Garlic for Dogs: Home Remedies and Safety Issues

Last Modified on Nov 26, 2014

Is It Safe?   37  15   

Posted by RhyDonna (Denison, Texas) on 09/02/2008

[YEA]  About the garlic being harmful, I fed my dog garlic for 20 years. She lived to be 21 yrs old. I also give it to the dogs I have now. Anything, anything is lethal in large amounts, you can even o.d. on water if you drink to much. Onions are considered lethal because of the chemical in it that makes humans sleepy, thats why onions can kill a dog, but not garlic. Like I said, my dog lived to be 21yrs old. She never had any problems.

Posted by Carlos (Lisbon, Portugal) on 08/27/2008

[NAY]  I have done some searching online to find the pros and cons of Garlic and pets. I have come across a few links that suggest that Garlic can be fatal to pets - see below;

Garlic is part of the onion family (alliaceae) along with leeks and shallots. There is ample research available which indicates onions can be harmful, if not deadly, to our pets. In the last five years, more and more toxicity studies are being conducted on garlic and all seem to indicate that it, too, can pose serious health risks when fed to cats and dogs. A 2003 study on Grape and Raisin Toxicity in Dogs, published in the Australian Veterinary Journal begins, "The list of commonly available human foods toxic to dogs continues to grow. Grapes and raisins can be added to onions, garlic, chocolate, and macadamia nuts as posing dangers when ingested in excessive quantities." [1] Unfortunately, no one knows what constitutes "excessive quantities".

In an article on Onion and Garlic Toxicity in Dogs and Cats, Jennifer Prince, DVM states: "Garlic and onion are used as flavor enhancers in food. Since the toxic amount is unknown, it is recommended not to add it to your pet's food. These ingredients can cause Heinz body anemia, resulting in a breakdown of the red blood cells and anemia." [2]

Although the exact toxic dose is not known, studies unanimously agree that foods containing garlic should not be fed to dogs.

Full report available here -

Replied by Tricia
Denver, CO
Carlos, thank you for writing your entry. I have heard about the benefits of garlic but have also heard that it is bad for them. I was not sure which one to believe. Now that I read your entry I have made up my mind. I WILL NOT FEED GARLIC to my dogs. If there is even a slight unknown chance that it could harm my dogs, I will not do it. Thank you

Posted by Melissa (Wellsburg, WV) on 06/18/2008

[NAY]  I hate to disagree with anyone about a flea remedy that works for them, but I feel I must say something about the people who support garlic as a cure. I found out the hard way that garlic can severly injure and even kill dogs. Our dog, Chewie, got a hold of a garlic builb and managed to eat most of it before my husband caught him. We didn't think anything of it, he gets into things all the time, but not even an hour later he started vomiting and shaking. He couldn't hold anything down, not even water. It was too late to take him to the vet at that point, so we had to wait untl morning. When we did him to the vet, the vet was just as confused as we were until we told him about the garlic. Then he said, "Oh, that's it."

He explained that certain plants, like garlic and onion, are actually lethal in certain doses. We were lucky because Chewie vomited so soon after eating it. If he hadn't he could gone into renal failure and died.

I don't want to sound like a spoiler for all those who support giving garlic as a flea remedy, but I just don't want someone to loose their pet by giving their dog too much.

Replied by Ami
Corvallis, Or
That's just the thing, though! ANYTHING in a large dose can be lethal. That same flea medication that you use instead of garlic could easily kill a dog, even if used topically. Yes, garlic could be lethal if ingested in a large dose. So can water, for crying out loud!

Personally, I've done quite a bit of research on garlic because none of the flea treatments I've tried have worked. I switched my dog to a RAW diet in November, and have slowly been inching towards a more natural all-around life for her. Garlic is just another step in the process. The fleas have been ridiculous, and I'm anxious to see if garlic can bring yet another benefit to the natural diet.

