Garlic and Pets

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We have heard that garlic is toxic to pets but some of the internal supplements use garlic. Why?


Isn’t Garlic toxic to pets? 

Garlic CAN be harmful, but in large doses over a long period of time.  A compound found in onions (and in lesser amount in garlic) called n-propyldisulfide can, in large doses, cause oxidative damage to red blood cells, creating Heinz bodies and triggering the body to reject these cells from the bloodstream.  If large doses of this compound are ingested on a regular basis, the process can lead to Heinz-body anemia and even death.  Does that mean garlic is unsafe for dogs?  Not quite.  The key to safe use of garlic on dogs is the dosage level and frequency of use.  For a dog to develop Heinz-body anemia, he would have to eat over 0.5% of his body weight in onions to even begin the oxidative process.  It means a healthy 60-pound dog would have to eat a whole 5-oz onion, or several cloves of garlic, to start the Heinz-body process.  Since red blood cells are constantly regenerated from the bone marrow, a dog would likely need to ingest this much amount of onion or garlic on a repeated basis to cause permanent harm.

 

Who Should Not Be Given Garlic?

Garlic should NOT be fed to pets with a pre-existing anemic condition or to those scheduled for surgery. Also, young puppies before six to eight weeks of age should NOT be given garlic because they do not begin reproducing new blood cells until after 6-8 weeks. 

 

What are the health benefits of Garlic?

Besides being a flea & tick repellant, garlic supplementation for pets, under the correct amounts, can provide many positive health benefits:


  • Immune system booster

Garlic stimulates immune functions in the bloodstream by increasing the activities of killer cells (cells that seek out and destroy invading microbes and cancer cells). It is therefore beneficial for dogs with suppressed immune systems and dogs fighting cancer. Moderate garlic supplementation in the diets of even healthy dogs can boost their immunity.


  • Anti-bacterial/fungal/viral

Garlic is a powerful antimicrobial and antibiotic and is effective in fighting various forms of internal or external bacterial, viral, or fungal infection, including parasites and protozoan organisms.


  • Enhancing liver function

Garlic has detoxifying effects.  At least six compounds contained in garlic can enhance liver function by helping the liver to eliminate toxins from the body, thereby preventing toxic accumulation.


  • Lowering triglyceride levels

Uncooked garlic mixed in with food helps to lower blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels in dogs, making it useful for certain breeds (e.g. miniature schnauzers, beagles) that are predisposed to hyperlipidemia, a condition in which the amount of fats (lipids) in the blood are elevated.



​At PetPeople we are a group of dedicated and passionate pet people. We are so enthusiastic to engage our customers, exchange information, and work together to solve common pet problems. We hope you will continue to come to us with questions, problems or situations regarding your pets’ care. It is our goal to be a partner with you and your veterinarian in the health and well-being of your pet.

While we are happy to advise you and share our knowledge with you, we would never propose that our recommendations be used instead of consulting with your veterinarian about any concerns or issues. You know your pet better than anyone, and should always use your best judgement regarding obtaining the best care for your pet. ©2016 PetPeople Enterprises, LLC