Is Garlic Good or Bad for Dogs?

Category Health
There is an ongoing debate among pet owners as to whether garlic is safe and beneficial to feed to your dog. This is a page about "Is garlic good or bad for dogs?".


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April 6, 2007

From time to time on ThriftyFun, the community debates whether garlic is beneficial or harmful to dogs and cats. With the pet food recalls, an increased interest has been created with homemade pet foods and pet health.

A quick survey of the internet shows many sites that talk about onions and garlic and being poisonous, even deadly to cats and dogs. On the same page, you will see ads for "Natural Garlic Supplements For Dogs" and sites that recommend garlic for flea prevention and general well-being. It is hard to know what to think.

Here is a pet health site from the American Animal Hospital Association that discusses poisons.


Toward the bottom of that page, there is a specific list of poisonous materials. It lists garlic and onions as poisonous, even deadly, but only in a raw or spoiled form. So does that mean that cooked garlic is OK? What about garlic supplements that people are selling for pets?

We'd like to know what you think! What have been your experiences with garlic? What has your vet told you? Has anyone lost a pet due to garlic poisoning?

Please post your feedback below.


September 21, 20101 found this helpful
Best Answer

I have worked at a vets office since the age of 15 and I am 26 now, I am a RVT, and I have been feeding my dogs garlic for years now and there have been no side effects to it at all, garlic is supposed to repel mosquitos so I think it has been beneficial to them not harmful, onions on the other hand do cause major problems and they could die from eating them, have seen to many come in the clinic with onion poisioning, I just did bloodwork on my dogs the other day and it is perfect and we eat garlic salt everynight on our food along with garlic powder and also minced garlic.

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October 4, 20100 found this helpful
Best Answer

My Lab-Shepherd mix lived to be 16 years old. I gave one piece of a garlic clove minced (in food) whenever I thought she might be having problems, but tried to do it weekly. It seemed to help worms and fleas.


She never had any adverse reactions. I now have a lab puppy who has worms, according to the vet, and the meds cost over 40 dollars for three pills. I will use this for now, but plan to give her garlic when she is a bit bigger.

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ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

September 21, 2010

From time to time on ThriftyFun, the community debates whether garlic is beneficial or harmful to dogs and cats.With the petfood recalls, an increased interest has been created with homemade pet foods and pet health.


A quick survey of the internet shows many sites that talk about onions and garlic and being poisonous, even deadly to cats and dogs.On the same page, you will see ads for "Natural Garlic Supplements For Dogs" and sites that recommend garlic for flea prevention and general well-being. It is hard to know what to think.

According to the ASPCA:
Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Pet

Below if feedback from users on this topic.


By Paula

RE: Is Garlic Good or Bad for Dogs?

I give my dog garlic and yeast tablets every morning. They help promote healthy skin and fur.

Paula (04/06/2007)

By Paula

RE: Is Garlic Good or Bad for Dogs?

I know my dogs and cats have eaten onion grass from time to time, it is related to onions and garlic and grows naturally in the woods and in our yard. I wouldn't think that any plant edible to humans would be poisonous to dogs or cats, except for chocolate. I sometimes cook with onion grass. It's just like chives.But then again, my dog once ate a half of a chocolate cake and didn't even throw up, so I would be inclined to doubt most horror stories of "poisonous foods" that will kill my pets.

PMZ (04/06/2007)

By Paul Ziegenfuss

RE: Is Garlic Good or Bad for Dogs?

I was told by my vet never to feed animals garlic and chocolate is fatal to both cats and dogs. I had a dog of mine who snatched a candy bar once, it gave her instant seizures and killed her in 3 days. The vet said all chocolate and garlic is fatal, it locks up their liver and brain waves. So please be careful (04/08/2007)

By L Dailey

RE: Is Garlic Good or Bad for Dogs?

(from another feedback)From what I can understand about the garlic thing and broccoli thing, garlic and broccoli have to be eaten in large amounts for it to have a poisonous effect. Onions are dangerous because they have much greater quantities of the poisonous element than garlic. So as long as your careful with the amount of broccoli and garlic and don't give them way too much, then they should be OK. At least that's what I've gathered from what I've read around, and the advice from my vet.Cat >^..^< (04/10/2007)

By ThriftyFun

RE: Is Garlic Good or Bad for Dogs?

I agree that it is the amount of garlic or broccoli that could have the poisonous effect, problem is, what amount would be too much? Every single pet is different and could withstand a different level of "poisoning". My little one is very sensitive and it wouldn't take much at all to make her sick; my German Shorthair mix is a much larger size and apparently has a cast iron stomach and can eat anything.

