Did your dog snag the garlic bread off the counter? You’ll want to check on him and call your vet.
cute dog on a garlic illustration background; can dogs eat garlic
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In this case, pups are like vampires. Dogs can not eat garlic, so you'll want to be careful whenever you're whipping up a scrumptious meal in the kitchen.

Garlic (and ogres) are like onions—another vegetable we shouldn't feed our beloved puppies. In fact, they're in the same family of vegetables. But there's one big difference: Garlic is three to five times as toxic as onions. That means 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."

(If your dog just now ate some garlic, scroll down to the "What to Do If Your Dog Eats Garlic" section.)

Is Garlic Bad for Dogs?

The answer is yes in pretty much any case, Schmid says, whether it's a clove of garlic, minced garlic, or garlic powder. The same goes for food containing garlic, like garlic bread or pasta. Because it's so toxic and concentrated, any garlic consumed by your dog could be dangerous.

"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.

Garlic Poisoning Symptoms

Here's what will happen if your dog ate garlic, Schmid says. First, he'll suffer from diarrhea and vomiting. After a couple more days, he'll get more lethargic or sluggish, generally feeling "cruddy," Schmid says. Unsure? Check to see if your dog's gums are pale. If they are, it's time to head for the veterinarian's office.

If left untreated, your dog will develop anemia, the 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 Hotline at (855) 764-7661. There, a veterinary professional can walk you through safe, immediate treatment options.

The most common early treatment option is to induce vomiting. If you can do that at home right after your dog eats the garlic, you might not have to do much else. But sometimes that's not possible. You shouldn't, for example, try to make your brachycephalic dog throw up. That's too dangerous.

It's OK if your dog needs to go to the vet, Schmid says. They have the tools that can help him out, whether it's supportive care, IV fluids (to help with dehydration), or even an 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. Thankfully, there are plenty of other veggies you can share with your pup, including: