4 min read

Can Dogs Eat Garlic?


By Wag! Staff

Published: 10/24/2023, edited: 06/14/2024

Reviewed by a licensed veterinary professional: Dr. Linda Simon, MVB MRCVS

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Garlic is a staple ingredient in many popular dishes. It smells delicious when cooking and tastes even better, and it’s something we consume a whole lot of without sometimes even realizing.

But what about for our dogs? Is garlic safe for dogs to eat? 

Unfortunately, the answer is a resounding no. Garlic is toxic to dogs because it contains a compound known as thiosulfate, which can damage your pet’s red blood cells. This can cause rapid breathing, weakness and pale gums and can even be fatal. That’s why it’s important to make sure your dog never eats garlic. Let's take a look at why garlic is dangerous for dogs.

How much garlic is toxic to a dog?

Garlic, onions, leeks, and chives are all members of the genus Allium, and all are toxic to dogs. But garlic is particularly dangerous, as the Merck Veterinary Manual reveals that it is 3-5 times more toxic than onion.

A toxic dose of garlic in dogs is 15 grams per kilogram of body weight. To give you an idea of how much that is, a single garlic clove weighs around 5-6 grams.

With this in mind, your dog would most likely have to consume a lot of garlic to become seriously ill. However, every dog reacts differently and some are more susceptible than others. For example, Japanese breeds like the Akita and Shiba Inu are more prone to garlic toxicity than other breeds. Garlic is also available in more concentrated form, such as in garlic powder, which should be kept well away from your pet at all times.

It’s also worth pointing out that if your dog ingests a small amount of garlic, the signs of poisoning can take several days or even up to a week to appear. So while there’s some conflicting information online, with some people claiming it’s safe to give your dog a small amount of garlic regularly, a toxic dose can accumulate over time. Indeed, this is the most common way garlic toxicity will occur.

The key takeaway here is that dogs simply shouldn’t eat garlic. Like all toxic foods and substances, it should always be kept well out of your pet’s reach.

cutting board with garlic

What should I do if my dog eats garlic?

If you think your dog has eaten garlic, the symptoms will vary based on the amount they’ve consumed and the size of your pet. Garlic damages the red blood cells that transport oxygen around the body, so large doses can lead to hemolytic anemia.

Symptoms of garlic poisoning in dogs can include:

If your pet ingests garlic or you notice any of the above symptoms, the first thing you should do is contact your vet, or phone the Pet Poison Helpline on (855) 764-7661. The best thing you can do is follow the advice of a veterinary professional. Don’t induce vomiting first unless instructed to do so, as this could potentially exacerbate the toxicity.

If your pet has only eaten a small amount of garlic, the vet may advise you to monitor your dog for any signs of illness and seek veterinary attention if required. If your dog needs veterinary care, the vet may induce vomiting and use activated charcoal to help remove the toxin. If this doesn’t work, your pet may be hospitalized to have the toxins flushed from their system using IV fluids.

In severe cases of anemia, a blood transfusion may be required.

Do dogs like garlic?

Many dogs don’t like garlic on its own and won’t be tempted to eat it. But as we mentioned at the top of the page, garlic is widely used to prepare a wide range of human foods and dishes, many of which can seem very appetizing to your fur-baby. 

According to the Merck Veterinary Manual, cases of Allium toxicity most commonly occur due to dogs ingesting concentrated forms of garlic and onion, such as dehydrated flakes and powders. So, if you have those items in your pantry or regularly use them when cooking, keep in mind that they pose a significant health risk to your fur-baby.

two slices of garlic bread - Can Dogs Eat Garlic

Can dogs eat garlic bread?

No, garlic bread is not safe for dogs to eat. Not only does it contain toxic garlic, but the butter, oil, and other ingredients included in garlic bread also have the potential to cause gastrointestinal upset for your pup.

Can I feed my dog garlic to get rid of fleas?

No. While there is some information online claiming that garlic is effective as a natural flea control method, there is no concrete evidence to back up these claims. Instead of feeding your dog garlic to repel fleas, the safest option is to use a commercial flea preventative.

How can I stop my dog from eating garlic?

Taking a few simple precautions around the home can ensure that your dog stays safe. For starters, make sure your pup doesn’t have access to any of the food in your pantry, including products like garlic salt and garlic powder. Keep all garlic products well out of reach at all times, and take particular care if your pup is a renowned counter surfer. 

Next, make sure you never give your pet any table scraps that may have been cooked with garlic. Some dogs will happily dig through the trash to find any tasty morsel they can, so keep bins out of reach.

Finally, if you’re growing any garlic, onions, leeks, shallots, or chives in your garden at home, make sure they’re securely fenced off from any curious pups.

While garlic is a favorite among 2-legged members of the family, it’s simply not safe for dogs to eat. Take sensible steps to ensure your dog doesn’t come into contact with garlic, and if they do happen to consume any garlic, contact a veterinarian or the Pet Poison Helpline for advice.

Paying for garlic poisoning treatment out of pocket can be a major financial burden. Fortunately, most pet insurance companies reimburse claims within 3 days, putting 90% of the bill back in your pocket. Compare leading pet insurance companies to find the right plan for your pet today.

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© 2024 Wag Labs, Inc. All rights reserved.