Can Dogs Eat Garlic? Why You Want to Keep Your Dog Away From This Toxic Veggie
Garlic is a staple ingredient in many meals we make in our kitchens, but can dogs eat garlic? In this case, pups are like vampires. Garlic is toxic for dogs, and any amount can be dangerous.
It doesn't take much garlic to make your dog sick, Renee Schmid, DVM, DABT, DABVT, tells Daily Paws. She's the manager of Veterinary Medicine and Professional Services at Pet Poison Helpline, who you can call if your dog accidentally eats any garlic. The consumption can result in life-threatening anemia in your dog, especially if your dog is on the smaller side.
"It's really the size," she says. "The dose makes the poison."
Is Garlic Bad for Dogs?
The answer is yes in pretty much any case, Schmid says. Because it's so toxic and concentrated, any amount of garlic consumed by your dog could be dangerous. Garlic is a member of the Allium species, which also includes onions, leeks, and chives—all of these are toxic to dogs.
"The margin of safety is lower for garlic," she says.
Specifically, how much garlic is toxic to dogs? It's less than .1 ounce per pound of your dog's weight, Schmid says. That's a tiny amount, and we use much more than that in many recipes. Don't mess with it!
In fact, the best way to protect your dog from garlic poisoning is to keep the garlic away from your dog. Make sure there's no way your dog can get to it (high cabinets) and keep your dog out of the kitchen when you're using it as an ingredient.
Can Dogs Have Garlic Powder or Garlic Salt?
Dried versions of all herbs, garlic powder and salt included, are concentrated forms of the fresh version. This means these seasonings are more dangerous than a clove of fresh garlic, so use extra caution with these products.
Can Dogs Eat Garlic Bread?
While the smell of garlic, salt, butter, and cheese will be highly enticing for any pup (and human, too), dogs should not eat garlic bread because of the risk for garlic toxicity and the high fat content that can lead to pancreatitis and obesity.
Signs of Garlic Poisoning in Dogs
If your dog eats enough garlic to cause toxicity, Schmid says they will experience one or all of the following symptoms:
If left untreated, your dog can develop various forms of anemia, a condition in which your dog lacks enough red blood cells. Those cells deliver oxygen to the pup's organs, so when they're aren't enough of them, the organs aren't getting enough oxygen.
The anemia can be life-threatening or result in long-term damage to the oxygen-starved organs, Schmid says. The good news is that there's plenty you can do to keep that from happening.
What to Do If Your Dog Eats Garlic
First, call your veterinarian. If they're not available, call the Pet Poison Helpline at (855) 764-7661. There, a veterinary professional can walk you through safe, immediate treatment options. Depending on how much garlic your dog consumed, monitoring your dog for any signs of poisoning is a good first step.
Your vet or the helpline might advise you to induce vomiting, but don't do that without proper instruction as it could cause more harm (especially for brachycephalic dogs). Other treatments at your vet's office, Schmid says, can include supportive care, IV fluids (to help with dehydration), or even activated charcoal that can capture the garlic in your dog's digestive system and keep it from spreading.
Sometimes, the garlic has been in a dog's system long enough that more serious action is needed. Vet staff will keep an eye on the pup's bloodwork, giving him oxygen to replenish his organs, or even a blood transfusion to make up for the missing red blood cells, Schmid says. So that's why it's best to just keep the garlic safely secured away from your dog.
Other Veggies Dogs Can Safely Eat
Thankfully, there are plenty of other veggies you can safely share with your pup, including: