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Why Garlic is Dangerous to Dogs

Updated on January 5, 2013

Garlic and dogs are not a good match

 dangers of garlic in dogs,andalusia,
dangers of garlic in dogs,andalusia,

In the human world, garlic is known as a beneficial cure all and a gourmet delight that adds flavor to foods. Indeed, you may have heard of garlic lowering cholesterol, adjusting high blood pressure and removing parasites. The bitter taste of Allium Sativum is also used in many culinary dishes world wide. However, when it comes to the canine world, garlic may be downright harmful. Not many dog owners know that garlic should be among the list of foods dogs not be fed. 

Reasons Why Garlic May Harm Dogs

While dogs may not feel compelled to eat a bitter clove of garlic, there are many foods that may contain traces of garlic and the dog may find them appreciable. Examples may be foods prepared with garlic such as baby foods or foods containing, garlic powders. Even some dog treats may contain garlic as a food enhancer to make them more enticing to eat. It is best to keep dogs away from foods and treats possibly containing traces of garlic.

The main reason why garlic is dangerous to dogs is the fact that it contains disulfides, which is toxic to dogs. According to Drs. Foster & Smith, disulfides are found in both onions and garlic, either fresh or those dried for use as spices. While cats are known to be more sensitive to such products than dogs, dog owners should still keep an eye on their dog's garlic and onion consumption.

Garlic and onions have demonstrated the capability of breaking down red blood cells, ultimately causing a form of anemia in dogs and cats known as Heinz anemia or hemolytic anemia. While a small dose of garlic can be innocuous, the ASPCA poison control website claims that "even at low levels of exposure to garlic, some changes in red blood cells is likely" and that "the lowest observed effect level in dogs in the scientific literature that we are aware of is 2.5 mg/kg of encapsulated garlic powder. The bottom line, is that we do not definitively know at what dose any given dog may experience problems. "

Clinical signs suggesting hemolytic anemia may show up as early as an hour after heavy consumption, or several days later, according to Veterinary News 2005 Toxicology Brief.. Typically, the affected dog will suffer from vomiting, diarrhea, anemia, discolored urine and weakness. A strong smell of garlic or onions may be present in the dog's breath.

It appears that there is yet no certainty as to what dose of garlic would cause trouble in dogs, for this reason it is best for owners to use a conservative approach. Very likely, the occasional treat containing small traces of garlic would not likely cause problems, but it is best to err on the side of caution. While some time ago, garlic was given to dogs in belief that it kept fleas and parasites away, today, such preventive practices are no longer recommended.

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    • Anaya M. Baker profile image

      Anaya M. Baker 7 years ago from North Carolina

      Yikes! I actually gave garlic to a cat once trying to relieve a terrible cold and sinus problem. Luckily he was okay, but I'm glad I know now. My dog eats just about anything he can get his paws on. I just found out that grapes are bad, really glad I know about the garlic too! Thanks.

    • K9keystrokes profile image

      India Arnold 7 years ago from Northern, California

      Very complete and accurate information. Often a combination of brewers yeast and garlic were the recommended natural cure for flea infestation and prevention. Today, as you explain in your hub, it is NOT a practice any dog owner should follow! I appreciate your clear explanation as to why garlic is bad for dogs and how garlic causes anemic conditions. Thank you for another super read!