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Can Dogs Eat Garlic?

No. Garlic is considered toxic to dogs. While it may be unlikely to kill your dog in small doses, it can lead to severe gastrointestinal upset and destruction of red blood cells, which, in turn, can cause anemia. If you believe your dog has ingested garlic, consult your veterinarian immediately or call the animal poison control hotline. Always carefully review nutrition labels for toxic ingredients before offering any human food to your pet.

Garlic smells wonderful when you cook it, and it can be a flavorful addition to almost any savory dish. If you have a dog who is generally curious about human food, you might have thought to yourself, “Can dogs have garlic?” Unfortunately, garlic and dogs are a dangerous combination that should never be put together.

What are the health risks of garlic for dogs?

Dogs metabolize food differently than humans. Just because something is edible for humans does not mean that it’s edible for dogs.

Garlic is a member of the allium family, which also includes onions, leeks, shallots and chives. All these plants contain thiosulfate, which is difficult for some humans to digest but can be especially toxic to dogs, even in small quantities.

For dogs, thiosulfate can damage red blood cells and eventually result in anemia. Symptoms of anemia include rapid breathing, increased heart rate, lethargy, weakness, jaundice, pale mucous membranes and dark-colored urine. Garlic toxicity can also cause severe gastrointestinal upset, including vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, abdominal pain, depression and dehydration.

Never feed garlic to your dog under any circumstances.

FAQs about dogs and garlic

Garlic is a member of the allium family, which also includes onions, leeks, chives and shallots. All alliums contain thiosulfate, which typically isn’t harmful to humans but can be very harmful to dogs. In the short term, eating garlic can cause your dog severe gastrointestinal upset. In the long term, thiosulfate can cause your dog's red blood cells to deteriorate, potentially resulting in anemia. This life-threatening condition can severely impact your pet’s quality of life. So, if you’re cooking up a meal and wondering, “Can dogs eat onions and garlic?” the answer is no.

Your dog doesn’t have the enzymes in their gut to properly break down garlic, and furthermore, there are elements in garlic that can be severely toxic for them.

If your dog steals food with garlic in it, it’s quite likely to give them an uncomfortable amount of gastrointestinal upset. This could include vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain and loss of appetite. If your dog eats a large amount of garlic, either all at once or over many days, it may cause a toxic reaction that would require immediate veterinary attention.

A dog suffering from garlic poisoning will most likely display the symptoms of severe gastrointestinal upset. This includes vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, abdominal pain, depression and dehydration.

If your dog manages to eat a large amount of garlic over a prolonged period of time, the thiosulfate may damage your dog’s red blood cells and eventually cause anemia. Anemia is life-threatening and can also severely impact your dog’s quality of life. Symptoms of anemia include rapid breathing, lethargy, weakness, jaundice, pale mucous membranes and dark-colored urine.

Garlic is toxic to your dog and should never be offered to them. Even a small amount of it can cause gastrointestinal distress. The harmful effects can accumulate over time and lead to long-term health challenges such as anemia or prolonged gastrointestinal distress.

It varies. Some dogs are more sensitive to garlic than others. Even a small amount of garlic can lead to severe gastrointestinal distress for your dog, so don’t let them eat it.

You should never give garlic to your dog.

Garlic should never be offered to dogs in any form as it is not a safe food for them. In addition to the garlic, garlic bread usually contains large amounts of butter, oil, cheese and herbs that can also upset your dog’s stomach. Garlic bread can also be a source of unnecessary calories and fat for your dog.

Some people believe that garlic is a good natural flea and tick repellent for dogs. The actual scientific evidence for this is highly inconclusive, and garlic should never be offered to dogs as it is toxic. Since there are over-the-counter, prescription and natural alternatives for flea and tick prevention that are considered safe, there is no reason to use toxic ingredients like garlic.

Some websites and pet parents purport that while garlic itself may be toxic for dogs, garlic supplements can serve as a natural flea and tick preventive. This is another situation where the scientific evidence is inconclusive, but given the known toxicity of garlic for dogs, it’s best to never offer garlic supplements as a health aid or flea and tick preventive for your dog. If you have questions regarding garlic supplements or any health concerns about your dog, always consult your veterinarian first. Giving an incorrect dose could have toxic effects. Work with a veterinarian to devise the best flea and tick treatment and prevention plan for your dog.

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