Garlic for Dogs: Home Remedies and Safety Issues

Is It Safe?

55 User Reviews
5 star (39) 
1 star (16) 

Posted by Bexidoodle (Stoke-on-trent, Staffordshire) on 01/16/2010

I would just like to say thank you for all the info on feeding garlic to your dog. I am new to looking into supplemental foods for dogs as our 10 yr old Border Collie was recently diagnosed with cancer and I am re-working his diet.

For about a week I have spent a lot of time scouring the internet for info and advice and I can honestly say that until I found this website everything I saw about Garlic stated it shouldn't be given to dogs due to the high toxicity as with onions.

I am relieved this site puts such a reasonable argument for it, and I'm sure I'm not the only one slightly irritated by people who clearly haven't read all the info on garlic before adding their comments about its dangers - especially when they haven't experienced the drawbacks themselves.

Thank you!

Replied by Lisa
(Saylorsburg, Pa)

I know there's plenty of people out there worried about their dogs, that's a good thing. I've given my dogs garlic for about a year so far with no problems. We have 5 dogs from a Border Terrier that's under 10lbs. All the way to a German Shepherd (who has a very sensitive stomach and can only eat certain dog food) who weighs over 80lbs, thankfully we have not had any problems giving them garlic. Watch the amounts, that's the key. I give them garlic twice a week, then off a week. They haven't had a flea or tick during the year I've been doing this, and we live in the woods. Here's an exerpt I found with dosing info. Again, like people, all animals are different so watch what you give an how much.

Dr. Martin Goldstein (author of The Nature of Animal Healing) recommends adding garlic to home-made pet food and he himself feeds garlic to his own cats and dogs on a regular basis. Dr. Pitcairn (author of The Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats) recommends the following amount of fresh garlic for dogs, according to their size: * 10 to 15 pounds - half a clove * 20 to 40 pounds - 1 clove * 45 to 70 pounds - 2 cloves * 75 to 90 pounds - 2 and a half cloves * 100 pounds and over - 3 cloves Dr. Messonnier (author of The Natural Vet's Guide to Preventing and Treating Cancer in Dogs) recommends one clove of fresh garlic per 10 to 30 pounds of weight a day to boost the immune system and cancer prevention. As with most herbs, at least one to two days off per week or a periodic week off from garlic is a good idea.

Replied by Kaej
(San Carlos, Az)

Is it ok to give small amount of garlic still to help with fleas and ticks if your dog is pregnant?? I've been seraching a little but have not found a clear answer. thanks to any who could help with this question.

Replied by Heather
(Montreal, Qc, Canada)

@Judy, from Long Beach CA:

You are right, there is less information about how garlic affects cats...

I've been mincing one clove of raw galic, adding it to a raw egg and then feeding it to my cat a few times a week. She is a bit hesitant at the smell, but usually eats it all. I've been doing this for about a month now and she has remained flea free & healthy through the beginning of the spring HOWEVER...

I've read comments on a few different sites from cat owners whose cats have become sick when fed garlic pills. Perhaps a small dose like the one I give my kitty will never affect her negatively, but I suppose her own genetic factors play a role and since I don't know what those are, I'm going to desist feeding her garlic. Cats and dogs ARE different.

On the other hand, I have only read positive things about adding apple cider vinegar to cat's drinking water and brewers yeast to her food, so I plan to continue with this approach over the summer.

Also, rubbing your kitty's coat with brewer's yeast, Rosemary or Lavender (or L. oil) appears to be a good repellant with no risks. I'll let you know if she stays flea free...

Replied by Sharon
(Branson, Mo)

To Heather from Montreal - be careful about using essential oils on cats. They will be fine for awhile but could develop problems from it later on. Reason is they lack an enzyme or chemical in their body that breaks these oils down. So it stays in their body and overtime it can become toxic to them! Can anyone verify this as a truth?

Replied by Callie
(Fairfax, Missouri)

My cat just had kittens, and we thought we had gotten rid of all her fleas. I just discovered some fleas on them, and was wondering if it would be safe, and what dosage to use, to put Apple Cider Vinegar in momma cats water so the kittens could get treated as well? Or if there are any more safe remedies to help them.

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Posted by Barb (Oxford, Ohio) on 08/03/2009
1 out of 5 stars

I used to give my dogs Brewers Yeast tablets with Garlic and 2 of the dogs ended up with anemia. The one dog passed away from it and the other dog was lucky enough to survive through it.

