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can my pet have this
garlic-toxic-to-dogs

The essentials

  • Garlic contains thiosulfate, which is toxic to dogs  — The size of your dog and the amount of garlic ingested determines how dangerous this flavoring can be.
  • Toxic doesn’t always mean fatal — It takes a lot of garlic to make your pup seriously ill, but it’s best to play it safe and call your vet if you suspect your dog has ingested garlic. If it’s after hours or your dog has consumed a significant amount of garlic, call an emergency vet or the Pet Poison Helpline.
  • Garlic is everywhere — This common seasoning is found in dishes you may not suspect. Avoid feeding your dog people food unless you know exactly what’s in it and if it’s safe for your pup.

How much garlic is toxic for dogs?

Garlic can be dangerous to dogs in amounts of about 15 to 30 grams, according to the American Kennel Club. To put that into perspective, a typical bulb of garlic or small onion weighs about 5 grams. Studies have shown that dogs that ingested 5 grams of whole garlic were not adversely affected. Your dog would have to eat about three bulbs of garlic (yuck!) to have severe poisoning.

The problem is that garlic is a sneaky seasoning found in everything from Southwestern dishes to seafood, stews, and even spaghetti. Because it’s so prevalent, your dog might already be eating garlic if you frequently feed them table scraps. For this reason — and other health concerns such as high calorie and fat content — it’s best to limit or eliminate dogs’ scrap intake, and give them healthy dog treats or baby carrots as treats.

Is any garlic safe for dogs?

Humans often consume garlic for health benefits, but in most cases, these benefits don’t apply to dogs. What’s healthy for us may be harmful to them and vice versa because dogs metabolize food differently than humans. Garlic, onion, chives, and leeks are members of the allium family which are toxic to dogs as well as cats. In fact, garlic is the most toxic of the allium family! They all contain thiosulfate, a component that can cause damage to red blood cells, resulting in Heinz body hemolytic anemia. Garlic powder is the most toxic form of garlic since it’s super concentrated.

What about natural flea and tick prevention?

Some dog supplements contain garlic as a way to repel fleas and ticks. The theory is that these pests hate the smell of garlic, so the smell of your dog’s skin excreting the ingested garlic will ward them off. If you are thinking about using these supplements, consult your dog’s veterinarian first to make sure you get the correct dosage. Remember, garlic is not fatal in small doses, but an accidental overdose can easily be very dangerous. For this reason, we prefer not to use these supplements at all — instead, we recommend these best flea and tick medicines.

Symptoms of garlic poisoning in dogs

Since garlic is in so many recipes, it’s likely at some point your pup has accidentally ingested some amount of garlic. In most cases, your pup will be fine if they ate only a tiny amount.

🚨 If you suspect they had too much, call the Pet Poison Helpline and watch them closely for symptoms of garlic poisoning:

  • Lethargy
  • Pale gums
  • Jaundice
  • Red or brown-tinged urine
  • Decreased appetite
  • Increased or labored breathing
  • Increased heart rate
  • Weakness
  • Intolerance for usual physical activity, such as going on walks or trips to the dog park
  • GI upset (vomiting, abdominal pain, nausea, diarrhea, excessive drooling)

According to the Pet Poison Hotline, symptoms of the more severe cases of garlic poisoning appear within 24 hours of when the garlic was consumed, but some symptoms could take up to a week.

Medical treatment for garlic poisoning

If it is determined that the amount of garlic ingested is a potentially fatal dose, then a veterinarian will need to induce vomiting within 2 hours of the garlic ingestion. If your dog vomits up the garlic, then your dog will likely not have any side effects.  If your dog develops harsh symptoms as a result of eating too much garlic, your vet may need to give intravenous fluids or a blood transfusion. These interventions are rarely required but may be necessary if your dog is dehydrated from excessive GI upset or has severe anemia.

Table scrap alternatives

If your dog loves people food, then consider giving them a  tummy-friendly treat that tastes like table scraps, without potentially harmful seasonings such as garlic.

Frequently asked questions

What will happen if a dog eats garlic?

Garlic is toxic to dogs, but typically not fatal in small amounts. Most times your dog will be fine, but they might display signs of GI upset such as vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. If your dog has eaten any amount of garlic, it’s important to call your local vet, emergency vet, or Pet Poison Helpline to determine whether it’s a toxic dose. An expert will make this decision based on your dog’s body weight and the form of garlic consumed.

Can dogs eat small amounts of garlic?

Because a garlic overdose can be devastating, you should avoid giving your dog any food with this ingredient entirely. If you’d like to give your dog a supplement containing garlic, consult your pup’s veterinarian.

Can dogs eat meat cooked with garlic?

We don’t recommend it because garlic can cause GI upset even in small doses. If you want to give your dog meat, it’s best to cook it yourself with no seasoning.

Can I feed my dog garlic bread?

Garlic isn’t the only problem with this savory treat. Garlic bread is high in calories and fats which aren’t good for dogs, either. We say skip this one, and opt for a healthy dog treat as an alternative.