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Dogs have very sensitive noses, and if you are familiar with the smell of fresh garlic, you’ll understand why such a warm, enticing aroma will cause your dog to perk up and suddenly become hungry. Nutritional science suggests that garlic has various nutritional and medicinal benefits for humans but is it the same for dogs?
When the question is can dogs eat garlic, despite various contrary opinions, the answer is no, dogs should not eat garlic. Read along to find out why and what to do if your dog suffers from garlic poisoning.
Is Garlic Safe for Dogs?
Although garlic has many tangible benefits for us humans, the same cannot be said for dogs, as they metabolise food differently from how we do. Scientifically, garlic, along with onions, belong to the allium family of vegetables, which contain a chemical compound known as thiosulfate, which is perfectly safe for humans but can be toxic to dogs.
Despite the sharp fangs and aversion to garlic, dogs aren’t vampires from Transylvania; however, the thiosulfate found in garlic and other allium vegetables can cause oxidative damage to the red blood cells resulting in a serious condition called hemolytic anaemia.
Why is Garlic Bad for Dogs? Thiosulfate Explained
Just like in humans, a dog’s red blood cells are responsible for transporting fresh oxygen around the body. Thiosulfate will cause extensive damage to the red blood cells of your canine friend, meaning reducing their oxygen-carrying capacity. As a result, your dog’s tissue will receive less oxygen than necessary.
When consumed in a large enough quality, a dog that consumes garlic will most likely have some form of garlic poisoning, resulting in gastrointestinal problems and hemolytic anaemia.
How Much Garlic Is Toxic for My Dog?
Generally speaking, studies have shown that 15 - 30 grams of garlic per kilogram of body weight are enough to cause damage to your dog and its blood. Relatively, a clove of store-bought garlic typically weighs approximately 3 - 7 grams, so at least your dog would have to eat a substantial amount of garlic before becoming noticeably unwell.
Much like any canine allergy and intolerance, some dogs are more sensitive to garlic poisoning than others, but you should still ensure that garlic is kept well away from your dog. Should your dog consume something containing minimal amounts of garlic, they will most likely be okay, just be sure to not intentionally feed your dog considerable amounts of it.
However, if you suspect garlic poisoning at any point, be sure to call your doctor - it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Symptoms of Garlic Poisoning in Dogs
If your pooch has managed to get its paws on a garlic-containing product, you may be wondering what warning signs to watch out for. To help you out, here are some of the most common symptoms of garlic poisoning you can monitor for.
Hemolytic anaemia has common symptoms, including:
- Dark-coloured urine
- Pale mucous membranes
- Rapid breathing
Symptoms of general garlic toxicity/garlic poisoning in dogs include:
- General gastrointestinal upset
- Abdominal pain
- Depression/dog not seeming itself
- Loss of appetite
If you suspect that your four-legged friend has eaten garlic and you’ve noticed any of the above symptoms, please call your veterinarian immediately for advice.
Treating Garlic Poisoning in Dogs
If there is an occasion where your dog consumes a substantial amount of garlic, the first thing you should do is visit your veterinarian or out-of-hours veterinary service. Although garlic poisoning very rarely has fatal effects in dogs, it may still cause severe discomfort in them, requiring a notable amount of support and medical care to return them to health.
A competent vet will often recommend intravenous fluids to flush out your pup’s system and keep them hydrated whilst they’re suffering from discomfort. They may also give activated charcoal to induce vomiting or prescribe medication to control vomiting episodes.
In more severe cases, your veterinarian may suggest that a blood transfusion is necessary.
What About Garlic Supplements?
There are several discourses surrounding the potential health benefits of garlic for dogs when given in small quantities, such as for flea and tick prevention. However, the data is inconclusive and the discourse is disjointed.
Small doses of garlic may not be particularly harmful to most dogs, however, without a lack of strong evidence supporting health benefit conjecture, as well as the undeniable risks of garlic to dogs, it may not be worth introducing into your furry friend’s daily meal plan.
If you wish to incorporate some form of garlic supplementation into your pup’s daily routine, we advise that you consult your designated veterinarian beforehand, so that you can discuss the risks and benefits of such, as well as establish the correct dosage and feeding plan.
Can Dogs Eat Garlic Bread?
Garlic bread? It's beautiful, a taste sensation - the future - that’s for sure. However, even if your dog is a beggar and enjoys human food, be sure to resist the temptation of feeding them garlic bread. Even the small amounts of garlic found in garlic bread could be harmful to your dog, particularly if your dog is a smaller breed.
In addition to that, garlic bread is not a healthy treat. It contains very little nutritional value, whilst being high in salt, sugar and fats, so you might want to offer one of these tasty fruits and vegetables dogs can eat as a treat instead.
Safe Snacking Options for Dogs
Should you want to feed your dog some scrumptious, flavourful finger foods and snacks that are nutritionally beneficial to your dog, you may wish to try blueberries, seedless watermelon, strawberries, de-pipped apple or share a small amount of banana with them.
Switch it Up with Bug Bakes
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Using sustainably sourced insect protein - which requires 2000 times less water to produce than conventional meat-based feed - as well as wonky vegetables, Bug Bakes dog food produces tasty, nutritious food for your dog at a fraction of the cost to you or the planet. Our commitment to environmental responsibility goes so far as to feature in the manufacturer of our packaging: a completely plastic-free design, our packaging is completely plant-based and entirely compostable.
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