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 POWERFUL herb with many health benefits for both you and your best friend.  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.

It’s all about dosage, dosage, dosage.  Our own dogs eat garlic on a regular basis.

Recommended Dosage of Garlic for Dogs

what type of garlic is safe for dogs

What we’re contending with is a lot of chatter about garlic for dogs. Most will agree that it offers many benefits, but the question is one of risk. If proper dosage information is followed, dogs can ingest garlic without issue. That’s the same with any treatment of any kind.

So what are the dosages? This is 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.

The general rule of thumb in terms of dosage is as follows and should be roughly 1 small garlic clove for every 20lbs of dog:

  • 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.  See this article by Dr. Rose DiLeva where she discusses it’s safety.

The MANY Benefits of Adding Garlic to Your Dog’s Diet

  • 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

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.

Reasons to Use

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.

garlicThe History Behind 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

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Showing 21 comments
  • Ellen

    Just an FYI – but first, thanks for speaking out about the benefits. Dr. Jean Dodds and Dogs Naturally Magazine have caveated that Japanese breeds like Akitas and Shiba Inus are very sensitive to thiosulfate and should only follow an holistic vet’s advice or not chance the risk.

    • janie

      Hi Ellen!

      Thank you for reaching out and sharing this with me. Veterinarian Susan Wynn, (who is an herbalist as well) also agrees that the Japanese breeds are more sensitive to thiosulfate.

      I will send out an update to my readers letting them know.

      Take care Ellen and have a great weekend.


  • elizabeth st johns

    I fed Noble garlic all his life. For flees etc. He lived to be twenty three!!!!!!!!

    • janie

      Hi Elizabeth:

      Twenty three, that’s amazing!!!

      Good for you and thanks so much for sharing! 🙂


  • Vickie Ross

    Thank you for the information. I was always afraid to feed garlic to our dogs due to the toxicity of it, since they are a member of the onion family, which is toxic to dogs. I will feel better knowing the correct dosage when I give it to our dogs. Thank you

    • janie

      You’re welcome Vickie!

  • Leonie Chester

    I have had so many people tell me garlic is toxic to dogs, “and that’s from a vet” they add for emphasis. Vet’s don’t want us feeding our dogs garlic because there is no profit in it for them. They prefer to sell us highly toxic flea repellents that don’t work! Thank you.

    • janie

      My pleasure Leonie…. 🙂

  • Aliese

    We fed garlic to our 2 collies for years. No fleas or ticks. They did great on it.

    • janie

      Thanks for sharing Aliese!!!


  • Dr A Vinod Prakasam

    I have been recommending garlic for pets for the past 25 years, as a vet doctor. The results are excellent, especially in the control of ticks and fleas. Garlic also aids in digestion and helps metabolism.

    • janie

      Hello Dr:

      Thanks for sharing that you’ve been recommending garlic for dogs for the past 25 years. Garlic is such an amazing herb for both people and pets!

      Are you located in India?


  • Alan

    Thank you for this information. I’d been told in spite of it’s many great qualities that Garlic was dangerous for dogs, now I know better!

    • janie

      My pleasure Alan!


  • Lyndsey

    Are the ratios for the actual weight of dog now, or based on adult weight??? We feed RMB, and all of our feeding rations are based on adult weight…thanks so much, have known about the positive effects of garlic in humans for years, but, like everyone else, was told garlic was bad for our dogs, xx

    • janie

      Hi Lyndsey:

      You’re very welcome and I’m glad the article helped. If you want to feed your dog garlic now, feed it based upon your dog’s actual weight at this time. Adult weight means when your dog is finished growing from a young dog into an adult dog.

      I hope this helps.


  • Donna

    Can I use the organic minced garlic out of a jar instead of the actual clove. My 3 dogs are between 40-50 lbs. Do I give garlic 1xday; also how many days on and how many days off is recommended?

    • janie

      It says it all in the article Donna. You have to read it in it’s entirety. This is why we did the article to share dosage, how often, how many days on and off. It’s all in there. And no, you should use FRESH garlic ALWAYS…..


  • jimmie gould

    I may have missed the –dosage–my dog is 38 lbs — female STAFFY about 6 yrs old—TY JIMMIE

  • Joni Blasdell

    Great informatio , thank you so much. But all I have is 2 mg supplement garlic, how much of that pill would I give my dog?

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