How vigilant should I be about pets and onions?

The Internet is full of information about how onions (and to a lesser extent garlic) are poisonous to dogs and cats. I can find plenty of helpful advice about how these plants harm animals, the signs and symptoms, etc., and lots of warnings about not letting dogs and cats eat food with onion or garlic in it.

Of course, virtually every dish ever conceived by man has onion and/or garlic in it. And as any pet owner knows, animals get into human food from time to time. This stuff can’t be like plutonium or no pet that ever licked a dinner plate would live to old age. So what I want to know, and what I can’t find the answer to, is what level of exposure should cross the worry threshold?

I don’t want the “to be on the safe side” answer; I want the realistic answer.

A slight hijack to this thread, shouldn’t a dog know enough not to eat onions if they are poisonous. I mean in the wild no one tells animals what to eat. Or is it that they are so domesticated that sense of what not to eat has been bred out of them?

Animals don’t necessarily know by instinct what not to eat.

Wild dogs and wolves are carnivores and mostly eat prey, which doesn’t usually come with gravy. I would say that wild canids are pretty unlikely to eat onion by chance.

Dogs eat chocolate and lap up anti-freeze, even though they can die from both. They’ll gleefully eat more than a toxic level unless you stop them.

Seems that rat poison is a bit of a treat too, at least my dog had no trouble eating a bowlful.

Around 1% of the dogs weight in onion is where it starts to get toxic.
My rather unaware parents used to feed their little yapper with meatballs - (against my recomendations) this quickly stoppped when the bastard started bleeding out of his rectum.

I didn’t hear about the onion thing until long after I got dogs, and I’ve always fed my pets a lot of table scraps, and I cook with a lot of onions. I try to avoid giving my current dogs onion-y things, but I don’t freak out if they get a couple of slivers of onions that fall out of a frying pan or something.

My previous dogs, who I was not at all careful about with the onion thing, never seemed to have problems, but they were very large dogs. Jack was 120 lbs, so if the 1% weight thing is right, it would take a lot of onion to make him sick.