The Many Benefits of Garlic for Your Dog

Can dogs eat garlic? Actually, there is almost nothing this “wonder food” can’t do!


One dictum for dealing with an ailing dog is to make sure he doesn’t get sick in the first place. And one way to achieve that noble end is to feed him a maintenance dose of garlic, a “wonder herb” that has a long list of beneficial effects for the dog in your life.

Garlic has antiseptic, antibiotic, antifungal, and antimicrobial properties. It can be used as an anthelmintic (deworming agent). It acts as a potent expectorant (helps bring phlegm or mucous up and out of the airway). It can lower blood pressure and prevent blood clots. And it can support the formation of good bacteria in the digestive tract.

For the latter reason, it is “absolutely brilliant” when given to dogs following treatment with conventional antibiotics, according to Hilary Self of Somerset, England, founder of Hilton Herbs, an international supplier of herbal supplements for horses and dogs. Self calls garlic the best-known and most widely used herb in the world.

can dogs eat garlic with their food

In the U.S., garlic is commonly fed to dogs due to its reputation for repelling fleas and ticks. The sulfur in the garlic is excreted through the dog’s skin, keeping fleas at bay. This is clearly a benefit, according to Self. But it’s not garlic’s most valuable attribute. Given garlic’s many powerful applications, it might be difficult to say which one is.

Garlic’s gifts

Garlic, that is, Allium sativum, is a humble little plant and a member of the lily family. It grows all around the world, and it looks unimpressive, at least from on top of the soil. Underneath the ground, it develops a bulbous root, which breaks up into teardrop-shaped sections called cloves. The many benefits inherent in the roots become apparent after the plant is dug up and harvested.

People have eaten garlic to improve their health for centuries. Ancient Egyptians are said to have worshipped garlic (its virtues were described in inscriptions on the Cheops pyramid), and regularly fed it to their slaves to keep them strong and free of illness. Hippocrates (460 B.C.) is believed to have used garlic to treat uterine cancer. There are records of Chinese doctors using garlic as early as the sixth century (500 A.D.) More recently, Native Americans used garlic as a remedy for earaches, flatulence, and scurvy. The forefather of antibiotics, Louis Pasteur, studied garlic extensively and found it highly effective at killing bacteria.

Modern uses for garlic

Garlic’s magical properties have not escaped modern researchers. Recent studies have proven that garlic can lower blood cholesterol and blood pressure and raise the levels of anti-clotting factors in the blood. Other studies suggest that garlic can prevent and eliminate heavy-metal poisoning. Scientists have demonstrated that garlic can slow the growth of certain types of tumors. Garlic has even been shown effective in treating opportunistic infections in AIDS patients.

Humans, of course, have shared their good fortune in exploiting this powerful and beneficial herb with their animal companions. Garlic is good for dogs, as well! Dogs seem to be able to benefit from garlic in many ways.

Perhaps garlic’s chief use lies in its ability to promote general wellness. While herbalists discourage feeding daily doses of garlic (or any other herb) year-round, in most applications, experts recommend feeding garlic three to five times a week for a period of a month or two, followed by a reduction or elimination of the dose. Careful observation needs to be maintained. If the sparkle goes out of the dog’s eye, just begin the garlic again.

How to feed garlic to dogs

The most important ingredient in garlic is a substance known as “allicin,” which is formed from a combination of two enzymes found separately inside garlic cloves. The first, “alliin,” is a nonvolatile, odorless sulfur amino acid. When a clove is cut (or chewed), alliin comes into contact with another enzyme called “alliinase.” Combined, the enzymes become allicin, a pungent, volatile sulfur compound that gives garlic its distinctive taste and smell.

Allicin is unstable; it converts into other compounds if it is not stabilized during manufacturing. Heat, in particular, drastically reduces allicin yield. Due to intense competition in the market, most companies that make garlic supplements for the medicinal benefits for humans monitor the amount of allicin in their products. Many state their stabilized and standardized allicin yield on their packaging. If you feed dried garlic, whether in a powdered or granulated form, the important thing is to get garlic that has not been heat-treated.

