Thursday, July 12, 2012

Why Can't They Agree On A Single Thing? Garlic For Dogs: Yes Or No?

Becoming a proactive health advocate for your dog is the most important and, sadly, also the last simple decision you will make on behalf of your dog.

What is the right thing for my dog?

That is a question I agonize over several times a day. Should you go through with a surgery? Should you agree to this or that treatment? Should you give this or that vaccine?

Photo Zsuzsanna Kilian
As if those questions weren't difficult enough, there is never a straightforward answer to any of them. It all depends on whom you ask.

We're about at the point when you can believe anything you want, and find an authority to back it up.

Should you feed your dog commercial kibble, home-cooked diet or raw? Are grains good for dogs or bad?

It really doesn't matter what question is on your mind, the possible answers are many, and often conflicting.

Doesn't that make you feel like a mouse in a maze?

Which turn should you take to get to the desired result? It can make your head spin and the experts do little to make things easier on us.

So where is the truth?

There are a few things they all do agree on. Those are, however, few and far in between.

For example, all experts happen to agree that onions are toxic for dogs. What a relief! OK, onions are a no for dogs. How about garlic then?

Both onions and garlic contain organosulfoxides (sulfurs). These are damaging to the red blood cells of dogs. Not a good idea to give your dog either of them, right?

Do you think that you will get the same answer from all experts when you ask them about garlic?

Think again.

I heard every answer from no garlic for dogs, to toxicity is dose-dependant and dogs can tolerate quite a bit, to moderate amount of garlic is beneficial for the immune system and Qi.

Jasmine's TCVM (Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine) vet wants to include garlic in Jasmine's recipe. Many commercial dog foods and treats contain garlic. Garlic is being used for flea and tick prevention.

"Even water is toxic at certain amounts; does that mean that any amount of water is toxic?"
Can you feel your head spinning?

"It is a common myth that a small amount of onions or garlic is not harmful to dogs."
Source: The Dangers of Onion Toxicity

"Garlic is a GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) ingredient according to AAFCO (American Association of Feed Control Officers). Garlic also has anti-inflammatory benefits, as well as anti-infectious organism and anti-cancer properties."
Source: Clinical Signs, Infectious Diseases, and Natural Treatment Options for Fleas

"I believe that any amount of garlic or onions is unacceptable, because it always causes damage on a cellular level, whether or not we notice the effects of the damage and label it “toxic.”"
Source: The Dangers of Onion Toxicity

"Garlic is theoretically poisonous to dogs and cats. In practice, it doesn't appear to be very toxic. This is especially true in dogs."
Source: How Poisonous is Garlic?

"The health benefits of garlic for dogs are boosting of the immune system, fighting bacterial/viral/fungal infections, enhancing liver function, lowering blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels, cardiovascular tonic, tick and flea repellent."
Source: Garlic for Dogs

"If your pet has ingested onions, garlic or foods containing either, call your veterinarian right away." 
Source: The Dangers of Onion Toxicity

These are just a few examples, if you have nothing better to do, you can play with the subject further.

Does this answer the question whether we should or should not give garlic to our dogs?

Shouldn't this be a pretty simple question with a pretty straightforward answer?

I still have no idea whether I should agree to adding garlic to Jasmine's diet or not. Perhaps I should toss a coin after all?

Don't worry, it gets worse.


  1. Strangely enough, I was chopping garlic today for a soup and a little piece fell on the floor. Georgia had a sniff and left it alone. I've never given her garlic or onion. I've read the same conflicting literature as you, and leave it off her menu. There are enough other natural foods I can give her that have the same good effects without the bad press!

    Who would have thought we need to be rocket scientists to have a dog eh? Hope you and Jasmine are well x

    1. I know, right? That's exactly the words I used - rocket scientists.

      I don't give our guys garlic either, but one of the products I use has some. Mostly, though, I would just really like to know how the heck is it.

  2. I have noticed the same divergent views from various experts. My approach has been to err on the side of safety and not include garlic in my dog's diets at all.

    As for natural flea and tick prevention, we have found other methods to be quite successful, while also non-toxic.

    1. I agree with erring on the side of caution. The garlic issue isn't the only one that is being confused like this, in fact, most issue are.

      What are you using for flea and tick prevention?

  3. Everything (within reason) is OK in moderation. Raw garlic (not something pre minced as the benefits are at that point oxidized and pointless) is great for dogs - it has many benefits - antiinflammatory and anticancer benefits...There is a online blog, many of them to look up, one- a woman who feeds her dogs a mix of raw and cooked meals and includes raw garlic daily ! Her dogs are over 17 years of age (german shepherds) and healthy as a horse. Personally I have a 4 year old shihtzu, his blood work is done 2-3x a year, his blood cell count is always spot on perfect, liver perfect etc..(pay the $150 a year for 2 tests to be sure your love is healthy vs a surprise too-late bill that will surely be heartbreaking) anyways, his weight has never changed from 14.5-14.7... i think making a large variety in their diet is a huge factor to what these dogs can and cant digest. With that said, you cant feed a mix of raw and non raw meats as the digestive system creates different enzymes depending on the diet of the dog. It is said to be safe for dogs over 10 lbs but I cook all of my little precious babies food. As for grains, read WHEAT BELLY, if its hard for us to digest-its worse for them, animals CANNOT digest carcinogens like we can, SO BUY ORGANIC or at least wash veggies before letting them consume. Also back to the enzyme thing-veggies need to be cooked or if eaten raw finely chopped or blended... I blend a raw veg/fruit cocktail for him 2-3x a week, as dogs do not have plant grinding molers like we do, just sharp k9 teefs.