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

Many, if not most of you will be surprised to learn how this amazing herb CAN safely be used for your dog and offer great rewards. It is a herb with many health benefits for both you and your best friend.

Can dogs eat garlic? There are many articles, some of them credible and some of them not, about the “toxicity” of garlic when it comes to your four-legged friend. As with most issues of this sort, finding the truth can be tricky. That’s why we decided to do our own article and stick to the verifiable facts.

We know how much misinformation is out there with respect to using this specific herb.  It’s important to know the basics and to have the right tools in your toolkit so you can make the best decision for your pet.

Is it OK for dogs to have garlic? Is garlic bad for dogs?

Yes, it is perfectly okay to feed your dog garlic. Our article will guide you to 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 must be using organically-grown, 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.  No. Quite the contrary. See our preventative measures below.

When using garlic for your furry friend, it’s all about dosage, dosage, dosage. Our own dogs routinely eat garlic on a regular basis.

Recommended Dosage of Garlic for Dogs

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

  • 10 to 15 pounds – half a clove of garlic

  • 20 to 40 pounds – one clove

  • 45 to 70 pounds – two cloves

  • 75 to 90 pounds – two and a half cloves

  • 100 pounds or more – three cloves

**If using an extract, adjust the dosage according to the brand label.  *TAKE NOTE: The above dosage should be used with a day or two off in between applications. It’s also a good idea to take a week off. In terms of what garlic can do for your dog, read on.

What happens if my dog eats garlic?

  • 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.
  • The antibacterial and antimicrobial features of garlic are well-known. Garlic takes down various forms of internal and external bacteria, taking down viral and 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 also lowers blood cholesterol levels. It cuts down triglyceride levels, which makes it a great addition to the herbal arsenal of dogs with hyperlipidemia concerns.

Studies Done with Garlic and Dogs

It’s difficult to actually find any clear clinical evidence that garlic causes harm to dogs.  An example would be the study conducted by Hokkaido University in 2000 where 4 dogs were given 1.25ml of garlic extract per kilogram of the dog’s body weight for 7 days in a row.

The amount given to each dog was excessive and if you’re trying to figure it out, it would roughly equal twenty five large garlic cloves daily for a fifty pound dog.  Plus, the dogs were fed the garlic raw.

The end result was that none of the dogs developed hemolytic anemia and this conclusion was confirmed their 2004 study as well.

Preventative Measures Of Using 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.
  • Diabetic dogs.
  • It should not be used by dogs expecting to go into surgery.
  • 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.

Great Reasons to Use Garlic For 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 favour of pushing something that could be dangerous.

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 following a treatment and supplement plan that can be trusted and verified.

garlic for dogsKnow 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.

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.

Now, here’s the bad news. According to the ASPCA and other organizations, garlic is among those foods “hazardous” to dogs. The issue, so goes the claim, is that garlic belongs to the onion family and is therefore full of compounds that can damage red blood cells if ingested in sufficient quantities.

The component at the core of the controversy is known as thiosulphate. Exactly how much of this element, which can lead to hemolytic anemia and liver damage, is in the dangerous bulbs of allium sativum? Most reports, even the most alarming, maintain that there’s only a small amount of it in garlic. As usual, it all comes down to the amount you’re giving to your dog.

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

cookbook for dogs easy recipes

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Showing 83 comments
  • Sue

    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


      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.

      YourOldDog Admin.

  • butre

    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

      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

    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

      Hi Anthony:

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


    • parrotbreath

      cooking kills the allicin’s effect.

  • Gisela E Scruggs

    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

      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

    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


  • Suzi

    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

    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

      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.


  • Dennis

    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

    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

    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

      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.


  • Sandi Buchanan

    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

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

  • Jill

    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

      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.


    • Jacque

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

    • john

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

  • Joyce

    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

      You should either chop or mince Joyce.


  • Sandra Faulkner

    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

      Hi Sandra:

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


  • Holly Purcell

    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

      Hi Holly:

      REAL garlic is recommended Holly!


  • Gail

    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

      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.


    • Deer Nana

      He may be allergic to Ckicken andChicken bone meal.

    • Wilma

      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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