Jump to section

What is Garlic Poisoning?

The chemicals in garlic enter your cat’s bloodstream and begin to rupture red blood cells, which will quickly lead to hemolytic anemia, a very dangerous condition. Some of the symptoms you may observe include vomiting, breathing difficulties, diarrhea, and pale gums. 

The longer you wait to get your cat medical help, the more serious his condition becomes. If you see any of the symptoms of garlic poisoning, take your cat to a veterinarian as soon as possible to prevent potentially fatal complications.

Garlic, a member of the Allium family, is commonly used to add flavor to our favorite foods. Some cat owners give their cats garlic because it is believed to have medicinal benefits, including the prevention of heart disease and fleas. However, garlic is toxic to cats, so it should never be included in their diet.

Garlic Poisoning Average Cost

From 211 quotes ranging from $1,500 - $5,000

Average Cost

$2,500

Symptoms of Garlic Poisoning in Cats

Garlic poisoning symptoms may not begin right away. In fact, it often takes between two to four days following consumption for the symptoms to appear, which can make diagnosing this condition very difficult for cat owners and vets. Some of the symptoms you may observe include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Increased respiratory rate
  • Increased heart rate
  • Pale gums
  • Collapse
arrow-up-icon

Top

Causes of Garlic Poisoning in Cats

Garlic poisoning is caused by exposure to garlic. The amount of garlic that it takes to poison your cat will vary depending on your cat’s weight, health, and type of breed. In most cases, a single clove of garlic is all it takes to poison a cat.

After garlic is consumed, it begins to damage the red blood cells, which makes them more likely to burst, eventually leading to hemolytic anemia.

arrow-up-icon

Top

Diagnosis of Garlic Poisoning in Cats

If you spot any of the symptoms of garlic poisoning, bring your cat into a veterinarian for treatment immediately. Describe the symptoms you have observed, when they began, and any changes to your cat’s diet. 

The vet will begin by performing a series of tests, including a complete blood count, urinalysis, and blood chemistry profile. The results of these tests will help the vet determine your cat is suffering from low levels of red blood cells. The vet should be able to spot Heinz bodies, which occur when the cat is suffering from hemolytic anemia, in a blood sample. 

However, there are a number of causes of hemolytic anemia, so the vet cannot determine your cat has garlic poisoning just from the presence of Heinz bodies alone. In many cases, the diagnosis is made based on the presence of Heinz bodies and the information provided by the cat owner. That’s why it’s so important to be as detailed as possible when talking to your vet about your cat’s condition.

arrow-up-icon

Top

Treatment of Garlic Poisoning in Cats

Treatment will vary depending on when your cat consumed the garlic. If the garlic was recently consumed, the vet will begin to induce vomiting by orally administering a 3% hydrogen peroxide solution. This will remove all of the garlic from your cat’s stomach that has not been digested and prevent your cat’s condition from worsening. A gastric lavage, which is the medical term for stomach wash, may also be performed to ensure all toxins have been washed out of the stomach.

The vet may need to administer activated charcoal as well. Activated charcoal absorbs toxins so they do not get the chance to enter your cat’s bloodstream and cause further damage. 

The vet will need to monitor your cat’s condition to determine whether he needs supportive care such as IV fluids or oxygen therapy. It is common for cats with garlic poisoning to need IV fluids to prevent dehydration because of the vomiting and diarrhea this condition causes.

If you used a spray or homeopathic product with garlic on your cat’s skin, the vet will need to thoroughly bathe the cat to remove any lingering toxins.

Although it is rare, if your cat’s condition is severe, and he has already lost a lot of red blood cells, he may need a complete blood transfusion in order to survive.

arrow-up-icon

Top

Recovery of Garlic Poisoning in Cats

In mild or moderate cases of garlic poisoning, recovery rates are high, however cats with severe cases of garlic poisoning may suffer complications.

The vet may keep your cat after treatment to ensure his condition is stable before releasing him to you. Once he has been released, talk to your vet about at-home care while your cat recovers. First and foremost, it is important to remove any garlic from your cat’s diet and stick to vet-approved cat foods. Check all of the products you use—including any homeopathic flea or skin treatments—to ensure garlic is not included. 

If you use garlic in your cooking, be sure to keep it in an area where your cats cannot reach it.

arrow-up-icon

Top

*Wag! may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. Items are sold by the retailer, not Wag!.

Garlic Poisoning Average Cost

From 211 quotes ranging from $1,500 - $5,000

Average Cost

$2,500

arrow-up-icon

Top

Garlic Poisoning Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

question-icon-cta

Ask a Vet

dog-name-icon

dog-breed-icon

Bombay Cat

dog-age-icon

Six Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

thumbs-up-icon

1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Excessive Stool

I think my cat may have eaten some pistachio nuts (no shells) that are flavored with chili and garlic powder. Last night and today he had been constantly going to the bathroom - both poop and pee. He has been eating and drinking but he seems a little sluggish. His stools have been solid and he has not been vomiting. Is this something that will get better over time once he passed it? Or should I seek attention from a vet?

Aug. 19, 2020

Owner

answer-icon

Dr. Sara O. DVM

recommendation-ribbon

0 Recommendations

Hello, Pistachios are not toxic to cat but the garlic can be. Also, the chili flavor may also cause an upset stomach. If she continues to not feel good it would be best to see your vet.

