Tips From the Pet Poison HELPLINE — Onions and Garlic

We all want to keep our furbabies safe and healthy. Dogster Kristy Sweetland, furmom to Seva and Finlay, will be providing weekly tips and warnings...

Joy  |  Jun 14th 2007


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We all want to keep our furbabies safe and healthy. Dogster Kristy Sweetland, furmom to Seva and Finlay, will be providing weekly tips and warnings from the Pet Poison HELPLINE to make that job easier. As a veterinary technician with the Pet Poison HELPLINE she’s going to help us all stay more on top of what’s dangerous for our furry family members.

Onions and Garlic!

Most of us with pets are aware of chocolates toxic potential by now. More and more of us are becoming familiar with other food product around the house which can be harmful. One of the most common household food products resulting in poisoning for dogs or cats happens to be onions or garlic. This group of harmful foods includes anything in the Allium family, which would entail all types of onions, garlic, shallots, or chives. It is thought that ingestions of these vegetables could be harmful in quantities greater than 0.5% of an animals body weight, but no definitive toxic dose has been established thus far.

This family of produce contains chemical agents by the name of disulfides which can result in the destruction of an animals red blood cells in large quantities. If toxicity develops, you may not notice sign for several days after an ingestion. The resulting effects of the anemia would be lethargy, rapid breathing, a rapid heart rate, vomiting, diarrhea, refusal to eat, and you would generally notice extremely pale gums. Blood transfusions are often necessary at this stage in order to allow regeneration of the blood cells. Measures to protect the kidneys would also take place. If your veterinarian can initiate these treatments, your pet faces an excellent prognosis for recovery.

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Watch the gardens if you grow chives or onions and keep the pets away from these areas. I strongly discourage you from loading your pet up with garlic as a natural remedy for flea control, as well. This could be harmful over chronic periods of time and, believe it or not, many of the chemicals used today, manufactured from responsible pharmaceutical companies, can be more benign than some of the natural remedies currently in use.