Fresh garlic is the least expensive option and is the most potent form of the herb. But not everyone is willing to spend time chopping it up for their dogs to eat, and not all dogs will eat it, even if it is mixed into their food. You may have to experiment a little to determine which form is most palatable for your dog. The fussiest eaters may benefit from pure, cold-processed garlic oil, which several manufacturers produce in gelatinous capsules.

Begin with a low dose, introducing garlic in increasing amounts over a week or two until you are feeding the entire dose. According to Self, an average dose of garlic for large dogs should be about one fresh, crushed garlic clove per day. If you feed pure, cold-processed garlic powder or granules, the equivalent is about a half-teaspoon. The suggestion for medium-sized dogs is half a clove (or 1/4 teaspoon of powder); for small dogs, give just a quarter clove (or a pinch or two of the powder).

As with any drug or herb, it’s important to watch for any sensitivities particular in your dog’s body. While garlic is safe for dogs to eat, every dog’s dietary restrictions are different. Some herbalists say that a high daily dose of fresh garlic, given for long periods of time, can deplete the intestinal flora. If the condition you are treating is seasonal, or if the treatment is successful, slowly decrease the dose after the dog improves and maintains the improvement.

-by Nancy Kerns


    • I was just reading this because I googled “How to treat garlic poisoning in dogs” because my Chiwoxy got some (very small amount!) of my pizza 2 days ago and is sick. She has bloody stools and vomiting. She is on 3 needs and had IV fluids at the vet.This article is horrific!!

    • That is a wonderful article and tells you to NOT feed garlic powder and gives you the correct amount to feed. Thank you. I always ‘err’ on the side of less. 15 to 30 grams per kilogram of body weight to be harmful…my dog is almost 30 kilograms. The average clove of garlic is 3 to 7 grams. I don’t give near this amount. I give a clove a day for 5 days…take a break for a day and then go to every other day. Also, I ONLY use fresh, organic garlic. Nothing with additives or pesticides.

      • I was just reading this because I googled “How to treat garlic poisoning in dogs” because my Chiwoxy got some (very small amount!) of my pizza 2 days ago and is sick. She has bloody stools and vomiting. She is on 3 needs and had IV fluids at the vet.This article is horrific!!

        • Hahahaha. I remember when you could still get Garlic flea pills for dogs in the 90s/early 2000s.

          This article is incredibly detailed, shows the scientific compounds and what activates the problems in dogs, and also tells you how to do it slowly. Relax my dears, the average animal gets more toxins out of the crap you feed it on the regular than a smart owner softly enhancing an immune system.

          • I replied to the wrong comment. My bad, but l read yours and smiled because it’s so true about garlic being good for dogs in so many ways. I am from the area of the 60’s and l have watch my Daddy give his hunting dogs garlic to get worms and fleas.

      • I agree with what your saying. It makes good sense.Even twice a week is better than not at all. Keeping it in there system is the key. Our dogs are like us humans, too much of a good thing can be bad.

    • I read the article. Your dog would get harmed if eating large amounts of garlic. An average full garlic clove you’ll find at the store is 7 to 15 grams of garlic. And that much is very toxic. When you open it up and take one little clove out of the rest, that is 3 grams. Now the amount for the remedy is a fourth of that for medium sized dogs and even less than that or small dogs, which on average, most people have those size dogs. Based on other articles I’ve read. Small amounts of garlic like mentioned above is okay to give your dogs especially for removing worms with the antiviral and antibacterial agents and many more that garlic contains.

      • Your calling a garlic bulb a clove!
        I have grown garlic with bulbs from 20 to 50 grams, yes an average clove is 3, but this can also vary greatly.
        I would rather take note of what Nancy Kerns with her expertise has said (and have, incidentally been doing for 20 odd years) than all of the other armchair experts ridiculous proclamations made here.

      • So maybe purchase the one that is checked by certified veterinarians in a lab rather than…you. They know what they are doing and have actual computers monitoring the dose in each container of medication. I’ll take my chances with that over my measuring spoons any day.

    • The article says that when the garlic is heated or cooked it is the most toxic, it also says to use cold processed garlic and to MONITOR your dog. Garlic actually has very beneficial properties as long as it’s administered careful and correctly. Pet owners should always check with your dogs vet before giving your pet anything that could potentially harm them if not given correctly. It’s called being RESPONSIBLE.

