This Pantry Staple Poses a Deadly Threat to Dogs

When seasoning your favorite meats and veggies, it's important to keep our furry friends in mind. It turns out that onion powder, a pantry staple, is toxic to dogs.

Tsuk the black lab learned the hard way when she got her paws on a Costco-sized container of onion powder accidentally left on the kitchen counter. According to a release from the Pet Poison Hotline, the behavior is not out of character for the highly food-motivated pooch. "Tsuk is notorious for stealing things off the counter," said her owner, Sharron Champagne. "Apparently, Tsuk pulled the onion powder container off the counter and ripped it open. The container was about three-quarters full, and what she didn't eat she left on her mat."

N-propyl disulfide, which is present in onions and garlic, is toxic to dogs and cats. While the compound is harmless to humans, it leads to a breakdown of red blood cells in pets which can cause anemia.

At first the New Hampshire family was unaware of the dangers of Tsuk's stolen snack. However, after a few days they noticed concerning behavior. "She became lethargic, stopped eating, started drinking more water than usual and her urine was dark in color. She also started vomiting. That is when we realized something was seriously wrong," Champagne recalled. They called Pet Poison Helpline and were advised to take Tsuk to a veterinary hospital.

"The amount of onion powder potentially ingested by Tsuk posed a risk for red blood cell damage, anemia and GI irritation," said Dr. Renee Schmid, a senior veterinary toxicologist at Pet Poison Helpline. "Main clinical signs are often seen within three to five days after ingestion, so the timing of her clinical signs was consistent with onion exposure."

When Tsuk arrived at VCA Capital Area Veterinary Emergency and Specialty, they found that her red blood cell count was dangerously low. Along with Pet Poison Helpline experts, the medical team decided to perform a life-saving blood transfusion on the pooch. Thankfully, Tsuk has recovered from the incident. "After three days in emergency care, and thousands of dollars in veterinary bills to save her life, Tsuk is now doing great. We are so happy we made the decision to treat her," said Champagne.

Since Tsuk's recovery, Champagne has made some adjustments to her kitchen by downsizing her garlic and onion powder containers. Grill safely this summer, pet owners!

How are you keeping your pooch safe this summer? Let us know on our Wide Open Pets Facebook page!

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