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: 6 minutes

joana garridoReviewed By Joana Garrido DVM

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?

Raw garlic cloves on a wooden bowl.

Many 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.

  • 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 dosage guide for dogs.

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

Certain foods and substances, such as Allium species and N-propyl disulfide/thiosulphate, can damage your dog’s blood cells, leading to a type of anemia called hemolytic anemia.

These harmful compounds create chemicals in your dog’s body that can’t be eliminated quickly enough, causing damage to the blood cells over time. It’s important to avoid exposing your dog to these compounds to prevent this type of 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

Garlic poisoning is usually identified by looking at the history of the dog’s behavior, the symptoms it is showing, and by examining the blood cells under a microscope. If the blood cells show a particular type of damage called Heinz bodies, it can confirm that the dog has garlic poisoning.

Treating Garlic Toxicity in Dogs

If the diagnosis proves that the symptoms are caused by garlic poisoning, the necessary treatment will be applied. No specific antidote is available for garlic poisoning, but treatment often involves induced vomiting and administering activated charcoal to get rid of toxins.

Using saline solution Gastric 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 supplementation.

The prognosis for dogs with garlic poisoning depends on the amount of garlic ingested, the severity of the resulting anemia, and the institution of proper supportive care. While death due to garlic poisoning is quite rare in dogs, it is important to seek treatment as soon as possible to prevent serious complications. With appropriate care and treatment, most dogs with garlic poisoning can fully recover from the condition.

It is important to follow your veterinarian’s post-treatment instructions after your furry friend has been treated. This may include changes to your dog’s diet or administering medication to help speed up their recovery. By following these instructions carefully, you can help ensure that your dog makes a full and speedy recovery.

Is garlic bad for dogs?

Fresh garlic, both peeled and unpeeled.

Garlic 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

Garlic can be especially harmful to certain dog breeds, like the Akita and Shiba Inu, which have a higher risk of garlic poisoning due to their genetic makeup. These breeds have naturally higher levels of erythrocyte-reduced glutathione and potassium in their bodies, which makes them more susceptible to the damaging effects of garlic on their blood cells.

Other breeds may also be affected by garlic poisoning, but it is important to be aware of the potential risks for these specific 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 inhibit 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

Unpeeled garlic cloves.

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, hypertension 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?

Garlic and garlic supplement capsules.

Yes. 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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