Homeopathic remedies are commonly available for our pets. One of the most commonly used ingredients is garlic. These products claim to treat a variety of conditions. There are also many available that are designed to help control unwanted pests like fleas and ticks. However, you may be wondering, is garlic bad for dogs?
This article is going to explore the use of garlic in dog supplements. First, it will cover the many potential uses of garlic for dogs. It will also explore if there is any supporting evidence for these claims. At the end of the article, we will answer the question, is garlic bad for dogs?
The Possible Uses of Garlic for Dogs
#1. Flea & Tick Prevention
Flea and tick prevention is one of the main reasons some dog owners decide to give garlic supplements to their dogs. The common belief is that garlic will begin to build up in the oil that is present in your dog’s skin and coat.
The idea is that the strong odor of garlic will function as a natural deterrent for fleas and ticks. Some people even believe that it will help repel mosquitos. Unfortunately, there is no evidence currently supporting this theory. No concrete studies exist that show garlic repels fleas, ticks, or mosquitos in pets.
#2. Parasite Prevention
Another common reason people choose to supplement their dog’s diet with garlic is that it will help with parasite prevention. The theory is that garlic targets the bad fauna that is present in your dog’s digestive tract. It does this with the use of a natural chemical known as allicin. Once the infection is cleared, your dog’s natural immune system takes over and purges any remaining harmful organisms.
However, there are zero studies supporting this use for dogs. If you feel that your dog is suffering from some form of parasitic infection, it is imperative that you schedule a visit with your veterinarian as soon as possible to seek proper treatment. Many parasites can be fatal if left untreated.
#3. Cholesterol Reduction
Cholesterol reduction is another common reason garlic is given as a supplement. The exact mechanism of action is not clearly understood. There have been several studies done that do show a correlation between garlic consumption and cholesterol reduction.
However, it is important to realize that these studies were not done on dogs or cats. These studies typically used humans and used doses of garlic that would be considered harmful to dogs. If you’re concerned about your dog’s cholesterol or other diet related issues, schedule a visit with your vet for appropriate diagnosis and guidance.
Is Garlic Bad for Dogs?
Now that we have reviewed some of the common reasons dog owners use garlic, we can answer the question, is garlic bad for dogs? From the previous section, you should see a common trend that the majority of the reasons people use garlic for their pets is not backed by scientific research.
Unfortunately, if dog owners are not careful, they can end up doing more harm than good to their canine companions. This is due to the fact that excessive garlic consumption can cause red blood cell destruction. The condition is commonly known as Heinz body formation.
Understanding Heinz Body Formation
Heinz body formation occurs when hemoglobin is damaged, usually as a result of oxidative stress. In animals like dogs, the survival rate of red blood cells begins to drop significantly. This causes a wide range of health problems for your pet.
Common symptoms of Heinz body formation for dogs include garlic or onion smell on their breath, mucus membranes that are pale in color, elevated heart rate, vomiting, and reduced appetite.
The problem with providing your dog garlic supplements is that it does not take much to cause a reaction. Symptoms begin to develop if your dog consumes more than 0.5% of their body weight in garlic. This is why therapies like cholesterol reduction have proven ineffective in pets due to a large amount of garlic required.
Garlic Is Not the Only Culprit
Now that you know a bit about Heinz body formation, you should be able to answer the question, is garlic bad for dogs? However, it is important to realize that there are many other compounds that can prove to be highly toxic to your canine companion. This section is going to cover a few other common foods that you should avoid exposing your dog to.
Xylitol is an artificial sweetener that is found in many chewing gums, sugar-free candies, and more. Unfortunately, it can cause many issues for your dog. Consumption can eventually lead to liver failure, and your dog can experience a dangerous drop in blood sugars.
Avocados are another item that our canine companions must avoid. This is due to a chemical in them known as persin. It is found in the fruit, seeds, and the tree itself. Consumption can lead to a variety of effects like vomiting and loss of appetite.
Onions and garlic belong to the same plant family. As such, onions can have just as drastic of an effect on your pet’s health as garlic. Try to avoid giving them any foods that contain onions to be on the safe side.
4. Caffeinated Products
Be cautious when leaving your morning cup of joe or tea around the house. Any type of caffeinated beverage can prove fatal to cats and dogs. This is due to their higher heart rate that is much more sensitive to the effects of caffeine.
Now you know the answer to the question, is garlic bad for dogs? The answer is a resounding yes. Small amounts of it can cause a wide variety of health problems. The few reported benefits have very little research backing their validity and safety.
If you know anyone asking the question, “is garlic bad for dogs?”, feel free to share this article with them. By appropriately educating other dog owners, we can help prevent costly vet bills and ensure our pets are living a safe and healthy life.