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What is Garlic Poisoning?

Many foods that are safe for us are toxic to dogs, so you have to be careful what you feed your little buddy. A debate over whether garlic is poisonous to dogs has many pet parents unsure of the toxicity because of the aid to the digestive system and the antibacterial properties that have been attributed to garlic.

Garlic, which is one of the Allium family, is poisonous to dogs, especially in powdered form, such as in seasonings. Japanese dogs (Akita, Japanese Spitz, Shiba Inu) are more commonly affected by garlic, but the reason is unclear. Some experts believe it is because of a high red blood cell count and low levels of glutathione (tripeptide protein) and potassium, which is hereditary in these breeds. This type of poisoning does major damage to the red blood cells, causes gastrointestinal upset (abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea), and respiratory problems. 

Although many people think it is safe to give their dog small amounts of garlic for its health benefits, the amount that your dog may safely consume may be much less than other dogs, even if they are the same breed and size. The amount of certain proteins and other elements in your dog’s blood is unique and has a significant impact on the amount of garlic that they can eat. It is best not to give your dog garlic and to take them to the veterinarian if you think they have eaten any amount of garlic, even if they show no symptoms.

Is garlic bread bad for dogs? How about spaghetti sauce seasoned with it? Or perhaps eggs with a touch of garlic before scrambling? Garlic (Allium) causes poisoning in dogs, even in small amounts. The consumption of garlic can cause gastrointestinal upset and anemia, and can even be fatal if not treated right away. The sulphuric compounds in the garlic are absorbed into the gastrointestinal tract and changed into reactive oxidants, which damage your dog’s red blood cells. Some experts claim that garlic can be beneficial to your dog’s health, and can be used for flea and worm control as well as anti-bacterial properties. However, the risk of toxicity is still in question, and safe consumption has not been proven.

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Garlic Poisoning Average Cost

From 78 quotes ranging from $300 - $1,500

Average Cost

$1,100

Symptoms of Garlic Poisoning in Dogs

The symptoms depend on the amount of garlic consumed and the size of your dog. Some of the most common symptoms are:

  • Abdominal tenderness and cramping
  • Anemia
  • Anorexia
  • Bad breath
  • Blood in the urine (hematuria)
  • Collapse
  • Dehydration
  • Lack of muscle coordination (ataxia)
  • Depression
  • Diarrhea
  • Drooling
  • Elevated heart and respiratory rate
  • Exercise intolerance
  • Generalized weakness
  • Lethargy
  • Liver and spleen inflammation (hepatosplenomegaly)
  • Nausea
  • Pale gums
  • Red or brown urine
  • Seizures
  • Trouble breathing (dyspnea)
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness
  • Yellow skin and eyes (jaundice)
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Causes of Garlic Poisoning in Dogs

Feeding your dog table scraps that have been seasoned with garlic powder is one of the most common causes of garlic poisoning. Healthy vegetables are no longer safe for your dog after garlic has been used in the cooking process. Some pet parents wonder if dogs can eat garlic bread as the amount of garlic may be minimal. The answer is no. Not only is the garlic added to the bread dangerous, but the yeasty dough can expand in the stomach, causing gastrointestinal symptoms. Sauces prepared with garlic are another no-no for canines. The heating up of the garlic can intensify the toxicity. 

It is best not to share your food with your dog because there are other health concerns that can come from giving your dog human food, such as pancreatitis (from fatty food) and obesity (from too much human food in general). 

It is also possible that your dog may find and consume garlic growing wild somewhere, and this is the hardest to diagnose because you will not even know that they have eaten anything toxic until symptoms begin. You should always keep your dog within view while you are anywhere besides your own yard.

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Diagnosis of Garlic Poisoning in Dogs

Diagnosing garlic poisoning can be done with a physical examination, lab tests, and medical history. The physical examination includes your dog’s body temperature, blood pressure, respiration rate, reflexes, height, weight, and abdominal palpation. Your veterinarian will pay close attention to your dog’s breathing, heart rate, and skin tone. You should describe the symptoms you have noticed and how long they have been going on, recent illnesses and injuries, vaccination record, and abnormal behavior.

Several tests will be performed on your dog to confirm garlic toxicosis, such as packed cell volume, complete blood cell count (CBC), hemoglobin concentration, biochemistry analysis, arterial blood gas, blood glucose levels, and urinalysis. Based on what the tests show, the veterinarian may also perform a blood clotting test and liver biopsy to rule out other diseases or conditions. An abdominal radiograph (x-ray), ultrasound, and CT scan may also be used to check your dog’s liver and spleen.

