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Can Dogs Eat Garlic?

Most dog owners would know not to feed their pet a clove of garlic, simple common sense dictates that this would not make a healthy type of dog food.

In fact, ASPCA (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), say close members of the onion family (onions, shallots, garlic, scallions, etc.) contain compounds that can damage dogs’ red blood cells if ingested in sufficient quantities.

But most pet owners will not be serving up the garlic in large amounts. In fact a more relevant question would be, ‘can dogs eat foods containing garlic?’ because lets face it, that is a more likely outcome.

Your beloved pooch is sniffing for some food you have just cooked, and like many human dishes the meal may contain garlic – can dogs eat foods with traces of this ingredient?

Let’s take a look…

can dogs eat this - garlic


Can dogs eat Garlic – Any Benefits

In humans garlic has long been seen as a holistic remedy in the prevention of conditions such as heart disease, high cholesterol and high blood pressure.

Can our dogs benefit from the same when they eat garlic? The answer is no.

The reason is due to the aforementioned toxicity of garlic to dogs. In no way is it a healthy type of dog food.


Can Dogs Eat Garlic – Precautions

Garlic is a member of the Allium species of plant. The simple fact is, our pet’s digestive systems are not able to cope with these in the same way that us humans do.

Garlic contains sulfoxides and sisulfides the ingestion of which in dogs can cause a condition called hemolytic anemia.

This is very damaging to a dog as the effect is the bursting of red blood cells circulating through their body.

Ingestion of these toxins can also lead to gastroenteritis, a more common condition that causes inflammation of the stomach and intestines, and is the cause of extreme stomach pain.

Symptoms of garlic toxicity dogs include your dog being weak easily tired after exercise and even or reluctant to move at all. Diarrhea and vomiting, pale gums, and/or an elevated heart rate are also signs that your dog may exhibit.

In any such case you should visit a veterinarian as soon as you can. In severe cases, blood transfusions may be needed as garlic toxicity can lead to permanent liver damage.


Can Dogs Eat Garlic – How much is too much?

So back to our original question – how much garlic can a dog safely eat?

A good way to measure this is to compare the toxicity levels of Garlic and onion. In general Garlic is said to contain a higher concentration of the compounds that are harmful to our dogs. (In fact the Associate director of Veterinary Services at Pet Poison Helpline has stated that Garlic is “actually considered to be about 5X as potent as an onion.”)

This puts things into perspective somewhat. Taking the general warnings for onion consumption in pets, (as little as 5 g/kg of onions in cats or 15 to 30 g/kg in dogs has resulted in clinically important hematologic changes.) we can see that on the basis of garlic being 5 times more potent than onions, even small amounts can be harmful to our dogs. As little as one clove of garlic can lead to damaging toxicity levels.


Can Dogs Eat Garlic – the bottom line

Garlic is one of those foods best left alone. If you end up feeding your dog some leftovers that contain a little garlic, you should watch for any of the symptoms listed in this article. If they are present, get to the vet as soon as possible.

And never shave off cloves of garlic into your dog’s food bowl expecting some kind of holistic miracle. You will only make your poor dog very ill as a result.