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Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Keeping vampires at bay

Hi Richard, wondered if you might be able to help.

I am interested to know how 'safe' garlic is for dogs - I have been using it for about three years - tiny bit in the food each day to ward off bugs and help with immune system. I constantly get told 'oooh you shouldn't do that, it’s bad for your dog blah blah', but I did hear that although from a similar family, garlic does not have an ingredient/layer that onions do which is what is toxic to dogs. Do you have any further info on that at all by any chance?

Thanks guys!

Donna Saunders, by email

Richard Allport, vet, advises...

Hallo Donna

Garlic is very safe. It is a member of the onion family, and onions are indeed toxic to dogs – they contain a chemical called thiosulphite which can damage red blood cells, causing serious anaemia. However, even in the case of onions, a dog weighing 55lbs would need to eat between three quarters and a pound and a half of onions at one go to be poisoned. Garlic does contain the same chemical, but much less of it, and is probably less than half as toxic – so our same dog would need to eat two or three pounds of garlic to be poisoned.

So small amounts of garlic are fine – but as the toxic effect can to some extent accumulate with repeated doses, I usually recommend having a break from continuous dosing now and then – so one week on, one week off is fine, or two weeks on, one week off would also be perfectly acceptable.

Garlic is such a health giving supplement – its anti infective, helps clears respiratory congestion, can strengthen the circulation, boosts the immune system, and helps keep parasites away – don’t stop giving the garlic!

Richard Allport


  1. I have been using a small clove ofchopped up garlic a day in all of my dog's food for many years, and have never had a problem with it. No smelly breath either. Also no fleas, so no need for chemical treatments and supposed to keep worms at bay as well.

    Good food and garlic keep my present dog in tip top condition, so would definately recommend it.

  2. Robert Stuhldreer5 October 2011 at 03:01

    Good to read Richard's reply. I have a great deal of respect for this man. Thank you. Robert Stuhldreer

  3. Question for Richard please - Hi Richard, I want to start giving my dogs garlic. I shall do one week on and one week off as you suggest. How much garlic should I give for 11-13kg dogs please? I don't think I will be able to get fresh so am thinking of using a garlic pill. Jenny

  4. I disagree and would never give my dog garlic. According to the Government of Canada web site, consumption of garlic can cause the following symptoms in dogs, cats & horses:
    Vomiting, breakdown of red blood cells (hemolytic anemia, Heinz body anemia), blood in urine, weakness, high heart rate, panting.
    The web site does not say how much garlic your dog would have to eat to get ill, but why chance it?
    Dogs are carnivores, they are meant to eat meat, not fruit, veggies or grains.