Log in

08 February 2009 @ 08:25 pm
Onion Toxicity in Rats  
My partner, Shana does not want to feed onion bagels to rats because she heard onions are toxic to dogs (with poisoning occurring in quantities larger than a cup.) I can't seem to find any information on their effects on rats. If rats do experience toxicity at a similar comparable level to dogs, a small bite of onion bagel should not be harmful. BUT I have no evidence that their toxicity is similar, OR that they are even toxic to rats. So what I'm hoping for is:

A good website that lists toxic substances to rats, ALONG WITH the lethal dose and safe dose. A scientific website would be ideal.
or failing to find that,
A list of toxic substances
or failing to find that,
Anecdotal evidence from people who've fed onions and onion-containing food to their rats.
Current Location: San Luis Obispo, CA
Current Mood: tiredtired
Current Music: dishwasher and rat chittering
pyrrhichistory on February 9th, 2009 04:40 am (UTC)
Forbidden Foods

Generally, if you would eat a food, you can give it to your rats. Here are some exceptions and notables:
raw dry beans or peanuts—contains antinutrients that destroy vitamin A and enzymes needed to digest protein and starches, and causes red blood cells to clump
raw sweet potato—contains compounds that form cyanide in the stomach
green bananas—inhibits starch-digesting enzymes
green potato skin and eyes—contain solanine, a toxin
wild insects—can carry internal parasites and diseases
raw bulk tofu—can contain bacteria, packaged raw tofu is safe
orange juice—forbidden for male rats only, d-limonene in the skin oil, which gets into the orange juice during squeezing, can cause kidney damage and kidney cancer due to a protein that only male rats have in their kidneys. Pieces of the orange fruit are okay if you wash the orange-skin oil off of it after peeling it.

Foods to Feed with Caution
carbonated beverages—rats can’t burp (but they can fart!)

Dried corn can contain high levels of fungal contaminates which has been shown to cause liver cancer in rats. Corn also contains high levels of both nitrates and amines. These two compounds can combine in the stomach to form nitrosamines which are carcinogenic. Other foods high in nitrates include beets, celery, eggplant, lettuce, cucumber, radishes, spinach, collards and turnip greens. Therefore, I suggest you limit the amount of these foods in your rat’s diet. Some fresh corn is fine, but if you feed your rats blocks, try to avoid brands which have corn as the first ingredient.


Onion bagels should be fine. My rats have tended to turn away from onions, prolly because of the strong smell, but some rats may enjoy them.
Quinn: Feminist - Not A Feminist?quentinwrites on February 9th, 2009 09:16 am (UTC)
Oh BOY can they fart! ;oP
Mela Atkinsonfireincarnation on February 9th, 2009 10:31 am (UTC)
Thanks for the helpful list. Green potato skins are exactly the food I would accidentally poison them with.
~*Hoshi*~ladywhaiyvern on February 10th, 2009 12:22 am (UTC)
Oh lord can they..sometimes they put the dogs we have to shame..>.
shawnaree on February 9th, 2009 04:46 am (UTC)
Anecdotally, I've fed my boys onions in soups and stews, and I haven't noticed anyone dying from it.
shawnaree on February 9th, 2009 05:28 am (UTC)
Also, I did some digging, and found this:

The hypolipidemic effects of sulfur-containing principles in onion, including S-methyl cysteine sulfoxide and allylpropyl disulfide, have been demonstrated in several studies in rats and rabbits. 24 , 25 , 26 , 27 , 28 Examples include onion's protective effects against diet-induced atherosclerosis 27 and its marked action in controlling lipids 28 and triglycerides. 26 Cardiovascular disease risk factors also involve blood coagulability. Several reports confirm the onion's inhibitory effects on platelet formation. Raw, but not cooked, onion demonstrated antithrombotic effects in rats. 29 , 30 Dose-dependent inhibitory effects on platelet aggregation with raw onion also were seen in rabbits. 31 Boiling onion may cause decomposition of the antithrombotic ingredient. 29

