Can Dogs Eat Leeks? Are Leeks Bad For Dogs?

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a background of ripe leeks

a background of ripe leeks

Can dogs eat leeks?   NO! 

Leeks are toxic to dogs for the same reason onions and garlic cloves are toxic to dogs. Leeks belong to the allium family which contains a toxic substance that is highly toxic to dogs. The organosulfur compound found in leeks can cause leek poisoning and damage your dog’s red blood cell membranes. When the red blood cell membrane is damaged faster than the marrow can repair it, the red blood cells become weak and rupture, which is known as hemolytic anemia. If your pet has accidentally ingested some leeks, it is recommended that you visit a vet to take immediate measures such as induced vomiting.

Why are leeks toxic to dogs?

The toxic component in vegetables from the allium family is called n-propyl disulfide, which is a compound that induces oxidative hemolysis in pets. Dogs and humans metabolize this compound differently, resulting in oxidative damage to the red blood cells in dogs. The toxicity of leeks can vary depending on the size, age, and health of your pet, but even small amounts consumed can be dangerous. Even when boiled or roasted, leeks and other vegetables in the allium family can be dangerous to pets. Strangely enough, Japanese dog and cat breeds, such as the Akita and Shiba Inu, are known to be more sensitive to toxicity found in plants in the allium family.

unharvested leeks in soil

What is allium poisoning or leek poisoning in dogs?

Allium poisoning is caused by the organosulfur compound, called n-propyl disulfide, found in these plants. These compounds can cause hemolytic anemia, which is a life-threatening condition in pets. Hemolytic anemia refers to the pet’s bone marrow being unable to keep up with producing healthy new red blood cells faster than the poisoning is destroying them. When the number of oxygen-carrying red blood cells is reduced, oxygen in the blood is also reduced, causing difficulty breathing and eventually leading to organ damage.

Other symptoms of leek poisoning

If your pet consumes a significant amount of leeks at once, symptoms of toxicity may appear within a day. If your pet only consumes a smaller amount of leeks on accident, there is a possibility the toxicity of leeks can continue to accumulate. In some cases, symptoms may appear a few days later, so it's essential to monitor your pet's condition closely if your pet gets into some leeks on accident.

The main symptom of leek poisoning is anemia, but the following symptoms are also known to accompany anemia in dogs:

Other dangers and risks of feeding leeks to dogs

The danger of eating leeks is not only hemolytic anemia. The inability to properly digest leeks in the dog’s gastrointestinal tract is another health risk to consider. Ingesting leeks can also cause gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, drooling, and abdominal pain.

  • Upset stomach:

    A dog's digestive system is weaker and more sensitive than a human's. If your dog accidentally gets into some leeks, they may not be able to digest it properly because of the toxin inside, causing an upset stomach.

  • Choking hazard:

    Since leeks are made up of layers of skin, there is a risk of choking if swallowed without properly chewing.

Can dogs eat cooked leeks?

Even if you boil or bake leeks, the toxic components in allium vegetables remain present. Therefore, it is vital you do not feed leeks to your pet under any circumstances.

How to treat leek poisoning symptoms in dogs?

leek cut into bite sized pieces on a wooden tray

If your pet has eaten any amount of leeks, visit the veterinary hospital and inform the veterinarian of the situation. Vomiting should be induced as soon as possible before your pet can digest the leek. If there is a significant delay, intravenous fluid or blood transfusion may be necessary after checking your pet's condition through blood and urine tests.

Curious about what is safe for dogs to eat?

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Does your dog also look up at you with those puppy dog eyes whenever you are snacking on something? You know foods like chocolates should not be shared with them but do you search the Internet every time if it’s okay to share a bite of whatever you are eating? The Buddydoc Food Dictionary provides information on hundreds of foods that we consume and informs you whether it is safe for them to consume and the nutritional benefits for your pet. If you're curious about other foods, try searching on Buddydoc!

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