As far as my experience with giving dogs garlic, I would NEVER reccomend that anyone give their dogs garlic. The vet that owns the animal hospital that I took both of my anemic dogs to said that it was unheard of for someone to have 2 dogs become anemic shortly one right after another. Now I realize that giving the dogs so many garlic pills for fleas daily may have contributed to their medical problem. I have always regretted giving my dogs these pills and wish I knew then what I know now. My one dog may still be alive if I did.


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Posted by Jennifer (Bourbonnais, IL) on 07/24/2009
1 out of 5 stars

My adult boxer ate two-thirds of a bag of treats made in part with garlic powder that were accidentally left on the counter and ended up in the ER with blood in his lungs and around his heart. He was having trouble breathing and was coughing and spitting up blood. He has runny stools, as well, and is (was - he's getting better) very lethargic. When first in the ER, it was believed his condition was some type of pulmonary edema until they began questioning whether he had gotten into any plant fertilizer, mouse poison, weed killer, garlic, onions. Bingo! Garlic flavored treats with garlic powder. In small doses, ie., one treat a day, two a day I'm sure it's fine, but the several ounces he ate could have killed him. We will from this point forward always check ingredients on all treats we give our dog to ensure garlic/onion and associated powders are not included. It concerns me that online I'm reading that so many people give their dogs garlic and companies sell products that contain garlic. We won't take that chance again.

Replied by Leeola23
(Owosso, Michigan, USA)

Large quantities of Garlic can be harmful to you pet, but in MODERATION they should be fine. Owners should responsible enough to keep their pet's treats or anything that could be poisonous out of reach. It's just like any other thing in this world- EG; calcium is good for us, but too much can lead to calcium deposits on our bones. Too much of anything can be harmful. Garlic can be beneficial to a dog.

How come so many people believe garlic is bad for dogs? -Outside of the fact that they are related to the onion which is harmful to pets. Anywhere else online you say that you give your dog garlic and give you death threats. What's with all the misinformed people?

Replied by Jocelyn
(London, UK)
5 out of 5 stars

Many false posts on the internet about the supposed deadly side effects of garlic for dogs. It seems quite obvious to me that the companies that sell the flea medication formulas started the rumors. As always, the internet feeds false information like an insipid virus when it is copied from one web site to another without any real research done on the subject. Hopefully websites like this one prove that garlic in moderation is safe for dogs AND a great healing tool. I have used garlic for many years on my canines and none of them have ever experienced any (and I mean ANY) side effects.

Replied by Allison
(Dallas, Tx)

I agree about the companies that sell the flea meds spreading the rumors .If anyone that reads this would do me (and future pets and their owners) a favor and spread this news like a disease! Due to being unemployed at the moment and the fleas in Texas already out of control even after 3 good winter freezes I resorted to an "over the counter spot on" flea treatment for my 2 dogs. I won't mention brand partly because you can't on this site but mainly because THEY ARE ALL BAD! 1 day after applying this treatment to both my 8 lb chihuahua and my 100 lb Akita the Akita started acting lethargic.Within 3 hrs of me noticing her acting a little funny I could not get her to stand, eat, drink and she seemed to be drifting out of consciousness. I knew I needed to get her to the vet but I couldn't lift her and I live alone. It was 5:00 a.m. and I couldn't find anyone awake. Called the local fire station they refused to help. Finally an hour later my boyfriend woke up and I rousted my neighbor.They had to carry my baby out on a blanket.When we arrived at the emergency vet they immediately put her on oxygen and fluids. When I told them her symptoms they asked if I had applied any over the counter flea meds to her. I hadn't even thought of that being the problem. I was horrified! Within minutes I was told there was little hope that she would live. I was hysterical but pulled myself together enough to go lie with her on the floor of the E.R. and hug her and apologize to her for forcing her to sit still as I applied the stuff that would kill her. I held her as they put her to sleep. I hugged her until her heart stopped beating. I weep as I'm writing this as it happened just a week ago.She was a 3 yr old beautiful, sweet, smart, strong and loyal 100 lb Akita .I nursed her through Parvo at 8 weeks old. She was a fighter and this poison in a tube being sold everywhere snuffed out her life too soon. Tell everyone you know this stuff is HORRIBLE! I am so lucky it didn't kill my other dog. When I returned from the vet I washed him like 4 times much to his dismay. Needless to say I am on the hunt for flea treatments that work without risking your dogs health.I am terrified to use anything now. Thanks in advance for taking time to read this. Allison

