Is Garlic Harmful To Dogs?
A quick search for “dogs and garlic” reveals quite a bit of controversy on the subject. Some proclaim that garlic should be added to the black list, and that ingestion of the plant will put Fido at risk– or can result in death. Others dismiss these claims, insisting that garlic is harmless (or even healthy!) when given in the right quantities. So can your furry friend consume garlic without risking illness? The answer is not a simplistic as one would hope…
There is a compound present in garlic – just like onions and shallots – called n-propyldisulfide. Ready to get scientific? n-propyldisulfide is an organosulfur compound – meaning it contains sulfur. Depending on how sulfur is chemically altered, it can be helpful or harmful (sulfur is found in both penicillin and mustard gas, for example). It is this same compound that, as it evaporates, causes eyes to water and become irritated. n-propyldisulfide can cause oxidative damage to red blood cells when taken in large enough doses. The effect creates Heinz bodies – or mutated and damaged cells – which are eventually rejected by your pup’s body. If your pooch continues to ingest heavy doses of garlic over a long period of time, it can lead to anemia and even death.
Wait – if this is case, forget it! No garlic for Fido. Not necessarily. The key to safe use of garlic on dogs is the dosage level and frequency of use. Too much of anything is bad for you – even the minerals present in your daily diet in large quantities can be detrimental over time. Things like salt, vitamin D, or zinc are all good for you, as long as you’re not overdoing it! The same goes with garlic and dogs. At some level, these things all have the potential to be toxic.
For a dog to develop Heinz-body anemia, for example, they would have to eat 0.5% of their body weight in garlic to even begin the oxidative process. That means a healthy 60-pound dog would have to consume over 5-oz of garlic for the process to take effect. Since red blood cells are constantly regenerated from the bone marrow, a dog would likely need to ingest this amount of garlic on a repeated basis to cause permanent harm.
Here’s a guide on the garlic levels safe for dogs per day, based on a dog’s weight (from The Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats by Dr. Pitcairn):
- 10 to 15 pounds: .5 clove
- 20 to 40 pounds: 1 clove
- 45 to 70 pounds: 2 cloves
- 75 to 90 pounds: 2.5 cloves
- Over 100 pounds: 3 cloves
Once you’ve determined your dog’s dosage, they can start reaping the benefits including:
- Reduced Ticks/Fleas: While garlic doesn’t kill these pests, it certainly repels them! The chemical produced by garlic- allicin- emits a pungent smell that wards off these buggers. One sniff and they’ll be packing!
- Boosted Immune System: Garlic has been proven to boost cells that destroy bad microbes and cancer cells in your pooch.
- Livelier Liver: Garlic is known to have detoxifying effects, which can help the liver get rid of toxins from the body.
- Reduced Bacterial, Viral, and Fungal Infections: Bacteria, virus and fungi are no match for garlic! With its potent antimicrobial and antibiotic properties, it fights parasites and protozoan organisms as well.
- Reduced Cholesterol: Mix the proper dose of uncooked garlic with your dog’s food and it can help lower blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
- Cardiovascular Boost: Garlic has been shown to prevent blood clots, and reduce cholesterol levels and fat build up in the arteries. Great for pudgy pups!
Now we’d like to hear from you: have you fed your dog garlic and seen positive results? Do you think it’s better to be “safe than sorry” and avoid the plant altogether? Let us know in the comments!
Try our garlic peeler tool to get the skin off your garlic cloves!