Can Dogs Eat Garlic? Is Garlic Safe For Your Dog?

The answer to the question of whether dogs can eat garlic is a definitive no. This is because garlic is poisonous for dogs and carries certain health risks that you need to consider.

However, many dogs consume garlic by accident, leaving their owners wondering, what’s the big deal?

A Jack Russell Terrier with chalkboard that says "Garlic for Dogs Good or Bad"
A Jack Russell Terrier, wondering if garlic is good or bad for him

Keep reading to discover more about why garlic is so bad for dogs and the risks of adding garlic to your pet’s diet.

Why is Garlic Bad for Dogs?

Dogs cannot consume onions and garlic, and unfortunately, garlic in any form is not safe for your dog to consume.

All types of garlic and garlic products should be avoided for dogs due to their toxic substances. 

Onions, as well as garlic, are members of the allium family.

Alliums contain thiosulfates or n-propyl disulfide, which can be toxic to dogs, causing damage to the red blood cells and leading to anemia or a range of other severe conditions.

A Labrador Retriever looking up at a dining table
A Lab eyeing on a garlic and other spices

What’s in Garlic that is Harmful to Dogs?

As mentioned, dogs contain an organic compound known as an n-propyl disulfide.

This compound is 5 to 10 times more prevalent in garlic than in onions, leeks, shallots, chives, or other allium family members.

Unfortunately, dogs don’t have the digestive enzyme capable of processing allium, causing it to build up in your pet’s body.

When this compound attaches to your dog’s red blood cells, it damages the cells faster than your dog can produce them, leading to hemolysis or hemolytic anemia

Which Types of Garlic Dogs Can’t Eat?

Garlic on white background
Garlic

Unfortunately, most dogs do like the taste and smell of garlic.

Just like you love the delicious taste of garlic, so does your dog, and they may consume this tasty treat without ever knowing how dangerous it is for them to do so.

Garlic is also included in various foods that are unsafe for your pet to eat.

1. Raw and Wild Garlic

Some holistic practitioners believe that feeding small amounts of raw garlic is beneficial to your dog. That said, most vets believe your dog should not be fed raw and wild garlic.

Wild garlic is also an allium root vegetable, and as a result, all parts of the plant are toxic to dogs. 

2. Garlic Powder

Made of dehydrated garlic, garlic powder is more concentrated and potent than granulated or fresh cloves of garlic.

Typically, one clove of garlic would weigh between 4-7grams and is equivalent to ¼ teaspoon of powdered garlic.

With that small amount, garlic powder is even more toxic for your dog than raw garlic due to the increased level of thiosulfates

3. Garlic Oil

Like garlic powder, garlic oil is also a concentrated form of garlic. Therefore, you should refrain from drizzling garlic oil on any food your pet may eat or have access to. 

4. Cooked Garlic

Just as dangerous for your pet as raw garlic, cooked garlic offers no nutritional benefit to your dog.

Garlic in any form can have devastating consequences for your dog due to the damage caused to the red blood cells. 

5. Garlic Bread

A French Bulldog with garlic bread
Lenny, a Frenchie, wants some garlic bread – Image source

While your dog may be attracted to the lovely smell of garlic bread, you should not feed your dog this treat.

Along with containing toxic garlic, garlic bread is made with copious quantities of cheese, oil, butter, and herbs, all of which can cause an upset stomach.

Garlic bread also contains additional fat and calories, which your pet does not need in his diet. 

6. Garlic Supplements

Some companies market garlic supplements for dogs to prevent fleas and ticks, which can be confusing.

However, there’s no conclusive evidence that these supplements yield results for dogs, and giving the incorrect dose could lead to toxicity.

If you want to give your pet garlic supplements, be sure only to do so under the guidance of a vet. 

Should Dogs Avoid All Garlic and Allium Root Vegetables?

Yes, as mentioned, all allium root vegetables contain the compounds that make garlic toxic for dogs.

While garlic has more of this compound than other members of the family, you should also avoid adding onion, chives, leeks, and shallots to your pet’s diet.

Is There Any Way You Can Feed Fido Some Garlic and Reduce the Health Risks?

As mentioned, some holistic health practitioners believe that dogs can benefit from eating small amounts of raw garlic cloves or garlic supplements.

However, there haven’t been any conclusive studies done in this regard.

The reality is if your dog eats a small amount of garlic or accidentally gets into your garlic bread, you might not see any problems.

However, dogs that consume copious amounts of garlic or have garlic added to their daily diet could suffer from various health problems.

Can Dogs Eat Garlic in Certain Amounts?

A Drentsche Patrijshond with garlics on its head
Norris, a Drentsche Patrijshond, tries modeling with garlics – Image source

While you shouldn’t feed your dog garlic, some pet owners report that their dogs are perfectly fine after consuming garlic. This is primarily due to the amount of garlic consumed. 

While all dogs are different, modern medicine suggests that the amount needed to reach garlic toxicity is 15-30 grams of garlic per kg of body weight.

With a garlic clove weighing between 3 and 7 grams, that means your dog would need to eat quite a lot of garlic to get sick.

How much garlic can a dog eat?

According to certain holistic pet practitioners, such as Dr. Pitcairn, who wrote the book “The Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats,” dogs can consume small amounts of garlic.

The below table illustrates this.

Dog Weight Amount of Garlic Per Day
10-15 pounds Half a clove
20-40 pounds One clove
45-70 pounds Two cloves
75-90 pounds Two and a half cloves
100 pounds plus Three cloves

How much garlic large dog breeds can eat?

Smaller dogs, like Miniature Poodles and Chihuahuas, will likely have less tolerance to garlic than large dogs like Great Danes and Labradors.

