To us humans, onion powder is one of the most delicious flavorings to add to soups, stews, curries, and more. But onion powder is only safe for human consumption, and should be kept well away from dogs.
Most of us know that onions, and all close members of the onion family (including garlic and shallots), are toxic to dogs. There is some confusion over whether onion powder, being "not technically an onion", counts. The answer is yes.
Onion powder is simply concentrated, dehydrated onions. This means that, if your dog eats onion powder, it will have exactly the same effect as eating onions. Being more potent, smaller quantities of onion powder may do more harm to your dog.
This article will discuss the risks of onion exposure in dogs, and whether it's okay for dogs to eat onion powder in various scenarios.
How Much Onion Powder is Toxic to Dogs?
The exact amount of onion powder considered toxic to dogs depends on the dog's size. The smaller the dog, the smaller the amount of onion powder that can be toxic.
You can work out the toxic dose of onion powder by multiplying 15 grams by the dog's weight in kilograms. This works out at about 5% of the body weight.
If you don't know exactly how much onion powder your dog has eaten, call your vet and explain the situation. It's likely that they'll ask you to bring your dog in for an emergency checkup.
What Happens if a Dog Eats Onion Powder?
When a dog is exposed to concentrated onions or garlic, they may experience toxoplasmosis, or damage to the red blood cells. This typically occurs between three and five days after the dog has eaten the powder.
You may notice that your dog seems tired and weak, or reluctant to stand. Your dog may also have orange-tinged or red urine.
Other signs to look for include:
- Excessive salivation
- Pale or blueish gums
- Rapid heart rate
You may also be able to smell onion on your dog's breath.
Can Dogs Have Chips with Onion Powder?
First off, dogs shouldn't eat chips, whether they contain onion powder or not. However, assuming that your dog has eaten chips with onion powder by mistake, they should be okay.
Even if there's onion powder coating your chips, it shouldn't be potent enough to cause your dog any serious harm. Still, you should monitor your dog for signs of gastric upset and call your vet if you're worried.
Can Dogs Eat Baby Food with Onion Powder?
You may have heard of baby food being used to entice dogs to eat if they won't eat their regular food. Baby food can also make it easier to administer some medications. However, baby food should never be considered a sole source of nutrition for dogs, especially as it contains some ingredients that could make dogs sick, like onion powder.
Again, baby food doesn't contain enough onion powder to have a noticeable effect on your dog (unless they've eaten several packets at once). If your dog has only eaten a mouthful or two of baby food, they should be fine. Monitor their behaviour and keep an eye out for lethargy or excessive panting.
If you do need to give your dog baby food for whatever reason, avoid any foods containing onion or garlic powder.
Is Chicken Broth with Onion Powder Bad for Dogs?
Chicken broth is generally safe for dogs, and actually has some benefits. Chicken bone broth is especially nutritious, as it's packed with collagen, vitamins and minerals that are needed for a dog's healthy development.
However, chicken broth that contains onion and garlic can be toxic to dogs. Avoid these ingredients to stay on the safe side. You should also choose low-sodium stock to make sure your dog's salt intake isn't too high.
The Verdict: Don't Feed Your Dog Onion Powder
Onions in any form are dangerous to dogs, so you shouldn't feed anything containing onion powder to your four-legged friend. If your dog does ingest onion powder, it's safest to call a vet and discuss your concerns. Your dog may need to be examined and treated according to the vet's findings.