Can Dogs Eat Garlic

Can Dogs Eat Garlic

Author WDF Staff


If you are a foodie, you are probably very well accustomed to the delicious taste of garlic. This is a popular addition to human food that can make any dish taste delicious. We often add it to our salads, fish dishes, meat, and honestly, anywhere we can.

Some dog owners love sharing their food with their dogs. Feeding your dog table scraps might not be advisable. Still, it is sometimes hard to resist that adorable face looking at you below the table. However, if our food contains garlic, the first question you should ask yourself is, “Can dogs eat garlic?” Here is what you should know about feeding your dog garlic.

Is garlic bad for dogs?

Most dog owners are very well aware that garlic is absolutely not safe for dogs to eat. Garlic, in fact, all plants from the allium family, contain a chemical called thiosulfate. Thiosulfate is safe for humans but is highly toxic to dogs. Not only is garlic bad for dogs, but it can also cause death in worst-case scenarios.

garlic clove

Thiosulfate will cause damage to the dog’s red blood cells. These cells are responsible for carrying oxygen to all parts of the dog’s body. Needless to say, oxygen is crucial for all mammal life. If your dog eats garlic, it can lead to hemolytic anemia. The symptoms of hemolytic anemia are;

  • Rapid breathing
  • Pale mucous membranes
  • Weakness
  • Jaundice
  • Lethargy
  • Dark-colored urine

You can read more about anemia here - Anemia in dogs.

Not only is garlic bad for dogs, but if the dog eats too much garlic, it will lead to a condition called garlic toxicity. The name is pretty self-explanatory, and the symptoms of garlic toxicity will include;

  • Gastrointestinal pains
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Dehydration
  • Depression

How much garlic can dogs tolerate?

Luckily, there is some good news; garlic toxicity is fairly rare, and dogs should eat a lot of garlic pretty fast to get severely sick. For critical damage to the blood cells, the dog would have to eat between 0.5 - 1 ounce per 2 pounds of body weight. To put that in a clearer perspective - one average garlic clove you can buy in a shop weighs around 0.1 - 0.25 ounces.

Your dog would have to get into your storage space and get ahold of a large number of garlic cloves. However, constant feeding your dog garlic could spell disaster, so it is best to avoid it at all costs.

garlic on table

How about garlic bread?

Garlic bread is undoubtedly one of the tastiest dishes we absolutely love, but dogs should avoid it at all costs. Garlic bread doesn’t only contain garlic, but cheese, oil, butter, and other spices. All of these ingredients will cause an upset dog stomach, and the dog cannot properly digest these things. Not only is it unsafe, but it also doesn’t offer any kind of nutritional value.

Garlic supplements as flea and tick prevention

There were a lot of talks recently about the effectiveness of garlic supplements in the field of tick and flea prevention. You can easily come across different sites and even dog owners that might recommend using garlic supplements to prevent flea infestations or tick bites. There is no scientific evidence that garlic prevents pests from biting your dog, to say the least.

Before you decide to try on your dog things and advice you found on the internet, make sure you talk to your vet. Dogs might be OK if they eat a tiny bit of garlic on accident. However, feeding them intentionally with ingredients known to be toxic in large amounts is questionable. There are more effective and trusted ways to prevent parasite infestations. You can read more about it here - How to get rid of dog fleas?

What to do if your dog eats garlic?

Intentionally mixing garlic and dogs is not a good idea, but unfortunately, accidents happen. If your dog managed to get their paws on garlic cloves and ate a bunch of it, you should call your vet or Animal Poison Control. The good news is that garlic or onion toxicity is rarely fatal, but it might need veterinary intervention.

Vets will suggest medication to control the dog’s vomiting. In some cases, an IV will be required to keep the dog adequately hydrated through the recovery process. In the worst cases, the dog will need transfusion due to red blood cells and hemoglobin damage.

In conclusion

Garlic and dogs don’t go well together. They need to be kept apart as far as possible and make sure you don’t share with your dog any food that contains garlic or onions. If you are interested in garlic as a way of preventing parasites like ticks and fleas infesting your dog, there are a lot better and safer options available.

You might be aware of the benefits garlic can offer humans, but that doesn’t mean garlic is safe for dogs. There are plenty of fruits and veggies available that are safe for dogs to eat and can offer many health benefits. Some of these are;

World Dog Finder team

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