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Garlic for Dogs – Health Benefits, Use, Dosage

In this article…

1. Garlic – Why It Is Good For Dogs…
1.1 Time to Put Myths and Misnomers to Rest

           – The debate
– A common substance shared

           – What those that do not know miss out on
2. History of Garlic 
3. Health Benefits of Fresh Garlic 
4. Active Medicinal Ingredients in Garlic
5. Activating The Medicinal Properties of Garlic 
6. Forms of Garlic You Should Not Use 
7. How to Include Garlic In Your Dog’s Daily Diet
       – Safe Daily Dosage
8. Cautions
9. Drug Interactions
10. Other Uses for Garlic
         –  Insect and Parasite Replant, Treatment and Preventative
         – Topical Treatment for Ear Infections

1.0 Garlic – Why It Is Good For Dogs…

The photo just above is of me walking some members of my own dog pack. Everyone of my dogs eats fresh garlic with one of their daily meals – they have done so for years. As you can see from the photo above my dogs range in breed, age and obviously size. They are all very healthy and are not on chemical-based insect and parasite preventatives (veterinarian prescribed or off-the- shelf), antibiotics etc. I build their health from the inside out and garlic is one of those herbs that help me to keep them healthy!

My Happy, Healthy Boxer x Pit Bull ‘Robbie’
You may have heard that garlic is bad for dogs. Well, garlic has been used for many years by loving dog owners and by holistic veterinarians to support the good health of dogs.1.1 Time to Put Myths and Misnomers To Rest The Debate 
The debate about whether garlic is good or bad seems to have arisen from confusion with its close cousin, the onion.  And that question has been furthered by people – professionals and public alike – who do not inform themselves about the actual properties of these foods prior to pronouncing their opinion…

Which means that their pronouncement is an OPINION and an uninformed judgement based on lack of information rather than an evidence-based fact.
  
A Common Substance Shared 
Both garlic and onion contain thiosulphate, the substance responsible for causing ‘Heinx Factoranemia in dogs and cats. The amount of thiosulphate found in garlic is much lower than in onions, in fact the amount in garlic is barely traceable and when garlic is provided in proper daily dosage the thiosulphate is not sufficient to cause harm to dogs (it can cause harm to cats) and the health benefits garlic offers to dogs is enourmous.The fear of garlic is a new one – propagated by rumor on the internet and not proven by any facts or study. To see an extensive list of foods that dogs should truly not be consuming and/or should be consuming with cautionyou can read here.
What Those That Don’t Know Miss Out On
Garlic is a powerful, natural broad-spectrum antibiotic. Garlic is also an antioxidant, anti-allergen, antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-protozoan, anti-viral and anti-carcinogen. Garlic contains germanium, an anti-cancer agent and an anti-protozoan. Garlic can also be used topically to treat specific ailments – for example ear mite infestation and ear infections.
Garlic also contains sulfur – a natural insect repellent! When garlic is ingested in reasonable amounts there are no harmful results – only benefits, and no, it won’t make your dog smell like garlic! 

