It has come to my attention that the decision of whether or not one should feed dogs garlic is a controversial one. One side of the argument claims that garlic is poisonous to dogs, and the other says that it is a safe and natural way to support a dog’s health. I guess by the title of this post you can see which side I’m on.
The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) is the first organization that warned about the dangers of garlic. They recommend allowing no garlic in a dog’s diet. Their reasoning is that garlic contains thiosulphate, too much of which causes anemia in dogs which can lead to further complications and even death. I will concede that, yes, it is poisonous for a dog to eat too much garlic, but the same could be said for water or, really, any other substance. Plus, topical ointments and acetaminophen are more likely to cause anemia in your dog than a clove of garlic. The truth is that garlic is safe and even beneficial in moderation. And may I remind you that AVMA is also recommends giving a dog a processed, chemical laden diet over a raw, all natural one?
The benefits of garlic have been proven over and over again. My favorite perk is that it is a natural way to keep fleas away. Chemical anti-flea medication can seem almost barbaric. Drip poison where my dog can’t reach it so it will get into his blood stream and kill any flea that dares to drink his poisoned blood? No thanks! Plus, this way I don’t have to spray my backyard–where the kids play–with insecticides. It’s a win-win. Here are a few more benefits:
- Garlic is an anti parasitic. It helps to eliminate worms, strengthens digestion and stimulates the intestinal tract (in a good way) and generally supports intestinal health.
- Garlic is a potent anti-fungal, anti-viral, and antibiotic. It won’t affect the good bacteria in the gut which play an important role in digestion and immune health.
- For helping to clear up cases of hay fever, seasonal allergies, kennel cough or other respiratory ailments, Garlic is useful due to its action as a strong expectorant, which helps to clear the lungs.
- In studies, garlic has been shown to reduce blood-sugar levels in diabetic dogs and humans.
- Garlic supports the production of white blood cells, strengthening your dog’s resistance to infections of all kinds.
Because I don’t always have time to chop fresh garlic, I tend to just sprinkle a thin, even layer of garlic powder over my dog’s food, but if you want the best results use fresh garlic always. You can safely give a 1/2 clove per ten pounds of body weight each day. Don’t give to a puppy under 8 weeks, and don’t give any dog more than two cloves per day. If you have a cat, they can benefit from garlic, too. They take 1/4 clove daily.
I would love to hear what you have to think about supplementing a pet’s diet with garlic. Do you do it? Why or why not?