Can Dogs Eat Onions and Peppers

Can Dogs Eat Onions and Peppers?

Last Updated: August 18, 2023
correct answerThe Short Answer is:

No. Dogs shouldn't eat chili peppers, jalapenos, and other spicy varieties, as these can be harmful. Additionally, dogs are extremely toxic to onions too and the only way to guarantee that dogs won’t be poisoned is to make sure that they don’t consume any. Although onions aren’t so toxic as to kill a dog as soon as it sniffs one, the amount that can be safely consumed by a dog is so small that it isn’t worth the risk.

In this article you will know the answer to the query “Can Dogs Eat Onions and Peppers?“.

The topic of todays article is another popular vegetable combo that people feed their dogs.

Can Dogs Eat Onions and Peppers

You may have read my article about feeding dogs broccoli and cauliflower – which is an excellent combination.  

As a result todays article isnot as straightforward as that one since one of the vegetables in the combo is highly toxic to dogs- onions. 

This is a shame because onions and peppers are used in many popular recipes such as chili con Carne and fajitas.

We can prepare something for our dogs while we prepare something for ourselves which makes life so much easier.

But if we are not to feed our dogs onions and peppers let me explain why it is so unsuitable.

Can dogs eat onions and peppers?

Dogs are extremely toxic to onions and the only way to guarantee that they would not be poisoned is to make sure that they do not consume any.

Although onions are not so toxic as to kill a dog as soon as it sniffs one the amount that can be safely consumed by a dog is so small that it isnot worth the risk. 

The same applies to yellow green and red onions diced onions chopped onions and onion powder.

If I were to be on the safe side I wouldnot let my dog get near onion dip or onion crisps.

Its not just onions- the whole family is rotten and toxic.

Leeks garlic shallots chives.

What is it about onions that make them so bad?

Why are onions toxic?

Dogs are toxic to onions because they contain a substance called n-propyl disulfide.

The disulfide in dogs’ bodies acts as a poison because they cannot process it.

The virus attaches itself to the outside of red blood cells and destroys them.

Without enough red blood cells to carry oxygen around their bodies dogs become anemic and if untreated may die. 

How much onion can kill a dog?

There is a relationship between the number of toxins ingested and the size of a dog as with all toxins.

As the dogs size increases the more onion it can consume before being poisoned.

To calculate onion toxicity two methods can be used.

The first is that a dog can eat up to 15 grams of onion for every kilogram that it weighs. 

Alternatively you can state that they can eat the equivalent of .5% of their body weight in onions before they will be at risk.

In order to illustrate how different-sized dogs are at risk let me give you a few examples. 

Lets start with a Yorkshire Terrier. Dogs like these are very popular (the 12th most popular breed on the 2019 AKC list).

Yorkies weigh about 7 pounds or a little over 3 kilograms and can eat about 15 grams of onion without harm to themselves.

15 g is equivalent to .5% of their body weight. 

15 grams is nothing now.

I have taken a picture of a very small onion that I have at home. 

To give you an idea of how tiny it is it is next to a tiny tomato and a peg.

Even though the onion is small it weighs 39 grams.

That is more than twice the amount of onion needed to potentially kill a Yorkshire Terrier.

Here is an example of one of my Golden Retrievers Sylvie- who weighs around 66 pounds or 30 kilograms.

In keeping with the .5% bodyweight ratio Sylvie can consume 150 g of onion or four of those small onions shown in the photo. 

Due to the big difference in their body weight theres a huge difference in how much onions the two sizes of dogs can eat.

Overall a dog can consume a very small amount of onion- particularly if it is mixed with other ingredients such as meat. 

How long after eating onions will a dog get sick?

In order for the red blood cells to have begun to be destroyed in any real amount a dog might take several days after eating an onion to show any signs of poisoning.

Another important point to note is that a dog can become poisoned by onions in one go – eating more than .5% of their body weight in one raid of the kitchen counter or over a period of several days.

As an example you might be feeding your dog leftover casserole over several days and if the onion content is high enough this could also endanger them.

All of this sounds a bit grim does not it?

What are the symptoms of onion poisoning?

Can you tell when your dog is in danger by the telltale signs?

The signs are divided into two groups. 

Firstly if the dog is physically sick it may exhibit vomiting diarrhea or lethargy.

When the blood cells start to die off you could see signs of anaemia such as rapid breathing and heart rate pale gums (in the mouth) and extreme fatigue. 

In the event that your dog shows any of these symptoms after eating onions you should take them to the veterinarian as soon as possible.

You should never let your dog eat an onion since it can lead to onion poisoning.

Using this rule is much easier than trying to calculate the exact amount of onion that can be added to a childs diet. 

With the bad news out of the way lets move on to the good news.

Things are looking up when we think about peppers. 

What nutrition do peppers have?

A bell pepper is not toxic to your dog and does not endanger their health in any way.

In fact with all the vitamins and nutrients they contain they are a great snack to feed your dog raw or cooked.

In spite of the fact that peppers are low in calories they have a lot of fibre (just below 2%).

In terms of vitamins they are particularly rich in vitamin C and B6-.

Vitamin B6 is crucial when it comes to keeping the cells within a dogs body healthy.

When we have discussed at length how onion toxicity kills cells there is an irony here!

In smaller amounts they contain some vitamin E and vitamin K. 

From a mineral standpoint copper and potassium seem to be the big hitters. 

Healthy bones muscles and hearts are maintained with copper. 

Besides making sure a dogs nerves are in good shape potassium also helps maintain a healthy heartbeat.  

Can dogs eat green peppers?

Green peppers are unpopular how so? 

Can they be fed to your dog as a way to get rid of them?

Peppers of any color can be eaten by dogs – red yellow orange or green.

The main difference between these different colours of pepper is their taste. Green peppers are bitter while red and orange peppers are sweet.

Nutrient-wise they differ in a few ways.

Peppers with the least amount of calories are green peppers while peppers with the most fibre are red peppers.

Riboflavin (B2) is more concentrated in red peppers than green or yellow peppers.

On the other hand yellow peppers are a better source of vitamin C!

Red peppers once again have the highest concentration of vitamin B6 of all three colours. 

Among the three colours copper is the main mineral but yellow peppers contain more than the other two. 

If you’re looking for a reason to feed your dog green peppers then they have the lowest number of calories. 

What other vegetable could I combine with peppers?

When you stay away from onions garlic and tomatoes the variety of vegetables you can pair with peppers is incredible.

Asparagus should not be eaten by dogs. 

Consider using dark green vegetables such as broccoli or even cauliflower leaves.

They provide a different mix of vitamins and minerals.

There is more vitamin A which is great for a dogs eyesight as well as more manganese and phosphorus.

In addition the texture is different.

Try freezing carrots instead of peppers as a snack if you want something different.

This is a completely different experience- perfect for the long hot summer days. 

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Amanda Dogs Trainer

Amanda (Author)

With over a decade of experience, Amanda is a distinguished dog trainer. Her expertise in canine behavior has transformed countless lives, fostering harmonious human-canine connections. Through compassionate and personalized approaches, she empowers owners to understand and connect with their furry companions, creating a legacy of joyful tails and transformed lives.

Osvaldo Maciel Dogs Trainer

Osvaldo Maciel (Content Reviewer)

Osvaldo Maciel, a stalwart in the field with 14 years of experience, is a revered dog trainer. His journey is defined by a profound understanding of canine behavior, shaping unbreakable human-canine bonds. Osvaldo guides owners to connect with their beloved pets, leaving an indelible mark of happiness and transformation. His legacy shines through the countless lives he has touched.

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