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Can Dogs Eat Garlic & Onions?

By Stacy Painter
published: November 19, 2018 - updated: May 11, 2021 • 2 min. read
garlic and onion

Nope! Dogs should not eat vegetables belonging to the Allium family: no onions, garlic, leeks, chives, or shallots. They all have chemical properties that can be toxic, and even life-threatening to dogs (and cats). Garlic is especially potent and has been known to poison dogs with stealthy symptoms, so effects can turn up a few days later. Call your vet if you suspect your dog has ingested garlic.

Why are these vegetables toxic?

These vegetables contain N-propyl disulfide, a compound that damages the red blood cells. The damage is irreversible and can cause blood cells to rupture, resulting in anemia. An animal with severe anemia can suffer organ damage, organ failure, or even death. Consumption of a vegetable in the allium family can also cause gastrointestinal irritation.

Avoid all forms of these vegetables, including garlic powder, onion powder, and any spices that may contain them. Do not feed your pet soups, broths, meats or veggies that have been cooked with onions or garlic. In other words, don’t let your dog lap up the rest of your chicken soup without first checking the ingredients on the label!

Symptoms can appear within a day or up to several days after consuming one of these off-limits foods. They include:

  • Weakness
  • Lethargy
  • Pale gums
  • Vomiting or diarrhea
  • Increased heart rate
  • Red or brown urine
  • Drooling


If your pet has ingested any of the vegetables in question, contact your veterinarian immediately. Treatment may include inducing vomiting to remove undigested food in the stomach, IV fluids to flush out the bloodstream, and activated charcoal to prevent further absorption of any ingested garlic or onion. Serious cases may require oxygen therapy and a blood transfusion. Seeking immediate veterinary care is your best bet for a positive outcome.

Curious about what is okay and not okay for your dog to eat? Check out our comprehensive guide on what human foods are safe and not safe for dogs

Stacy Painter profile
By Stacy Painter

Stacy has always been an animal lover and has worked in the pet industry and pet insurance specifically for over a decade. As a writer since early childhood, content writing for Healthy Paws pet insurance was a natural career path to combine her two passions. She currently lives in Florida with her boyfriend and Taiwanese rescue dog, Kaya.

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