  1. Garlic is not toxic in small doses – this had been shown repeatedly. A medium sized dog would need to eat several bulbs to reach toxic levels. As with any supplement or medication the poison is in the dust.

  2. I have been giving my German shepherd garlic since he was one year old. He is now 6 and It hasn’t poisoned him. Best of all he has never had fleas!
    Marley is also on a raw diet. The vet always mentions how clean his teeth are. This is the raw bones in his diet.
    The natural way is the best way to go!

  3. I know I’m late to the party… I’d love to give my French Bulldog 1/2 tsp of garlic and am getting nowhere on French Bulldog specific sites… Does anyone here have experience with feeding fresh garlic to small dogs (25 lbs or less) or, better yet, French Bulldogs specifically? I’d like to be absolutely sure that garlic isn’t safe only for large dogs. Thanks in advance!

  4. I just heard about this and bought my dog garlic gel capsules……it was 1000 mg caps…..just what the person told me this gives and now my big dog acts like he don’t feel good so idk I’m gonna give him any more…

  5. Here is the statement from the AKC -American Kennel Club
    For garlic to become toxic to a dog, it would have to consume 15 -30 grams per each 1 kg of weight. The average clove weighs 5 grams.
    A 16 lb dog would equal approx. 7.25 KG.
    This small dog would have to consume 3 – 6 cloves of garlic X 7.25
    If my math is correct, that would mean toxicity would be anywhere from 27 3/4 Cloves to 43 1/2 Cloves of raw garlic.
    Do you people believe in Vampires, too?

  6. Yes, a dog would have to eat lots of garlic to die from it. Some breeds are more tolerant. Just like some breeds are more susceptible. Intentionally feeding a dog a known toxic substance even at small doses, no thanks for my pooches.

  7. It’s really frustrating to read so many inconsistencies but you are responsible for your own research and WHERE you get it from. My holistic vet of 40+ years insists fresh garlic is NOT, NOT, NOT toxic for dogs. My dogs have all had garlic (fresh, organic, non-irradiated) for their entire lives and thrived. No, I don’t chop up 20 cloves and give it to them, it is made with fresh food in small amounts or part of a supplement during cycles. Most average vets say otherwise, but these are the same vets saying kibble is good for teeth (good grief) and don’t feed dogs people food. Some people’s knowledge just is where it is, and you are not going to convince them otherwise. Yes, deep fried Oreos and Pepsi aren’t good for dogs but also not for people either. People do your own research NOT funded by dog food companies or anyone who can make a fat buck from you or your animal being sick. If you can’t be bothered to really look into this and come with an informed point of view, just go about your way and we all hope everyone’s doggies stay healthy as possible no matter what their owners know or do not know.

    • Hello there, i have a 5.2 yr.old aulstralian sheppard she is my world and then some, i am also totally into hollistic health but my dog has constant health issues and there’s just so much info out there i need some good advise asap weve had some financial issues and getting her to the vet has been impossible but before we take her back if you don’t mind i would love to message you 1 on 1 if you don’t mind giving me a little advise nothing major but i can tell your just the person i want to talk to about my dog Sheeba . I hope this message gets back to you i could really use some real advise thanks so much ,Regina

      • I was just reading this because I googled “How to treat garlic poisoning in dogs” because my Chiwoxy got some (very small amount!) of my pizza 2 days ago and is sick. She has bloody stools and vomiting. She is on 3 meds and had IV fluids at the vet.This article is horrific!!
        Also, this little girl is like my own child to me. She’s almost 10yo and I can’t stand that she is so sick.

    • Amen it’s disgusting to read ingnorance, so the people that want to keep fleas off look at the ingredients you will see it is straight posion at a legal level. The same ingrediant used in pesticides is used in dog flea medicine

      • Hey! Good that you know your stuff about common pesticides! Except you consume them every day, unless everything you eat is what you grow, even then there’s still a small chance. Not all pesticides are DDT/ Agent Orange level poisonous! Try looking that up next time. All the ingredients and their purpose are on a list that is, by law, available to the public. Please look further into this before calling responsible owners ignorant. Thank you.