Posted by Suzana (Wellington , Florida) on 06/10/2008

[YEA]  I was born in Europe and we always use to give garlic to dogs when they had worms. I have never ever witnessed anything but good results. It worked every time, most times within 24 hours some other times it would take a few days. The dogs lived very long lives, over 20 years of age. when I came to USA I noticed that a dog's life expectancy is more around 15 years and even less depending on the breeds. That is very sad. Now since National Geographic announced that garlic is bad it seems that everyone is ready to throw away hundreds of years of experience. Garlic cannot become bad from one day to an other. I personnaly don't know what I would do without these natural remedies that have worked for ever. I have yet never seen myself a dog who had adverse effect from garlic but I did see many dogs who went into epilepsy after receiving a conventional deworming :( I wish everyone would do more research before jumping to conclusions and believing everything. Sometimes what we hear is just half the truth... and of cousre we are missing the most important half, so we should look for it. The industry has done a spectacular job until now making us believe that what is natural is bad, synthetic is better, fresh real food is bad (they call it human food to make sure you lost your argument before even arguing it), pet food made from scraps(of "human food"), fillers and preservatives is better. Mentionning garlic among other bad foods for dogs does not make the fact that garlic is dangerous more true but it is more convincing.

Posted by Gabrielle (Elgin, Ontario Canada) on 05/16/2008

[YEA]  My 86 lb golden lab chow cross is almost 13 yrs old. Since he was a year old I have been making his dog food - boiled chicken, rice & raw chopped veggies (carrots, zuccini, bell pepper) - I sprinkle dried herbs (basil, rosemary, oregano) & garlic powder into chicken boil. Vets always comment on how healthy my dog is for his age and how nice his teeth are. He is slowing down now but to me it is obvious that the garlic has not harmed him in any way. And I always have lovely chicken broth for myself!

Posted by Dee (West Warwick, RI) on 05/04/2008

[YEA]  I do agree with Cheryl about the things on her list or (National Geographic magazine list). Except for the garlic. For a dog to become anemia by using garlic it would have to have an enormous amount of garlic. In the of Animal Wellness magazine February 2008 issue, is an article on the benefits of feeding garlic http://www.Animalwellnessmagazine.comrnrnAnother good article is§ion=Feeding amp Nutrition

I have two dogs 8 & 9yrs old; both get a clove of garlic daily. Small clove mix in raw meat for my little dog 25lbs and on or two cloves mixed in raw meat for my big dogs 60lbs, during the tick season, usually May thru July, Aug. When the tick season ends, I don't give it to them. I have had no side affect or problems with fleas & ticks. At first I had concerns about feeding garlic, after doing much research and reading different forums. I feel very confident garlic is safe to give my dogs. Dogs, like people, are different and each one has a different chemistry. What works well for one may not work for another? It's always best to do the research and use good common since, there's pros and cons for everything. You have to feel comfortable with your choices. But for me, garlic is the best tick repel I can use; I feel it's safe and has no harmful side effects.

Posted by Sabina (Goshen, NY) on 04/30/2008

[YEA]  I've been giving my small and large dogs fresh garlic cloves, twice a week, for the past 30 years, and they all lived long healthy lives. I used to eat a clove daily and I never got a cold or flu. I gave up the daily garlic because it made me stink. Once I gave it up I began to catch virus. I now only take it if I feel as though I may be coming down with something.

Posted by Monica on 04/19/2008

[YEA]  Garlic is perfectly fine for dogs. It does Not break down their blood cells. Onions do though. You will know if they have had onions because they will pee red. With garlic they will not.

Posted by Victoria (Vln, Lithuania) on 03/29/2008

[YEA]  YEA. My 3 years old yorkie gets some garlic for almost 2 years once or twice a weak, he gets no fleas or worms. He is on raw food. And with this food and some garlic he is doing well.

Posted by cheryl (santa cruz, ca) on 02/07/2008

[NAY]  I read the suggestions about garlic for worms, and i used it on my dog and found no cure and no side effects. But, I was reading an old National Geographic magazine (Oct. 2007) and I came across a list of harmful food for dogs and one of them is garlic. It reads "Garlic breaks down a dog's red blood cells, leading to anemia and possible kidney failure from leaking hemoglobin". And for those of you who are curious.. the list reads on:
1.alcohal-depresses brain function and cause coma. caffeine in a cup of coffee is a methylxanthine compound that can increase a dog's heart rate and trigger seizures.
3. macadamia nuts- just a couple can cause tremors, and even temporary paralysis in dog's hind legs
4.onions- damages is hemoglubin culmulative, so small tastes over time can be worse than wolfing down the whole bulb.
5. grapes (and that includes raisins)- can cause renal failure.
.. this probably isnt everthing so I hope you read up first before giving your pet something new.

