Dog Owners Need to Know: Is Garlic Bad For Dogs? | Herepup
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Dog Owners Need to Know: Is Garlic Bad For Dogs?

There are many complicated diet issues in the world of dog care. One of the most promote (and most heated) arguments is often about garlic. Is garlic bad for dogs to eat? Or does garlic provide awesome support for your dog’s health?

I’m afraid to say that even after my research, there is not an easy yes or no answer to this question. Whether or not you choose to feed your dog garlic will come down to your opinion of the facts I’ll share below.

For most dogs, however, I would recommend skipping the garlic. While it can provide some interesting benefits, they are not worth the risk, and I don’t believe that those benefits can only be achieved through garlic.

Now, let’s get into the thick of it!

Is Garlic Toxic To Dogs?

When you ask about garlic for dogs” what I’m hearing is a question about toxicity levels. Garlic is one of those foods that (like onions) veterinarians and dog owners often say is toxic for dogs to eat, which can really scare dog owners.

To understand what does and what can happen to a dog when it eats garlic, we need to break things down a bit more. Let’s talk about what happens when a dog eats garlic, and why that should concern us.

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What Happens If A Dog Eats Garlic?

When a dog eats garlic, they are at risk for developing hemolytic anemia. This condition causes red blood cells in the body to burst, which can lead to less red blood cells and eventually to other conditions.

Dogs might also have gastroenteritis, or an inflamed stomach and intestines, after eating garlic. This can cause stomach pain and worsen underlying conditions.

So, Is Garlic Harmful To Dogs? Or Is Garlic Safe For Dogs?

Is Garlic Bad For Dogs

This is where things get confusing. Yes, garlic is harmful to dogs. Yes, garlic can be safe for dogs. It’s all in how much you feed, how big your dog’s body is, and how they process it.

For dogs to really suffer from dangerous anemia, they’d likely need to ingest nearly a full 1% of their body weight in garlic to get ill.

Why is this so confusing? Because of this study. This study used high dosages of garlic extract to see if dogs would be affected. While some dogs showed early signs that they might develop anemia, no dogs actually developed it.

This led to garlic lovers to proclaim garlic to be safe, and garlic haters to say it’s too much of a risk. Do you see the problem here?

It’s really hard to make a decision about an ingredient that has signs pointing to both “yes” and “no.” But for me, there are no solid “yes” signs, so I will stick to not feeding this to my dog.

How Much Garlic Could Be Dangerous For A Dog?

What it comes down to is that you would need to give your dog a fair amount of garlic over a long period to see any negative effects.

If your dog has garlic toxicity, you’ll see the following symptoms:

    • breathlessness
    • lethargy
    • diarrhea
    • vomiting
    • pale gums
    • elevated heart rate and respiratory rate
    • weakness

Can Dogs Eat Garlic In Small Dosages?

Can dogs have garlic in small dosages? I can’t find any evidence that it is not.

A proper dosage of raw garlic will not have enough thiosulphate to cause an overdose of garlic. It would take a lot of garlic over a long period or a huge dose to leave to death by garlic.

If you’re going to feed garlic, choose fresh garlic. Mince it and let it rest for 10-15 minutes before feeding it. Only feed it seasonally or do on-weeks and off-weeks to prevent garlic from causing long-term problems in your dog.

Isn’t That Too Risky?

I agree that the thought of feeding garlic to my dog sounds too risky and confusing. If you’re like me, then you shouldn’t feed your dog garlic.

There aren’t enough benefits to feeding garlic that you should go through the stress and potential risk if you are worried about the effects.

Is Garlic Good For Dogs?

With the risk factor, you might be wondering what fans of garlic for dogs believe garlic can help with.

There are actually a number of things that garlic supposedly does for dogs:

    • Prevents blood clots
    • Prevents cholesterol build-up
    • Makes vessels wider
    • Prevents tumor
    • Anti-fungal and antiparasitic
    • Keeps fleas away

These are the benefits that garlic fans say happen with regular garlic dosage. Still, I could find no solid evidence that any of these things actually happen when you feed your dog garlic!

For that reason, I don’t think garlic is worth the risk.

Is Garlic Bad For Dogs?

It’s hard to say. We’ve gone through that studies point to the fact that garlic can potentially cause a dangerous anemia in your dog, but the results are not conclusive.

I worry about the damage that can occur after multiple doses for a long time. These effects might be difficult to find and study, but subclinical damage might be occurring that could cause other health problems in the long run, which is why I don’t recommend feeding your dog garlic.

It’s just not worth it.

Skip The Garlic!

So, should dogs be eating garlic? I can’t prove it scientifically, but I also can’t prove that it’s good for dogs to eat, so my advice is to avoid it, or to at least avoid additional raw doses.

There are some varieties of the best dog food brands that include small amounts of garlic in the food. It’s worth knowing this whether you plan to try out garlic or not. If you want to add a little bit of garlic to your dog’s diet, these foods are a great way to do so. If you want to avoid garlic, make sure to check your dog’s food for this ingredient before feeding it.

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Dr. Laura Harris is our resident dog health expert. She started to fact-check dog health-related information for HerePup during her internship and contributes since then. Her expertise is in dog nutrition, senior dog care, especially critical care medicine and internal medicine.

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