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 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.
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.
The 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