Garlic is among the most loved and used spices in kitchens worldwide. It is a herb that comes in many forms; fresh, powdered, and garlic salt, just to name a few. Garlic gives food a delicious flavor, making it more enjoyable.
If you are a dog parent, you may wonder if your furry friend can also have food made with garlic. The answer is no. You should keep your dog away from garlic in all its forms because the herb contains toxic compounds that put your pup in danger.
However, there are multiple claims that using garlic can benefit dogs. Is this true? Should you use garlic for the benefits it provides your dog?
Effects of Garlic on Dogs
Garlic damages a dog’s red blood cells, causing them to swell and rupture, and is the most dangerous effect of the spice as it leaves a dog vulnerable to anemia. This effect does not take root immediately and can manifest itself when it is too late. Your dog might just collapse one day if you do not act on the danger as soon as possible.
Dogs of all breeds are victims of the toxic effect of garlic. However, other breeds, such as Japanese breeds, are more susceptible to the effects. The Shiba Inus and the Akitas have the most extreme sensitivities.
Consult your vet immediately after finding out your dog has eaten garlic.
How Much Garlic Is Dangerous To Dogs?
It requires a high amount of garlic to harm your dog. According to the National Library of Medicine, 15-30 grams of garlic per kilogram of weight is enough to damage your dog’s red blood cells.
This is a lot of garlic as a regular clove only weighs around 3 to 7 grams. It would take your dog eating a significant amount for it to be considered serious. You should, however, still be cautious, even if your dog eats only a couple of cloves.
You might need to contact poison control or your vet if you are unsure how much garlic your pup ate, just to be on the safe side. If your dog accidentally ate some of your food containing garlic, you don’t have to worry. A small amount will most likely not have devastating effects.
Are There any Benefits of Garlic to Dogs?
Some dog owners and pest control advocates push the idea that you can use garlic as a natural tick and flea repellent. This can be attractive to owners who don’t like using pesticides or other chemicals on their dogs.
The science behind the claim is that dogs will excrete foul-smelling sulfur through their skin after eating garlic. The sulfur smell will discourage any parasites as they find the taste unwelcoming. While there might be some truth to this claim, little evidence supports it.
Only one study used the herb as flea control, and its results were not compelling. It consisted of dropping garlic in pen with three dogs, which is not the same as feeding the garlic to the dogs.
While the study might seem convincing to some, tallying the evidence against the proven toxic effects of garlic on dogs prove that it is not worth it. Sticking to proven parasite repellents is better than risking your dog’s health and life using garlic.
Other Health Benefits
There isn’t enough research on feeding dogs small doses of garlic, and some researchers say that using it moderately can benefit your pup.
One study shows that small amounts of garlic can boost a dog’s health without changing its red blood cell composition.
The study, however, only focused on Beagles, so other breeds, especially the Japanese breeds, can have a different reaction.
Experts also recommend using garlic supplements for multiple reasons, such as parasite control and controlling kidney and heart diseases. Garlic has antiseptic, anti-parasitic, and anti-carcinogenic properties. These protect your dog from possible cancers and parasite attacks, but this does not mean it is safe for dogs.
If you choose garlic supplements, find those that use cold-pressed garlic. You should also find those that only administer small doses, for example, 1,000mg. In addition, search for reputable brands that only offer high-quality garlic supplements.
Reaching out to your vet before administering any supplements to your dog is crucial, especially in garlic’s case, as your dog might be in danger. You could also ask your vet for ideal alternatives to garlic supplements and garlic, in general, to be on the safe side.
What if Your Dog Eats Garlic Unsupervised?
Because dogs are naturally curious, they might eat some garlic when you are not looking. Do not panic. Start by finding out the amount they ate and when they ate it. Your vet might also ask you these questions for a proper diagnosis.
If they think that your dog is at risk, they will monitor your dog’s vitals for signs of anemia. The vet might also induce vomiting to eliminate the garlic in their system.
If they don’t think the issue is that serious, they will tell you to keep your dog at home and monitor them yourself.
You should look for symptoms such as:
- Nausea, shown by excessive drooling
- Pale gums
- Heightened panting
- Red-tinged urine
- Abdominal pain
If you see one or more of these symptoms, immediately rush your pup to the nearest clinic. Garlic toxicity or garlic poisoning doesn’t have an antidote, so you will need to start anemia treatment as soon as possible.
How to Prevent Dogs from Eating Garlic
The surest way to prevent your pooch from eating garlic is by keeping it away from them. Put the garlic in places they cannot reach. Do not leave any cloves on the table or the countertop. Safely dispose of any used garlic cloves in the trash and secure the lid to ensure your pup doesn’t go rummaging in it.
You should also avoid feeding them food containing garlic, including any homemade human foods or snacks that contain even the smallest amounts of the spice. Low doses accumulate over time, putting your dog at risk.
Read all food labels and check the ingredients list to ensure they don’t contain any form of garlic. Teach everyone, especially your children, not to feed your pup garlic or any foods that contain it. It might be better to caution them against feeding dogs human foods altogether to prevent any accidents.
If you have a garden in your home that contains garlic, use a fence or any other safe barrier around it. This will prevent your dog from accidentally eating some growing garlic and destroying your garden.
You should also train your dog to avoid garlic. Use a stern voice whenever they approach it to convey that they should not eat it. Luckily, most don’t like the taste of raw garlic and will steer away from it.
As much as garlic is good for us, do not feed it to your dog because it’s toxic in large amounts and builds up in their bloodstream. You should, especially, be careful with the Japanese breeds as they are more vulnerable to garlic poisoning.
Please do not put your dog at risk and use garlic as an insecticide or in small doses for its health benefits. There isn’t enough evidence supporting these claims, and until there is, protect your furry friend.