can dogs eat chives

Chow Down or Hold Back? Can Dogs Eat Chives ?

Have you ever had a nice baked potato smothered in sour cream and chives?  In my opinion, sour cream and chives combine wonderfully to make the ultimate baked potato.  Chives are also excellent on fish, dips, eggs, and other foods.  They are often added at the end of the cooking since their flavor is easily dissipated with heat. Chives offer some health benefits for humans and are often used in cuisine around the world.

The question is can dogs eat chives?

No, dogs can not eat chives safely.  When it comes to dogs, you should never think just because something is safe for a human it is safe for a dog. Since their digestive system is so different, chives are toxic to dogs in any quantity.

Chive Toxicity In Dogs

Chives just like onions, garlic, and leaks are part of the allium genus.  As a result, they all share similar properties and toxicity to dogs.  Like most of the vegetables in the allium family, chives can cause hemolytic anemia.  The skin, bulb, juice, extract, stalk, flowers, and all parts of chives are toxic to dogs.   

The organosulphoxides found in the allium genus are what give them the pungent odor when they are cut or crushed.  These compounds are also what cause toxicity in dogs.  When the plant is broken down by the dog through chewing, it releases these compounds and they react with each other.  

Once the reaction has occurred, the chemicals are digested through the dog’s GI tract.  This digestion will eventually lead to the formation of Heinz bodies on the red blood cells in the dog.  Once the Heinz bodies are formed, the red blood cells are much more susceptible to oxidation.  Depending on the level of exposure, this will eventually lead to anemia in the dog.  

Anemia usually occurs 3 to 7 days after the initial exposure to the item in the allium genus.  The Heinz body formation can occur as swiftly as a day after initial exposure.

Common Sources Of Chive Exposure

Since dogs are excellent at savaging food, the most common exposure to chives is accidental.  As you already know, dogs are very opportunistic eaters.  They will grab anything they can and eat it as fast as possible.  It really doesn’t matter if you are paying attention to your dog or not.  Sometimes it happens so fast that there is nothing you can do to prevent it.  Chives can be found dried, but they are not as common of spice as garlic powder or dried onions.  Dogs are exposed to the raw version of chives more frequently than the dried version.   

Dogs can often be seen eating grass when they go outside for walks or when they are allowed to roam the yard.  Usually, when a dog eats something that is not considered food it’s called pica.  The most common exposure to chives is in one’s backyard garden.  Depending on where you live, you may also have wild chives growing in your yard.  

Since dogs are known to occasionally graze on grass, it’s best to not allow your dog near chives.  They may mistake them for grass and take a bite of them.  I have not personally seen my puppy try to eat chives, we do have them growing in my garden.  She is often much more attracted to the tomatoes, onions, and peppers that we grow.  Usually, my puppy goes for anything that is large and eye-catching.  

Symptoms Of Chives Poisoning In Dogs

The symptoms can start in as little as an hour depending on many factors.  The size of the dog, the breed, the amount that was eaten, and what was eaten are all factors that influence the onset of symptoms.  A majority of dogs that eat onions will start with GI issues.  Expect to see the following:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite

Severe Symptoms of Chive Poisoning in dogs

If left untreated, which is totally not recommended, anemia can start in 3 to 7 days.  In order for your dog to get this bad it would have had to have a pretty signification amount of chives.  It should be pretty easy to identify that your dog ate chives.  I know I can smell them on my kid’s breath from 5 feet away when they snack on them in the garden.  It is possible you will see these additional symptoms if your dog has anemia. 

  • Panting
  • Pail gums and mucus membranes
  • Fainting
  • Increased heart rate
  • Difficulty breathing

If you believe that your dog ate chives or anything toxic and exhibits any of the above symptoms it’s very important that you contact your veterinarian for medical advice.  They can access the dog’s condition over the phone and let you know if they need to be brought in to be treated.  It is always best to play it safe and call as soon as you realize your dog ate the toxin.  Your dog’s life could be at stake.   