Replied by Susan
(Montesano, Wa. Usa)

I have 2 one year old Shih-Tzus. They both have the Shih-Tzu skin problems. I used to like giving garlic to the dogs but was told it was bad for them. Now I am totally confused. How do you give the dogs garlic without them spitting it out?? I mixed garlic powder in their rice while I cook it. I have seen garlic pills. Can they have those?? They are in the vitamin isle at the store. How do you decide how much they can have. Both of my boys are around 11 pounds. My poor bebies are going nuts with them on them. We have used bathes, Bio-Spot (which was useless) Baking soda bathes and now we are seeing them run and hide even if we go to the bathroom for our own use. If garlic is safe then I want to use that. They are our babies and we hate seeing them so agitated. What amount is good? Why not powder?? Isn't that just dried garlic?? The capsules?? How much is good for them? Thanks.

Replied by Vikas
(Bangalore, India)
5 out of 5 stars

After reading all the comments I got confused weather to feed my fod garlic or not. So I decide to call my VET and he told me that I can feed him 2-3 cloves in his food daily. Its not at all harmful to dogs.

Replied by Anthony
(Gainesville, Florida)

The same japanese scientists who learned that "garlic" damages canine blood cells also claim it is positive for cardiac and immune health.

What damages cells is not thiosulphate but a disulfide that is part of thiosulphate.

The missing enzyme in dogs is g6pd and it neutralizes the disulfide.

Guess what - about 1 in 12 humans have the same problem (me for one). Garlic does the same to us as it does to dogs. In my case it causes me to feel crappy if I eat too much. G6pd deficiency is one of the most common deficiencies among humans.

Dogs have no g6pd so disulfide damages the blood cells and they are eliminated by the spleen. The bone marrow replaces these cells. If you feed the dog too much disulfide and it injures more blood cells than the bone marrow can replace, anemia results.

This disulfide by-product of thiosulphate is an "oxidant" and "anti-oxidants" will neutralize them just like g6pd does. Stuff like vitamin E are anti-oxidants so if you include them in the dog diet they should prevent harm from disulfide.

Just so you know I only use the word "vet" because it is easier to say than "unlicensed taxidermist" - which in my opinion is what most vets are.

Further I am not a scientist - I learned this stuff just researching on the net.

You should do the same.

So I think the best thing is to make sure the dog gets anti-oxidants (either in food or a supplement) and start out with VERY SMALL doses of garlic. Increase it little by little and see if the dog tolerates it okay. If the dog shows any signs of trouble with a small dose STOP.

It takes a few days for disulfide to damage blood cells, so unless the dog has some kind of other problem it shouldn't harm them right away - like stories I've heard of a dog eating some garlic and getting sick an hour later.

Like I said I have a g6pd deficiency - I don't like raw or cooked onion because they POISON me - but my mother MADE me eat onion when I was a kid. If your dog doesn't like garlic BE CAREFUL. Onion tasted vile to me when I was kid so if garlic repels your dog be careful.

One of my dogs had a hemorrhage and his tongue turned white before he died - you can tell if a dog is anemic by checking the color of the tongue.

Don't take my (or anyone else's) word for it - do your own research.

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Posted by amanda (gainesville, florida us) on 04/21/2009

garlic is in the onion family and onions are toxic to dogs. they can cause hemolytic anemia (basically kills red blood cells). my dog had hemolytic anemia and it is no joke! a blood tranfusion and thousands of dollars in vet bills to get her better. she is a shih-tzu mix and I have heard shih-tzus are especially predisposed to h.a.

Replied by Darwin
(Kihei, Hi)

Did you even read the article? Onions and garlic are related but have an considerable difference in thiosulphate. Did you feed your dog onions or garlic? I supose there could be different veriteties of garlic that could have different levels of thiosulphates, depending on the level oh sulphates in the dirt and disposition from onions. Just a small dose will go a long way with dogs, so don't go feeding them a bulb of garlic a day. Unless they "yo quedo taco bell".

