The use of garlic and garlic products with dogs has come under (internet) fire the last few years, but which is true, garlic is safe for dogs, or garlic is toxic for dogs- here’s the answer!
Garlic: What’s in It?
Garlic is from the Allium family (with ‘relatives’ such as onions, leeks, chives, and shallots).
In Onions there is a compound called n-propyldisulfide, as well as small amounts of thiosulphate. When ingested, this compounds can create something known as Heinz bodies which rejects the cells from the bloodstream. This leads to anemia (and subsequently – Death). Onions should never be fed to dogs, in any amount.
Since garlic contains minute trace amounts of thiosulphate- the debate begins!
See The Truth from Holistic Vet Dr Deva Khalsa, VMD
(Unable to see the video in Site, View it Directly Here)
The Benefits of Garlic
To put it into perspective, Wendy Wallner, DVM, “Onions are only one of the substances which can cause Heinz body anemia. Other substances such as Acetaminophen (Tylenol) and benzocaine-containing topical preparations can also cause Heinz body anemia in the dog.”
✔️ Garlic is a natural antibiotic and does not affect the good bacteria in the gut which are needed for proper digestion and immune health
✔️ Garlic is anti-fungal- helping to fight off fungal infections
✔️ Garlic is antiviral- helping to kill of viruses
✔️ Garlic boosts the immune system
✔️ Garlic is anti-parasitic, making the dog considerably less desirable to fleas, ticks and other blood feasting insects/parasites.
Guide to Safe Dosages
Here’s a simple guide on the garlic levels safe for dogs per day, based on a dog’s weight (1/2 clove per ten pounds of body weight):
Fresh Garlic (SOURCE: The Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats by Dr. Pitcairn)
Weight of Dog
Amount of Garlic
10 to 15 pounds
20 to 40 pounds
45 to 70 pounds
75 to 90 pounds
100 pounds +
Even with a large breed dog (75+lbs), many Pet parents opt to stop at the 2 clove mark, even if their dogs large (75 pounds+). Some feed their pets garlic only seasonally, some add small amounts to treats, pet food.
Regarding Anemia or Preexisting Conditions
If you are aware that your dog has a pre-existing anemic condition or has symptoms of anemia, or is set to go into surgery, don’t give him any garlic. In addition, be aware that puppies under eight weeks of age should not receive any doses of garlic because they are unable to reproduce new blood cells until after 6-8 weeks.
Like most anything in life it comes down to your own personal belief and choice. Many recipes for homemade treats and pet food products contain garlic in one form or another. If you’re concerned about potential effects, simply OMIT the garlic. Keep in mind, if you’re using a flea/tick repellent remedy, that is generally the Active ingredient in those particular types of recipes.
- Pitcairn RH, DVM, PhD, Dr. Pitcairn’s Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs & Cats (2005), page 384
- Dogs Naturally Magazine: Garlic for Dogs: Poison or Medicine?
- Yamato et al, Heinz Body hemolytic anemia with eccentrocytosis from ingestion of Chinese chive (Allium tuberosum) and garlic (Allium sativum) in a dog, Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association 41:68-73 (2005)
- M. Goldstein, The Nature of Animal Healing
- Earthclinic.com – Garlic for Dogs
- Holistic Veterinary Medicine: Caring for Pets by Dr Pollen
- Dr. Deva Khalsa, V.M.D, C.V.A, F.B.I.H