Can Dogs Eat Garlic?

No, dogs should not eat garlic as it is toxic. This is one of the reasons it is safest not to give your dog human food leftovers from your dinner, as many meals contain garlic in some form.

Why Is Garlic Bad for Dogs?

Garlic, whether raw or cooked, is toxic to dogs. If a dog eats enough garlic, it can eventually kill them if they do not get medical treatment.

Garlic, onions, and leeks are all in the Allium genus of plants. Dogs are not allergic to plants in this genus, but the plants contain N-propyl disulfides and thiosulfates. When these are metabolized by the pet’s body, it causes damage to their red blood cells.

Garlic is a gastrointestinal irritant and can cause vomiting and diarrhea in dogs. In high doses, it can also have toxic effects on the blood, particularly red blood cells.

Red blood cells transport oxygen to tissues. When a pet ingests garlic, it causes damage that disrupts the absorption and delivery of oxygen to the body, and it can also cause hemolysis or destruction of red blood cells.

Consuming as little as 2 grams per pound of your dog’s weight can cause observable changes in a pet’s stomach, and larger amounts can damage the blood. For reference, each garlic clove weighs an average of 5 grams.

For a medium-sized dog weighing around 25 pounds, treatment will be needed if they ingest 50 grams of garlic approximately 10 cloves, or half of a garlic bulb.

Can Dogs Eat Garlic

How Much Garlic Is Toxic to Dogs?

Scientific studies have found it takes approximately 15 to 30 grams of garlic per kilogram of body weight to produce harmful changes in a dog’s blood.

To put that into perspective, the average clove of supermarket garlic weighs between 3 and 7 grams, so your dog would have to eat a lot to get really sick.

However, some dogs are more sensitive to garlic toxicity than others, and consumption of a toxic dose spread out over a few days could also cause problems.

This means that if your dog accidentally eats something containing a little garlic, they will probably be okay. But intentionally feeding garlic to your dog is a bad idea.

Why Do Dog Owners Avoid Garlic?

Why do people still think garlic is unsafe for dogs with all these benefits?

This common bias comes from the fact that garlic belongs to the same Allium family as onion, leek, chive, and shallot.

All of these contain a variety of sulfur-based compounds, but only onion, leek, chive, and shallot that possess a lot of the worrying compound thiosulfate. This compound is toxic for canines (but not for humans).

When ingested in a large amount in canines, this thiosulfate causes oxidative damage in red blood cells, resulting in “Heinz Bodies” that the body rejects and expels from the bloodstream. Over time this can result in Hemolytic Anemia and may even cause death.

How Much Garlic Should You Give Your Dog?

Using a level measuring spoon, feed the following amount per day, according to your dog’s weight:

  • 5lbs: 1/6 tsp
  • 10lbs: 1/3tsp
  • 15 lbs: 1/2 tsp
  • 20lbs: 2/3 tsp
  • 30 lbs: 1 tsp

This applies to freshly chopped garlic. Here’s how to prepare the garlic. Mixing alliin and alliinase forms allicin, the active medicinal ingredient in garlic.

Peel the cloves then mince, chop, or crush your fresh garlic and let it sit a couple of minutes before use. 

Allicin degrades quickly, so use the garlic immediately after the “sitting” period for maximum benefit.

I measured and chopped up my garlic and set my timer for 10 minutes.  Measure out the right amount of garlic for your dog’s body weight and mix it into her food.

How To Know When It’s a Garlic Emergency?

Unfortunately, there are documented cases of dogs experiencing garlic poisoning, and even dying from the resulting oxidative damage.

If your dog has eaten a lot of garlic, it’s a good idea to contact your veterinarian and look out for signs of anemia. Symptoms of anemia can appear within hours, or take hold over a week.

Symptoms of anemia in dogs include:

  • Lethargy and weakness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Rapid and shallow breathing
  • Dark urine
  • Bloody stool, urine, or vomit

Any of these symptoms demonstrate an emergency. If you suspect your dog has eaten a large amount of garlic, contact your vet before these symptoms appear if possible.

Most cases of garlic poisoning in dogs are not fatal, but it’s still important to get your dog treated as quickly as possible to prevent long-term damage.

What Should You Do If Your Dog Eats Garlic?

Having a plan for exactly what you should do if your dog eats garlic will allow you to react swiftly and take the necessary action needed to help your pet. In some cases, this could potentially save a dog’s life. Here is a step-by-step guide for what dog owners should do if their dog eats garlic.

Put The Garlic Out of Your Dog’s Reach

The first thing that you should do is remove the garlic from your dog’s reach to prevent them from eating any more of it. This could also potentially save your dog from eating enough garlic to have a toxic reaction to it. This includes any form of garlic and any food that has garlic in it.

Don’t Panic

Even though your first instinct may be to go into panic mode after your dog eats garlic, taking a deep breath and trying to remain calm is the best first step that you can take.

Take a deep breath, collect your thoughts, and properly assess the situation. Even though it may seem that you are wasting precious seconds, doing this actually saves the time that you need and allows you to respond effectively.

Have An Idea About How Much Your Dog Weighs

In these situations, it is important to have at least a general idea about how much your dog weighs. This is because the toxicity of garlic changes depending on how heavy a dog is.

This means that garlic is much more toxic to a 6-pound dog than it is to a 100-pound dog. However, you should still follow these steps no matter how much your dog weighs.

Assess The Situation

The next thing that you should do is assess the situation. Take note of what type of garlic your dog has eaten and approximately how much. Knowing these things along with your dog’s weight will be useful to the vet.

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