Treatment For Chive Poisoning In Dogs

If your dog ate some raw chives, the good news is that it can be treated by a professional.  Call or take your dog to the vet to have it properly evaluated.  The first concern would be dehydration caused by what is often part of the first stages of toxicity.  

Typically dogs will present with vomiting and diarrhea as the first symptoms.  This in turn can easily cause dehydration in your dog.  The vet may want to keep the dog overnight even if it does not have symptoms of anemia just to monitor hydration.  They may even opt to put your dog on an IV drip. 

Depending on how much of the raw chives were eaten, there are a few different things that can be done to flush them out of the dog’s system.  The veterinarian can clean out the GI tract via an enema, can use active carbon, they can also use a solution of diluted hydrogen peroxide.  Even though active charcoal is listed as a treatment, there is not really any evidence that shows it does anything.  

Again we want to stress that the sooner you contact the veterinarian, the higher your chances of a positive outcome.  If you wait too long, permanent damage and death can occur.  Some of the treatments should be done within a two-hour window of ingestion.   There is a chemical that can be given to the dog if it ate chives within two hours that will induce vomiting.  After the two-hour window, the chives would have passed two low into the GI tract for the vomiting to be effective.  

If your dog only ate a small amount, you may be able to treat the symptoms at home. If they do have some GI issues that are relatively minor, you can use a bland diet to nurse the dog back to health.

How Much Chives Can A Dog Eat?

There are not really any studies on the exact amount of chives a dog can eat before it hits a toxic level.  Based on the studies of dogs and onions, chives can be toxic in the range of 15-30grams per KG of body weight.  Essentially your dog would have to eat a very large amount of chives to hit this ratio unless you have a tiny dog.  Smaller breeds can reach toxic levels much faster than large-breed dogs.  

chive flowers are toxic to dogs

Can dogs eat alliums?

Anything in the allium genus is toxic to dogs at certain levels.  Some alliums do have benefits when fed to your dog in small regulated quantities.  Garlic is an allium that can be fed to your dog safely.  For the most part, you should not allow your dog to eat anything from this family of plants.

Are chive flowers poisonous to dogs?

Yes, any part of the chive contains the same toxins, however, some parts are more toxic than others.  Chive flowers are poisonous to dogs but do not contain the same concentrations as the bulbs, and stems.   The bulb is the most toxic part of the chive because it is also the densest.  

Can dogs eat garlic chives?

Garlic chives have the same toxic effects on dogs as regular chives. They should not be fed to your dog. If your dog does happen to eat them, a small amount should be ok. If a larger amount was consumed, please follow the guidelines above and call your veterinarian if appropriate.

Can dogs eat sour cream and chives?

Dogs should not eat either the chives or the sour cream, both of them can cause an upset stomach. While sour cream is not toxic to dogs like chives are, it can still cause some issues. The high-fat content is not easily digestible by dogs. It can lead to some unwanted side effects.

Symptoms of chives poisoning in dogs?

Typically the signs of illness the dog will display are vomiting, diarrhea, upset GI, and loss of appetite.  If the dog is left untreated and a large amount was eaten, you will see the signs of anemia.  These include pale mucus membranes(the guns and tongue will lose their pink color), fatigue, rapid labored breathing, and rapid heart rate. 

The most important thing to remember is that the symptoms of chives poisoning will vary greatly based on how much was consumed.  If only a small amount was consumed you may only see some GI issues.

Summary: Can Dogs Eat Chives?

  • Chives are toxic to dogs in the range of 15-30G/KG of body weight
  • Excessive consumption can lead to anemia with serious side effects
  • The dog should be seen within 2 hours to induce vomiting if your vet feels it is urgent
  • Keep your dog away from gardens with chives in them
  • The bulb is the most toxic part
  • Cooking chives does not reduce toxicity

Please leave a comment if your dog was ever caught eating chives. How much did the dog eat and what did you do?

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