 
2.0 History of Garlic
Garlic is a herbal plant  and an ancient food crop – harvested and cultivated by mankind for thousands of years. The word garlic comes from the Old English word garleac‘spear leek’. Chives, leeks, shallots and onions are toxic for your dog…but the benefits of garlic are many…
Abby and Jordie – my German Shepherd x Malamute and my
German Shepherd x  Belgian Shepherd eat garlic on a daily basis
 3.0 Health Benefits of Fresh Garlic
  • Anti-bacterial;
  • Anti-biotic (broad spectrum);
  • Anti-carcinogen, garlic contains germanium – an anti-cancer agent;
    • Garlic helps to prevent a variety of cancers such as: bladder cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer, lung cancer; rectal cancer, stomach cancer.
    • Garlic is also used to treat some forms of cancer such as bladder and prostate cancer.
  • Garlic helps to regulate blood pressure;
  • Heart health support to prevent:
    • Heart disease;
    • Heart attack;
    • Hardening of the arteries;
  • Helps strengthen the body’s defenses against allergies;
  • Helps regulate blood sugar levels;
  • High cholesterol reduction;
  • Garlic is high in vitamins, minerals and nutrients:
  • Calcium, Potassium, Zinc;
  • Protein;
  • Vitamin A, B, B2, C;
  • Garlic is an aid to fighting and treating:
    • Asthma;
    • Environmental allergies’
    • Diabetes;
    • Diarrhea; 
    • Fatigue;
    • Liver, heart and kidney disease;
    • Maintenance of healthy liver function;
    • Ear infections and ear miteinfestations;
    • Stress.
  • Garlic is a natural:
4.0 Active Medicinal Ingredients in Garlic
Garlic contains multiple sulphur-inclusive compounds. Allinn and another enzyme ‘alliinase’, both present in garlic, but contained in separate cells gain the opportunity to combine and create a new enzyme called ‘allicin’ when garlic is chopped, crushed, minced or chewed. Allicin (an anti-biotic, anti-bacterial, anti-cancer, heart healthy enzyme) is the most beneficial of the healthful enzymes in garlic.
5.0 Activating the Medicinal Properties
Use Fresh Garlic and Prepare it As Follows…

  • Chop, crush, mince or press/bruise the fresh garlic, and then;
    • Allow to sit at room temperature for at minimum five (5) minutes and better ten (10) to fifteen (15) minutes;
    • This gives the allinn and alliinase sufficient time to undergo the enzymic reaction that creates allicin – the medicinal ingredient in garlic;
    • Mix the garlic into your dog’s food in his/her bowl and its now time for your dog to eat;
    • The medicinal properties remain active for up to one (1) hour after you have activiated them;
    • After one hour has passed the medicinal properties begin to degrade which is why it is improtant to use fresh prepared garlic. 

6.0 Forms of Garlic You Should Not Use

Dry, Dehydrated, Powdered, Mixed Garlic, Supplement

  • Do not add garlic in a mixed form to your dogs diet  – i.e. garlic steak spice 
    • May contain fillers, sugar, salt and herbs or spices, food colouring and other additives that are not safe for dogs to consume;
    • Dehydrated, powdered garlic, or preserved minced garlic intended for culinary use has been degraded from processing and it’s medicinal qualities are lost – it’s only remaining purpose is to please the human palate – don’t give these forms of garlic to your dog as they offer no benefit.
  • Fresh always refrigerated preserved garlic – much like fresh sauerkraut that has been pickled/preserved/fermented in pure water (not in wine and with other additives) and has been kept refrigerated after the initial curing period will have beneficial probiotic properties but may not have the other medicinal qualities offered by fresh garlic.
  • Cooked garlic does not retain the medicinal properties found in fresh garlic.

When I refer to ‘garlic’ I mean garlic in its pure, fresh form.

7.0 How to Include Garlic in Your Dog’s
Daily Diet
More of my garlic eating dogs…

Add the properly prepared fresh garlic to one of your dog’s daily meals.The safe daily dosage is as follows…

Safe Daily Dosage for Dogs

  • 1 clove fresh raw garlic per every:
    • 30 pounds of body weight
    • 13.6 kg of body weight
  • For dogs less than 30 pounds:

    • 20 pound dog – 2/3 of a clove
    • 15 pound dog – 1/2 of a clove
    • 10 pound dog – 1/3 of a clove
    • 5 pound dog – 1/6 of a clove

or

  • 1 teaspoon (tsp) fresh, raw minced/finely chopped garlic per every:
    •  30 lbs of body weight
    • 13.6 kg of body weight
  • For dogs less than 30 pounds:

    • 20 pound dog – 2/3 of a tsp
    • 15 pound dog – 1/2 of a tsp
    • 10 pound dog – 1/3 of a tsp
    • 5 pound dog – 1/6 of a tsp
 
If you can afford to do so, buy organic garlic.