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Treatment of Garlic Poisoning in Dogs

The most important treatment your dog will need is to rid the body of the toxin by inducing vomiting and administering activated charcoal. The charcoal will bind to the poison to aid in the removal and detoxification. However, if that is unsuccessful, the veterinarian will probably admit your dog to the hospital and flush the toxins out of your dog’s system with a saline solution lavage. In addition, IV fluids and oxygen therapy will be done. To treat the anemia, the veterinarian will perform a blood transfusion and prescribe iron medication.

Before your dog goes home, discuss the at-home care your dog will need. Your vet can instruct you on dietary requirements to aid in a speedy recovery. There may also be exercise restrictions for the first few days or weeks, depending on your best buddy's level of poisoning.

Your vet will also remind you to fence off your garden to keep your pet away from plants that may be toxic and advise you to keep garbage safely secured and out of reach of your curious pet.

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Recovery of Garlic Poisoning in Dogs

Even though garlic poisoning is a serious condition, it is rare for a dog in good health to die from this, and almost all dogs recover fully with treatment. Once your veterinarian believes the garlic is out of your dog’s system, you will be able to return home, with instructions on how to care for your dog. 

You may have to continue to administer iron supplements and antibiotics for one to two weeks, but be sure to follow the veterinarian’s instructions. Iron can also be poisonous to your dog if given the wrong dosage. Be sure to follow up with your veterinarian and return to the clinic for a repeat blood test in about 30 days, or as directed by your veterinarian.

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Garlic Poisoning Average Cost

From 78 quotes ranging from $300 - $1,500

Average Cost

$1,100

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Garlic Poisoning Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Bloodhound mix

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3-6 months

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Unknown severity

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1 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Vomiting, Severe Diarrhea, Less Active, Not Eating, Barely Drinking Water

I fed my dog some stuffed cheesy garlic bread and pizza crust from dominos before I went to sleep. I woke up this morning and he had very runny poop all over the floor and vomited once and everything was digested by the cheesy bread. The cheesy bread didn’t have much cheese on it but it was very greasy. Is that what made him sick and what can I do about it??

Aug. 30, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. Because your puppy is so young, it would be best to have him seen by a veterinarian right away. Young puppies can get dehydrated very quickly if they have severe diarrhea and vomiting. Whether the cheesy bread was just too rich for his system, or whether something else is going on, having him seen by a veterinarian right away would be a good idea. They will be able to examine him and see what treatments he needs so that he feels better again. I hope that everything goes well for him.

Aug. 30, 2020

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Australian Shepherd

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Seven Months

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Unknown severity

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1 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Vomiting

My dog ate a garlic clove and threw up twice

July 30, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Sara O. DVM

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Hello, So sorry to hear about your dog. Garlic can be very toxic to dogs. If your dog is vomiting, it would be best for your dog to see your vet. They can get your dog starts on medication to help treat this toxicity. I hope your dog starts to feel better soon.

July 30, 2020

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Labrador and pitbull

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Thirteen Years

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Body Pain In Back And Chin When Touched. Howling In Pain.

Did a small amount of garlic cause this.

July 26, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Sara O. DVM

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Hello, No, garlic usually does not cause these signs. I would suspect that your dog has arthritis. It would be best for your vet to look at your dog and start him on medication to help decrease the pain and inflammation. There are over the counter joint supplements that your dog may also benefit from.

July 26, 2020

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Pitbull

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One Year

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Unknown severity

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4 found helpful

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Unknown severity

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Diarrhea

Will my dog be ok after eating two pieces of garlic bread

July 25, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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Thank you for your question. I cannot see that small amount of garlic actually being toxic, but it could cause some GI upset. If the diarrhea is not improving over the next couple of days, or if your dog is vomiting or lethargic, then it would be best to have them seen by a veterinarian. They can examine your dog, see what might be the cause of the diarrhea, and prescribe any medication that might help. I hope that all goes well.

July 25, 2020

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Shitzu

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Fourteen Years

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Unknown severity

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7 found helpful

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Unknown severity

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Vomiting

Our dog Zeus, a 14 year old Shitzu ate a shrimp that fell on the floor. It has A LOT of garlic. Since then (about 4 days ago) has has thrown up about once a day. He has not shown any signs of illness and his mood has not changed. He is still playful and eating and drinking water. His stool has not changed, nor is there blood in his vomit, stool, or urine.