For the citations, go to http://www.drugs.com/npp/onion.html

Also, oil of onion is apparently good for rats who have recently given up smoking. (Helen A, Rajasree CR, Krishnakumar K, Augusti KT, Vijayammal PL. Antioxidant role of oils isolated from garlic ( Allium sativum Linn) and onion ( Allium cepa Linn) on nicotine-induced lipid peroxidation. Vet Hum Toxicol . 1999;41:316-319.)
shawnaree on February 9th, 2009 05:30 am (UTC)
For people not wanting to read the whole sheet of stuff, here's the important quote:

"Onion can be taken frequently in low doses without any side effects, as seen with rat experimentation."
still hung up on a lost cause: pirate kikithryn on February 9th, 2009 08:31 am (UTC)
Also, oil of onion is apparently good for rats who have recently given up smoking.

OK, I realize this is based on tests of cigarette smoke and rats and suchlike and so forth, but this is HILARIOUS when skimming the comment thread.

... or maybe I'm just punchy and tired.
shawnaree on February 9th, 2009 02:11 pm (UTC)
Don't worry-- it was meant to be funny. *grins*
still hung up on a lost causethryn on February 9th, 2009 06:49 pm (UTC)
I just envision rebellious rats sneaking out behind the cage when the humans aren't home ...
Mela Atkinsonfireincarnation on February 9th, 2009 10:35 am (UTC)
My rats haven't recently given up smoking, but my girlfriend who thinks she's a rat has. Perhaps she will benefit?

Thanks for the info. It's good to know that the ratties can enjoy onion in moderation.
~*Hoshi*~ladywhaiyvern on February 10th, 2009 12:04 am (UTC)
LMAO! Well know I will have to give my little ones oil of onion. Darn chain smokers they are..XD
Sarah Williamssari_bear on February 9th, 2009 05:57 am (UTC)
Re: "and I haven't noticed anyone dying from it."

Nicely worded, LOL!
On se niin väärin!aprilstarchild on February 9th, 2009 04:51 am (UTC)
My rats hate onions. When I tried to give them tabbouleh, they ate everything but the parsley and onion, they were carefully licked clean and then abandoned all over the cage!
mistresswolfmistresswolf on February 9th, 2009 04:54 am (UTC)
This site says that raw ones can cause anemia and upset stomach... but on bagels they are cooked, so it should be okay.

Personally, I don't give mine onions since I don't like them and they aren't in the house. ... Except those french fried onions by French's. I might buy some of those to nibble on and share them.
shawnaree on February 9th, 2009 04:56 am (UTC)
I'm totally not seeing onions on that list... am I missing something?
mistresswolfmistresswolf on February 9th, 2009 05:08 am (UTC)
Bottom of the first table. Just underneath Orange Juice. :)
shawnaree on February 9th, 2009 05:22 am (UTC)
Ah ha! I /was/ missing it. For some reason I thought that said something else.
dream_chaser023dream_chaser023 on February 9th, 2009 05:32 am (UTC)
I have read that onions can have an antibiotic quality to them (http://www.ratfanclub.org/diet.html), but I have also read in the RATS magazine that they can thin the blood.
sushi-eating freakshowsuperdaintykate on February 9th, 2009 07:20 am (UTC)
Do be careful with raw onion. My dog went through a horrible bout of autoimmune hemolytic anemia and the only thing we could trace it to was, possibly, raw onion. It nearly killed him and his immune system was destroyed.
Mela Atkinsonfireincarnation on February 9th, 2009 10:38 am (UTC)
raw onion is absolutely horrid to me, so no worries there. I hope your dog is okay.
~*Hoshi*~ladywhaiyvern on February 10th, 2009 12:06 am (UTC)
Ooo...>.< Raw onions and even cooked onions are toxic to dogs according to this list of forbidden foods list we found in a Dog magazine. Hope he's okay now!
PJ Evanspidgella on February 9th, 2009 09:40 pm (UTC)
~*Hoshi*~ladywhaiyvern on February 10th, 2009 12:09 am (UTC)
I have been following this list: http://www.petratscanada.com/forbidden_foods.htm

Also, if it's a food that I won't eat (with anything) then my ratties won't be getting it either. This includes onions. I dislike them, yuck..