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The festive season is upon us and, apparently, a quarter of us dog parents are going to give our beloved animals a taste of Christmas – human style! Chocolate, nuts, grapes, raisins – all in abundance at this special time of year & most of us know the dangers for dogs    ……..but what about ONIONS?

What if I told you that onions (and garlic) in any amount, in any recipe, will burst some of your dog’s red blood cells – guaranteed! Bet you didn’t know that. Would you care?

Most owners don’t know the danger of onions and of those that do many believe that because there may be no visible adverse effect nothing too seriously wrong can be taking place.

So this Christmas please avoid giving your pooch the leftover stuffing and heaven forbid the roast onions. On a serious note this is especially important for vegetarian and vegan owners. If they choose to feed their dogs on similar diets they must ensure that it is free of onion and garlic.

Garlic! You may well say how can that be; it’s used as flavouring in dog foods and treats.  Well it’s not as bad as onion because the amounts are smaller but it will still cause cellular damage nonetheless.

Organosulphides (sulphur compounds) present in onions and all the other members of the allium family are toxic to cells and while we humans have the mechanism to remove them from our bloodstream dogs do not.  Cats are even more sensitive to alliums than dogs by the way. Smaller dogs are more greatly affected than larger dogs by the same amount of onions.

Because red blood cells are lost it is possible for your dog to become anaemic. Dogs need their red blood cells to oxygenate their brains, muscles and other important organs.

With moderate amounts of onion eaten your dog will not be feeling themselves, they are likely to become less active and alert, but they can recover in a day or two. With continuous onion intake then the damage is extended to the internal organs just as it would be with other forms of anaemia and becomes more lasting.

So finally please remember to keep your favourite goodies well away from dogs, not only chocolate in all forms but also the traditional items like nuts, mince pies, fruit cakes & puddings.  Let’s hope this timely warning will help keep all of our pets safe this Christmas.

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