garlic for dogs

Garlic For Dogs: Poison Or Medicine?

Can my dog eat garlic? That’s an excellent question.

If you take a look at the list of poisonous plants for dogs, you’ll notice that garlic is listed among the top ten. Don’t worry though. If you have fed your dog garlic before and your little puppy is doing just fine, then you’re in luck! We’ll set your mind at peace by telling you how it’s completely safe for dogs to eat garlic, but only in specific recipes.

Here are six ways that we’ve listed whereby garlic helps to keep your dog healthy:

  1. Prevents formation of blood clots (aka anti-platelet)
  2. Reduces cholesterol (anti-cholesterol emic)
  3. Broadens blood vessels
  4. Prevents the formation of tumors
  5. Stimulates the systematic lymphatic removal of wastes
  6. Naturals antifungal, antibiotic and antiparasitic

Garlic has some other benefits for dogs in addition to these health benefits mentioned above.

retriever with onions and garlic

Garlic as Fleas and Ticks Repellant

Garlic will help you get rid of those nasty fleas and ticks if you feed it to your dog during that season. It takes about two weeks for garlic to build up in your dog’s natural coat oil, hence, start feeding it before they get caught up with it. The rule is to feed them garlic each day continuously for two weeks and then two times a week to maintain consistency.

Garlic to Fight Cancer

Garlic for dogs has proved to fight cancer of lung, colon, stomach, and rectum. The elements in garlic have shown an increase in immunity and enhance natural killer cells. Thus, these natural killer cells then destroy pathogenic bacteria and any cancer cells. Although there have been few clinical trials still studying the anti-cancer effects of garlic, in the meantime, the National Cancer Institute reveals that a number of population studies have relatively shown an association between increased garlic intake and a reduced risk of different types of cancer.

Garlic to Fight Bacterial and Fungal Infections

Garlic is very medicinal because it contains antimicrobial and antibiotic, which is useful in fighting different types of internal and external germs, viral and fungal infections such as parasites and protozoan organisms. Freshly prepared garlic can do wonders. It will fight diseases of the mouth, respiratory tract, throat, intestines, and stomach with the natural acidity that it has. Garlic crushed and diluted in olive oil is excellent as a topical antiseptic for minor ear infections or ear mites.

Garlic to Boost Immune System

Garlic influences the activities of killer cells and destroys invading microbes and cancer cells. So, it’s safe to say that garlic is rewarding for dogs with the stifled immune system and dogs combating cancer.

How About Some Fresh Raw Garlic?

Veterinarians always get the question “can I give them the pre-chopped garlic in the jar? It’s organic!”

Their answer for this is a NO.

Well, organic certainly sounds great, but when we say natural, we mean organically grown garlic; the one that is husked at least 10 – 15 minutes before your dog finally ingests it. If you grow garlic in your garden, that’s a great idea to feed that to your dog. Know where the garlic is coming from. Not all of them are grown in the same conditions.

For your clarity, Chinese garlic is consistently tested, and the results have shown that they contain unsafe levels of chlorine, heavy metals, and arsenic. Don’t risk your furry friend’s life by feeding them such poison. Here again, we repeat, use raw, fresh, and organic garlic whenever you are supplementing your dog with it, but nothing from the jar!

Is Garlic an Important Part of My Dog’s Diet?

Somewhat, it is important. That’s because garlic has some active enzymes and whole plant synergy that gets the actual benefits of it.

  • Raw garlic comprises two enzymes: alliinase and alliin. Once you crush, chop or mince garlic, these two enzymes combine and create another protein called allicin. Allicin is an active, medicinal ingredient that works as an antibiotic, antiviral, anti-cancer, and antioxidant property.
  • When you feed fresh and raw garlic, you are getting beneficial whole plant nutrients and medicines. The effectiveness of a plant doesn’t come from the action of one single chemical. Garlic extracts provide many different types of chemical constituents working together as they might do in a plant. For instance, the Kyolic Aged Garlic Extract that you can purchase at health food stores do not contain any allicin.

My Dog Ate Garlic

The smell of roasted garlic is too enticing. It surely makes us hungry! It’s featured in many different cuisines around the world is a favorite of many out there. Moreover, it’s so natural that we are drawn to give some of it to our all-time companion; our furry friend.

Well, if you’ve even thought about it, we’d say DON’T. Garlic will hurt your dog.

Research is what has caused the misunderstanding. The study by K W Lee et al. created the impression that garlic is said to be unsafe for dogs. Research studies are mostly based on excessive dosages and unorthodox delivery methods of garlic. Moreover, researchers have not even used fresh garlic for dogs because it’s not easy to measure differences in whole plant medicine.

Now the question is, how much is TOO MUCH? In the study, they fed about 5 grams of garlic per kilo a day to dogs. This is what we would regard as too much. This means that feeding about four full heads of garlic (60 cloves) to a 75 pounds Golden Retriever or 23 grams (6 – 8 cloves) to a 10 pounds dog, before experiencing any adverse effects.

Surely, you are not going to feed your little pupper this much!

Garlic contains a chemical known as thiosulphate that is responsible for causing Heinz body hemolytic anemia. This is what causes oxidative damage to red blood cells and then shortens their lifespan. Red blood cells are what oxygenates tissues. Hemolytic anemia causes to reduce those cells that can cause severe illness and lead to death. To avoid such hemolytic anemia, feed the right type of garlic that we’ve mentioned and the correct dosage.

