion rings leftover from last night’s steak.

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During a one-off overdose, the dog’s body will start to absorb the compounds within twenty-four hours and the levels of poison (n-propyl disulfide) will be at their peak after approximately 72 hours (3 days).

If your dog eats an onion, it may take three days to five days before any symptoms of onion poisoning appear.

However, this will depend on how big your dog is and how much onion he ate as well as other factors such as his general health.

The second method is to poison them slowly over a few days.

If the body does not take one massive hit of n-propyl disulfide, this happens.

By eating a relatively large amount of onions over a few days, the toxin gradually builds up in your dog’s body until it starts attacking his red blood cells. 

There could be something like drip-feeding your dog’s leftover cottage pie over the course of a few days…

Due to this, I don’t really want to comment.

Treatment of onion poisoning in dogs

You can at least be assured that your dog is in the best of hands when it’s at the vet. 

In order to determine what is happening to the red blood cells and oxygen levels, your vet will likely conduct some blood tests.

Also, they may attempt to administer activated charcoal through a tube to your dog.

By taking the toxin out of the blood, charcoal should absorb the toxin. 

When you took your dog to the vet after it snacked on an onion, the vet might try to induce vomiting if you were quick off the mark. 

Dog-friendly vegetables

It might be a good idea to talk about alternatives if your dog ate some onion that you fed them because you didn’t realize how dangerous they are.

As long as you stay away from garlic, tomatoes, and asparagus, the list is almost endless.

Adding vegetables to your dog’s diet as snacks (rather than those lifeless dog biscuits) or as part of their main meal is a good idea.

A variety of vegetables will enrich your dog’s eating experience, particularly in terms of taste and texture.

Furthermore, they can also boost the body’s vitamin and mineral levels.

In addition to the variety they offer your dog by having so many vegetables to choose from, they can also be fed raw, cooked, or even frozen depending on your dog’s preference. 

When it comes to preparing vegetables, a lot of unnecessary waste is created- think of the skins that we peel, the leaves that we cut, or the stalks that we throw away.

The vast majority of this is highly nutritious and can be upcycled by feeding your dog.

When you think about it, it is a win-win situation.

Dogs get more variety and nutrition, and you don’t have to feel guilty about throwing it away. 

How to stop my dog from eating onions

Having decided not to give your dog onions, the next step is to figure out a foolproof way to stop them from getting their paws on them.

You should be organized depending on how eager your dog is to steal food left on the kitchen counters.

When your back is turned, some dogs will do it immediately, while others wait until you have left the house before doing it.

This may be a training opportunity if this is a real issue that goes beyond onions.

Even though on the face of it that might seem like a daunting task, with the right tools and attitude you might be surprised.

How to stop your dog from stealing food from the kitchen counter

To train your dog, you need to place an item on the kitchen counter that your dog finds irresistible.

It is also necessary to reward your dog with a lot of small biscuits or kibbles.

Block your dog and tell them “no” as soon as they approach the counter.

Make sure your voice is deep and serious, and do not shout at them.

Reward them with a treat and say “good boy” in a high-pitched voice when they start to back away.

Move away from the kitchen counter once more.

The idea is to repeat this drill over and over until your dog can be in the kitchen without trying to steal anything from the counter.

Their attention has been diverted by you. 

Rather than thinking of the food on the counter as the most important thing, they will begin to crave the reward of a biscuit. Wishing you the best.

If you want to read more about dog health tips, read here: Dog Health Tips and Tricks.

What Should I Do If My Dog Ate A Small Piece of Onion? (Watch Video)

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