By: Nicole Di Bernardo
Garlic’s (Allium sativum) medicinal purposes have been valued for thousands of years. Five thousand-year-old Sanskrit and Chinese medical texts describe the benefits of garlic.
Today, garlic for humans (and garlic for dogs) is grown all over the world. And it’s making a strong comeback as a potent, effective, natural remedy.
Garlic is a member of the lily family, like the onion. It’s been used for thousands of years as a medicinal herb. In fact, Hippocrates used garlic for infections, cancer, and digestive disorders.
And the great Roman naturalist, Pliny the Elder, also used garlic for a variety of ailments. Pliny had success supporting the common cold, to even epilepsy and cancer.
Modern science knows that garlic can boost immunity. And this is how it can help rid bacterial, viral and fungal infections. It's also able to:
- Enhance liver function
- Detoxify cells in the body
- Lowers cholesterol and triglycerides
- Can fight cancer cells
Raw garlic cloves contain a high amount of a compound called alliin, as well as the enzyme alliinase. When garlic is crushed or diced, alliin and alliinase combine to form the compound allicin.
And this is what gives garlic its therapeutic properties. But keep in mind cooked garlic is not as therapeutic as freshly crushed or finely diced raw garlic.
But Is Garlic Safe For Dogs?
Recently, the safety of garlic for dogs has come into question. That’s because one research study used a huge amount of garlic in their test dogs.
When garlic is fed in very large amounts to dogs, it can cause oxidative damage to red blood cells. And this can lead to a medical situation called Heinz body anemia.
Knowledge is a powerful thing ... but I want you to gather all the data about garlic before shunning this celebrated bulb.
Ironically, garlic is an approved flavoring, spice or seasoning in pet food ... yet the FDA lists garlic in its poisonous plant database.
That’s because this study suggested that high amounts of garlic might damage the red blood cells of dogs.
They found that the average 75 pound Golden Retriever needs to eat five full heads of garlic. This is equivalent to about 75 cloves in each meal.
Similarly, a dog weighing 10 lbs needs to eat 6-8 cloves of garlic – about half an entire head of garlic. And this significantly more than you would use for therapeutic support.
So yes, garlic can be toxic when fed in excess. But chances are you are not feeding that much garlic and would your dog even eat that much?
Drinking too much water can kill you and your dog, but we all drink water. In fact, we all know drinking water is healthy.
Garlic Can Be Safe For Dogs
Garlic can be safe for your dog. It's a matter of what’s healthy and what’s too much? All this “garlic is bad for your dog” hype is taken totally out of context.
The total reported adverse effects from garlic for dogs add up to a non-event over the past 22 years. The National Animal Supplement Council records both Adverse Events and Serious Adverse Events for natural products.
A Serious Adverse Event is defined as, " An Adverse Event with a transient incapacitating effect (ie rendering the animal unable to function normally for a short period of time, such as with a seizure) or non-transient (ie permanent) health effect."
900 million doses of garlic over a 22-year time span resulted in only two Serious Adverse Events. These episodes could very well have been due not to garlic, but to another ingredient in the mix. This proves beyond a shadow of a doubt the risk of using garlic is incredibly low.
It’s Time To Reconsider Garlic For Dogs
There is a lot of positive research supporting the medicinal powers of garlic. And I want to share some of the top reasons why you really want to consider it as part of your dog's care.
Natural Antibiotic Support
Among garlic’s benefits, the best known is its natural antibiotic activity. In fact, Pasteur noted garlic’s antibacterial benefits in 1858.
There's research that has compared the effectiveness of garlic with antibiotics. And they found that garlic has a broad antibacterial effect.
As a bonus, bacteria don’t seem to build resistance to garlic as they do to many modern antibiotics. But that’s just the beginning of its benefits.
Immune And Cancer Support
Garlic also increases the immune activity of Killer Cells. These are the cells that seek out and kill invading bacteria and cancer cells.
A 1988 study found that diallyl sulfide in garlic prevented tumor formation in rats. And other studies have shown that garlic inhibits various forms of cancer growth in the body.
There is also evidence that the allicin in garlic works to inhibit cancer formation. And cancer is the number one cause of death in dogs in the United States ... so ever step to prevent it counts!
Help Manage Fat And Detox With Garlic For Dogs
And uncooked garlic lowers blood triglycerides and cholesterol. This is useful for breeds like Schnauzers and Beagles predisposed to this problem.
Garlic also enhances liver function by triggering enzymes that break down waste materials. And this helps prevent the toxins from reaching his blood.
And in today’s toxic world, our dogs’ livers need all the help they can get.
Garlic Is A Natural Flea Prevention For Dogs
Additionally, feeding garlic to your dog will help prevent flea infestations. And there are many products on the market containing garlic for this very purpose.
When using garlic for flea prevention, it’s important to use a castile soap or detergent free shampoo. Because dogs don’t sweat as humans do and the garlic smell comes out on their coat.
And it takes several weeks for the garlic compounds to build up in his skin and coat. Bathing with a detergent shampoo removes the oil, so you’ll be back to square one again.
How To Feed Garlic To Dogs
So now that you aren't scared of garlic anymore, it's time to chat about how to feed it to your dog. To release its healing properties, it’s best to finely chop or crush the garlic clove. Then wait 10 minutes to allow the chemical reaction to occur.
Here are some guidelines for feeding garlic daily:
- 10 to 15 pounds – half a clove
- 20 to 40 pounds – 1 clove
- 45 to 70 pounds – 2 cloves
- 75+ pounds – 2 and a half cloves
Keep in mind the allicin becomes unstable once exposed to air and heat. Don’t wait more than 20 minutes before topping your dog’s meal with healthy raw garlic.
The cooked garlic will still function as an antioxidant and flush toxins out. If you cook meals for your dog, it’s totally fine to add garlic as a flavoring and for improved health.
So let’s all get going with garlic! Buy a garlic press or simply chop some up. You can then mix it in with your dog’s meal.
Nicole Di Bernardo, Operations Manager
Four Leaf Rover
When Nicole isn't sharing the ways dog owners can help their dogs lead better lives, she can be found exploring. She's an avid outdoor sports enthusiast and loves to travel.