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Is garlic safe for dogs? - McDowell's Herbal Treatments

Garlic is one of the most controversial supplements for pets. There are people that swear by it for fleas and worms, and others that think it will make your dog anaemic and die.

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So can garlic give dogs anaemia? Theoretically yes - at extraordinary doses. One study was performed on dogs giving them 5g/kg of garlic, for a 20 kg dog, this equates to approximately 25 cloves a day (A BIG dose!) and although these dogs had evidence of oxidation to red blood cells, no dog developed haemolytic anaemia. Maybe at a bigger dose they would- but could you imagine living with a dog that ate that much garlic. Pongo! Not to mention at these doses it is going to irritate and even damage the mucosal surface of the gut.

Cats can be a little more sensitive to the effects of garlic, as their red blood cells have more sites available for oxidation. Cats are also more fussy, and are very unlikely to want to eat excessive amounts of garlic.

So normal doses of fresh garlic would be about 1 clove for a 20-25kg dog and this should have no adverse effects.

Garlic is a strong anti-fungal, antimicrobial and digestive stimulant, and is also a wonderful immune stimulate. We have garlic in many of our formulations that help to support the body, and at the dosages given have no risk of anaemia. If you have a pet that is a little more sensitive to the effects of garlic, we can monitor their response to the herbs and formulate the mix without the addition of garlic. Easy!

Garlic dosage

Garlic cloves can vary in size, and weight. There are also different types of garlic, such as the smaller more pungent cloves and the larger elephant garlic cloves. We recommend using an ‘average’ size clove. The normal clove you would think of as a garlic clove that you would add to a recipe that calls for one clove of garlic.

We weighed a few average sized garlic cloves and they were around 2.5g. This will vary not only with size of the bulb, but also with the hydration of the bulb. If the clove is fresh and plump it can weight more than the sad clove you find at the back of the cupboard that has been sitting there for the last few months. However this does not necessarily mean there are less active constituents in the clove, it just has less water.

You can also use a smaller clove one day and a slightly larger clove another. I also recommend not using garlic religiously on a daily basis.

As you break up the garlic bulb, the cloves will get smaller as you get to the centre of the bulb. When I use these smaller ones I will just use 2-3 depending on their size - or I use them for the chickens because they are way to fiddly to bother with…

The larger elephant garlic cloves are actually a type of leek. They are similar in nutrients and also contains the active constituent allicin. I tend not to use this garlic type as much as the other types of garlic, but when I do I just cut a portion off, about the size of an average garlic clove that would weigh roughly 2.5g.

This will all need to be adapted to your dogs size. Dogs can vary from as little as 1kg all the way to over 100kg. There are also dogs that will do better without this added to their diet.

Have a question? Contact McDowell's Herbal Treatments

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McDowell's staff Herbalists can not diagnose your disease or illness. What they can do is offer a herbal program to assist with healing, after you have had advice from your doctor or specialist. If you have unexplained pain or symptoms, seek medical advice.

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