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Garlic for Dogs

Garlic for Dogs

For centuries, garlic has been known to offer numerous health benefits to humans. But is the same true for dogs? In this article we will try to determine the various effects and the potential for toxicity of garlic in dogs...
Kanika Khara
Our pets add so much love and value to our lives that most of us look out for various ways to return their affection and loyalty. With this feeling, we surely want to give them the best, right from their resting place to the food they eat. Hence, it becomes extremely important for any dog owner to ensure that the food their pet is eating is safe for their health. A food item that has divided opinions on this very subject is garlic.

Effects of Garlic on Dogs

Despite its various medicinal uses, garlic, being a member of the genus Allium and a species of the onion family Alliaceae, comes under close scrutiny. Most Alliaceae plants have high concentrations of thiosulphate, a compound that causes oxidative damage to red blood cells and leads to hemolytic or 'Heinz factor' anemia, wherein the circulating red blood cells burst. Since red blood cells are destroyed and the body is deprived of oxygen, the dog may start showing initial symptoms like weakness, discolored urine, rapid breathing, vomiting, diarrhea, etc. Hence, if large quantities of this compound are ingested on a regular basis, it may lead to anemia, and even death, of the dog.

Though garlic also belongs to the onion family, there are slight differences between them. Garlic does not contain the same high concentrations of thiosulphate as onion and so is not very harmful for dogs. In fact, it is barely traceable in amounts and gets easily excreted from the body. However, it can be dangerous to your pet if you feed the dog a couple of whole bulbs a day, on a regular basis. Therefore, the toxicity of garlic depends upon the dosage and frequency of consumption.


Like in humans, garlic offers numerous health benefits in dogs, which are given below:
  • It improves the dog's immune system, by stimulating the activities of white blood cells that fight microbes.
  • Its antibacterial and antimicrobial properties help in fighting different types of internal or external infections of the mouth, throat, respiratory tract, stomach, or intestines.
  • Garlic, when combined with olive oil, can be used to cure minor injuries, ear infections, or ear mites.
  • It acts as an excellent detoxifying agent and assists the liver in removing toxins from the body.
  • Raw garlic mixed with dog food benefits the animal by reducing blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
Though garlic does benefit dogs in many ways, one cannot overlook its side effects when consumed in excess. Hence, the way to get the best out of garlic without any negative effects is to feed the dog right proportions, infrequently. One clove of fresh garlic per 15 to 30 pounds of weight (of the dog) a day, is recommended to be given to a dog in order to gain its various benefits. Providing more than 3-4 cloves daily is risky, even if the dog in question is heavy enough to warrant it.