Here’s a schedule that vets recommend:

  • 10 – 15 pounds: up to ½ clove every day
  • 20 – 40 pounds: up to 1 clove every day
  • 45 – 70 pounds: up to 2 cloves every day
  • 75 pounds and above: up to 2 ½ cloves every day

Finally, if your naughty furry friend has accidentally ingested a little garlic, he will be fine. However, intentionally feeding him calls in a recipe for disaster.

Will Garlic Hurt My Dog?

That sounds terrible. It all depends on how much of garlic they have ingested and what was the source of it. If it’s those table scraps, then we are afraid you will need to make a trip to the vet right away. Plus, how big is your canine? Smaller dogs are likely to have more problems ingesting garlic from an unknown source, whereas for bigger dogs, there are remedies. However, follow some of these common symptoms of garlic poisoning in dogs to ensure whether your dog has swallowed garlic or it’s something else:

  • Abdominal cramps
  • Terrible breath
  • Hematuria; blood flowing through their urine
  • Collapse dehydration
  • Ataxia; lack of muscles coordination
  • Sudden depression
  • Diarrhea
  • Drooling throughout the day
  • Increased heart and respiratory rate
  • Lethargy
  • Exercise intolerance
  • Pale gums
  • Seizures
  • Red or brown-colored urine
  • Jaundice; yellowish skin and eyes
  • Sudden vomiting

Related Post: Best Dog Food for Seizures

Treating Garlic Poisoning in Dogs

If you suspect that your dog has ingested a large quantity of garlic, the best suggestion would be taking him to the vet. Garlic and onions are not so deadly among dogs, but your pet dog may need extra care to keep him comfortable. Your vet may suggest intravenous fluids to keep him hydrated and prescribe some medications to control the vomiting. In some extreme cases, blood transfusions might be needed.

Can Dogs Eat Garlic Bread

Garlic Bread! Yum! It certainly catches your dog’s attention, but do keep in mind that along with garlic, it also contains large amounts of butter, cheese, oil, and other herbs which is what is likely to cause an upset stomach. Furthermore, it’s high in calories; meaning that it’s a source of unnecessary fat for your canine with no nutritional benefits at all.


When is Garlic a Concern for Dogs?

By now you must have understood what percentage of garlic is safe for your canine. Here are some more cautions:

Pregnant Dogs: If your dog is pregnant, the chances are that you must be feeding her some medicine or supplements for better nourishment. Talk to your holistic vet about feeding garlic to the expectant mother. Garlic also has some change to the taste of breast milk for which vets usually suggest to avoid feeding this particular thing to nursing dogs.

Puppies: For puppies under six months, garlic is a big NO. That’s because they don’t produce enough red blood cells for which it’s better not to give them garlic. Puppies aged six months to one year, you need to be cautious about feeding garlic to them on a regular basis.

Breed Specific Issues: Are you the owner of an Akita or a Shiba Inu? Beware. Vet herbalists have warned owners against giving them garlic. They are very sensitive to the hemolytic impact of oxidants like N-propyl disulfide that’s commonly found in garlic. Again, consult your vet if you have any questions regarding your dog’s breed.

Drug Reactions

Garlic can react to different types of medications. Here’s what happens:

  • Heart Medicines
  • Immune suppressants
  • Chemotherapy drugs
  • Blood Thinners
  • Antacids
  • Insulin
  • High blood pressure drugs

It is highly recommended not to use garlic if your pupper is already taking any of these drugs. And as we mentioned, garlic is likely to affect blood clotting; it’s better not to use at least two weeks before any scheduled surgery.

How to Prepare Garlic for Dogs?

Start by peeling the cloves, mincing them properly, chop and crush the fresh garlic and allow it to sit for a good 10 – 15 minutes before they finally ingest it. Allicin (the active medicinal ingredient present in garlic) breaks down quickly, so the garlic is ready to use straight after the sitting period to attain maximum benefit of the nutrients. In addition, you need to measure the right amount of garlic according to your dog’s body weight to be able to mix it to his food.

What About Garlic Supplements?

You might still be in a terrible confusion as to whether it’s toxic or not because of some sources that reveal that garlic is a great supplement and help to remove fleas and ticks in dogs while other sources that say garlic is highly poisonous. These counterstatements are confusing.

In studies where they have tested garlic in dogs, it has not shown consistent positive or negative results. It has been proven that minimal doses are safe for most canines, the risks should not be avoided. If you decide to offer your pet dog with any garlic supplements, it’s always better to ask your vet about it. More importantly, they always say that consult your vet before bringing a change in their diet. Therefore, come up with the best prevention plan for your dog, rather than treating any illness.

hound dog looking at a garlic

Final Words

There’s no end to how toxic some things can be in nature for your pet dog. And the sad part is, there’s nothing you can do about it, no matter how much your little fur buddy wants it. Indeed, garlic is dangerous for dogs if fed inappropriately or in large amounts. However, that should not keep you from offering it to your furry friend when you are sure of how to do it safely.

If you are not sure about the right dosage of garlic, or you don’t want to get busy chopping or mincing garlic throughout your free time, then don’t feed it to your dog. It’s that simple!

Have you found any creative garlic recipe for your furry friend that is safe for consumption? We are curious! Share your insights in the comments below!


  1. What Are The Most Common Household Toxins For Pets?, American Animal Hospital Association

  2. Foods That Can Be Poisonous To Pets, The Humane Society

  3. Mara Ratnofsky, DVM, Human Foods to Avoid Feeding to Your Dog, The MSPCA–Angell

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