*Always consult with your holistic veterinarian before adding or removing anything from your dog’s diet.*
If you ask most people about feeding garlic to dogs, they will simply tell you that it’s toxic and to never let your dog get near garlic. I used to think this too, but over the years I have realized that not everything is so black and white when it comes to our pets and that as a society we actually know very little about proper care of our pets.
Of course, you don’t fall into this category, but I realized that I haven’t tackled this particular topic head-on before, so I’m doing it now.
The main reason that I wanted to cover this topic is that I am exploring all avenues of natural ways to deter fleas, ticks, and mosquitos from Kimberly now that we’ve moved to Texas.
Why does garlic have a bad rap?
According to Dogs Naturally Magazine, garlic got such a bad rap due to research that was done using garlic extract (not recommended) and/or extremely high doses of garlic (also not recommended). Also because modern western medicine simply does not know what to do with food as medicine. They don’t understand it because it isn’t produced and marketed by a pharmaceutical company.
The wonders of garlic
Garlic is quite an amazing little plant. It is in the lily family and grows all around the world. People have been using garlic for its medicinal properties for centuries, including in Ancient Egypt. There are records of the Chinese using garlic as early as the 6th century.
Benefits of garlic
Some of the benefits of garlic include:
- it is antiseptic
- it is antibiotic
- it is antifungal
- it is antimicrobial
- it is an anthelmintic (de-worming)
- it can be used as an expectorant (for cough and cold)
- lowers blood pressure
- prevents clotting
- supports good bacteria in the gut
- helps to fight cancer cells
- can help reduce cholesterol
- can be used as a natural detox (great after a round of antibiotics)
In fact, according to Whole Dog Journal, “For the latter reason [natural detox], it is “absolutely brilliant” when given to dogs following treatment with conventional antibiotics, according to Hilary Self of Somerset, England, founder of Hilton Herbs, an international supplier of herbal supplements for horses and dogs. Self calls garlic the best-known and most widely used herb in the world.”
While all of these are quite amazing for a single plant, in the U.S. pet parents are especially interested in its use for repelling fleas and ticks, but how does it work?
Garlic works well at repelling fleas and ticks because the sulfur from the garlic is excreted through the skin of your dog, which isn’t attractive to those pesky pests.
Of course, as I’ve mentioned in previous posts, the best way to keep your dog healthy is with a great diet. What we put in is what we get out, as they say. Garlic is icing on the cake as I see it.
How to feed garlic to dogs
Before you dive into feeding garlic, there are some do’s and don’t’s and I think we should go over the don’t first.
- feed pre-chopped garlic
- feed pre-peeled garlic (purchased pre-peeled)
- feed garlic from China
You want garlic grown in the United States, preferably local and always organic. Never purchase garlic from China, period. Chinese garlic consistently tests positive for unsafe levels of arsenic, heavy metals, and chlorine, not to mention it is typically grown in sewage. Yes, sewage.
- buy fresh, local, organic whole bulbs of garlic (US grown always)
- peel and chop the garlic clove 15-20 minutes before feeding
- feed the raw, organic, locally grown garlic raw
You want to feed the freshest possible garlic to your dog because chopping the garlic clove releases an enzyme called alliinase, which when crushed, minced or chopped, combines with alliin to create allicin, according to Oregon State’s Micronutrient Center. According to Dogs Naturally, “Allicin is the active medicinal ingredient in garlic that gives it those antibiotic, anti-cancer, antiviral and antioxidant properties.”
Still some concerns
You may not want to feed garlic to dogs who are pregnant, puppies under 8 months of age, or to dogs who are taking drugs that could be contra-indicated with garlic. These include heart medications, blood thinners, chemotherapy drugs, blood pressure drugs, and immune suppressants, among others. Always consult with your holistic veterinarian before adding or removing anything from your dog’s diet.
How much garlic should I feed my dog?
As mentioned previously, you only want to feed fresh, raw, local (as local as possible), organic garlic to your dog. Peel the garlic and chop. Let sit for 15-20 minutes for full benefits. Feed immediately after the 15-20 minute sitting period.
Dosing can vary slightly depending on where you choose to get your information from, but everywhere I’ve read is pretty similar. Simple wins in my house, so I chose to go with the dosing that Kimberly over at Keep The Tail Wagging published on her blog. (She got them from Dr. Patcairn’s book, which you can grab on Amazon here.)
- 10 to 15 pounds – half a clove per day
- 20 to 40 pounds – 1 clove per day
- 45 to 70 pounds – 2 cloves per day
If you’re not going to feed fresh, raw, organic garlic from the U.S., don’t feed garlic.
If you want to feed pre-chopped garlic, don’t feed it.
If you don’t want to take the time to read the label at the store to make sure it’s not from China, then don’t feed it.
If you don’t want to chop the garlic fresh and wait 15 minutes to feed, then don’t feed it.
If you’re concerned about poisoning your dog with garlic, then don’t feed it.
If you think you won’t get the dose right, then don’t feed it.
But, it’s really pretty simple and I hope you do take the time to do the research for yourself and provide all the wonderful benefits of garlic to your dog.
I wish I had started feeding garlic earlier than now, but I was only concerned with the flea and tick repellent benefits, so I didn’t realize all the other wonderful benefits garlic possesses. Better late than never!
P.S. – If you want to hear it directly from Dr. Karen Becker, the world’s most-followed veterinarian, you can find a video on Facebook here >> https://www.facebook.com/watch/live/?v=944125966150023&ref=watch_permalink
P.P.S. – As Dr. Becker says in the video, there haven’t been any studies of substance done in cats and garlic, though we do know they are more sensitive to the compounds within garlic, as well as some Japanese dog breeds, so at this time it is still not advised to feed garlic to cats. None at all.
P.P.P.S. – Garlic and onions are different! Garlic may be OK as long as you check with your holistic vet first, but onions are not OK!