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Summary: Garlic has many health benefits for dogs including helping dogs naturally repel fleas and ticks, detox the system, and fighting cancer. For dogs that weigh 10 to 15 pounds, 1/2 clove of garlic is recommended. For dogs that weigh 20 to 40 pounds, one clove of garlic is recommended. And for dogs that weigh 45 to 70 pounds, two cloves of garlic are recommended. I add them to a veggie mix; you can also crush the garlic, allow it to sit for 20 minutes, then add it to your dog's raw meals.
Whenever the topic of feeding garlic to dogs comes up, someone flips out. Dogs Naturally Magazine has received rude comments about their stance on garlic for dogs. I've seen people demanding the removal of this topic in raw feeding groups. People literally go NUTS! But why?
Feeding too much garlic to dogs can lead to a host of health issues and you can find warnings all over the Internet. Garlic is lumped into the same category as onions, which I would never feed to my dogs, and some websites state that garlic is 5x more toxic to onions. So why do I feed my dogs garlic? Because the benefits far outweigh the risks and those risks can be eliminated by feeding the right amount of garlic, which is easy to do (dosages below).
Benefits of Garlic for Dogs
Garlic is a natural flea and tick repellent. I've also read that it repels mosquitoes too. I add garlic to my dogs' diet (as an ingredient in a vegetable ferment) starting in April or May. I've been told that it takes a couple of weeks for garlic to build up in the system to ward off fleas and ticks. I continue adding it to my dogs ferment through September.
- For every 8 quarts of fermented vegetable mix, I add 1/2 of a whole garlic (the number of cloves varies depending on the sizes of the garlic bulb). My dogs weigh between 55 lbs and 75 lbs and this works for them.
Other benefits of feeding garlic to our dogs include:
- Garlic helps to fight cancer by destroying cancer cells.
- Garlic acts as a natural detox.
- Garlic stops the formation of blood clots in the system.
- Garlic reduces cholesterol.
- Garlic is a natural antibiotic, anti-fungal and anti-parasitic.
How Much Garlic is Safe for Dogs
Before I share the dosage, I want to point out that it's important to use fresh, organic garlic. I prefer to grow my own or buy from a local farm. Thankfully, our grocery store carries locally grown produce and we have plenty of farmer's markets that also share local produce. It may be tempting to buy peeled garlic or minced garlic in the jar, but this is processed and won't have the same impact
How Much Does Your Dog Weigh?
- 10 to 15 pounds – half a clove.
- 20 to 40 pounds – 1 clove.
- 45 to 70 pounds – 2 cloves.
- 4.5 to 6.8 kg – half a clove.
- 9.1 to 18.1 kg – 1 clove
- 20.4 to 31.8 kg – 2 cloves.
These dosage amounts were derived by Dr. Pitcairn in his book The Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats. They are what can be fed daily to a dog, however, I've also read that it's important to do this every other day or every couple of days rather than daily and that dogs should be fed garlic every other week.
How I Add Garlic to My Dogs' Diet
I add garlic to my dogs' diet by mixing it to the veggie mix that I make or adding it to my vegetable ferment. Below are my recipes:
Someone once told me that we have to crush the garlic and allow it to set for 20 minutes before feeding it to my dogs. I puree the garlic when I'm making my veggie mix and I make such a huge batch that it does set for 20 minutes.
When I'm fermenting vegetables, I toss cloves of garlic in the mix; I believe that the act of fermenting will release the same benefits that are released when crushing the garlic. Hope that makes sense.
Update: How to Add Garlic to a Dog's Diet
According to Herbalist Rita Hogan in this article she wrote for Dogs Naturally Magazine, the property in garlic that provides the medicinal benefits is called allicin and it degrades after a period of time (10-15 minutes), so it must be used immediately. Using crushed or minced garlic we find at the grocery store won't work, the medicinal benefits are no longer there. It must be fresh garlic – crush, allow to sit for 10 minutes, then mix the appropriate dosage into a dog's meal.
Also, it's important to buy organic garlic because if it's not organic, then it was probably shipped in from overseas and it may have been rinsed off with chemicals. The best idea is to grow it on your own, which I've done in the past (very easy) and I'm considering doing in the future.
When you have five dogs, sourcing organic garlic and prepping it every other day seems like a tremendous amount of work, so I ordered garlic granules from Springtime Supplements. They also offer tablets, but I ordered the granules because I can mix them into my dogs' meals. I believe that this brand is also available on Amazon, however, I'm not sure if it's the real supplement or counterfeit, so I ordered from their site.
Dangerous Foods Lists Aren't Accurate
Anyway, when you see those lists that have a scary number of dangerous foods for dogs, take a moment to research the foods. There are so many things on those lists that are a steady part of my dogs' diet, including:
- raw meat – because I feed a raw food diet; dogs are naturally able to handle the bacteria in meat.
- raw bones – for calcium, phosphorus, teeth cleaning, and satisfying a chew drive.
- avocados – a great source of healthy fat (I don't feed the skin or pit).
- mushrooms – I add mushrooms to my dogs vegetable mix and I add a mushroom supplement to their meals. It's important to choose medicinal mushrooms and not pick mushrooms from our yard
I've recently been reading that grapes may no longer seen as toxic to dogs. This is interesting because we grow wine grapes on our property (we just started and have one big plant and plan to grow more) and our dogs eat the grapes at their level and have never had an issue. Does this mean that they're safe? No, but our vet said not to worry. They're not eating enough to cause issues. I'm not saying that we should all run out and buy grapes for our dogs, I'm just saying that we need to do our own homework when researching dog nutrition. We can't always count on what we read on the Internet (and that includes my blog too).