We’ve all read at least one article online that says garlic is bad for dogs. Maybe you’ve read one that says onions are bad for dogs. In fact, there’s probably a high chance you’ve stumbled across something that says chives and shallots are bad for your pets as well.
Why is that? Well, garlic, onions, shallots, and chives, are all part of the allium family. These herbs are all very similar and are commonplace in the kitchen and in many different human recipes. And while these ingredients make for incredibly flavorful and memorable dishes, they are highly toxic for dogs.
In this guide, we get into the allium family, explain why it’s toxic to dogs, and how to check for symptoms of allium poisoning in your dog. Check it out below.
What Is the Allium Family?
The allium family is technically a genus of monocotyledonous flowering plants. In simpler terms, it’s a genus of specific plants that includes garlic, shallots, onions, and chives. However, these aren’t the only members of the family. Leeks and scallions are also members of the allium family that you might find in your kitchen.
You can spot members of the allium family by their physical characteristics. All these herbs share the same body where long, grass-like leaves that all stem from one “bulb”. Members of the allium family are commonplace in the human kitchen because of their distinctive flavor and ability to transform dishes.
And while you’ll be hard-pressed to find recipes that don’t include at least one member of the family, make sure that all your dog food recipes contain no allium ingredients as these can be very toxic to dogs.
What Makes the Allium Family Toxic to Dogs?
Most members of the allium family contain disulfides and thiosulphates. For humans, this doesn’t mean much. However, these compounds can target the red blood cells of dogs, which is what causes garlic and allium poisoning.
The severity of the symptoms of allium poisoning differs from dog to dog. However, in many cases, it takes a significant amount of these disulfides and thiosulphates to have an effect on your dog. With that said, since the symptoms vary depending on the dog, it’s never worth taking the risk.
Because of that, we highly recommend keeping your dog away from members of the allium family as much as possible.
What Members of the Allium Family Are Toxic to Dogs?
It’s important to remember as a dog owner that ALL members of the allium family are toxic to dogs. Whether it’s onions, garlic, shallots, chives, or scallions, they all contain the compounds and toxins that cause symptoms for dogs. Not just that, but all parts of the allium plants contain toxic compounds.
That means that even eating the garlic or onion leaves can cause severe issues and complications for your dog. So, keep your dog away from ALL allium plants to make sure they stay safe from poisoning and the symptoms associated with it.
How Much Garlic Is Toxic for Dogs?
There isn’t a definite number of garlic that scientists have classified as toxic for dogs. This is because the amount of garlic needed to poison a dog varies on a number of factors such as age, size, weight, and breed. Generally, some Japanese breeds such as the Shiba Inu are known to be more sensitive to garlic and only require small amounts to start exhibiting symptoms.
On the other hand, there are a handful of dogs out there that might actually be able to eat a little bit of garlic. But since garlic poisoning is very serious, it’s best not to take the risk. Check this helpful guide on why garlic is bad for dogs, how much you can feed them, and more which you can read here: https://whatthepup.spotandtango.com/is-garlic-bad-for-dogs/.
Symptoms of Allium Poisoning in Dogs
There are many ways allium poisoning can exhibit itself, depending on the severity. In most cases, your dog may start vomiting, experiencing diarrhea, and appear lethargic after eating garlic. In extreme cases of allium poisoning, your dog may develop hemolytic anemia, which is something you should avoid at all costs.
Remember, the disulfide and thiosulphate in allium plants target the red blood cells. So, symptoms of severe garlic and allium poisoning will usually have to deal with their red blood cells.
If you catch your dog eating garlic or any other allium plant, you need to contact your vet immediately. Since your vet knows your dog, they will know exactly what to do. Usually, your vet will advise you to observe the dog for 24-48 hours.
If symptoms disappear after a day or two, that usually means you have nothing to worry about. However, if symptoms persist, that means you have to contact the vet and schedule an appointment as soon as possible.