8.0 Cautions

  • Pregnant and Lactating Dogs
    • When used in the dosage provided above, garlic is safe for pregnant dogs;
    • The only caution around garlic for pregnant dogs is that if ingested in large quantities it can flavor the milk of lactating females (human and canine).
  • Puppies
    • As a general guideline for puppies…
    • Don’t give garlic to puppies that are 6 months of age or younger.
  • Garlic From China
    • Some garlic from China has been found to be contaminated with high levels of arsenic, lead and added sulfites.
  • If your dog has IBS or Colitis
    • Garlic is high in insoluble fibre and sulfur compounds – as a general rule it is best  not to give fresh garlic to dogs that have IBS or colitis.
9.0 Drug Interactions
  •  If your dog is on cyclosporine:
    • Garlic may increase the rate at which cyclosprine is broken down by the body, and;
    • Might decrease the effectiveness of cyclosporine;
    • So, do not give your dog garlic if he/she is on cyclosporin.
  • If your dog is on any medication that is changed by the liver. 
  • If your dog is on a blood thinner:
    • Consult your veterinarian before giving your dog garlic;
    • Garlic can slow down blood clotting –  garlic may increase the efficacy of the blood thinner;
    • The dosage of the blood thinner would need to be adjusted for intake of garlic. 
10.0 Some Other Beneficial Uses For Garlic
10.1 Parasites and Insects
Garlic is a natural dewormer and can also be used in combination with other herbs and nutraceuticals to treat repel and avoid the development of parasite infestations – you can read about that here.

Garlic is a natural insect repellant and can also be used topically in combination with other herbs and nutraceuticals to treat and repel insects – you can read about that here.

10.2 Ear Infections
Garlic can be used topically in combination with other nutraceuticals as a topical treatment for ear infections – you can read about that here.

Additional Assistance

If you require additional support and guidance I would be pleased to assist you via my In-Person or On-Line Services…

Dog Obedience Training and Behavior Modification Services:

Diet, Nutrition Wellness Services:

  • Unbiased Diet, Nutrition, Product Advice is available via this service
  • Holistic Diet, Nutrition Wellness Plans are available via this service

About Karen

Dogs are my life, my work, my passion… I am a Dog Whisperer, Dog Behaviorist and Holistic Canine Wellness Adviser with a wealth of real-time, real-life experience living and working with dogs. For two and a half decades I have worked with and shared my life with dogs. My own dog pack is comprised of eleven dogs, various breeds and ages. I provide a full range of services including Obedience Training for puppies and dogs; canine Behavior Modification; canine Psychological Rehabilitation, specializing in assisting dogs that are experiencing extreme states of insecurity, anxiety and aggressive-reactive behavior; Diet, Nutrition and Wellness Advice and Plans for canines and felines…natural wisdom for you and your companion animal.

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45 comments

  1. Thank you so much for all the wonderful information on your site! I’ve been working hard to use natural products for the benefit of my human babies. Now I can do so much more for my fur babies!
    You note that garlic is most beneficial if it is allowed to sit for a 5-15 minutes before it is administered, but starts to lose its potency after a while. As I am planning to start using coconut oil with our dog in addition to the garlic, I wonder if the coconut oil was infused with the garlic if the potency would be maintained in the oil. What are your thoughts?

  2. I just want to say thank you thank you thank you. I live in South Africa and have been experimenting and making my own dog food for my 2 dog children and your blog have pointed out some of my important mistakes despite my best intensions! Like over fascinations and cooking meat at high heat and including rice. I had to give me puppies flea and worm drugs form the vet as the infestation was severe and as soon as they have settled I will absoluelty use your advise on natural prevention and rather have a few fleas than toxins in their bodies. It is very difficult to find trust worthy information so thank you so much for your blog with all its free advice that as a great lover of my dogs to, simply makes sense. THANK YOU. There is so much mis-information and fear spread. Simone

  3. hi love your site! can i give my dogs the green leaves from the garlic? i am growing some as an experiment and i wanted to know if the leaves from it are safe. thanks!

