Garlic for Your Pet: Is it Healthy or Toxic?
Fri, December 9, 2022

Garlic for Your Pet: Is it Healthy or Toxic?

In an article on Pet Health Zone, a small amount of garlic can actually be harmful to both dogs and cats. / Photo by: Marian Weyo via Shutterstock


Spices are one of the things that make our food taste good. In many ways, they provide a full flavor and richness in taste when it comes to the dishes that we cook. If you are on the healthy side, you would like more garlic with your food. Its strong taste and various health benefits make it a popular choice for those who are trying to live a healthy lifestyle.

However, a lot of people believe that garlic is somewhat toxic for your pet dog. If you like Italian food and love sharing it with your furry friend, this information could be a sad thing for you because most Italian dishes are teeming with garlic, and you can’t be faulted to worry that perhaps, even a small amount given to your dog could be fatal. However, you might also start to think, if garlic is dangerous to dogs, why is it healthy for humans? Also, there has been some research that suggested that garlic is actually beneficial for pets? So which is really which? The best way to find out, of course, is to ask a veterinarian. You can also read on.

The Truth About Garlic

In an article on Pet Health Zone, a website that provides information on pet health and care, a small amount of garlic can actually be harmful to both dogs and cats. When it comes to its toxic levels, it is considered to be five times more toxic than other herbs and spices like onions or pepper. Having your pet ingest a clove of garlic can be fatal for it, especially when it involves small dogs due to their weight and size that makes it harder for them to cope with the toxic elements in garlic that are more concentrated compared to onions.

But what about its health benefits? Isn’t garlic supposed to be healthy food? The Dogs Naturally, a website that features herbal approaches to dog health, said that there are actually some benefits to feeding your furry friend garlic:

- Garlic is high in amino acids, vitamins, and other minerals

- It generally has a healthy effect on the spleen, lungs, intestines, and stomach

- It helps in detoxification

- It enhances the functions of the liver

For dogs, garlic can lessen cholesterol build-up, prevent the formation of blood clots, and also stops the formation of tumors.

However, one should take note that these benefits are still widely debated upon in the dog world, as most researchers and holistic care practitioners have varying opinions about feeding garlic to pets.

According to holistic veterinarian Dr. Thomas Van Cise as quoted in an article for the Dogster, a website on dog health and care, garlic can actually be fed to your pets as long as it is given in measured amounts. It can also help dogs increase their appetite and allow them to repel ticks and fleas. What’s more, garlic seems to be very delicious for some dogs.


Garlic can be fed to your pets as long as it is given in measured amounts. / Photo by: Dmytro Zinkevych via Shutterstock


Should I Feed Garlic to My Pet?

You may be warming to the idea of feeding garlic to your dog, maybe introducing it on its next meal. However, you must ask your veterinarian first before introducing any new kind of food or supplement to your pet. Every dog is different, and what can work for one might not exactly be the same for the other. You have to consider carefully before putting in that lovely piece of garlic in your pet food.

In most cases, veterinarians will not recommend garlic for those dogs that are anemic or have other health conditions involving the blood. For puppies, since they are still growing and developing, it is not advised to give them garlic at an early age.

If ever you decide that you want to give garlic to your pet, make sure that you give it in small amounts and constantly monitor for its effects. Also, if your dog is either an Akita or a Shiba Inu, forget about giving them garlic altogether since they are more sensitive to some of the substances found in this spice. If your dog is also taking other medication for the heart, blood, or stomach, do not give them garlic supplements as well.


Akita or a Shiba Inu are more sensitive to some of the substances found in garlic. / Photo by: New Africa via Shutterstock


If ever you think that your dog has been poisoned by too much garlic consumption, bring it to your veterinarian immediately to avoid chronic damage to its body. Some of the symptoms of garlic toxicity in both dogs and cats include the following:

- Diarrhea

- Vomiting

- Lethargy

- Breathlessness

- Having signs of anemia

- Pale-colored or yellow-colored gums

- Fast breathing

- Elevated pulse rate

If you are keeping garlic at home, make sure you store them in places that cannot be reached by your pet. For other questions about food introduction to your pet, seek the advice of a veterinarian first.

Always remember, it is best to err on the side of caution.