I don’t know what to do – my dog ate meatloaf with onions in it?
The best advice I could give you right now is to take your dog to see a veterinarian as soon as possible. Symptoms may include abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, and weakness, essentially symptoms similar to poisoning.
However, if the dog has eaten a significant amount of meatloaf with onions in it, then there is a chance that he could develop hemolytic anemia, which can be dangerous and even fatal. It isn’t much you can do at home other than to keep an eye on your dog for any potential symptoms.
I appreciate the fact that your question did not mention anything about putting out a bowl of milk or cream or eggs mixed with onions for your dog…because I would have advised against doing so! Dogs cannot digest dairy products.
If they eat too much of them, they will get diarrhea and/or vomiting. In some cases, whole milk or cream may cause diarrhea, but egg whites contain avidin, which destroys biotin in the body and causes skin problems.
If you feed your dog cooked onions, give him small amounts of these foods about once a week…assuming that he has no adverse reaction to it. Again, if any symptoms appear or develop, take your pet to see a veterinarian immediately!
Further Reading: Can Dogs Eat Corned Beef 
My dog didn’t eat any onions, just the pretty much raw meatloaf with onions in it. What should I do?
The onion was uncooked, and there was a strong smell of them in the house. What can vomiting mean? She ate dinner at 8 pm tonight – about 6 hours ago.
If she didn’t eat much or at all of this meal, she would probably be fine if you catch it in time to induce vomiting to bring up the food. Onion poisoning occurs when a cat or dog eats enough onion to cause anemia (iron deficiency).
This condition develops because the red blood cells are destroyed by compounds known as sulfoxides which are found in higher concentrations in white or yellow varieties of onion compared to red varieties. Ingestion of these compounds results in a reduced amount of hemoglobin, the molecule that carries oxygen to all body organs.
The decreased oxygen-carrying capacity results in anemia and also causes red blood cells (which are smaller than normal) to become rigid, which makes them harder for your pet’s body to squeeze through even small blood vessels, causing tissue damage as well as damage to internal organs like the kidneys and the liver.
Onions can be added to human food or pet food, or they may be found accidentally mixed into many things that pets ingest, including medications (i.e., heartworm pills), topical flea sprays/drops, topical tick treatments, foods prepared at home, especially those containing meatloaf, etc.
A small amount of cooked onion is not likely to cause problems if your pet gets into it, but the larger the dose and/or the fresher it is when consumed can cause life-threatening poisoning.
Symptoms usually occur within 6 hours after ingestion, although they may develop up to 24 hours later in more severe cases.
Common symptoms are vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, loss of appetite, abdominal pain, anemia or hemolytic anemia (blood transfusion is sometimes necessary), urine that looks like Coca-Cola, red skin color due to breakdown of red blood cells, which makes your pet look pale even though he may be yellow around his gums/mouth if he’s an adult cat, trouble breathing (due to bloody fluid in the lungs), or death. In other words, symptoms can be very variable and may mimic those of a number of other problems that should also be ruled out by your vet.
If you think your pet has ingested onions, contact your veterinarian immediately! If he/she is not available, call the Animal Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435 or take your pet to an emergency clinic.
The treatment for onion toxicity is based on reducing the absorption of sulfoxides from the gastrointestinal tract. It will involve inducing vomiting (or giving hydrogen peroxide orally) followed by activated charcoal administration, which helps absorb any unabsorbed toxins in the stomach/intestines and reduces their effects on the body.
Intravenous fluids may be given to support your pet and maintain hydration as well as blood transfusion if the anemia becomes severe.
It is important to prevent the absorption of sulfoxides from the gastrointestinal tract. To do this, activated charcoal will be mixed with water and given orally immediately after vomiting occurs (if any) and then every 4-6 hours for at least 24 hours or as long as symptoms persist (even if no more onion is found in the stomach or intestines).
If you see any signs of decreased activity/lethargy, give fluids subcutaneously (under the skin) by using a special needleless syringe that allows fluid administration without having to stick your pet with a regular needle.
Do NOT attempt to give such large volumes of fluid orally, or it can be dangerous and cause fluid accumulation in the lungs.
Don’t forget that other foods may contain onions! Cats should not eat cooked bones, for example, and dogs should not eat chocolate which contains theobromine (another problem for pets).
Further Reading: Can dogs eat beef jerky
My dog has gas and can’t stop farting – I don’t know what to do!
Please contact your veterinarian for a diagnosis and treatment of this medical problem. I have seen some pets that have eaten onions, but I do not know if their gas smells like onions or sweet potatoes. 🙁
In the meantime, please be sure to feed your pet only high-quality foods with no fillers, such as cheap starches, which can contribute to excessive flatulence in some dogs and cats. Ground fresh organ meat from chicken, beef, pork, or lamb, which is very low in fat, has been found helpful in some dogs when fed raw (just a little bit is often all they need).
A tablespoon per 10 lbs of body weight per day is a good starting point, perhaps increased over time. It’s important to gradually increase the amount given, however, to avoid loose stools.
Please note that it is extremely important to discuss any dietary changes with your veterinarian since some pets may have medical problems that need to be taken into consideration before giving any new food or supplement.