  4. Hi Karen, thank you for the great info! I have a 2 year old Doberman that just went through a surgery to remove a malignant sarcoma. The wound is a little infected so I am trying garlic but, the vet is suggesting we also do radiation therapy because the margin. We’re narrow on the results from the lab for the sarcoma removed. Any suggestions? Thank you so much for your help!

    • Hi Sara – garlic alone is not a sufficient intervention. The infection should can be addressed via natural topical and ingestion treatment. Garlic alone is not sufficient. Organic raw unpasturized honey can be used topically on the wound to fight the infection.

      I would recommend that her diet be looked at in detail to fight off infection, speed healing and boost her overall immune system.

      Cheers, Karen

  5. Thank u for this detailed information =) is very kind of u to have this site where we can search for answers for our infinite questions on how to raise our dogs the best way. =D I’ve been giving my GSD female dog with more than 2 cloves of garlic a day mixed with her smashed game bone and meat, and her high standard comercial food. At first I could hear her burps and stuf, but as for now I know she has no allergies any more, and her teeth are white and her fur smells great.
    I heard someone saying that garlic was toxic and i just couldn’t believe it… I got scared, couse my dog is pregnant and I, insted of lowering tha dosage I increased it!
    Now I have much more info on how feed her rigth, and garlic is definetly on the menu!!

  6. I have a 6 month old French Bulldog, I was wondering about the garlic as he is on coconut oil, kefir, yoghurt, fruits and veggies everything haha but with the pumpkin seeds for the deworming I have noticed he was scratching his butt on the floor! do you think the garlic is better for that, and he is about 7kg so should I give him only HALF a tsp everyday for how long or is it always?

    • As he is only 6 months of age it would be best to cut the garlic dosage in half. You could also use the Diatomaceous Earth (DE).

      Garlic can be used as part of a regular daily diet. All of my dogs get garlic daily.

      Cheers, Karen

    • Butt scratching can also be a sign of anal gland flair ups. More fiber in their diet is good for that. My little Puggle had this poblem and I add a tesp pf kellogs bran buds once a day to his meal. No more sttinky skoots.

      • Hi Caroline, yes absolutely can be a sign of impacted anal glands BUT Kellogg s bran buds are not good for dogs due to their grain content which can cause a whole host of other health issues in dogs. Adding good fiber that is non -grained based is recommended. You can see my article on fresh food for dogs for a list of appropriate high-fibre fresh foods.

  7. My Pom, Molly who is 8 years old, just diagnosed with Lyme Disease. A blood and Urine test were taken. We live in Vermont, #2 highest state with Lyme in dogs”( She had frontline on but anyway. They have her on an antibiotic, (Doc) I have cried a river and I am having nightmares that she passes.. Is there anything you know of that may help?

    • Hi Kathy,

      You have to boost his immune system…

      If he is on processed dog kibble get him off of it ASAP and switch to my homemade dog food recipe http://ottawavalleydogwhisperer.blogspot.ca/2012/06/home-made-diy-dog-food-recipes-grain.html.

      In addition to the turmeric in my dog food recipe add 1/4 tsp of additional turmeric to every meal along with coconut oil. You will find articles on both on my blog site.

      Norwegian Kelp 1/4 tsp per day

      Raw unpasturized honey 1/4 tsp per every 10lbs of body weight

      Norwegian cod liver oil – 1/2 tsp/day

      Plain all natural yogurt or kefir – read my article on dairy products to understand how to choose a good product and for dosage

      Herb – Cat’s Claw (for dosage see the table at the bottom of my articles on herbs good for dogs, bad for dogs)

      Rooibos tea (see my article)

      Papaya fresh minced 1 tbs with every meal

      Garlic as per the article above

      This WILL help him! Cheers, Karen

  8. Hello Dog Whisperer..

    Great information!! The most detailed I have found to date.. Thank you for that!

    Quick question on Garlic.. I thought you weren’t suppose to cook the raw/fresh garlic.. is this incorrect and you can cook it?

