There is plenty of negative information available on the internet surrounding the use of garlic for dogs.

The problem is that pet owners aren’t getting the whole story. Garlic CAN safely be used for your dog and offer tremendous rewards. In humans, studies indicate that garlic may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, provide anti-microbial and anti-tumor effects and help with high levels of blood glucose, plus build immunity.

There are many credible articles about adding garlic to a dog’s diet. Sadly, there seems to be even more articles that aren’t providing the entire story about this amazing herb for dogs. The bottom line with regards to safely feeding dogs garlic is amount and frequency.

Know About The History Behind Use Of Garlic

For starters, garlic belongs to the onion family. Its relatives include leeks, chives, shallots, and even rakkyo.

Garlic has been used for over 7,000 years as part of cooking and for medicinal purposes for both people and pets.

The bulbous plant is known as allium sativum and it grows about four feet in height. It’s pollinated by bees and other insects and was initially native to central and southwest Asia.

Today, China is the world’s largest producer of garlic.

Can dogs eat garlic? You bet they can!

Yes, it is perfectly safe to feed your dog garlic. Our article will guide you in using this herb safely and regularly for your four-legged friend.

First, it’s important to note the source of your garlic, which means you should stick with fresh, raw garlic. It should remain in the husk until just before you provide it to your pet.

Do not use any pre-chopped jar garlic or similar products. If you didn’t peel the garlic yourself, don’t use it. Garlic is one of those products where the whole plant is necessary for use. We are looking for the enzymes allinn and alliinase, which combine upon chopping to create the enzyme allicin.

This enzyme carries all the properties you’re after from your garlic, which makes it an essential component for your dog’s holistic health.

How much garlic should I give my dog?

It’s a matter of how much your dog weighs and the form of garlic you are using.

Most holistic veterinarians agree that fresh garlic is the way to go. Dry garlic or garlic supplements are generally frowned upon. Fresh garlic can be chopped, minced or otherwise prepared and added to food.

Based upon Dr. Richard Pitcairn, DVM’s book The Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats, a general rule of thumb in terms of dosage is as follows and should be roughly 1 small garlic clove for every 20lbs of dog.

feeding garlic to dogs

**If using an extract, adjust the dosage according to the brand label.

*TAKE NOTE: The above dosage should be used by feeding every other day or 5 days in a row with two days off. It’s also a good idea to take a week off periodically.

What are the health benefits of feeding garlic to dogs?

There are many reasons to use garlic, as we’ve explored. The matter here is whether or not you want to make that decision. There’s nothing wrong with erring on the side of caution with regard to any herbal or medicinal treatment and we’re certainly not in favor of pushing something that could be dangerous.

garlic for dogs

On the other hand, it’s important to know the facts and to make up your own mind on what’s best for your dog. There are reasons to avoid garlic and there are reasons not to. The call is yours. What’s most important is a treatment and supplement plan that can be trusted and verified.

Great Reasons to Use Garlic For Dogs

  • Garlic as a Stimulant: Garlic is a tremendous stimulant for the immune system. It rouses function in the bloodstream by boosting the activity of cells to combat attacking microbes and harmful cells. Dogs with compromised immune systems or other conditions, like cancer, could certainly benefit from the right application of garlic.
  • Garlic helps in detoxification: There are six components, at least, inside a garlic bulb that can help enhance liver function and help in the flushing of toxins from the body. This promotes the accretion of toxins in the body, which in turn can prevent serious conditions like cancer.
  • Antibacterial and Antimicrobial feature: The antibacterial and antimicrobial features of garlic are well-known. Garlic helps to eradicate various forms of internal and external bacteria including fungal infections along the way. It boosts your dog’s defenses against parasites like tapeworms and can help fight off dangerous little buggers known as protozoan organisms.
  • Garlic may also lower blood cholesterol levels in diabetes. It cuts down triglyceride levels, which makes it a great addition to the herbal arsenal of dogs with hyperlipidemia concerns.
  • Also garlic is believed to help keep fleas away. However, we highly recommend reading our article on Lyme prevention in dogs where we share the BEST natural ways to eliminate fleas/ticks and prevent them as well.

How much garlic is toxic to dogs?