My last, dear, gentle, furbaby was a Cocker Spaniel and I fed her things that are on the list of things not to feed pets, this was before I knew such a list existed! I gave her grapes and raisins for little treats, fed her leftovers with cooked onions in it, and once gave her cooked pumpkin left over from a pie (which she vomited for hours on!). Dusty eventually had kidney failure and had to be put to sleep. It took me over ten years and a prescription for anti-depressants to get over the pain. Now, it could have just been that a dog her age would get kidney failure, but, what if, it were the foods that I had fed her all her years with me? So, I do not feed anything that is on the aspca list, or anything that my vet says not to feed, or anything that is on the humane society list, because I just won't take a chance. Do my two furbabies realize that they aren't getting garlic, or broccoli, or chocolate? Nope, they don't have a clue; so, why even take a chance and give them those things? (04/10/2007)

By Paula

RE: Is Garlic Good or Bad for Dogs?

We've had our English Springer Spaniel, Buddy, for 8 years. The only time he was sick was when he snatched a chocolate brownie from the back of our car coming home from a Xmas party. He was lathargic and feverish for 3 days. I now know chocolate is toxic to dogs, but I would suspect it would have to do with the amount consumed and type of chocolate. Dark chocolate seems to be the worst. I now live by the "list of toxic foods" when it comes to our pets. Why take a chance? (04/15/2007)


RE: Is Garlic Good or Bad for Dogs?

Despite its healing qualities, garlic contains a compound named thiosulphate. In extremely high levels thiosulphate can be a dangerous toxin that cause hemolytic anemia in dogs. But we're not talking about garlic dog treats, supplemental garlic, or healthy table scraps that may have included fresh garlic in the recipe. We're talking about situations where your pet sniffs out several bulbs of garlic you were about to use for a giant batch of homemade spaghetti sauce for the whole neighborhood and winds up eating 50 cloves in one sitting. We repeat, it would take up to 50 cloves for garlic to be harmful to your dog! 50 cloves of garlic wouldn't be a good idea for anyone, let alone your dog. In the event that your dog did get into a basket of garlic cloves, the symptoms of hemolytic anemia can develop within a few hours or a few days. Signs include vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, depression, and loss of appetite. If you see these symptoms in your pet and you're missing a lot of cloves of garlic, call your vet.

The bottom line here is that dogs and cats can get into many things around the house that are toxic if consumed in large quantities. But, when used in moderation, garlic can be a healthy supplement. According to Charlie Fox, the co-author of The Garlic Cure (McCleery & Sons, 2002), garlic can be used to stimulate and support immune function, trigger gastric juices for better digestion, encourage the growth of friendly bacteria, and prevent infections. He's seen garlic reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer as well as improve blood sugar regulation and promote detoxification. (05/02/2007)

By I found this and hopes this helps.

RE: Is Garlic Good or Bad for Dogs?

I have been mixing a clove of raw garlic into my dogs' food with no ill side effects. They seem to enjoy it, and it has kept the fleas away. (05/18/2007)

By Amy

RE: Is Garlic Good or Bad for Dogs?

I noticed that a lot of the pet foods that you buy have garlic in them. Must not be that bad. (06/08/2007)

By Debra

RE: Is Garlic Good or Bad for Dogs?

We feed our Dog, a German Shepherd, one tsp. of pressed garlic in his food every day and he is doing extremely well. (06/30/2007)

By honest Albert

RE: Is Garlic Good or Bad for Dogs?

RE: Is Garlic Good or Bad for Dogs?

I gave my dog about a spoonful size of garlic bread one night when we were having spaghetti. He's never used the bathroom in his bed at night, in his crate! He not only used the bathroom everywhere, but there was blood in his feces and on his bed. A small amount, but blood. His nose area and mouth were very unusually pink. I'm sure he tried to hold it as long as he could, but when I let him out to use the bathroom when I woke up, he practically pooped water. Something was very wrong. I will NEVER feed my dog garlic again. (07/04/2007)

By Grace

RE: Is Garlic Good or Bad for Dogs?

RE: Is Garlic Good or Bad for Dogs?

I'll just add my 'good' opinion of garlic for dogs: Like many posts I have seen, I have been giving my (25kg) dog about a clove of (raw) garlic every two days with her 'home-made' food with NO ill effects. On the contrary, she is alert, energetic, playful and has a beautiful coat. That said, it might be the teaspoon of olive oil she also gets every day. (11/01/2007)

By Marc

RE: Is Garlic Good or Bad for Dogs?

