Whilst many owner now know chocolate can kill their dogs, they may not know that onions can be deadly. Plus all colours of onions and their relatives like garlic and chives.
Depending on the dog’s size the dog may not have to eat a lot of onion to become ill. One fourth of a cup can make a 20-pound dog sick. This also means any way the onion is served to the dog in an onion ring, dehydrated as in a soup mix or in baby food.
Onions cause toxicity by oxidising haemoglobin in the red cells. Haemoglobin soaks up oxygen in the lungs, then releases it in the body tissues for use in converting food into energy. When haemoglobin oxidises it forms clumps that cannot carry oxygen as well. These small clumps called Heinz bodies can be seen in the red blood cells.
Onion toxicos is not common because dogs do not eat enough onions to get sick. Garlic can cause the same problems, but since garlic is used only used in small amounts dogs aren’t likely to get a toxic quantity.
The signs of onion toxicosis are the same as anaemia and low oxygen in the body: lethargy, weakness, red urine, decreased stamina and pale or bluish gums, especially with exercise.
Onions are not the only troublemakers in the pantry other common culprits are chocolate which can cause vomiting, depression, muscle twitching, seizure, coma.
Mouldy cheese will cause allergic reactions, apple seeds cause vomiting, and difficulty in breathing, coma.
Potato skins cause dry mouth, vomiting, and diarrhoea.
Rhubarb: vomiting, diarrhoea, depression
Tobacco: vomiting, nausea, excess salivation, increased heart rate.
If you suspect your dog has been poisoned, contact your vet immediately.