“Why are you feeding your dog garlic?”

That is the question I have been asked many times. And I answer with garlic is actually good for dogs. Probably there are some eyebrows raised now.

Just a little background. I feed my dog Bengo homecooked meals ever since I got him in 2009. And yes, most of the time his meals have garlic in them. He’s in great health.

garlic and its health benefits to dogs

Is garlic toxic to dogs?

Garlic is Packed with Nutrients

Just like many herbs, garlic is packed with nutrients including protein, fiber, potassium, phosphorus, calcium, sodium, vitamin A, thiamin, niacin, zinc, taurine, magnesium, iron, manganese, riboflavin and selenium. Whoah! Now that’s a lot of nutrients for a small bulb!

Benefits of Garlic

What exactly does garlic do for your dog?

  1. Immune System Booster – Garlic is a superb herb that can help boost your furry fellow’s immune system. You’ve probably heard about the canine flu that’s been going around and of course you’re concerned for your furry baby. Add garlic in your dog’s meals to help boost her immune system.
  2. Great for Senior Dogs – If you have an older or senior dog, it’s ideal to add garlic in his or her meals as it is useful in matters of the liver and cardiovascular systems. Yup! Garlic is a multi-system booster.
  3. Has Anti-Cancer and Anti-Tumor Properties – Aside from helping boost your dog’s immune system, garlic also has anti-cancer and anti-tumor properties. It also has antioxidant, expectorant, hypotensive qualities.
  4. Anti-Microbial Properties – And let’s not forget its anti-viral (yes garlic when ingested in appropriate amounts, is effective in fighting many forms of viruses without compromising the beneficial flora in your dog’s digestive tract) anti-fungal and tonic qualities.
  5. Effective Flea Repellent – A number of dog owners swear by the effectiveness of garlic as a flea and mosquito repellent. From what I know, fleas are attracted to unhealthy hosts, so if your dog is fed a healthy and balanced diet supplemented by garlic and other nutritious herbs, it wouldn’t be surprising that your dog doesn’t get fleas. If you want to test its effectiveness as flea repellent start adding garlic to your dog’s meals start of early spring and see the results yourself.

Moderation is Key

Here’s what you need to remember when adding garlic in your dog’s meals. Use it moderately. Here’s a useful guide on the amount of garlic you can add on your dog’s daily meals based on his or her weight.

  • For dogs weighing 10 to 15 pounds – half a clove of garlic
  • For dogs weighing 20 to 40 pounds – 1 clove
  • For dogs weighing 45 to 70 pounds – 2 cloves
  • For dogs weighing 75 pounds and above – 2 and ½ cloves

But Why Do Many Dog Owners Believe Garlic Is Toxic?

Still feeling not too sure about adding garlic in your dog’s meals? That’s understandable. I’m a dog owner myself so I want to be very careful in things that involve my dog’s well-being. It might help to know just how garlic got a bad reputation in the dog world. Did you know that garlic is approved for use in pet food? But ironically, the FDA has included garlic in its poisonous plant database. How did this happen?

The Experiment That Made Garlic a Villain

Back in 2000, a university class of 5 Japanese veterinary students at Hokkaido University did a small experiment on the effects of garlic in dogs. The experiment involved 4 dogs who were given massive amounts of garlic. How massive was the amount? The equivalent of 1 clove per kilogram of the dog’s body weight. So for example, a 40-pound dog was given 20 cloves of garlic when it should have been given only 1 clove. The 11-day experiment gave the verdict of garlic having the potential of causing hemolytic anemia or damage to the red blood cells which is what led to this bad reputation of garlic.

It is important to note that the experiment was a miniscule sampling and that the amount of garlic given to the dogs was massive. Although the red blood cell values of the dogs in the experiment were affected, not one of them developed hemolytic anemia. However, if your dog has anemia or you suspect he or she has anemia, avoid feeding them garlic. The same is true for still developing puppies.

More Good than Harm

Garlic does more good than harm to your dog. You just need to remember the appropriate amounts when adding this healthy herb in your dog’s meals!

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