Garlic is probably one of the most controversial food items in the dog world. People both make ridiculous claims and accusations in regards to it, making it incredibly difficult for people new to the scene to make a decision on the matter.
Those in favor of garlic use would say that garlic is most known for its healing properties and use as a natural flea preventative. However, those opposed would argue that, just like the onion, garlic contains thiosulphate. Thiosulphate can cause hemolytic anemia, liver damage and death. However, Garlic contains barely any thiosulphate, while as onions have it in highly concentrated amounts. Garlic is approved to be used as flavoring for pet foods, though the FDA has it listed on the Poisonous Plant Database. The FDA made this decision based on a study performed by the Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, Graduate School of Veterinary Medicine, Hokkaido University located in Sapporo, Japan deemed garlic toxic. It is important to note, however, that they deemed it toxic after feeding it to dogs in incredibly large amounts (5 grams of whole garlic per kilogram of the dog’s body weight). It was only when garlic was fed in these amounts that it started to have an effect on the red blood cells. To give an example, a 75 lb dog would need to be eating 75 cloves of garlic per meal before it has any negative impact on the red blood cells.
Garlic being used for it’s medicinal benefits isn’t anything new. It’s been used for thousands of years to treat everything from a cold to cancer. The same benefits it has for man, it likewise has for Man’s Best Friend. Thanks to science we know that garlic helps boost immunity, can be used to treat bacterial, viral and fungal infections, as well as enhance liver function, detoxify the cells in addition to numerous other benefits. What is even more interesting is that garlic can be successfully used as a flea preventative. It takes a few weeks, but the garlic aroma will start to come out in the oils in your dog’s coat and deter fleas. It is a much better alternative to the chemical based topicals available for detering the little pests.
Now that the benefits have been brought to light, what is the appropriate amount of garlic to feed your dog?
The recommended amount is 1/2 clove per ten pounds, up to three cloves for larger dogs. When preparing garlic it is best to use fresh garlic, finely minced, letting it sit for five minutes before feeding to release the medicinal properties.
In the end, feeding garlic is ultimately your decision, but with it’s amazing medicinal properties and use as a flea preventative, it’s safe to say it would be a great addition to your dog’s diet, especially considering most dogs love the taste!