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Be careful of broth for your dogs! ONION!!

June 14th, 2005, 02:26 PM
I have been seeing a lot of threads and people suggesting meat or veggie broth for pets who have upset stomachs or who need to injest fluids due to the heat etc (making broth ice cubes for the heat, etc).

However, I see no one mentioning to look at the ingredients of the broths. Almost ALL commercial broth preparations (like campbells canned broths or any of the cubed boullion) have large amounts of onion powder or onion seasoning. This concerns me as onion is very bad for dogs, it cause hemolytic anemia.

Basically, the onion reacts with the red blood cells in the dog, causing them to burst. Red blood cells carry oxygen around the body. With a lowered blood cell count, your dog may not get enough oxygen and die! dogs who have been fed onions often pee red because that is from all the burst red blood cells. It can take weeks for all the red blood cells to regenerate (somewhat what it feels like after donating blood) and you dog could be lethargic and ill feeling.

I was thinking this might be a good sticky message in case people come here, especially in the hot weather, thinking it's ok to buy a can of chicken or beef broth and dilute it and give it to their dog.

Not all broths have onion, but I have yet to find one that doesn't. If it says "natural flavours" or "spices" I would avoid that too as usually that is either onion or soy based flavouring.

I have yet to find a broth or boullion that doesn't have onion in it. Every can or container or box I pick up, and read the ingredients, and all have had onion in the ingredients. THe only one I thought might be ok was the campbells beef consomme which I haven't checked, as I think it might just be pure beef (our dog is allergic to I just didn't check).

Also, if you do find a broth that is onion free, make sure it is low sodium as well!

If anyone knows any veggie or meat broths that are onion free, please post them here for other's to see.

June 15th, 2005, 07:55 AM
Thanks raingirl! That was really helpful - I was about to make some popsicles for Levi, and figured I'd use diluted broth! If I weren't to use broth for them, do you have any ideas what else I could use?

June 15th, 2005, 08:07 AM
thanks for the info, now i feel like a bad mommy!!! well i guess not the coop is doing well but when he was teething I was making him (nice cubes) with broth. thought i was doing him good, thanks for the advice, I dont think he was harmed but not going to do that again!!

June 15th, 2005, 08:18 AM
This feels almost too obvious to say -- but can't you just make the broth yourself? I often give Casey some broth which I've made with beef (making it for a Korean soup). I take it out for him before I've added any of the seasonings. I sometimes add some garlic and seaweed (I live in a country where the grocery stores all have a whole aisle devoted to seaweed ;) )

On that note, homemade broth is better for people too, and not that difficult if you make a lot and freeze it in appropriate quantities for use.

June 15th, 2005, 08:51 AM
Dogs develop hemolytic anemia if they eat enough onions. I don't think that it matters too much whether the onions are cooked or not. The quantity of onions required is high enough that dogs can generally tolerate small doses of onions without any problem and moderate amounts of
onion without clinically apparent disease, even though there may be measurable changes on lab test results. Cats are probably a little more sensitive to onion toxicity than dogs are. I can't find an exact quantity of onions required to cause toxicity problems in dogs, but there are several
case reports of onion toxicity and they involve whole onions or sizable portions of chopped onions (like a cup or more). I think that feeding dogs meat that has been cooked with onions is pretty safe but you might want to avoid giving them the broth from around something like pot-roast if there were a lot of onions used in the cooking, just to be safe.

Large amounts of garlic will produce similar toxicity problems in both dogs and cats. I think that the amount required is not likely to be eaten by a cat but there are probably a few dogs who would lap up a container of spilled garlic.

Among common foods, the only other significant toxicity that I can think of are recent reports of toxicity from eating grapes and raisins that have been reported in dogs.

Mike R., DVM

Here's a vet's opinion on garlic, onion and grapes. Hope this helps.

June 15th, 2005, 09:58 AM
Good info sammie. I wasn't sure if cats had the same issue with onion.

Yeah, making broth from scratch is easy too...but I rarely have time for that (I usually don't buy cuts of meat with bones to make a good broth).

June 15th, 2005, 10:47 AM
I have made doggy popsicles for my dogs with store bought beef boullion. I didn't think about the onion powder in it, but I haven't had any problems - of course, my dogs have all been big breeds so it would take more onion for them to have a reaction. Although I won't feed Hazel any onions themselves, I think I'll continue to give her the doggy popsicles. I don't think the amount of onion in those is enough to do her any harm - although if I had a small dog, I might rethink that or at least dilute it more - or make my own beef stock. I had read the thing about onions on a different website, so I knew that they could be toxic, but the experts don't know how much it takes.

June 15th, 2005, 06:09 PM
Here's a vet's opinion on garlic, onion and grapes. Hope this helps.

Garlic? But my mom feeds her Bichon garlic to help with fleas!!! We read about it on many sites -- I think even here (although I'm not sure about that). Ack!!!!