Ask Dr Clare – Fall 2021

Q: Are onions really that bad for my dog? How about my cat?

A: Yes, all members of the Allium family (garlic, onions, leeks, chives etc) are extremely toxic to dogs AND cats. Our furry friends physiology is different than ours and they lack the ability to process some of the sulfur compounds from foods. These compounds attach to the oxygen molecules in your pets red blood cells. This oxidation prevents the cell from its primary purpose: transporting oxygen to the body’s tissues. This can lead to hemolysis (destruction of red blood cells), anemia and ultimately death.

These foods must be kept away from your pets. They are very common ingredients and toxicity has been linked to leftovers, pizza and tomato sauce, Chinese food and even baby food.

Q: My pet is overweight, what can I do?

A: This isn’t an easy subject, most pet owners don’t want to hear their pet is obese. But, weight management is an essential part of pet care. Obesity affects pets like it affects us, it leads to chronic conditions such as high-blood pressure, arthritis, diabetes, asthma, shortened life-span and heart failure.

You can establish healthy habits. Such as, an exercise or play routine, replace treats with activities. Change the quality or quantity of your pet’s food. These adjustments will help keep your pet and you healthy!

You need to consult your vet. An underlying medical condition, like thyroid disease, could also be the cause of your pet’s obesity.




Dr Clare Bartholomew is a native of northern California and a graduate of SFSU and WSU. She joined our team in 2019 with the hope of making a positive impact on the lives of the community’s animal and human members.