Aug. 19, 2020

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

dog-breed-icon

Bombay Cat

dog-age-icon

Six Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Excessive Stool

I think my cat may have eaten some pistachio nuts (no shells) that are flavored with chili and garlic powder. Last night and today he had been constantly going to the bathroom - both poop and pee. He has been eating and drinking but he seems a little sluggish. His stools have been solid and he has not been vomiting. Is this something that will get better over time once he passed it? Or should I seek attention from a vet?

Aug. 19, 2020

Owner

answer-icon

Dr. Sara O. DVM

recommendation-ribbon

0 Recommendations

Hello, Pistachios are not toxic to cat but the garlic can be. Also, the chili flavor may also cause an upset stomach. If she continues to not feel good it would be best to see your vet.

Aug. 19, 2020

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

dog-breed-icon

Bombay Cat

dog-age-icon

Six Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

thumbs-up-icon

1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Excessive Stool

I think my cat may have eaten some pistachio nuts (no shells) that are flavored with chili and garlic powder. Last night and today he had been constantly going to the bathroom - both poop and pee. He has been eating and drinking but he seems a little sluggish. His stools have been solid and he has not been vomiting. Is this something that will get better over time once he passed it? Or should I seek attention from a vet?

Aug. 19, 2020

Owner

answer-icon

Dr. Sara O. DVM

recommendation-ribbon

0 Recommendations

Hello, Pistachios are not toxic to cat but the garlic can be. Also, the chili flavor may also cause an upset stomach. If she continues to not feel good it would be best to see your vet.

Aug. 19, 2020

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

dog-breed-icon

Domestic cat

dog-age-icon

Two

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

thumbs-up-icon

1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Loss Of Weight

Cure

Aug. 5, 2020

Owner

answer-icon

Dr. Michele K. DVM

recommendation-ribbon

0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. There are so many causes for weight loss in cats, it is not possible for me to tell you how to cure it without knowing more about the situation or be able to examine your animal. It would be best to have them seen by a veterinarian, as they can examine them, see what might be causing the problem, and let you know what treatment options there are. I hope that all goes well for your cat.

Aug. 5, 2020

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

dog-breed-icon

Domestic cat

dog-age-icon

Two

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

thumbs-up-icon

1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Loss Of Weight

Cure

Aug. 5, 2020

Owner

answer-icon

Dr. Michele K. DVM

recommendation-ribbon

0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. There are so many causes for weight loss in cats, it is not possible for me to tell you how to cure it without knowing more about the situation or be able to examine your animal. It would be best to have them seen by a veterinarian, as they can examine them, see what might be causing the problem, and let you know what treatment options there are. I hope that all goes well for your cat.

Aug. 5, 2020

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

astro

dog-breed-icon

short hair

dog-age-icon

9 Months

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Nothing

our cat got what we think is a bee sting on his paw, we tried to remove it, but we're unsure if he did or not. Our friend thought it would be a good idea to rub some garlic on the paw, we did , and he started to lick it for maybe 1-3 minutes. So far he hasn't had any reactions of either ( bee sting or garlic toxicity) , we're very scared. What should we do ? If he does experience vomiting and diarrhea, at what point should we then take him to the vet, is there anything we can do to have detox the garlic at home ?

dog-name-icon

Zeke

dog-breed-icon

domestic medium hair

dog-age-icon

4 Months

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Lethargic
Bile
Pale Gums,

My cat ate a little cooked chicken breast boiled in onion and garlic yesterday. This morning he is lethargic. He is able to walk and follow me around but not being playful...mostly he is sleeping. He didn’t ask for food this morning, isn’t meowing or purring and has had a couple bile throw ups. His gums are pale.

dog-name-icon

Stray kitten

dog-breed-icon

stray

dog-age-icon

12 Weeks

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

No Idea

I have a caravan at a park I visit on weekends, I’ve seen lots of feral cats around, last night I made 4 salmon and chicken patties for myself, went away and came back to find a small kitten had come in eating one, it bolted when it saw me, I left out water and cooked chicken, it came back in half an hour an ate that. There was about a teaspoon of garlic in these 4 patties, so it would have injected some. As it’s a stray and I’m leaving today I’m wondering if there’s something I can leave out in case it gets sick? I’ll leave some water, should I leave anything else?

dog-name-icon

Chowder

dog-breed-icon

Domestic shorthair

dog-age-icon

2 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

None So Far

My domestic shorthair, Chowder, who weighs about 13 pounds may have eaten a tiny amount of garlic. We use it to season our chicken and while we weren't watching he took the thigh out of my husband's bowl and may have taken a bite. We didnt see him take a bite but we are nervous he may get sick.

dog-name-icon

Tabitha

dog-breed-icon

Tortoiseshell

dog-age-icon

5 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

None

I gave my cat(5 years) chicken from a pan I had just cook garlic in. I know there wasn't any whole pieces of garlic on the chicken but there were probably juices. She's acting normal so far but I'm a little concerned. Will she be ok?

Garlic Poisoning Average Cost

From 211 quotes ranging from $1,500 - $5,000

Average Cost

$2,500

How can we help your pet?