To Garlic or Not to Garlic: The Great Canine Debate

Can dogs eat it

Written By: Angela Jakeson

To Garlic or Not to Garlic: The Great Canine Debate
Reading Time: 5 minutes

Can dogs eat garlic? The answer to this question is not as straightforward as a “yes” or “no.” Many believe that garlic is poisonous to dogs. Some experts disagree: they believe that garlic has a beneficial impact on dogs with the correct dosage.

So, let us take a look and weigh the benefits and risks of feeding garlic to dogs.

What are the health benefits of garlic to dogs?

can dogs eat garlicMany holistic vets claim that small amounts of fresh garlic are safe for dogs and offer positive effects on their health. Here are some of the notable health benefits garlic has to offer:

  • Battles bacteria, viruses, and fungi

Garlic has strong antibiotic and antimicrobial properties that help prevent bacterial, viral, and fungal infections.

  • Good for heart health

Blood clot prevention, reduction of cholesterol levels, and inhibiting fat build-up are good reasons why garlic is good for dogs.

  • Great immune system booster

Garlic has the amazing ability to strengthen bloodstream cells responsible for fighting off cancer and tumor formations.

  • Liver detoxifier

Garlic absorbs nutrients entering a dog’s body at the same time, eliminating toxins before they reach the bloodstream.

How much garlic can a dog eat?

According to a study, it would take about 15–30 grams of garlic per kilogram of body weight to cause deadly effects in a dog’s blood. This means a dog would have to ingest many cloves of garlic for toxicity or hemolytic anemia to occur.

Garlic for Dogs Dosage Infographic

Can dogs have garlic?

Although numerous experts encourage dog owners to supplement their pooches’ diets with garlic, we advise you to consult a professional holistic vet before changing their diets.

Garlic contains a compound called n-propyl disulfide and trace amounts of thiosulphate. These are lethal to dogs and cats when ingested in large amounts.

Effects of Garlic Toxicity in Dogs

N-propyl disulfide and thiosulphate destroy a dog’s red blood cells and cause Heinz body, which is an indicator of oxidant damage. Later on, this can result in the development of hemolytic anemia. Dogs suffering from toxicity often show the following clinical signs:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Drooling
  • Increased heart rate
  • Pale gums
  • Exercise intolerance
  • Brown urine
  • Weakness
  • Loss of appetite

Diagnosing a Dog with Garlic Toxicity

If your dog shows any of these symptoms, bring him to the vet right away or seek help from the Pet Poison Helpline. He will need to take several tests, including:

  • Arterial blood gas
  • Abdominal radiograph
  • Blood glucose levels
  • Biochemistry analysis
  • Complete blood cell count (CBC)
  • CT scan
  • Hemoglobin concentration
  • Urinalysis
  • Ultrasound

Treating Garlic Toxicity in Dogs

If the diagnosis proves that the symptoms are caused by garlic poisoning, the necessary treatment will be applied. This often involves induced vomiting and administering activated charcoal to get rid of toxins.

Using saline solution lavage may be necessary if these two treatments will not work. It will help in flushing out toxins from his body.

After that, IV fluid drip and oxygen therapy will be done. For dogs with hemolytic anemia will likely need a blood transfusion and iron medication.

Death due to garlic poisoning is quite rare in dogs. Most of those afflicted with the condition can recover completely with the help of the treatments mentioned above.

Just make sure to follow the vet’s additional instructions after your furry friend is treated. This may include changes in his diet and administering medication that will hasten his recovery.

Is garlic bad for dogs?

can dogs eat garlic 2Garlic is a big no-no for some dogs. Here is a list of canines that should not have garlic in their diet unless required by the vet:

1. Breeds that are highly sensitive to garlic

Experts observe that the hemolytic effects of garlic can have a bigger impact on certain dog breeds. Japanese dog breeds, including Akita and Shiba Inu, are more susceptible to garlic poisoning than other breeds.

2. Dogs under certain medications

Garlic can negatively interact with certain types of medication. If your dog is taking drugs that are listed below, be extra careful not to slip even a few garlic cloves into his meals:

  • Antacids
  • Blood thinners
  • Chemotherapy drugs
  • Heart medication
  • High-blood-pressure drugs
  • Immunosuppressants
  • Insulin

3. Puppies under 6 months old

Young puppies less than 8 weeks old are not capable of producing red blood cells. Thus, never give them garlic. On the other hand, 6-month to 1-year-old puppies should only have half the regular amounts of garlic of adult dogs.

4. Dogs who are about to get surgery

Remember that garlic can prevent blood clot formation. Hence, hold off giving it to your dog that is set to go into surgery.

5. Anemic dogs

Under no circumstances should you feed garlic to a dog with pre-existing anemia. Or else it will exacerbate his condition and put his life at risk.

FAQs on Garlic for Dogs

can dogs eat garlic 1

Can pregnant dogs eat garlic?

It is best to check with the vet first before adding garlic to a pregnant dog’s diet. On a side note, feeding garlic to a nursing dog is not advised as it can change the taste of breast milk.

Can dogs eat garlic salt?

No. Garlic salt is very unhealthy for dogs due to its high sodium content. Do not feed it to your dog to prevent salt poisoning.

Too much salt in his system can also lead to other health problems. This includes pancreatitis and kidney stones.

Can dogs eat garlic powder?

Garlic powder is highly potent for dogs, even in small doses. ¼ teaspoon of garlic powder is equivalent to 1 clove of garlic. Avoid the risk of poisoning by storing garlic powder in a place that is inaccessible to your dog.

Can dogs eat garlic bread?

No. Feeding garlic bread to dogs is unhealthy. Although it only has a small amount of garlic, it is loaded with butter, oil, herbs, and cheese. This makes garlic bread not only high in calories but also in fats.

Feeding dogs garlic bread regularly, or large amounts can lead to digestive problems such as vomiting, diarrhea, and loose stools.

Can dogs eat garlic sausage?

Most store-bought garlic sausages contain harmful ingredients to dogs, including onions, salt, seasoning, and fats. If possible, keep them out of your dog’s reach.

Be it garlic sausage or any sausage; it can host a handful of health problems such as pancreatitis and heart problems.

Can dogs eat garlic supplements?

can dogs eat garlic 3Yes. It is okay to feed your dog garlic supplements if they are licensed and authorized veterinary medicines for dogs. It is always best to speak to your vet before starting him on any new supplements.

The Bottom Line

Garlic is a long-feared food that dog owners avoid feeding to their pets. However, as much as it has risks, it also provides many positive health effects that our 4-legged friends can benefit from.

With the right guidance from a trustworthy holistic vet, you can turn raw garlic into a wonderful food supplement for Fido.

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