I will never ever give my dog Sammy onions or garlic. They are toxic! I read in National Geographic, which is a highly respected magazine, that it harms your animal. So personally, I check everything that Sammy eats, from dog food to treats. Also, I Googled dogs and garlic and read a few articles to back up what I had read earlier. (12/14/2007)

By Denise

RE: Is Garlic Good or Bad for Dogs?

RE: Is Garlic Good or Bad for Dogs?

The internet, although very helpful at times, can be very misleading. I have spoken to a vet from the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center and she told me that my 60 lb. dog would have had to have eaten the equivalent of 27 cloves of garlic in one sitting for it to be harmful. People, moderation is the key to everything in life. Just think about what your dog eats off of the ground when you're not looking. (01/01/2008)

By Ron

RE: Is Garlic Good or Bad for Dogs?

My 5mth black Lab/Rottie mix has had really bad worms he is given the dewormer from the vet, but when they do come out they are still alive and kicking! 2 weeks ago I noticed worms crawling out all by themselves, I was very frustrated by this point until I read garlic kills them. I have since given my dogs a little garlic (the kind that is already minced in a jar for the refrigerator that way I don't have to constantly do it myself). And I am happy to say no more worms! I will continue giving them garlic (in moderation!) and will definitely tell all my friends the same. (01/08/2008)


RE: Is Garlic Good or Bad for Dogs?

So tonight I thought my dog ate a 3 oz. bulb of garlic (1 regular sized bulb, about 16 cloves). He's a 44lb Schnauzer/Terrier mix 2 years old. I searched the internet trying to find how much garlic is too much as I didn't want to have to pay th $60 for animal poison control since I felt like they would say not to worry. There are 2 postings above, one saying 26 cloves and another saying up to 50 cloves of garlic can be harmful. I decided to call poison control just in case.

Just to share the information. They advised that 1 bulb is borderline for a dog his size and I should induce vomiting. So I got my keys to head out to the store to by hydrogen peroxide and lowand behold, there's the clove of garlic on the back deck that he carried out and decided not to eat which was good news for both of us. So I'm hoping my $60 spent on the call might help someone else out if their dog does the same thing.

Moral of the story here is that the postings of 26 - 50 cloves of garlic should not be followed as rule of thumb above. If it's more than 1 bulb for a 44 lb dog or larger, you should consult animal poison control or an emergency vet for help. (01/10/2008)

By Charlie's owner

RE: Is Garlic Good or Bad for Dogs?

I have a 6 year old male Sharpei who has always had garlic. He is fit and well and has never had fleas. We live in the UK. (01/22/2008)

By David

RE: Is Garlic Good or Bad for Dogs?

I have been feeding my dogs a home cooked chicken casserole with 2 teaspoons of minced garlic per about 1.2kg pet chicken mince for 11 years. I have not seen any visible signs that it is doing them any harm. (03/17/2008)

By Carol

RE: Is Garlic Good or Bad for Dogs?

I have read some of the feedback below and most everyone seems to think garlic is fine.My little dog Sadie died last week from AIHA (augoimmune hemolytic anemia). I have no idea how or why it began and I'm not sure how long she was ill. She had slowed down a bit, but we did not really notice anything was wrong until late last week and then it was too late.

AIHA can be caused from a number of things including a virus, a bee sting, a poison, a medication. The experts just don't know. Sadie had all her shots last December which the doc says is too long ago for that to be the cause. The only thing I can think of is a change in her diet. I added an expensive freeze-dried raw dog food called Force to her diet recently because she was such a picky eater. Today I looked and yes, the food contains raw garlic.

Now I'm an emotional wreck. Could I have killed my own dog? I am devastated. I'll never know if this was the cause, but I'll never offer a dog garlic in the future. This food is going in the trash. I may try to talk to the makers to see what they say. I just don't know. (03/31/2008)

By Cheryl

RE: Is Garlic Good or Bad for Dogs?

Garlic has been fed to dogs for centuries as an effective flea control. I find it rather sad that so many people nowadays have no problem using dangerous chemical poisons on their beloved animals as long as these products carry a fancy corporate name and the magical word "medicated" on the packaging, but create some doubt about a totally natural and healthy product like garlic and there is widespread panic.

I wonder if the pharmaceutical industry is behind this bad mouthing of garlic. Creating fear is a favorite powerful tool among politicians, clerics, and corporations, and quite effective to their advantage. In this case it certainly cuts their profit if too many people use garlic instead of their high-priced poisons to control fleas on pets and farm animals alike.

