toxic grilling

The Popular Onion Powder Seasoning is Potentially Deadly to Dogs

In Animal Health, Dog Behavior, Dogs, Fall pet safety, pet care professional, Pet First Aid, Pet Safety, Spring pet safety, Summer pet safety, Uncategorized, veterinarian by Cara Armour

by Arden Moore

We love to grill year-round in our Dallas backyard where the outdoor kitchen area sports a gas grill and a pellet smoker. We are careful to ensure our dogs, Kona and Emma, don’t venture near them when we are cooking to prevent them from any burns.

But what you season your steak, salmon, chicken or other grilled delights with could also prove to be dangerous to your dogs. In recent months, the veterinary toxicologists on staff at the Pet Poison Helpline, have reported that they are fielding a rise in accidental poisoning cases involving curious dogs who ingest popular outdoor grilling seasonings.

Top Grilling Toxin

And topping that list: onion powder. Also dangerous if ingested by dogs include other members of the Allium family: garlic, chives and leeks. The domesticated species commonly implicated in canine toxicity are Allium cepa (onion), Allium porrum (leek), Allium sativum (garlic), and Allium schoenoprasum (chive).

Onion Powder

Take the case of a dog named Tsuk. Sharron Champagne, of Hooksett, New Hampshire, accidentally left a large container of onion powder on the kitchen counter. Her two dogs, Tsuk and Scotty, sniffed it out, but only Tsuk grabbed the container, crushed it open and gobbled up the contents.

“Tsuk is notorious for stealing things off the counter,” Sharron reported to the Pet Poison Helpline staff. “At first, we weren’t too concerned since she gets into so many things, and we didn’t know that ingesting onions is so dangerous to pets.”

What catches pet parents off guard is that the onion poisoning acts slowly and steadily. Symptoms often don’t show up until two or more days.

“After a few days, Tsuk became lethargic, stopped eating, started drinking more water than usual and her urine was dark in color. She also started vomiting,” says Sharron.

Renee Schmid, DVM, a senior veterinary toxicologist at Pet Poison Helpline, reports that the amount of onion powder Tsuk ate posed a serious risk to her red blood cells and triggered anemia and gastrointestinal upset.

Tsuk was taken to an area veterinary emergency and specialty hospital, where she received a blood transfusion, IV fluids, antioxidants and oxygen.

Just remember that any of these plants in dried, powdered, liquid, cooked or raw forms are poisonous to dogs. They damage red blood cell membranes. Red blood cells play a vital role in transporting oxygen throughout the body. So, when they are destroyed, organs fail to receive enough oxygen and start to fail.

Common Signs of Poisoning

Do not hesitate to contact your veterinarian if you suspect your dog ate something dangerous. Common signs of poisoning include:

  • Gastrointestinal upset
  • Decreased appetite
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Drooling
  • Pale gums
  • Increased heart and respiratory rates
  • Red-colored urine

Fortunately, after three days of intense care, Tsuk survived and rejoined her family. Sharron, well aware of Tsuk’s drive to counter surf items on kitchen counters, no longer keeps a large container of onion powder.

“We now have a very small bottle of onion powder and we also downsized the garlic powder bottle, too,” she says.

Play It Safe

Keep these phone numbers handy:
Pet Poison Helpline: 800 213-6680. This helpline is staffed by veterinary toxicologists and veterinarians board-certified in internal medicine and provides a 24-hour animal poison control service to people in the United States, Canada and the Caribbean.
ASPCA Poison Control Hotline: 888 426-4435. This helpline is staffed by veterinary
toxicologists and is available 24/7. Learn more at

Learn Pet First Aid

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