  9. Hi Karen,

    I noticed you mentioned do not give garlic to puppies 6 months or younger. Can you please give more details on this…

    We have a 5 month old GS and when we picked her up I asked the breeder what he used to control fleas. He said to give her 1 garlic clove and mix it with 2 slightly hard boiled eggs every 20 days. The other day I gave her 1 clove thinly sliced and mixed it with 2 eggs. She ate it, but later threw some of it up.

  10. Can/should it be ok to boil garlic before for a stronger solution?

    Cheers

  11. I’ve been putting about 2 cloves of garlic in my dogs home cooked food. I make enough for about 3 days shared between two chihuahuas. I’ve never had a flea on them, but my cats are infested! Weird.

  12. what about garloc tablets bought at the haelth food store

  13. I read this article and think it’s a great idea. I minced the garlic and tried to give it to my dog. He would not have it. I tried by itself, mixed with other things, even his favorite thing – peanut butter, and he turns his head, won’t open his mouth and if I get some in there he spits it out. I did let it sit for 15 minutes and I could tell it was really strong smelling…. and as soon as I started coming his way with it, he went the other way. Any suggestions?

    • Not all garlic has the same taste – there are some varieties of garlic that are very mild, others that are very hot. Much of the garlic found in grocery stores (and other large retail outlets like Walmart) in Canada and the US is from China. The mass produced, mass distributed garlic coming our of China is a variety of garlic that is very hot tasting.

      Go to a natural or health food store, farmers market of local farmer and see if they sell a milder, and if possible organic garlic. Then try giving this milder garlic to your dog.

      In addition – if all you can find is the hotter varieties of garlic or if he still does not like the milder garlic try drizzling the garlic (or mixing in)with some local, unpasterized raw honey. This type of honey is not only loved by dogs, it is like Garlic – chock full of health benefits. Read up about some of the health benefits, daily dosage, cautions for raw unpasturized honey here (don’t give your dog the type of honey that has been pasturized…i.e. the honey typically sold in large grocery stores)… http://ottawavalleydogwhisperer.blogspot.ca/2013/04/diy-natural-herbal-treatments-for-dogs.html

  14. can you use the premade minced garlic tubes that you can buy in grocery stores?

  15. Am I able to do any mincing/chopping of the garlic ahead of time? My boys are 68 & 72 lbs and chopping 4-5 cloves every morning for the two of them will quickly get tedious, not to mention the smell on my hands on a daily basis. I have a friend who makes her own garlic powder and that’s what she uses on her dog food. Would mincing/drying my own garlic still have enough of an effect?

    • Hi Ashlee,

      Dry powdered garlic does not have the same efficacy as fresh, minced, chopped garlic. Use the fresh garlic. I have 10 dogs to feed so…

      To Cut Down on Preparation Time…
      I chop (the finer the better) enough of the foodstuff in the food processor to last several days to a week;
      Then I put the chopped food in containers – plastic (BPA free) or glass;
      I leave the appropriate sized measuring spoon in the container – this little convenience makes it faster to prepare the meal at feeding time.

  16. I have 3 mini dachshunds between 7 and 12lbs and was wondering how much to give them? I have heard this before and would like to incorporate it into their diet. Also does this take the place of heart worm medicine also.

    Thanks you.
    Laurie

  17. It’s not that I don’t believe you about garlic…I want to, but I just have to convince myself that it isn’t toxic like “they” say. Would you happen to have the articles that you took you info out of? I have googled and searched etc, but I have found SO much conflicting information, I am not sure what to think. I however, don’t want to give my dog heart gard or put that nasty smelling stuff on to prevent ticks and fleas if I can help it. It sets my sons asthma off as well as gives my husband a headache until the smell goes away. Thanks
    Julie

  18. This is something that I heard long ago and use to do to keep my dog healthy.

  19. can garlic powder be used instead

  20. Very useful information. However when you say a clove a garlic for every 30lbs…cloves of garlic come in many different sizes, the organic garlic I buy has tiny cloves for example. Would you be able to suggest dosage say per teaspoon of crushed garlic? Thanks :)

  21. Fantastic! Many of our clients will definitely benefit from your article. Thanks and more power!

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