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Can Dogs Eat Garlic?

3 min read

Garlic and its tasty smell can be very tempting for some of our four-legged friends. Whether they rush into the kitchen to see what’s cooking, or stare into your soul as you sit down for dinner, dogs have plenty of tricks up their sleeve to get a bite of whatever garlicky feast everyone in the family is enjoying. But should loving pet owners give in and offer dogs that much-coveted bite? Keep reading to find out why garlic is bad for dogs.


Can dogs eat garlic?

No, dogs should not eat garlic as it is toxic. This is one of the reasons it is safest not to give your dog human food leftovers from your dinner, as many meals contain garlic in some form.


Why is garlic bad for dogs?

Garlic is poisonous to dogs due to a compound called thiosulfate. Thiosulfate is not toxic to humans, but in dogs it causes damage to their red blood cells which are responsible for carrying oxygen around the body.

When the red blood cells are damaged, less oxygen will reach your dog’s tissues, so they may appear weak and lethargic. Dogs that consume too much garlic can also end up suffering from gastrointestinal issues, which is another reason to keep the garlic cloves out of their reach.


What are the signs of garlic poisoning in dogs?

If you suspect your dog has got their paws on some garlic you should contact your vet for advice. Here are some of the signs of garlic toxicity:

  • Lethargy
  • Abdominal pain
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Drooling
  • Panting
  • Weakness

However, keep in mind that the symptoms of garlic poisoning may take a while before they become obvious. If you think your dog has had too much garlic but they seem their usual self, it can take a few days before the symptoms appear, and it is better not to delay contacting the vet.


Can dogs eat garlic bread?

No, dogs should not eat garlic bread. Even the small amounts of garlic found in bread can be harmful for your pup. Plus, garlic bread can also too much oil, butter and salt for a pet. Find out more about when dogs can eat bread with our quick guide.

If garlic is poisonous to dogs, why do some experts still recommend it?

Unfortunately, there is often mixed messaging, especially online. If you’ve heard about the benefits of garlic for dogs, you may be wondering how can garlic be both beneficial and toxic at the same time.

The answer is that the quantity of garlic your dog consumes may affect their risk of suffering the consequences of a toxic reaction. In theory, this means that a very small quantity of garlic may not harm your dog, and some people think the nutrients can be beneficial. However, it is very difficult to know what a ‘safe’ quantity of garlic is, and as this is likely to vary between individuals, it is not worth the risk. Your pet will also be gaining all of the vitamins and minerals they need from a complete, balanced pet food which does not require supplementing.

Find out more about what a balanced diet means for dogs and, if in doubt, check out our list of harmful foods for dogs.