Can Dogs Have Garlicky Food?

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There is a lot of heated debate about whether garlic in safe or poisonous to dogs. Just about everywhere, you will see that garlic is listed as a toxic food for dogs. However, there are just as many studies and articles that states garlic is safe for dogs to consume and is not something to fear. In fact, many dog foods, treats, and supplements actually contain garlic as an ingredient! 

So, where does that leave us? Is garlic safe or a serious cause for concern? You will have to determine for yourself what you are comfortable doing and take advice from your pet (and vet!) as well, but let's take a peek at the debate from both sides.

Signs of a Dog Liking Garlic

Garlic has the ability carry a variety of great health benefits for your dog, but only when given to them properly and in the right amounts. Some dogs may love garlic when mixed with other food and treats, while others may not enjoy the flavor of garlic at all, as it is quite potent. 

Many dogs are very picky about what treats and foods they like to eat, so giving your dog a whole clove of garlic to chew on as a treat will not please their palate and is also not safe to do as you must adhere to proper garlic portions for the weight of your dog if you decide to give them garlic. 

If you'd like to include fresh and raw organic garlic in your dog's diet, one of the best ways incorporate it is by baking or mixing garlic into some dog treats or their breakfast or dinner. Mixing with food and treats they like can help disguise the taste and of the garlic if your dog is not a fan of the potent flavor. 

On the other hand, some dogs may not mind the flavor and will eat it just about any way you give it to them. It completely depends on your pooch! They will quickly let you know that they enjoy garlic or if they do not. If your dog does like the taste, they will eat the chopped garlic without any hesitation. Signs they like garlic may include wagging their tails in excitement or pacing around the kitchen waiting for more. They will also likely be looking alert like they are waiting for you to give more treats or food, raising their ears in interest, or even barking at you, demanding more! 

Body Language

Here are some signs your dog likes the taste of garlic:
  • Ears up
  • Lip licking
  • Pacing
  • Wag tail
  • Barking
  • Alert
  • Staring

Other Signs

Here are some other signs you may notice if your dog likes the taste of garlic:
  • Begging for More
  • Pawing at You
  • Gobbling it Up

History of Dogs Eating Garlic

There is a long history regarding dogs and garlic. Garlic is known for being a powerhouse cooking ingredient with a wide range of extremely healthy benefits. To answer whether garlic is good or bad for dogs is not a cut and dry answer, but as research and science progress, the answer is becoming much more apparent. The toxicity and animal connection all started over 100 years ago when cattle, horses, and sheep began showing signs of toxicity from eating onion and garlic grass.

In the 1930s, studies showed that dogs showed these same toxicity signs as well when fed onions and garlic. Garlic got an even worse reputation when a 2000 study showed that garlic had an effect on the red blood cell count in dogs. 

However, it is important to note that studies are not always as black and white as they seem and the real value is in the details, not just the overarching results. Further research on the positives of garlic in dogs and speaking to your vet are important when coming to a final conclusion on whether or not feeding your dog the appropriate amount of garlic is right for your pooch. 

The Science of Dogs and Garlic

For many years, research has adamantly claimed that garlic is highly toxic to dogs and even the smallest amount of garlic can lead to death. However, we have begun to see a shift in these theories and findings from more current research and expert opinions. 

A study conducted in 2000 found that the dogs who were fed garlic did not show any apparent symptoms of garlic toxicity. However, what they did find was there was an effect on red blood cell counts in the dog's blood. Therefore, it was automatically concluded garlic was toxic and unsafe for consumption. 

This was due to a chemical compound in garlic called n-propyldisulfide and thiosulphate. When taken in very large amounts, it can oxidate red blood cells and damage them. When you delve deeper into the study and don't just look at the results, the study was only conducted in 4 dogs who were given 1.25 ml of garlic extract per kg of body weight for a series of 7 days. This means that is a dog in the study weighed 40 pounds, they were fed 20 cloves of garlic, which is a massive amount of garlic that would even make a regular sized human ill! 

Therefore, using this staggering amount of garlic was the premises of concluding that garlic consumption in dogs had the potential to cause hemolytic anemia - or, damage to the red blood cells. Furthermore, although the dogs did have changes in their red blood cells with the excessive amount of garlic, none of the dogs developed any fatal symptoms of hemolytic anemia. Studying the effect on only 4 dogs is also a very small sample of dogs and by no means is an appropriately sized study to have proper and balanced conclusions.  

Training Dogs for Proper Garlic Consumptions

With all this said, feeding your dog garlic (in the proper quantities) can have amazing health benefits, but it is imperative to get the dosage correct. Many vets and professionals state you can give your dog half a clove of garlic for every 10 pounds they weigh. Only fresh and organic garlic should be given to your dog and no jarred or already peeled garlic. 

So, for instance, if your dog weighs 20-40 pounds, they should only be given one clove per day. If you are worried about any sensitivity and your vet agrees, you can give your dog fresh garlic every other day or give it to them on a seasonal basis.

How To React If Your Dog Eats Too Much Garlic

  • Make sure they don't eat any more!
  • Recognize the symptoms of garlic poisoning.
  • Take them to the vet.

Safety Tips for Feeding Your Dog Garlic

  • Talk to your vet first.
  • Never give your dog a whole garlic clove intact.
  • Don't exceed recommended dosage per day.

We Want to Hear Your Story About Your Dog Eating Garlic!