July 24, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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Thank you for your question. It sounds like that may have upset his stomach, and since he seems to be doing fine otherwise, you can try feeding him a bland diet of boiled white chicken and boiled white rice for 2 to 3 days. If everything resolves with that, then you can start feeding him normally afterwards. If he continues to vomit regularly even with that diet, it would probably be best to have him seen by your veterinarian. I hope that all goes well for him!

July 24, 2020

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No need to say that

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Golden Retriever

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12 Years

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Serious severity

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Diarrhea
Dehydration
Fast Breathing

This is fuuuuuuc**** poisonous for dog. I alway tought it was good, gived him for the last 10 months but 3 days ago, i feed him with 2 cloves of garlic (also 2 each day since 4 days before). This is now is 3th days that he have Diarrhea, problem to breath and drinked water every 20 min. Now at the end of the night, he started to feel better. Breath correctly and didn't really had diarrhea today. There's no doubt garlic is a poisonous food for dog in the long term. That's probably why many studies have not the same results. It was easy to know only because when he farted, each time, there was garlic odour and started to act like this probably 2h after i added garlic in his meat. Believe me, this is poisonous for dog. I tought the oposite for 10 months 3 days ago. Don't feed your dog with garlic. Sorry for my english im french.

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No need to say that

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Golden Retriever

dog-age-icon

12 Years

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

Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

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

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Diarrhea
Dehydrated
Fast Breathing

This is fuuuuuuc**** poisonous for dog. I alway tought it was good, gived him for the last 10 months but 3 days ago, i feed him with 2 cloves of garlic (also 2 each day since 4 days before). This is now is 3th days that he have Diarrhea, problem to breath and drinked water every 20 min. Now at the end of the night, he started to feel better. Breath correctly and didn't really had diarrhea today. There's no doubt garlic is a poisonous food for dog in the long term. That's probably why many studies have not the same results. It was easy to know only because when he farted, each time, there was garlic odour and started to act like this probably 2h after i added garlic in his meat. Believe me, this is poisonous for dog. I tought the oposite for 10 months 3 days ago. Don't feed your dog with garlic. Sorry for my english im french.

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China

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toy poodle

dog-age-icon

6 Years

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Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

No Symptoms

My dog tried to eat a piece of garlic bread earlier today, but I was able to remove it from her mouth before she swallowed it. I'm just worried she may have swallowed some of the garlic. She's only 12 pounds, so I'm really worried about her. Nothing has happened yet, but it's only been a couple of hours. I don't know if I should be taking her to the vet or if the amount she consumed is enough to cause anything.

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Cooper

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Dachshund

dog-age-icon

10 Years

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Mild severity

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1 found helpful

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Sneezing

I had two bites of steak left from dinner at outback and gave each of my 2 dogs a piece when i got home. I wasn’t thinking about the garlic butter i added to it. It was the end piece and probably had very little but it was cooked not fresh and I’m not sure if they use power or fresh or both so concentration is unknown. I didn’t even think of it until about an hour later my longhaired dachshund started sneezing several times in a row and licking his nose and lips. He kind of gulped a few times and acted like he might throw up but never did. I initially panicked and gave him half a Benadryl thinking he was might end up having some anaphylactic reaction. As a nurse i know that was stupid. I know onions are toxic but never thought of garlic until now and i put it on everything and they occasionally eat scraps and have never had issues. He’s been laying next to me as usual. I picked him up and holding him and he’s licking his lips again and he sneezed once more. Should I make him vomit? Did I make things worse with the half a Benadryl? Trying not to panic but sort of panicking.

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Holly

dog-breed-icon

Staffie

dog-age-icon

9 Years

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Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

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

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Think Really Soft Stool

My 9.5 year old spayed Staffordshire Bull terrier Holly ate some pasta that had been reheated it had roughly 3 days ago. She also ate some grass that made her vomit. She weighs 15.5kg. In the last 24 hours she has had the runs 8 times.. She is drinking a lot of water, and her pee is normal. She has also eaten normally and still energetic Nora self. It is 5 am and will be going to the vet today. She is healthy. What should I expect will she get worse? Thanks for any advice you can give. Patricia

Garlic Poisoning Average Cost

From 78 quotes ranging from $300 - $1,500

Average Cost

$1,100

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