Can Dogs Eat Garlic? Is Garlic Bad For Dogs? Garlic For Dogs Explained

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Oh, garlic… I love it so. I love it in anything French or Italian, and that goes without saying. I usually don’t start a dish without frying garlic and onions in some butter or olive oil first. Oh, mercy.
But alas, this isn’t about my food, but about the dog’s food. His palate is significantly less sophisticated than mine, I am sure and in all honesty, I consider myself having something of a very lazy palate. So, the question is asked: is garlic good for dogs? Well, let’s start with the opposite question -- is it bad?

Is Garlic Bad For Dogs?

Garlic with cloves lying next to it.

Is Garlic Safe For Dogs?

You know what? It certainly can be. As it turns out, it is one of the more poisonous foods a dog can eat, if it is consumed in excess. In fact, it is a lot more toxic than onions, and can also lead to problems with digestion and a host of other issues.

However, if it is consumed in moderation, it can provide your dog a lot of benefits. We will go over those later, but first let’s talk about why it is bad, and what should be avoided.

When consumed without moderation, the delicious vegetable may bring about a highly toxic reaction in dogs, which -- if left untreated -- can be fatal. This does not mean you shouldn’t feed it to your dog at all, but it is meant to serve as a reminder -- everything in moderation.

Dogs are not humans. Give a human too much garlic, and normally all they will have is bad breath. Give a doggy too much and it may be his last supper.

Also, be aware that not all kinds of garlic are alike. Some are higher in toxic substances than others. Your safest bet would be either growing your own -- it is not as tough as you may think! -- or obtaining fresh bulbs from a local farmer’s market (or a similar setup). Raw, fresh, local, organically-grown- this is what you are aiming for and it is what works best for most dogs.

Is Garlic Powder Bad For Dogs?

Much like the clove itself, garlic powder can be taken in without any problems, so long as the amount is proportionate. But, there is still a crucial difference between them. The powder is a processed food, whereas the cloves are presumably fresh and unprocessed. I feel you should always try to provide your dog with the freshest and most organic supplements. In other words, if you decide to enhance your doggy’s diet with garlic, go for the real thing and avoid the artificial configurations.

As for toxicity -- garlic powder is just as poisonous as the real deal, and there is no difference between them if they reach that critical level. Both could lead to potential harm, and both are somewhat controversial. There are many ideas regarding garlic, and some even say that the powder is actually preferable to the fresh cloves.

Which dogs should avoid garlic altogether? Well, those who are a high-risk group are puppies, pregnant or nursing mothers, and breeds which are known to be more sensitive. Unsure of the situation? Consult your vet (or a holistic vet, if you are lucky enough to live next to one!).

How Much Garlic Is Safe For Dogs?

Puppy in leaves.

Is Garlic Safe For Dogs?

Depending on the breed and size, different amounts of fresh garlic are permissible. For small breeds, a third or half clove. For medium-sized dogs, a half or whole clove. For larger canines, up to two cloves.

As for the powder, a safe amount is ⅛ teaspoon per pound, according to the book All You Ever Wanted to Know About Herbs for Pets, by Gregory and Mary Tilford. Again, it is best to avoid it.

Do not feed your dog garlic every day, regardless of amount. Once every 2-3 days is fine, but moderation is paramount. Better to avoid it altogether than risk making a mistake which could harm your pooch. The benefits are great, but the stakes are high. Unsure? Don’t use garlic -- period. Safety first, right?

Does Your Dog Need Titer Testing?

Top 4 Health Benefits Of Garlic For Dogs

Garlic, whether consumed by dogs or humans, has many advantages and positive attributes. It is not by chance that this smelly vegetable is still a very popular ingredient in many diets, health plans, and home remedies. Whether it is for preventive purposes or for hands-on treatment, garlic is there for you, and also for your dog!

Here are 4 benefits of garlic for dogs:
● Fights bacteria, viruses, and fungi -- garlic is a natural antibiotic, antifungal and antibacterial agent. It can stave off infections, and this is especially true if the infection is just starting its run.

● Repels fleas and ticks -- something about this food keeps them at bay. It is unclear what exactly is at work here, but it could be that once the dog’s body digests and incorporates the garlic into it, the dog emits a modified odor which repels these pests.

● Boosts the immune system -- just like with humans, garlic can give the dog’s immune system a hearty boost. It aids in the proliferation of blood cells which fight off invaders of all kinds. It has even been linked to fighting cancers of varying types, though nothing has been proven in a conclusive manner. The data seems promising, though.

● Lowers bad cholesterol and reduces lipids -- the former benefit is great for all dogs. Bad cholesterol can lead to all kinds of unpleasant and unnecessary conditions. The latter benefit is good for dogs who are predisposed to lipid-related issues.
Breeds such as beagle, Shetland sheepdogs, and Miniature Schnauzers are more likely to suffer from hyperlipidemia, and garlic could help to keep their fat levels in check.


DIY Dog Treats With Garlic Recipe & Guide

Dog treats are great. And it is even better when they are homemade when you know precisely what it is in them, and -- more importantly -- what is not. This easy recipe will provide you with about 50 liver and garlic snacks, in the form of strips or rounds.
(Recipe credit:


● ½ pound fresh liver.
● 2 eggs.
● ½ cup water.
● 2 cups whole-wheat flour.
● 1 garlic clove / 1 tablespoon garlic powder.


● Preheat oven to 350F.
● Mix liver, eggs, and water in a blender.
● Add flour and garlic clove / garlic powder -- mix well.
● Pour mixture into baking pan, and spread it evenly within the pan.
● Bake for approximately 35 -- 40 minutes.
● At the end of the allotted time, the mixture should be firm to touch on top.
● Cool the mixture in the pan, and then cut into 1- by 2-inch strips or rounds.

The treats should be put in an airtight container and stored in a cool and dry place, for up to three weeks.


Garlic is a pretty controversial form of dog food, and it comes as no surprise, seeing as how it can be toxic in certain amounts. There is a rule of thumb on such occasions: whenever you are about to make any long-term change to your dog’s diet, you should consult with your doggy doctor and get the green light.

Obviously, not everything a doctor says is carved in stone, but an article such as this is not meant to act as a replacement for the advice given by a trained professional. In other words, when in doubt -- see your vet. They will undoubtedly be able to provide you with more information, thereby enabling you to make an informed decision.

Garlic can be a real healthy food for dogs, but it all comes down to the human who is serving it. It is up to us to provide our animals friends with the proper kind of garlic, and not mess them up by accident. Better to avoid it altogether than cause accidental harm.