Did I almost make my dog sick?


Buster Boy is my companion, my friend, my muse, and I am his. I have been told he is a one person dog, and that is fine by me.  He is about five years old now, and I have had him with me since he was nine months old. If I believe what I was told, one side of his family was a beagle/pug mix and the other was a corgy/american eskimo mix. To me he is just Buster Boy- a unique individual.  The thought that he could become sick as a result of my actions is just…well, horrifying.

A few years back I became aware of the fact that chocolate is toxic to dogs, and later after I had allowed him to eat some grapes I learned that grapes are also toxic. It never occurred to me that when I allowed him to lick my plate clean and eat scraps left in my dinner plate that I could be exposing him to additional toxins…such as onions and garlic! When I heard this I frantically searched the internet for more information.

Garlic and onions

Garlic and onions belong to the Allium family. Other species in the Allium family include  shallots, leeks, chives and rakkyo (otherwise known as the Chinese onion).

Unfortunately, dogs and cats cannot digest these particular plants as we can. The ingestion of Allium species in dogs and cats causes a condition called hemolytic anemia, which is characterized by the bursting of red blood cells circulating through your pet’s body.

Ingestion can also lead to gastroenteritis, also known as an inflammation of the stomach and intestines, causing stomach pain.

Garlic is the worst and most dangerous and is considered to be 5 times more powerful than onions—as little as one clove of garlic can lead to toxicity in dogs and cats: it can lead to severe poisoning and, if not treated in time, death. It may take up to two to four days after your dog eats garlic for symptoms to appear.

Symptoms of garlic toxicity include breathlessness, lethargy, diarrhea, vomiting, pale gums, an elevated heart rate, an increased respiratory rate, weakness, exercise intolerance, and collapse. Your dog may also lose interest in food as a result.

In small enough doses and depending on the weight of your dog, I read that it may take years to build up in the dogs system to reach toxic levels. Some people in internet communities brag about using garlic in their dogs diet for holistic purposes, unaware of the fact that dogs do not ingest it in the same way as humans do, and as with any poison, it can build up over time.

I use quite a bit of garlic and onion seasoning in my cooking, so no more plate licking and table scraps for Buster!  There is no possible justification for taking the risk, and now I am on the hunt to learn what other people foods are a health risk for dogs.