Replied by Whitney
(Summerland, Bc, Canada)

There is a logic fallacy in extending onion's toxicity to all onion family members. A further example of this would be saying that potatoes and tomatos are toxic because they are in the same botanical family as deadly nightshade. Potatoes and tomatos indeed carry some of the toxin, especially in their non-edible plant parts. The tubers and fruits that we eat don't carry enough of the toxin to be poisonous. I believe moderation as has been already suggested is key.

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Posted by Raven (Bangkok, Thailand) on 11/18/2008
5 out of 5 stars

Recent research sets the LD50 (lethal dose at which 50% of subjects die) of garlic in dogs at approximately 5 grams per Kg.

So the dog who got sick from eating a whole bulb of garlic may have gotten a dangerous amount if the bulb was 50 grams like the ones I buy and the dog was 10 kg or so (22 lbs). Smart per owners will keep all medicines, natural or not, in a safe storage.

That being said, much valid research seems to indicate nothing but good effects from a clove of garlic a day for dogs (use Google Scholar to search for and see all the papers on the web). For tiny dogs a tiny piece is likely all that is needed.

My Thai Dog puppy loves garlic, but as he only weighs 12 Kg at 5 months old, one clove a day is all he gets. The vet says he looks great and tests show no intestinal worms.

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Posted by Karen (Reading, UK) on 10/02/2008
5 out of 5 stars

I have given garlic to all my dogs and they never have fleas or worms, and live long healthy lives. One Golden Retriever in particular was a real pig and would raid the shopping bags while you were getting the rest in. At one time he consumed 2 loaves of bread in a couple of gulps, another time a pound of sugar! Not to mention a lot of unspeakable stuff he would find in the fields. He had no ill efects and he lived to 17. Dogs usually have pretty strong stomachs! I do feel vets and feed manufacturers have a vested interest in bad mouthing anything natural. Our stable cats never have jabs or wormers and live to ripe old ages. They scrap and get a scratch or an absyss, but this disappears in a day or two on it's own, without sixty quids worth of antibiotics!

Replied by Jacy
(Sydney, NSW)

It should be said, that garlic and onion is poisonous to dogs, and in some breeds, can build up in their system and cause SEVERE form of anaemia - it sounds rather macabre, but the red blood cells begin to BURST! A breeder that I know said that a local vet asked them to bring one of their strong dogs in to "donate blood" for a dog who desperately needed a blood transfusion for long-term intake of garlic. The dog was suffering from severe anaemia. I'm surprised that some brands of dog food contain garlic also. It may ward off fleas, but I certainly would not risk it with my dogs. A safer and natural flea remedy is Eucalyptus oil or Tea Tree Oil added to their shampoo.

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Posted by Cynthia (Pineville, LA) on 09/28/2008
5 out of 5 stars

hey my dad has been sprinkling garlic powder on his dogs food for about 16 yrs now. He used just enough to cover the top of food shake it into dry food or mix into canned.

Replied by Debra
(Kirkwood, Mo)

I use Garlic gel caps for my Australian Shepard, and my Father used it for his dogs when I was growing up. Also my Father used Sevin Powder for Vegetables, that is also safe for Dogs. It looks like Baby Powder =)

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Posted by RhyDonna (Denison, Texas) on 09/02/2008
5 out of 5 stars

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.

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Posted by Carlos (Lisbon, Portugal) on 08/27/2008
1 out of 5 stars

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

Replied by Myra
(The Internet)

Actually that is not true. Studies do not unanimously agree that garlic should not be fed to dogs. Look deeper into the studies that claim garlic is harmful. They gave the dogs MASSIVE amounts of garlic in those studies. It is fully possible to OD on any substance, no matter how "safe" it is. The toxin in onions that causes Heinz Body anemia is present in far smaller amounts in garlic. Many many people use garlic for their dogs with no ill effects and many health benefits. There are at least two comments on this very page of dogs owners that have given garlic for many years and had dogs with very long and healthy lives.

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Posted by Melissa (Wellsburg, WV) on 06/18/2008
1 out of 5 stars

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.

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Posted by Suzana (Wellington , Florida) on 06/10/2008
5 out of 5 stars

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.

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Posted by Gabrielle (Elgin, Ontario Canada) on 05/16/2008
5 out of 5 stars

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!

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Posted by Dee (West Warwick, RI) on 05/04/2008
5 out of 5 stars

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.

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Posted by Sabina (Goshen, NY) on 04/30/2008
5 out of 5 stars

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.

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Posted by Monica (USA) on 04/19/2008
5 out of 5 stars

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.

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