Your pet will not begin farting onion farts if you provide him/her with only high-quality foods! Onion flavored farts are actually created in the mouth when onions are chewed… I know because they make me do the same thing!
(Dogs can also be affected too.) If your pet eats mainly kibble, he/she is more likely to develop gas than if fed a good raw diet. Also, feeding less grain and starch-based fillers will help reduce farting.
It’s important not to feed onions of any kind to your pets, but it’s also important not to feed them potatoes or sweet potatoes either because these often contain solanine which is toxic to many animals.
Dogs and cats do NOT eat a lot of starch in the wild. If you want pet farts that smell like onions, make sure they are eating food with high starch content.
If farts smell like onions, it means you have been feeding your pet too much starch-based filler in the kibble or canned food!
Should I give him an anti-gas medication, or should I put him on a diet of raw food only for the rest of his life??
Without knowing the exact diagnosis, it’s difficult to say. If your pet has a bad case of gas that can’t be cleared up without medication, then using medication to clear up the problem is the best move.
However, I have known some pets that are chronically gassy even though they’re on special diets and get supplements to help reduce flatulence.
Even if these things help reduce the odor, I wonder if there isn’t something else going on? These pets usually eat high-quality foods, so you’d think this would not be an issue… yet they still have horrible smelling farts…
However, that feeding dogs/cats only good quality ingredients will cut down on gas production since many of them are suffering from bad breath and farting! Some of them even get terrible ear infections and skin diseases because they’re eating so poorly. That’s when I know it’s time to put the pet on a proper raw food diet.
Poor dental health can contribute to smell from the mouth, but many pets with horrible smelling gas have very clean teeth… Something else is going on here. If you feed your pet a natural prey model diet with small amounts of vegetables added, farts should not smell like onions or sweet potatoes!
If your dog or cat has been given a diagnosis that does require medication, then my advice would be to work closely with your veterinarian in order to find the most effective treatment/medication without suffering any side effects.
There are many different medications that can be used to help treat chronic gas problems, so please discuss these with your veterinarian.
Further Reading: What canned food can dogs eat
It smells like onions on his breath, but he doesn’t have any symptoms of poisoning?
Onions and garlic both belong to the same family of plants, so it makes sense that they would have a similar effect on pets… I wonder what would happen if you fed a pet a diet containing small amounts of onion powder over time? What if they got the same symptoms as when eating onions in large quantities?
It’s important to remember that food for humans is not necessarily good for our dogs/cats. They are different species with different dietary needs. In fact, most animals cannot digest grains at all, which is why veterinarians recommend grain-free diets for pets with diabetes or inflammatory bowel disease.
This is because consuming carbohydrates can lead to weight gain and other health issues in some animals. However, there are carb sources available that are considered safe by the veterinary community… ones that won’t lead to weight gain and other health problems.
That being said, it’s not advisable to give your pet garlic or onions of any kind on a regular basis since these vegetables belong to a family of plants known as “alliums,” which contain organosulfoxides alk(en)yl cysteine sulfoxides and thiosulfinates.
All of these ingredients can be potentially toxic if consumed in large quantities, but even small amounts may cause problems for your pet. The symptoms from allium poisoning often include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, and bad breath.
It’s important to remember that garlic, onion, and sweet potato have similar properties… It is likely that they all contain similar types of organosulfoxides, alk(en)yl cysteine sulfoxides, and thiosulfinates.
Further Reading: Can dogs eat beef
Will a small amount of onion hurt my dog?
A small amount of onion will NOT hurt your dog. However, it’s important to remember that garlic, onion, and sweet potato have similar properties… It is likely that they all contain similar types of organosulfoxides, alk(en)yl cysteine sulfoxides, and thiosulfinates.
Many pets are not aware of when these ingredients appear in their food because the taste of organosulfur compounds is very subtle. That means it’s easy for pet owners to feed their dog’s or cats’ foods with garlic or onion powder without even realizing it!
It depends on how much was consumed… If a large amount of onion was eaten (like half a bulb), then you might want to contact your veterinarian just in case.
If it was a small amount, then you probably don’t need to worry too much about it. Just like some humans may experience bad breath as a symptom of onion toxicity, the same thing can happen in cats and dogs.
If your pet has consumed a large number of onions or garlic (enough to make him/her very ill), he/she will most likely vomit within 1-2 hours. Vomiting is an important first step to removing toxins from the body and preventing them from further damaging organs and tissues.
Once vomiting has taken place, there is nothing else that needs to be done unless symptoms such as diarrhea appear. In that case, contact your veterinarian for advice on what to do next since dehydration could become an issue.
Some vets give activated charcoal to pets who have consumed a toxin. This is a special type of charcoal that can trap toxins inside its millions of tiny pores, preventing them from continuing on their journey throughout the body and/or being absorbed by the intestinal wall.
Activated charcoal is often administered with a stomach tube or via an IV in severe cases. In most cases, your veterinarian won’t need to do anything apart from monitor your pet for any signs of organ damage as long as there is no evidence that he or she consumed a large amount of onion or garlic.