Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insuranc...

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Written by Leslie Kasperowicz
Farmers CSR for 4 Years Leslie Kasperowicz

Melanie Musson is the fourth generation in her family to work in the insurance industry. She grew up with insurance talk as part of her everyday conversation and has studied to gain an in-depth knowledge of state-specific car insurance laws and dynamics as well as a broad understanding of how insurance fits into every person’s life, from budgets to coverage levels. She also specializes in automa...

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Reviewed by Melanie Musson
Published Insurance Expert Melanie Musson

UPDATED: Nov 17, 2020

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Onions.  Love them or hate them?  Or maybe you just tolerate them.

Whatever the case, onions are here to stay!

Those who love onions will put them on everything from hamburgers to salads or in many different recipes or sauces. Maybe you even have a deep fryer at home and love onion rings.

So, the question begs… If you are cooking or slicing an onion (and trying not to cry!), can you slip a slice to your pooch?

The answer is, unequivocally, NO!  In all cases.

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FACT: Pet insurance pays up to 90% of vet bills when your pet is sick or injured!

Onions Are NOT Safe For Dogs – Ever!

can dogs eat onions

Onions, no matter what the form, raw cooked or even in powder form are never safe for your dog.

In fact, onions can make your dog seriously ill.

Therefore, if you are cooking or eating an onion, please do your best to keep it away from your pup and don’t leave any leftovers in your garbage can.

All parts of an onion are toxic including the juice, leaves, and tops.  Even processed onion powders are toxic to dogs.

Cooked, raw, fried onions and the rest of the allium family including shallots, leeks, garlic, and even chives are very harmful to dogs.

Onion and garlic powder, which are in many of our households, are even more toxic than onions.

Related: 10 Things You Must Know Before You Buy Pet Insurance

Why are Onions Bad for Dogs?

The reason onions are so toxic to dog is because they have a toxin which is called N-propyl disulfide.

This particular compound causes the breakdown of a dog’s red blood cells which can lead to severe anemia in pups.

What happens is the N-propyl disulfide causes so much damage to a dog’s red blood cells that the pup is unable to carry oxygen properly.

The red blood cells are destroyed in a process which is called hemolysis which can then cause hemolytic anemia.

If your dog eats onion or onion powder, get your dog to the vet immediately.

Treatments can get expensive which is why pet insurance is a true saver! We recommend Healthy Paws if you are looking to save on vet visits with pet insurance!

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Symptoms Of Onion Toxicity in Dogs

If you think your dog has eaten onions, look out for the following symptoms:

  • Lethargy
  • Lack of Appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Pale Gums
  • Reddish Urine
  • Elevated Heart Rate
  • Excessive Panting

If your dog has any of these symptoms, get him to a veterinarian or emergency room right away.

Treatment for Onion Toxicity

If your dog ate some sort of form of onion, your vet will diagnose your dog’s overall condition based on your pup’s symptoms and blood work.

If your veterinarian thinks your dog might be anemic or has a negative blood smear result, then your dog has some form of onion toxicity.

Your vet will probably try to induce vomiting if your dog ate an onion very recently.

Or your vet will give your dog some medication or supportive care until your dog has enough healthy blood cells to replace the damaged blood cells.

In the most severe cases of toxicity, your dog might need a blood transfusion.

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How to Keep Dogs Away From Onions

If you or anyone at your home likes onions or to cook with them, keep an eye on your dog or try to keep your dog out of the kitchen.

Even if you use a minimal amount of onion powder, make sure it only goes into your pot or recipe and not into your dog’s mouth.

Maybe you like onion rings or just eat them with a take-out meal.

Make sure to take out the trash and dump the remains in the recycle bin or trash chute and don’t leave any discards in your garbage can overnight.

Just be super careful with onions in any form at home.  Always.

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Other Foods That Are Bad For Dogs

Some of the other food items that are best to keep away from your dogs:

Safe Human Food Choices For Dogs

There are, however, many safe human food choices for dogs that you can share (in small amounts):

How Pet Insurance Helps If Your Dog Eats Onions

If your dog does happen to eat an onion despite all your good efforts, you will probably need to see your veterinarian immediately.

Or even your local veterinary hospital if this happens overnight (isn’t that when emergencies always happen?)

Of course, you would do anything to get your dog treated ASAP no matter what the cost.

And this is one of those scenarios when you can really see the benefit of pet insurance.  The Aha moment.

You know the treatment and the post-op care is going to be costly and thankfully the best pet insurance companies will pay for the majority of the bill!  Phew.

Some of the best companies like Healthy Paws, Petplan and even Pets Best will pay anywhere from 80% to 90% of the bill for not only the treatment but all the lab work that might be necessary.

Of course, pet insurance helps for every new condition that might occur, but onion toxicity too?  Who knew?

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Onions and Dogs Are Not A Good Fit

If you keep any sort of onion form in your home, just do your best to keep them away from your dog(s).

Accidents do happen and our dogs are sly ones, but just knowing that onions in all forms are toxic to dogs is good knowledge to have.

And, of course, keep an eye on your dogs with any onions close by.

For more information on some of the human food that is safe for your dog or those food items that should be avoided, our ultimate safe food guide has a few ideas to help.

Other articles you may find helpful: 


Is Exotic Pet Insurance Necessary? 

The Best Pet Insurance By State 

What Is Pet Insurance?

Fun Facts, Dog FAQ, And Unsolicited Dog Advice

5 Training Commands to Save Your Dog’s Life

The Ultimate Guide to Safe Foods for Dogs

Dog Health Problems

Dog Breeds


Cat Health Problems

Cat Breeds


Finding safe alternative foods for your dogs to eat can be tricky. We have a long list of articles about every food you could possibly consider feeding your dog. One thing we recommend is that you consider looking into pet insurance for your pet and you can start by checking out the best rates for dog and puppy insurance


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