Garlic For Dogs: Poison Or Medicine?
New research is constantly being conducted about whether certain substances are harmful or beneficial to our canine companions. In this blog post, we turn our attention onto garlic. With so much information available out there, we have tried to condense everything that we have found into a short but detailed post. Hopefully, by the end of reading through it, you will feel like a lot of the confusion has been cleared up.
There are different bodies of thought that contribute towards this debate. Some people believe that it is a harmful substance, while others extol the various benefits that garlic can provide. We are going to aim to present a couple of different points of view for balance.
Is Garlic Safe for Dogs?
The million-dollar question has to be whether or not garlic is safe for dogs. To start off with, you should not feed your dog garlic if they have a pre-existing anaemic problem or they are scheduled to have surgery soon. Also, if your dog has lupus or another autoimmune disease, garlic should be avoided to prevent stimulating your pup’s already over-active immune system. And avoid feeding garlic to young puppies under 8 weeks old as their body has not begun reproducing new blood cells yet. The same goes if your dog is pregnant. If you are unsure, it is always better to err on the side of caution and speak to your vet or a dog nutritionist for a professional opinion. Also, there are some breeds that may be more sensitive to garlic. These include the Japanese breeds Akitas and Shiba Inus, so you should avoid giving garlic to them.
The main issue that people have with garlic and dogs is the presence of n-propyldisulfide. In large doses, this can cause oxidative damage to red blood cells, which results in the formation of Heinz bodies that are rejected by the body. In high quantities, this can cause oxidative damage to red blood cells. If this happens on a regular basis, Heniz-body anemia can follow, and this is potentially fatal.
However, this doesn’t mean that garlic in lower quantities is dangerous – and there is little clinical evidence to suggest that this is the case. For the dangers in the above paragraph to be a real risk, your dog would have to eat a huge amount of garlic, and very few dog owners would want to give their animal garlic in vast amounts anyway! Red blood cells are being continually regenerated, which means that your dog would have to eat a lot of garlic on a very frequent basis for a real health risk to be present.
How Much Garlic Can I Give My Dog?
Now we come onto the question of how much garlic you can offer your dog in the first place. The quantity of garlic that you offer your dog should depend on their size. For instance, smaller dogs weighing less than 15 pounds should only have around half a clove can be added to pet food, while larger dogs of 100 pounds or more can be given up to three cloves. But you should also allow your dog to have one or two days off every week.
- Health Benefits of Garlic
Before you start giving your dog garlic, you will want to know more about what specific health benefits they can expect to receive from it.
First, garlic can provide an immune system boost, increasing the activity of cells that kill off harmful invaders like cancer and microbes. This is why garlic can help those dogs who have a suppressed immune system or others suffering from cancer. It can also help in the fight against bacterial, viral, and fungal infections. Its detoxifying effects have been shown to enhance liver function.
Other benefits include the lowering of blood cholesterol and fat build up in the arteries. Some people also swear on garlic as a tick or flea repellent, which may be because of the odor that is released through your dog’s skin – though nothing is yet conclusive.
- How To Feed Your Dog Garlic
The least expensive and easiest way to feed your dog garlic is by going for fresh garlic. However, it takes time and effort to chop up. Also, not all dogs are willing to eat it in this form – even if it is mashed up into their food. You may have to experiment a little bit to work out what form of garlic is best for your four-legged friend. If you have a fussy eater on your hands, you may find that it is easier to offer them the pure, cold-processed version of garlic oil.
Begin by introducing the garlic slowly to your dog. You don’t want to risk causing any stomach upsets and you can always increase this over time. As with introducing anything new to your dog, you should watch out for any sensitivities that your canine has, and how they react. If something doesn’t seem right, you should stop giving your dog garlic.
- Signs of Garlic Toxicity
Toxic garlic doses can cause damage to the red blood cells which leads to anaemia. Clinical signs of this include an increased heartrate and breathing, weakness, pale gums, and collapse. But signs may not appear for several days, so you need to remain vigilant. GI upset is common, resulting in symptoms such as drooling, vomiting, nausea, diarrhea and abdominal pain.
The issue of whether garlic is poisonous or harmful to dogs is ongoing. At the moment, there hasn’t been extensive research into the subject, but there is evidence to suggest that it is harmful in high quantities. However, many counterarguments point to all the different benefits out there that garlic can offer. Ultimately, the final decision rests with you as the dog owner. If you want a second opinion, it is always worth consulting your vet to find out what they have to say on the subject.