A similar trend is going on with commercial pet food versus home-made pet food. If you believe the manufacturers and most vets, your pets are certainly going to be prone to disease and short-lived if you dare to feed them home-made food. What happened to common sense? Reading through all this, it is clear to me that this issue is certainly inconclusive, that a lot more research needs to be done before recommending against a proven age-old natural remedy and that like always and in everything moderation is key. I will continue to add garlic to my dogs' diet. (04/16/2008)

By Chris

RE: Is Garlic Good or Bad for Dogs?

Dr. Richard Pitcairn, probably the preeminent authority on providing homemade food for dogs and cats has garlic as an acceptable ingredient:
"Garlic helps to eliminate worms, strengthen digestion, and beneficially stimulate the intestinal tract. Use it to promote intestinal health. It is also indicated for animals that have been on a high meat or fish diet, and those that tend to be overweight or suffer hip pain from arthritis or dysplasia. Include fresh, grated garlic with each meal, using 1/2 - 3 cloves, depending on the animal's size. Cats can be given a 1/2 clove a day"

He has been providing homemade recipes to address health issues in pets for 27 years. This quote is from his most recent book in its third edition. It's tried and true. (04/28/2008)

By DSmith

RE: Is Garlic Good or Bad for Dogs?

Raw garlic is the only beneficial form of garlic. Processed or cooked garlic degrades the active enzymes and useful properties of garlic.

As a researcher, I would try a small amount, and go from there. From what I have read here, raw garlic seems to work. Of course, medical practices may not want us to know garlic works well for healing pets.

Just like the pharmaceutical firms don't want people taking natural supplements because it cuts into their profit margins! Be careful of misinformation from the government or medical communities. (05/18/2008)

By Dr. E

RE: Is Garlic Good or Bad for Dogs?

As a Natural Health Chef and animal lover, I would say that the best rule of thumb to follow is feed your pet what its wild counterpart would eat.

Cats and wolves (dogs) have been thriving for tens of thousands of years without our input on what they should eat. Only for the past 60 years or so have we decided that "we" are the authority on what our fury friends should eat. Funny, how our pets are now so susceptible to disease such as cancer and diabetes.

Wolves eat raw meat (generally smaller animals such as rabbit, fish and birds but also venison and caribou), raw bones (only cooked bones splinter), eggs, roots, fruits and vegetables. They do not eat grains, meat meal or additives. Wolves have also been known to eat homeopathic remedies such as garlic to keep away parasites and willow bark to help with aches and pains.

Cats are pure carnivores eating a diet of small prey such as rabbits, birds and fish. However, they will occasionally eat plant matter such as grass and catnip to help aid digestion.With all of the commercial pet food on the market, it is no wonder so many of our pets have allergic and digestive issues. If your pet has a skin allergy, try taking him/her off of grains. It could also be an over abundance of yeast caused by too much starch and antibiotics.

Regarding raw meat; there are so many reasons why your pets should eat raw foods.

First - Raw foods have digestive enzymes which can only be found in foods that have not been cooked, radiated or processed. Digestive enzymes aid in digestion and are essential for good health.

Second - Cooked meat takes 4-6 hours longer to digest than raw meat. The longer meat stays in the gut, the worse for the digestive tract.

Third - Raw meat creates more acid in the stomach to aid in the digestion of food. Yes, more acid in your stomach is good for you and your pet. Acid reflux and other acid related issues are caused by too little acid in your stomach.

Fourth - Raw foods contain less free-radicals and more vitamins than cooked.

Fifth - Everyone is so afraid of the bad bacteria in raw meat. Yes, bacteria can hurt your pet, but it can also help. The more bacteria your pet is exposed to (OK, there are some limitations) the better your pets immune system. Animals put their noses and tongues in nasty things all day long, much of which has worse bacteria than raw meat. It's better to prepare your pets for those instances then to compromise it's immune system by trying to keep bacteria away from it. Also, when killing bad bacteria, you are killing good bacteria which is again, good for digestion.

Note: A poor digestive tract causes disease.

Regarding garlic - wolves eat it, so why not your dog. If your dog is having a poor reaction it could be something else your dog is eating. Cats, however, do not eat it, so try rubbing garlic powder and brewers yeast on your cats coat to ward off (06/29/2008)

By Julie

RE: Is Garlic Good or Bad for Dogs?

RE: Is Garlic Good or Bad for Dogs?

