“Can dogs eat garlic” is a question with potentially serious consequences, so we’ll get straight to the point: No, dogs cannot eat garlic.
Garlic, like other members of the allium family, is toxic to dogs. Why? Keep reading for more, including what happens if a dog eats garlic, and what to do if you think your dog has garlic poisoning.
Garlic and other alliums, like onions, have thiosulfate. Thiosulfate is a toxic compound to dogs. According to the Merck Veterinary Manual, garlic is 3 – 5 times more toxic than onions, and high amounts of thiosulfate causes damage to red blood cells.3
A small amount of garlic is less likely to harm your dog. But keep in mind, even small amounts when eaten frequently can be dangerous. According to the American Kennel Club, some dogs are also more sensitive to garlic toxicity due to their breed and size.4 For example, a clove of garlic may not be as dangerous for a large Great Dane but could lead to serious issues for a small shiba inu.
Some studies suggest that garlic is only dangerous in large quantities, but many veterinarians debate the validity of these studies.5 Always consult your vet before you add any foods to your dog’s diet.
While a small amount of garlic may not be as dangerous as a larger quantity, it’s best to avoid garlic altogether.
For your peace of mind and your dog’s overall safety, be mindful of the ingredients in your dog’s treats, supplements, and other human foods you consider giving to your dog.
You should avoid letting your dog eat garlic bread, but if they sneak a piece from the dinner table, don’t panic. A piece likely isn’t going to overly harm your pup. Just keep in mind that other ingredients in garlic bread — like oils, herbs, and cheese — can become an issue for your dog’s health, so don’t go out of your way to feed your dog garlic bread. If they eat a piece, monitor your dog’s behavior and contact your vet if you notice any problems.
Garlic powder is also toxic to dogs and should be avoided. Most garlic powders are more concentrated than raw or cooked garlic. Garlic in higher concentrations is especially dangerous for your pup. The same goes for onion powder.
Again, a small amount may not lead to dangerous symptoms, but a whole container of garlic powder very likely will. Monitor your dog’s behavior if you suspect they have eaten any garlic powder.
In most cases, garlic will cause gastrointestinal issues for your dog. In severe cases, garlic can causes red blood cell damage that leads to hemolytic anemia, Heinz body anemia, and methemoglobinemia.3
According to VCA Animal Hospitals, clinical signs of garlic poisoning can show within 24 hours of ingestion, but some symptoms may take several days to appear.6
Symptoms vary depending on the quantity of garlic your dog eats but most commonly include:6
● Abdominal pain
● Lethargy or weakness
● Increased heart rate
● Elevated respiratory rate
● Pale gums
● Red-colored urine
If you know your dog ingested garlic and is showing clinical signs of poisoning, seek immediate help from your vet or by calling the Pet Poison Helpline (855-764-7661).
If you suspect your dog ingested garlic, it’s best to call your vet and monitor your dog for symptoms.
To treat garlic poisoning in a dog, your vet or animal hospital may order blood work to confirm a toxicity diagnosis. Treatment for garlic poisoning typically includes IV fluids.6 In more severe cases, treatment includes supplemental oxygen and blood tranfusions.3
No matter how well you keep an eye on your fur baby, they will more than likely eat something they shouldn’t in their lifetime. The best thing you can do is prepare for those close calls. Consider poison-proofing your kitchen and learning the human foods dogs can (and can’t) eat. You could go further and consider protecting your pup with dog insurance. A dog insurance policy with MetLife1 could help cover your vet bills in the moments your beloved furry family member needs immediate care.