Actual studies done with garlic and dogs

The biggest fear factor with regards to feeding dogs garlic centers around Heinz Body Hemolytic Anemia which affects the red blood cells. The solution to safely using garlic for dogs is the amount and the frequency in which you feed. Holistic vet Peter Dobias also indicates that small amounts of garlic don’t seem to cause any issues with dogs in his experience.

There was a study that was conducted at Hokkaido University back in 2000 where four dogs were fed 1.25ml of garlic extract per kilogram of the dog’s body weight daily for one week. This is an excessive amount of garlic extract and although this excessive amount of garlic did have an effect on the red blood cells in the dogs, none of the dogs became anemic. However, this study scared a lot of people and pet owners into thinking that garlic should never be fed to dogs. Hmmmm!

These same researchers that did the 2000 study, followed up with another study in 2004. This article at IVCJournal explains how the researchers ended up reversing their previous conclusion that garlic is bad for dogs and actually recommend it to encourage immune function and prevent heart disease.

Is it safe to give any dog garlic?

As we’ve been discussing, there are many concerns about garlic out there. These concerns are valid to a point, but the real issue has to do with how much garlic is being used. There are still preventative measures to take to heart, of course, and there are guidelines to follow. All treatments, herbal or otherwise, require caution.

As a safety net, garlic should not be used for the following conditions or circumstances:

  • Pets with anemia or similar conditions should avoid garlic.
  • It should not be used by dogs expecting to go into surgery.
  • While our infograph indicates that diabetic dogs shouldn’t eat garlic, there are many studies now showing that it can help diabetic patients.
  • Avoid garlic if for some reason your dog is on a blood thinner.
  • If your dog is on any synthetic medications, garlic may interfere. Talk to your dog’s vet first.
  • Young puppies (prior to six to eight weeks of age) should not be given garlic.
  • Dogs with lupus or other autoimmune disorders should avoid garlic.

WARNING: It’s believed that Japanese breeds such as Akita’s and Shiba Inu’s are more sensitive to garlic than other breeds. TALK TO A HOLISTIC VET BEFORE USING.


References: Herbs for Pets by M.L. Wulff-Tilford and G.L. Tilford, Natural Remedies for Dogs and Cats by CJ Puotinen, PeterDobias.com, IVCJournal.com

cookbook for dogs easy recipes

Editor’s Note: The blogpost was originally published in November 2016 and completely revamped and updated for accuracy on November 2019.

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Showing 84 comments
  • Elizabeth
    Reply

    I want to thank you all for questions and insight on garlic for our loving pets. My grand mother was a dog breeder and AKC dog shower, it was my job to feed garlic on a reg base it took care of worms and fleas .then like you said a few years ago info was a scare . Now i have 9 dogs fleas got to go lol. I rescue hwy dogs and love all of them. Thank you again..

  • Sue
    Reply

    The vet just called with a diagnosis of Hookworm. She was adopted as a 7 yr old very sick dog, and had full medical treatment for Heart worm, so I’m surprised she now has this other worm. I’ve cooked up some chicken bone broth with cloves of garlic, cut up the garlic & am going to try this. Hope it works!

    • janie knetzer
      Reply

      Sue,

      I would definitely use BENTONITE CLAY which you can purchase here on site and be sure to see the dosage as well. Make sure your dog has fresh water at all times. Mix the clay with his fresh food. NOT KIBBLE. Your dog should be eating a species appropriate diet such as raw, homemade (see our cookboook and in your case you can use any recipe in the book) or a combination of both.

      No junk canned dog foods either. BUILD the immune system. Give a daily multivitamin as well and this is a very economical vitamin which can also be purchased from our store. Give the clay daily for a couple of months until your dog is tested for worms again. Once the worms are gone, you can taper it down to 3 times a week. It’s very good for detoxing the body so using it regularly for maintenance is a good idea. See my article on using it for the teeth as well. You can read that here.

      Continue with the garlic. I hope this helps.

      Janie
      YourOldDog Admin.

  • butre
    Reply

    antifreeze in a sufficiently small dose won’t kill your dog either. doesn’t mean you should be giving your dog antifreeze. I’m holding you responsible for any cases I hear of a dog being killed by garlic

    • janie
      Reply

      Big difference between antifreeze and garlic!