Posted by Darren (Vancouver, Canada) on 02/05/2008

[NAY]  Hello, i almost lost my 10 year old Lab last week, all because he had been consuming garlic in his food. I was buying a very expensive dog food that I thought was providing the optimal nutrition and goodness for him. I didn't know that Garlic could cause hemolytic anemia and other deadly problems. I quickly learned, not from my vet, but because i am an RN with a developed intuition and my gutt had and was telling me that his condition had something to do with his food. I removed all forms of garlic form his diet and boom he has made a 180 recovery, thank god. I would encourage everyone to read what is in the bag of food that you are feeding your family/best friend.If you don't know if it is good for your dog do some reaserch on the ingredent.

Posted by Helen (Aldergrove, Canada) on 11/13/2007

[NAY]  Just a little warning about using garlic as a flea remedy: in large amounts garlic and onion can cause anemia in dogs by interfering with normal hemoglobin production. I've heard that garlic can work on fleas, but found that it only upset my puppy's stomach and gave her garlic scented farts (nasty!). Later on I read (National Geographic, among other sources) that it can interfere with hemoglobin production and should be avoided - though onions are worse for this.

Posted by Margaret (Bradford, UK) on 11/11/2007

[YEA]  We have two belgian shepherd dogs, both rescues. Katie is 7 years old and we have had her for 5 years. Claude is 5 years and we had hm from being a puppy. We have mostly fed them on home cooked food (always with Garlic and veg (not tomatoes). We have NEVER had fleas or worms (much to the distress of our vet on annual vet visits). We also give them a couple of Marrow bones (marrow bones only). Their helath and teeth are like puppies. The vet is always amazed. We also have two rescue cats one in now 12 years old and both have a similar diet to the dogs. Both are ful of fun and healthy and vermin free! All our other animals ov er the last 47 years lived long and healthy lives dying only of old age and having had the same diets

Posted by Marilyn (Bloomfield, New Jersey) on 10/31/2007

[YEA]  My dog (shepard/pit mix) was diagnosed with hemangiosarcoma when she was 51/2 yrs old. This is a cancer that forms in the lining of the blood vessels and is known to affect the spleen and heart. At this time, there is no known cure. The condition started inside her nose and was making its way toward the brain. The veterinarian gave her 5 wks to live but instead she lived for 22 months. No medication was prescribed and I believe that she lived that long due to a diet consisting of vitamins, steamed vegetables with chicken and fish and 1 clove of garlic with every meal. (She was 60 lbs at the time) Her coat became very shiny and soft,(not to mention she stopped shedding), she was exhibiting energy and was even found with normal blood values even though her condition condemned her to anemia. Unfortunately she lost her battle to the cancer as it eventually made it's way to the brain. While some state that garlic is dangerous, used correctly and in moderation, it will demonstrate homeopathic properties. Given what I know and what I've experienced, I intend to continue using it with my future canine companions and support its use in moderation.

Posted by Joey (Las Vegas, NV) on 10/25/2007

[YEA]  Sorry to bust everyone's bubble, but I have been feeding my dog a heaping teaspoon of crushed garlic twice-a-day with his dry food for 10 years. I took him to a new vet a few months ago. He guessed his age as FIVE. My dog loves it. He is in perfect health and I believe garlic is one of the things that has kept him young. He's now 10 years 7 months. Then again I also feed him 2000 mg of MSM a day, a multi vitamin, glucosmine/condorotin (spell check please) and water soluble silver and minerals. I don't buy into what the so-called experts say. I go by what my experience teaches me. And I think garlic has been GREAT for him. In fact, he very rarely gets sick and I don't use any poison flea control crap that the vets push on you or vaccinations that can ruin his immune system. He's a Sheltie Mix and his coat is gorgeous. And I predict he'll live to at least 20. All animals can live longer lives through correct supplementation.

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