Garlic is a food that many of us crave and enjoy as a relish or an added flavor for our favorite meals. The smell is also drool-worthy. But even though we love it as humans, is garlic as delicious for dogs? Can we add it to their bowl for a nice touch of zest?
The answer is no. Garlic is toxic to dogs.
Why can garlic be toxic?
Garlic might have health benefits for humans, but dogs metabolize certain foods, including garlic, differently than we do. Garlic is not good for dogs to eat and can lead to serious health problems.
Dr. Ann Hohenhaus, the staff doctor at NYC's Animal Medical Center, says "Any member of the Allium family — onions, garlic, leeks, and chives are the most commonly reported to cause toxicity — contains N-propyl disulfide. This compound damages the oxygen-carrying substance found in red blood cells called hemoglobin."
This kind of damage can cause red cells to rupture and be cleared from circulation faster than normal. This condition, hemolysis, results in anemia and red or brown urine. In severe cases, the anemia may lead to internal organ damage, organ failure, or even death.
If your pet has eaten any garlic or onions he or she may also experience gastrointestinal irritation.
How much garlic is too much?
Typically, consumption of as little as 15-30 grams per kilogram of body weight in dogs has resulted in changes to a dog's blood. The average clove of supermarket garlic weighs between 3-7 grams, so your dog would have to eat a lot of garlic to get really sick. However, all dogs are different and each reacts to food differently so it's best to keep an eye on your dog if they have eaten garlic but show no immediate signs of health issues.
What to do if your dog eats garlic.
Contact your veterinarian or emergency clinic as soon as you realize your dog has eaten garlic.
The outlook is generally good with early and aggressive treatment when ingestion is caught quickly. However, treatments may not be as effective in severe cases or in pets that were not immediately treated by a veterinarian.
Garlic is toxic to dogs. Garlic is from the Allium family which contains a compound that can damage the oxygen-carrying substance found in red blood cells called hemoglobin. Contact your veterinarian or emergency clinic as soon as you realize your dog has eaten garlic. Your pup's life shouldn't be in harm, but it's important to get them checked out as soon as you can to make sure there are no lasting effects.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.