The smell of roasted garlic is one of those few scents that immediately makes most of us hungry. It’s featured in cuisines around the globe and is found in many of our favourite foods. Scientific evidence even suggests that garlic has medicinal benefits for humans, so it’s perfectly natural for you to wonder: Can dogs eat garlic?
The answer, is both yes and no, I know that doesn’t really help, let’s investigate in more detail below.
Is it safe for dogs to eat garlic?
Garlic may be good for us, however dogs metabolize certain foods differently than we do. According to the Merck Veterinary Manual, garlic and other members of the allium family, including onions, contain thiosulfate, which is toxic to dogs but luckily not to humans.
Thiosulfate causes oxidative damage to red blood cells, resulting in hemolytic anemia. Symptoms of anemia include pale mucous membranes, rapid breathing, lethargy, weakness, jaundice, and dark colored urine. Garlic toxicity also causes symptoms of gastrointestinal upset, including vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, abdominal pain, depression, and dehydration.
How much garlic is toxic to dogs?
Studies have found it takes roughly 15 to 30 grams of garlic per kilograms of your dog’s 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, he will probably be okay, but intentionally feeding large quantities of it to your dog is a recipe for disaster.
Can I feed my dog garlic bread?
Garlic bread will almost certainly catch your dog’s attention, as it does anyone else in the room. Nevertheless, along with garlic, it usually contains large amounts of butter, oil, cheese, and herbs that can upset your dog’s stomach. This high-calorie food is also a source of unnecessary calories and fat, and offers no nutritional benefits to your pet. So no, your dog can’t eat it, but you sure can!
Can I feed my dog garlic supplements?
Despite garlic’s known toxicity, some websites and well-meaning dog owners recommend garlic supplements for dogs as part of a natural wellness plan or as a flea and tick preventative. This can be very confusing to dog owners.
In studies to date, garlic as a health supplement for pets has not produced enough consistent positive results. While very small doses may be safe for most dogs, the lack of conclusive evidence and the known risks should be taken into consideration before making any decision. If you do decide to feed your dog a garlic supplement, you should always consult your veterinarian or a specialist. Giving an incorrect dose could have toxic effects, so plan on working with a professional to create the best treatment and prevention plan for your dog.
Treating garlic toxicity in dogs
If your dog does ingest a large amount of garlic, your best bet is to take him to a veterinarian. Garlic and onion poisoning are rarely fatal in dogs, however, your dog may need supportive care to keep them comfortable. Your veterinarian may recommend intravenous fluids to keep them hydrated and may prescribe a medication to control vomiting. In severe cases, blood transfusions may even be necessary.
Alternatives to garlic for dogs
If you want to give your dog a healthy treat, consider feeding them fruits and vegetables that are high in valuable nutrients, like apples, blueberries, strawberries, watermelon, carrots, cucumbers, and sweet potatoes.