Still, no matter the size of your dog, garlic consumption should be handled as a serious matter by all pet owners. 

If you want to feed your dog garlic according to the above tables, be sure to only do so under the guidance of a vet.

How much garlic can be toxic to your small dog?

As mentioned, dogs need to consume about 15-30 grams of garlic per kg of body weight to get sick.

While this may sound like a lot, it’s much easier for small dogs to start showing symptoms of toxicity than larger pets.

Thus, it is best to make sure that there is no way your pet can ever get hold of garlic in any form.

What Happens If Your Dog Eat Too Much Garlic?

A Maltese dog with kidney failure
Abby, a Maltese, is a kidney failure warrior – Image source

The first symptoms of garlic toxicity are only likely to appear a few days after your dog consumes garlic, with table scraps being one of the most common causes of toxicity. 

Some symptoms of hemolytic anemia include a loss of appetite, pale gums, lethargy, abdominal pain, decreased stamina, fainting, an elevated heart rate, rapid breathing, loss of coordination, vomiting, and diarrhea.

If your dog exhibits any of these symptoms, be sure to take him to the vet, as garlic ingestion can lead to kidney failure and death

How to treat garlic poisoning in dogs?

Do not try to treat garlic poisoning yourself. Instead, be sure to get in touch with your vet, who can advise the best course of action for your pet.

Your dog needs to be treated as soon as possible to ensure the best possible recovery.

Methods of treatment are listed below.

  • Some vets will coach you on how to induce vomiting in your dog. 
  • One treatment method includes giving your dog activated charcoal, which will help prevent further absorption of the garlic into your dog’s body.
  • Another method involves the insertion of a stomach tube to remove the toxin directly from the stomach.
  • Some vets may also give intravenous fluids to help with hydration and support the kidneys.
  • Your vet may give your dog a strong dose of antioxidants to try and fight the thiosulfates in their bloodstream.
  • In severe cases, a blood transfusion or oxygen therapy may be necessary.

How to Prevent Your Dog From Eating Garlic Again?

As you can see, garlic is very dangerous for dogs.

The best way to ensure your dog doesn’t consume garlic is to ensure that any garlic or garlic products are stored in a safe place your dog can’t reach or get into.

The refrigerator is a good choice. 

Be sure that all family members, including children and staff or workers at your house, are also aware that your dog should never be fed garlic.

Are There Any Health Benefits of Garlic?

A dog with harvested garlic
A hardworking doggo helping in the garlic harvest – Image source

As mentioned, some holistic pet practitioners believe that there are benefits to feeding your dog a small amount of garlic. 

They say that garlic can help protect your pet from fleas and ticks, help to reduce inflammation, boost the immune system, and improve heart function.

That said, due to the possible devastating results of garlic toxicity, it’s best to err on the side of caution and instead look at other supplements in this regard.

What Other Dangerous Spices to Avoid Feeding Your Dog?

Red chili pepper on white background
Red chili pepper

There are many different spices, some of which are safe for your dog and others that dogs can’t eat. Here are some spices you should avoid adding to your dog’s diet.

  • Cassia Cinnamon, which comes from Indonesia and China, has a strong taste and a dark brown color. This type of cinnamon is inexpensive and commonly found in grocery stores. It’s not recommended for dogs as it contains high amounts of the toxic coumarin compound.
  • Salt can be harmful to dogs if consumed in large quantities and can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, depression, lethargy, excessive thirst, and abnormal accumulation of fluids. In more severe cases, too much salt can cause kidney failure and seizures in dogs.
  • Chili can cause your dog to get an upset stomach. Capsaicin, which is found in chillis, is an irritant that gives off that hot, burning sensation. This defense mechanism from the plant is designed to irritate your dog’s mouth and cause gastrointestinal upset.

What are Safe Alternatives to Garlic for Dogs?

Different forms of ginger
Ginger

Instead of feeding your dog garlic, there are other foods you can consider that will make your dog’s meals taste great.

1. Ceylon Cinnamon which is true cinnamon, but it’s more expensive and difficult to find. It comes from Sri Lanka and is lighter brown with a sweeter taste than Cassia Cinnamon.

As it has lower levels of the coumarin compound, this is the type of cinnamon recommended for dogs.

2. Honey has a range of health benefits for dogs. It is full of antioxidants, is a great anti-inflammatory, and has antimicrobial, antifungal, and antibacterial properties.

Honey can also help provide relief from allergies. 

While honey isn’t toxic to dogs, it’s incredibly high in sugar and can be harmful in large quantities, especially if your pet suffers from certain health conditions. 

3. Chickpeas are okay to feed your dog if bland and cooked. Chickpeas have a range of health benefits for dogs.

They are packed full of fiber and vitamins K and B6 and nutrients folate, potassium, phosphorus, zinc, copper, and magnesium.

4. Ginger which contains 3.85 mmol of antioxidants per 100 g. It will help to boost your dog’s immune system.

It’s also said to help prevent nausea and motion sickness, so it’s a great treat to give your pet when on the move. 

Ginger also helps relax the muscles and decrease pain associated with digestive issues such as gas and bloating.

5. Turmeric is safe for dogs to consume and has lots of benefits for your pet, including being a great anti-inflammatory.

It’s often included in dog food, not for its health benefits but because it’s a great way to naturally enhance the color and flavor of your pet’s food.

What’s the Verdict? Can Dogs Eat Garlic?

As you have read, your dog cannot eat garlic, and garlic poses a significant health risk for your dog.

If your dog has accidentally got into your spice cupboard and consumed some garlic, it’s best to consult with your vet, as he will be able to advise the best course of action.

Has your pet ever accidentally eaten garlic? Please share your experiences in the comments below so that we pet owners can learn from each other.

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