Garlic causes liver and kidney damage in dogs. Everyone keep saying their dog seems healthy and in great shape, despite a diet including garlic. That is because you cannot see the liver damage that occurs gradually. A large enough dose will shut down their kidney and liver in one shot, otherwise it is a slow gradual poison, accumulating damage over the years. DO NOT feed onion or garlic to your dogs, please! (07/01/2008)

By Mark, MD

RE: Is Garlic Good or Bad for Dogs?

A lot of treat brands such as Zen Puppy and a few others use garlic in their products. My vet agrees that onions are very bad for a dog, but garlic is only bad depending on how it's used and the dogs take on it, whether they have a reaction to it or not.(08/07/2008)

By Sav

RE: Is Garlic Good or Bad for Dogs?

Point 1:I cook for all of my dogs.From time to time (perhaps once a week) I break two small cloves of garlic in half and boil them with the foods that I'm cooking for them.I never give them the cloves, but the food then has the garlic flavoring.None of them has ever demonstrated a problem and they can't wait to eat the food.

Point 2:The A-Z Guide to Super Foods states that garlic has antiseptic, antibacterial and antiviral characteristics and should be used to prevent lung and bronchial ailments.It is an intestinal purifier and a worm deterrent.It helps remove waste accumulation from the blood. Garlic juice provide pets' skin with an odor that repels insects.Garlic cleanses the lower bowel of accumulated mucus. (11/01/2008)

By James

RE: Is Garlic Good or Bad for Dogs?

I use garlic powder mixed with soft food to get rid of worms in my dog. It works very well, but the trick is to treat the animal according to the weight. I use one half tsp for dogs weighing under ten pounds once every ten to fourteen days. (02/09/2009)

By Corwin

RE: Is Garlic Good or Bad for Dogs?

While it seems like most people on this site seem to feel that garlic is fine to give to dogs, I would NOT choose to give it to my dogs.Garlic (from what I can tell, in any form) can cause Heinz bodies in a dog's red blood cells, and these Heinz bodies make the red blood cells more likely to break apart (or lyse).Ultimately, the dog can develop a hemolytic anemia which can be deadly.So is it possible that a dog could eat some garlic and be alright?Yes.Could it also cause severe illness, perhaps even death?Yes.For me, that's not a risk I'm willing to take.

One last comment: one poster commented that dogs generally have good sense about what they should/should not eat, so if you offer it to them and they eat it, it's alright.I would be very careful with going by this rule.My dogs will readily eat garlic, grapes, onions, and chocolate.All of these things could cause major problems.Furthermore, it's been reported time and time again that dogs LOVE the taste of antifreeze; something that in very small amounts can cause death in a very short time period.So while I do think that dogs generally have good instincts, I probably wouldn't use this as my gold-standard for whether or not it is harmful to them. (05/27/2009)

By Katie

RE: Is Garlic Good or Bad for Dogs?

I tried the brewers yeast with garlic on my dogs because I don't like putting chemicals on my dogs.They soon had the worst case of fleas I have ever seen.I had to treat the yard, the carpet and the dogs to get rid of them.I then started giving them fresh garlic.It has been six months now and not a flea in sight and no reaction to the garlic.Garlic is far better than chemicals in the topical flea treatments like Frontline and Advantix.(07/27/2009)

By Everett Plummer

RE: Is Garlic Good or Bad for Dogs?

I must admit I am fascinated by this discussion!I am not an expert by any means but really wanted to share my thoughts on this matter and how I decided giving my dog garlic as an alternative to conventional flea medications.

It is my understanding with flea/tick medications such as Front Line the tick does not die until it has bitten and latched on to your dog for 24 hours. I thought the whole idea was to prevent the tick from biting the dog. I guess this was my misunderstanding. I also took some time to research the chemicals found in several of these types of productsby reading through their MSDS (which can be found on line) and found exposure can cause cancer.So I ask myself who how much exposure when my child is constantly hugging and kissing my dog who has this chemical solution sparing through its fur?Another little food for thoughtso many dogs are suffering and dying from cancer one must ask why?

So back to garlic being harmful to your dog; For the past two years, on every Sunday, my dog is given two meatballs that I have prepared for our dinner and these meatballs do have minced pieces of garlic. Since I have been doing this my dog has not had one flea on her, yet while using my vets recommendation, Front Line, we were constantly battling the flea issue.

I guess in short what I am saying, weight your options, chemicals or natural. Neither may not be a perfect choice but really consider what is safest for your pet and those loving your pet! (03/29/2010)

By m c k

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