      I’m holding you responsible for saying that antifreeze doesn’t kill in small doses! Got it? Garlic has been used for pets for years. Did you bother to read the entire article and even read the vet’s message. Doubt it. You just come here spewing things you know nothing about. My own dogs eat garlic daily. It’s about the dosage.

      Do me a favor, don’t come back.

  • Anthony Metcalfe
    Reply

    If I add garlic to a recipe and bake it, would cooked fresh garlic still have the potency to act as a flea repellent for my dog.. would I need to add more garlic.. Thank you in advance

    • janie
      Reply

      Hi Anthony:

      Fresh, raw garlic is the best way to feed garlic as a flea repellent.

      Janie

    • parrotbreath
      Reply

      cooking kills the allicin’s effect.

  • Gisela E Scruggs
    Reply

    I have a new dachshund puppy that brought fleas to the house (I mean the whole house!) I am fighting and have put a love of garlic in a small pocket and around his neck. Don’t see any fleas, he is too young (8 wks) for anything else and all I tried did not work. Does this hurt him? Pls. answer quickly.

    • janie
      Reply

      The garlic around the neck should be fine. However, if you’re here in the states I recommend you use Triple Sure Natural Treatment which is safe for pups as well. Here’s a link: Triple Sure Flea & Tick Natural Spray

      Janie

  • janie
    Reply

    Hi Suzi:

    You’re welcome.

    I would use the garlic for internal prevention but still use a topical spray such as Triple Sure. You can view it here.

    In addition, to help with Lyme prevention, using a Lyme Nosode can help. Here’s a link to the one that I use and the protocol as well:

    1 dropperful daily for one week (a dropper full is as much as the dropper will take it and it might not be to the very top)
    1 dropperful weekly for one month
    1 dropperful every six months

    Here’s the link for the Nosode: Lyme Nosode Drops

    Janie

  • Suzi
    Reply

    Hello, I am going to try garlic for flea and tick prevention, I will let you know how it goes, I have a 5 year old Morkie and a 11 year old Peakineese so I will let you know how it works Thanks for all the information.

  • Katelyn S
    Reply

    Hello. Can garlic administered like this article reccomends (including the 1-2 day breaks & 1 week breaks) be used for flea prevention? I’m trying to get my boxer off of flea medications like Comfortis & Trifexis. I’ve seen garlic & brewer’s yeast supplements sold for dogs as an internal flea preventive, but it’s powdered.

    • janie
      Reply

      Hi Katelyn:

      Thanks for reaching out to us. Yes, garlic can be used for prevention of fleas, however, you should also use a topical, natural spray as well as a back up. TripleSure works very well.

      Hope this helps.

      Janie

  • Dennis
    Reply

    Is 240 mg of aged garlic extract powder (bulb) along with 600 mg EPA and 400 mg DHA and 10 IU vitamin E in 2 softgels per day a safe supplement to give my 81 pound yellow lab? She has suffered from allergies her whole 8 year life and is now doing the prednisone routine and is scheduled for 16 mg Apoquel as well. But I found the Apoquel to be questionable for long term use and plan to substitute the fish oil/garlic instead. TIA for your reply.

  • Marykay Love
    Reply

    Would it be okay to add garlic to my dogs home-cooked food? She has a condition which has not been definitively diagnosed, but the bottom line is, she CANNOT digest any dog food– even the most expensive ( buffalo, venison, etc) kind–she would have, and DID have, constant diarrhea, for the first year of her life. I adopted her, when she was a year old, had her tested for everything the vet could think of, (other than tests that would have cost me thousands of $$) and it was concluded that she cannot digest dog food.
    So, I cook salmon, peas, carrots, potatoes, sometimes yams, for her. Or very rarely, ground beef, potatoes and veggies. Half meat, half veggies& potatoes. I add powdered garlic ~about 2 tablespoons~to a week’s worth of food–about 15 cups. She weighs 100 lbs and eats 2 cups daily. Should I NOT use garlic? Or just use fresh? I also add some parsley. She is a Shepherd, Husky, Malamute mix. She is 8.5 years old, and otherwise very healthy. Thanks so much!

