Is it safe to give my dog garlic?


If you have been paying attention, in recent years, the use of garlic in dogs has received some attention. While working as a veterinary technician in the Army over a decade ago, I had often recommended avoiding use of garlic in dogs. Even today, if you research garlic and dogs, you will likely find a link to the ASPCA’s toxic foods web page.

There are, of course, two sides to every story…

Traditionally, veterinarians, the ASPCA, and pet advocates warn against giving your dog garlic because garlic is in the same family as onions. According to these experts, garlic and onions are toxic to dogs.

According to an article published in the Irish Veterinary Journal, “excess garlic intake can cause hemolytic anemia in horses, dogs, and cats.”

According to veterinarian Rebecca Remillard, “There are plenty of reports of pets who are regularly fed garlic and garlic extract to ward off fleas, then develop skin problems and asthmatic attacks.” According to Dr. Remillard, the benefits your dog might receive are not worth the risk of something dreadful happening to your dog.

On the flip side of the issue, you will likely find holistic veterinarians recommending the use of garlic for all of the worthwhile benefits it produces in dogs.

In Raw and Natural Nutrition for Dogs, author Lew Olson, Ph.D. briefly argued both sides of the issue. She explicitly stated not to use garlic with toy breed dogs or cats on the basis that the risk of garlic toxicity is greater in animals smaller than twenty pounds. On the other hand, she listed the benefits of garlic. “Fresh garlic is dynamite for killing bacteria, fungus, and parasites, as well as providing immune support and normalizing fats in the system.”

Olson also listed the specific nutrients that benefit dogs.

  • sulfur
  • potassium
  • phosphorus
  • vitamins B and C
  • allicin
  • ajoene
  • amino acids
  • germanium
  • selenium

When giving garlic to your dog, she recommends only using fresh garlic or garlic oil. The nutritional benefits of garlic are diminished in dried garlic.

What are your thoughts on giving garlic to dogs? Is it safe or risky? Have you given garlic to your dog? What was the outcome?


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