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Can I Give Garlic To My Dog

Updated on October 26, 2016
DrMark1961 profile image

Dr. Mark is a veterinarian in Brazil. He has been working with dogs for more than 40 years.

My dog giving me the "angry face" when I told her to pose for another photo with garlic.
My dog giving me the "angry face" when I told her to pose for another photo with garlic.

Why do some say garlic is not safe for dogs?

It seems like every day I read a new hub or read a comment warning about the danger of giving garlic to dogs. The comments are usually written by the same people who warn us that spiders are crawling in our mouths at night. If you do not want to use garlic on your own dog I think that is your choice. The problem I have is with the people telling others not to feed garlic because they read somewhere on the internet that garlic is dangerous.

So is garlic safe for your dog?

The main problem with garlic is one of PR; garlic does not have a good ageant. It is a member of the Allium genus so it is related to onions and thus has a small amount of a substance (n-propyldisulfide) that is able to cause damage to red blood cells.

Even onions are only mildly toxic and a dog would need to eat over 0.5% of his body weight to begin developing Heinz body anemia. A big dog would need to eat an entire onion, day after day, to even begin to show symptoms, and it is unlikely you could even convince most dogs to eat this much. A dog would need to eat a lot more garlic than that. Dogs can do some strange things, though, so it is not impossible, just very unlikely.

Garlic can be given to dogs.
Garlic can be given to dogs.

Proper Dose And Administration Of Garlic

Most of the natural veterinarians who work with garlic and holistic health recommend giving a clove of garlic for each 10 to 30 pounds of weight. The author of The Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats recommends half a clove for a ten pound dog and a whole clove from twenty to forty pounds. The doses are not exact, and the recommendations vary quite a bit. Several recommend taking a few days off a week. None of them have seen any negative side effects, however, and at these small doses will not.

Garlic can be used to improve the function of the immune system. It may help to prevent cancer in that way. It can help fight infections, lower cholesterol, improve liver function, and even prevent blood clots.

Garlic is best known for its use in the control of flea infestations. The exact mechanism is not known but it may cause an odor to be released that the fleas do not like. For some reason it works a lot better when given with brewers yeast, a vitamin B supplement, so garlic may also have some properties that enhance that vitamin.

Garlic is a safe supplement for dogs.
Garlic is a safe supplement for dogs.

There was one study done by some veterinarians in Japan. Dr.Lee and his fellow researchers decided that garlic was toxic so they gave a large dose and monitored the results. None of the dogs developed anemia. Therefore they decided to recommend no garlic be fed to dogs. Do you think they would get away with that type of conclusion if they were investigating a big industry? How about “coffee causes anemia”. They study it, determine it does not cause anemia, and then decide to recommend coffee no longer be consumed anyway.

Which drug companies market garlic?

Garlic cannot be trademarked by one of the large drug companies, cannot be given ten year exclusive distribution rights, cannot even be labeled and sold exclusively by the big pet superstores. It is a poor misfit that has many uses but no corporate sponsors.

Since the compound in garlic that is responsible for many of its properties (allicin) is unstable when exposed to air most holistic veterinarians recommend it be used fresh, within three hours of chopping or pressing.

Garlic hounds at the beach.
Garlic hounds at the beach. | Source

There are several forms available that are easier to use.

Crushed garlic is available here but is probably not as good as fresh garlic.

Garlic powder would probably not be good for the same reasons, but I have no clinical data to back this up.

If your dog does not like eating a fresh clove, you will need to mince it and mix it in with the food.

Dogs usually love the taste (dog food manufacturers sometimes use it for that reason) but my dog does not like it unless it is mixed with her food.

Garlic is a safe and effective ingredient to improve your dogs health.

© 2012 Dr Mark


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    • DrMark1961 profile image

      Dr Mark 4 years ago from The Beach of Brazil

      Thanks for sharing, sgbrown. Sorry no one has exact doses on the garlic, but I hope this helps.

      Rhonda, thanks so much for sharing!

    • RhondaHumphreys1 profile image

      Rhonda Humphreys 4 years ago from Michigan

      Thank you for this information. Rated up and interesting. I also shared it.

    • sgbrown profile image

      Sheila Brown 4 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

      Again, I am so glad to find your information here on garlic and onions. I have been fighting fleas on both my dogs and don't like the chemical alternatives. I have been giving them both a little garlic, but didn't know how much was too much. Thanks to your hub here, I will be giving them a chopped up clove in their food each day now. I find all of your hubs so helpful! Voting this one up, useful, interesting and again sharing! :)

    • DrMark1961 profile image

      Dr Mark 5 years ago from The Beach of Brazil

      As I mentioned in the article, there are definitely no exact doseages, and I think one clove might be enough, one and a half should be fine, two would still be okay. I would be hesitant to feed a lot more than that, and the dogs may not even want to eat that much anyway.

    • wetnosedogs profile image

      wetnosedogs 5 years ago from Alabama

      I came back to read again about garlic for dogs. My dogs weight is 60 to almost 80 lbs. So I would give them each a clove and a half, you think?

    • DrMark1961 profile image

      Dr Mark 5 years ago from The Beach of Brazil

      Since I learned the actual toxic dose of onions I don't worry about it anymore. My dog loves to share my harira (Moroccan soup) and part of the recipe is onions.

    • profile image

      DoItForHer 5 years ago

      Yes! Thank you! I have been holding off to be better safe than sorry as I had not been able to make an informed decision.

      I also will stop freaking out over the smallest piece of onion.

    • DrMark1961 profile image

      Dr Mark 5 years ago from The Beach of Brazil

      Thanks for coming by quester. I love garlic and use it on my bread and in pasta but my dog tells me it is not her favorite...oh well, she will eat garlic when she realizes it is important, and will help her with her fleas!

    • profile image 5 years ago

      Dogs will take their clue from their 'people' - if you act like something is yucky - then they will act accordingly. My dogs used to line up to take liquid minerals but alas no dogs for a while - soon we hope!

      Good information!


    • DrMark1961 profile image

      Dr Mark 5 years ago from The Beach of Brazil

      I didn't even realize how angry she was until I saw the photo. I took about 15 with her in all sorts of poses with the garlic. Poor dog!

    • wetnosedogs profile image

      wetnosedogs 5 years ago from Alabama

      I give my dogs the garlic and brewers yeast tablets in their food.

      I love the picture of your dog. Great personality. We think it's cute and the dogs just want to grumble, oh no, not again! but they do it!

    • DrMark1961 profile image

      Dr Mark 5 years ago from The Beach of Brazil

      Thanks for the comment!

    • Cat R profile image

      Cat R 5 years ago from North Carolina, U.S.

      I have used garlic on my dogs for years and never had a problem. What is good for me, has been good for my dogs too!

    • DrMark1961 profile image

      Dr Mark 5 years ago from The Beach of Brazil

      Thanks for coming by and commenting. As you can tell, this is an alternative I really feel is worth using. As you mentioned, tillsontitan, the old ways to treat fleas is not wrong (just because the big pharmacies are selling flea treatments now).

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 5 years ago from New York

      It's always good to hear the other side of the story! Years ago people gave their dogs garlic to fight off would appear this wasn't all wrong.

      Voted up and interesting.

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 5 years ago from Florida

      I have read so many conflicting articles relating to garlic and its use. I have been tempted to use it, but never have.

      Thanks for all this good info.

      I voted this Hub UP, etc.etc. and I will share.