  • Max
    Reply

    Greetings & thanks so very much for all your Loving & Informative work!
    Suggestions/advice as to how we can inspire our exceeding picky Mini Long-haired Dachsy, Mocha, to eat raw organic garlic will be more than greatly appreciated!!
    Thank you for THAT, too! ~& God bless you all with even more Love!!!

    • janie
      Reply

      Hi Max:

      Including it in with a little cooked meat with it’s natural juices would be good. NOT too fatty of a meat cut though.

      Hope this helps.

      Janie

  • Sandi Buchanan
    Reply

    My dog is on a low does of thyroid med. Is this considered an auto disease and garlic should not be given to him?

    • Bruce
      Reply

      Mine too, would like to see a reply to this!!!

  • Jill
    Reply

    Hi I have just come across you web page. I have a 13 1/2 year young boxer dog Tizer. She has been diagnosed with Spindle cell cancer in Jan 2017, it was removed but clear margins could not be obtained due to location on her leg. It came back and is now growing. I have now been researching for things to slow the growth down. I am wanting to give Garlic as you recommend this being No1 Anticancer veggie. My Tizer is 25kg in weight. I have never used garlic before. So would like some advice on using. Thank you for your wonderful information already.

    • janie
      Reply

      Hi Jill:

      You’re very welcome and I’m so sorry to hear about Tizer. Just follow the “General rule of thumb” for dosage that I shared within the article. You must feed Tizer a good diet. NO kibble or canned junk dog food. I would also look into including turmeric paste. See my article here and WATCH the video. The dosage is in the article. You can view it here.

      I wouldn’t stop there. I would include Essiac Tea and Resvantage which can both be found here on our website. You have to purchase Resvantage on a page that leaves our site. However, this will give us credit and help us to keep helping others. By using both of these and feeding a good diet, this should help. Read about them both Jill. When using the Resvantage, because he’s a big dog with cancer, it’s cheaper to use the equine version (not canine) and give two daily. It’s the same product in a higher dose, but still very safe.

      Here’s our shop page: YourOldDog Shop

      I hope this helps.

      Janie

    • Jacque
      Reply

      U need to get the Essiac from renecaisseteadotcom. Debbie has the original formula. She is in Montana.

    • john
      Reply

      Give your dog apricot kernels’ kernel grounded per 10 pounds of weight.
      just google it for more info and youtube the success stories.

  • Joyce
    Reply

    Hi, I’m planning on adding garlic to my dog’s diet and I was wondering do I have to chop or crush the garlic up first, or can I just straight up give a a whole garlic clove?

    • janie
      Reply

      You should either chop or mince Joyce.

      Janie

  • Sandra Faulkner
    Reply

    I have a 7 month old puppy he has had a skin infections since he was 12 weeks old. He has been on antibiotics and had a flea and tick table that should kill the parasite plus I give him a bath with douxoshampoo 2/ 3 times a week. Would it help him if I put him on to garlic.

    • janie
      Reply

      Hi Sandra:

      I’m sorry to hear about your puppy. What are you feeding him and do you include any supplements?

      Janie

  • Holly Purcell
    Reply

    Have been reading the comments on your page here about garlic capsules. I have 2 daschhunds and a chihuahua. Wondering if the capsules would be ok for them?. The fleas have started off hard this year already. And the pill I get from the vet doesn’t seem to work that good.

    • janie
      Reply

      Hi Holly:

      REAL garlic is recommended Holly!

      Janie

  • Gail
    Reply

    I have a 7 year old shih Tzu. Lately he’s been biting and licking at his hind and back legs. I heard that garlic might help with this? We’ve tried medicated shampoo/conditioner and spray for hot spots and skin irritation but it hasn’t been helping.

    • janie
      Reply

      Hi Gail:

      Does he have hot spots or lick granuloma’s? Is he scooting on his rear end? It depends exactly where he is licking? Take notice if he is licking on either side of the tail which could indicate that his anal glands are full.

      Garlic can work wonders for fleas, ticks, etc., but again, it depends what you’re dealing with.

      Janie

    • Deer Nana
      Reply

      He may be allergic to Ckicken andChicken bone meal.

    • Wilma
      Reply

      Could be the food, and leaky gut. Have you tried a half teaspoon of cod liver oil (Norwegian), and 1/2 tsp. of organic unrefined coconut oil daily?

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