Is Garlic Safe for Dogs?

A dog with human hands eating at the table

Can dogs eat garlic? More and more people are embracing the concept of food as medicine, and this often maligned ingredient may be healthy for pups under the right circumstances.

We all know that garlic isn’t good for dogs, right? That’s like dog 101. That was a quick read! Well, maybe not. This common piece of advice definitely has roots in accuracy, but there are more and more natural medicine-oriented owners who believe that garlic has a place in a healthy dog’s life. If you’re into the food as medicine movement in your life, this might be something to consider for your dog.

Dog waiting for food by a table


A lot of humans believe that garlic is good for you. Yes, it’s great in bread form or in a stir fry, but many people use raw garlic for its detoxification and antibiotic/antifungal benefits. It is also said to help digestive issues, promote good circulation, and provide all sorts of vitamins and nutrients, so it may very well have some benefits for dogs. There are people who believe it’s a natural way to keep fleas and ticks at bay, and even that it plays a role in cancer prevention. Still, we’re all told that garlic is absolutely forbidden and to whip yourself into a frenzy if your pup snags a teensy piece that fell on the floor while making dinner.

A cute dog licking her chops


There are certain types of dogs who should definitely not ingest garlic. Pregnant or nursing dogs and their puppies, any dogs with health issues or medicines that might interact negatively, specific breeds like Shiba Inus or Akitas are all contraindicated, so there are definitely dogs who should avoid garlic. When we’re talking about toxicity with regards to garlic, we’re looking at a type of anemia brought on by excessive thiosulphate which decreases red blood cells and can cause illness and death in dogs. This is very serious, but people still tout garlic for its many benefits.

So where does this leave us?

A pup who wants some table scraps


The main thing is that the poison is in the dose. When you actually look at the amount of garlic that is required to cause damage, it’s a lot: close to a full head of garlic for a small dog, or multiple heads of garlic for a larger dog. Don’t feed your dog that much garlic under any circumstance. When people discuss using garlic for medicinal properties, they’re talking about less than a teaspoon per day in a small to medium dog. They’re also using only organic garlic and letting the chopped/pressed garlic sit for 10-15 minutes before feeding it to their pup.

Deciding whether or not to give your dog a small amount of garlic is ultimately your call. What we can decipher from this conflicting information is that a small amount of garlic given to an otherwise healthy adult dog who doesn’t have any sensitive breeds in their lineage is OK, so long as it’s carefully supervised, prepared, and dosed. You certainly don’t need to feed garlic to your dog, and you can absolutely take these benefits with a grain of salt. Perhaps the most important takeaway from this research is that, if your dog steals a bite of your garlicky salad while you aren’t looking, you probably don’t have to race to the vet. Maybe your pup will just have especially stinky kisses for a while.

Source: Dogs Naturally Magazine

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