        • Perhaps take some of your own advice. The flea meds, tick meds and drugs are TOXIC, TOXIC to pets. And purely terrible. Killing so many dogs and harming and have even killed some humans. How about you google and go to Planet Paws FB, Forever Dog FB, Life and Research for Dogs and Cats FB, the Dog Cancer Support Group FB, Holistic Help for Pets FB, the “Bravecto ….. is Killing Pets FB” — or, even get an appointment with a Holistic Vet; or go to the web and/or YT and look up Mercola Vet and Dr. Karen Becker … and again Rodney Habib, pet health blogger (and his personal FB and his Planet Paws FB). The pesticides in a flea collars are leaking into ponds, rivers, water — killing wildlife, and water insects and in the UK have destroyed acres and acres of land – and have killed thousands of dogs and cats and even harmed children. It does not take DDT or Agent Orange levels — only just a small amount in the products that Vets promote (but are still able to sleep at night)– go read on Forever Dog FB .. help keep your pet(s) safe. * * Garlic is so much, much, more safer than spot-on flea meds, collars, etc!

    • ok explain why whoever is doing it wants to fight to keep out Allium family out of dog food? Depending on how it’s made some Kibble is good for dogs. While in small amounts garlic may not be show significant adverse health effects, it is still a known poison, same as chocolate, garlic has no scientific backing for positive health effects to warrant the risk.

  8. Recently I started feeding my dog Stabilized Allicin capsules (2-180mg, 3x/day = 1,080 mg or just over 1gm) because he has MRSA from years of antibiotic abuse (prescribed by vet) that started as a chronic, reoccurring skin/staff infection. He is a 50 pound English Springer Spaniel. I believe in homeopathic medicine combined with modern medicine. Both have their place in wellness. I am desperate to help my dog be lesion free and healthy. I believe it starts with his immune system and gut health. I feed him home made milk Keifer and have had him on a raw diet for 3 years. It still isn’t enough. Currently we have cultured his new set of weeping wounds to see what he may be susceptible to (still waiting). Coupled with stabilized Allicin (garlic) capsules, my hope is that once the infection clears that it will stay cleared and NOT reoccur. The vet is not homeopathic but not against it either. I will plan on providing my dog with a break from the Allicin after he clears and then supply him with a maintenance dose every other day. Maybe I’ll start to grow my own garlic and feed him that in place of, on occasion. My dog is beloved because he is pure therapy for my family. We are praying for answers and solutions that work. We are desperate and willing to try/commit to this process. Please do not say “do not give your dog garlic”, at least to me. When you are backed into a corner with hardly any options you will try if the dog can tolerate it. So far he has done great for two weeks! No GI upset or signs/symptoms of pain/intolerance to the Allicin. Here is hoping! If you have helpful insight to my dilemma, please provide…. Thank you!

    • Have you tried Colloidal Silver??? It does wonders for nearly every ailment known to man & animal (especially infections & diseases that require toxic antibiotics). I’ve used the brand Sovereign Silver (from Sprouts’ Market or you can get it online) for yearsssssss because it’s every experts’ favorite & it’s been around for a century or more.

      • Oh my god Colloidal Silver is not good for anything! That is such an outdated claim, it has been proven to even be harmful, if you use it excessively it can damage kidneys and brain, among other things. It can also interfere with medications. Turn your skin a grey blue colour. Has absolutely no scientific backing for health benefits. You are healthy IN SPITE OF the colloidal silver, not because of it.

    • You can also try 1 tablespoon of pure honey 5-8 drops of lemon juice mix with 1/4 cup petroleum jelly for wounds.lemon is antiseptic honey is anti-inflammatory. As well my dog was allergic to the surgical tools broke out every needle she needed first wound got size of quarter so I tried this and 5 days almost completely healed works great for humans to.

    • I hope your dog is better. Have you tried fish oil capsules? When she was three, my 11 year old German shepherd had a terrible coat with patches of fur missing and skin lesions from biting and scratching due to allergies to flea bites and bad dog food. She was miserable and looked it. Nothing the vet gave her worked. I started giving her super pure omega 3 fish oil capsules from 1 800 petmeds. Her coat cleared up, fur grew back and she now has a shiny coat and healthy skin. I have been giving her one a day since she was three. I also give her one tablespoon daily of Bragg’s apple cider vinegar in her water.

    • Stabilizing allicin weakens the antibiotic effect anyways. Please take your dog to the vet and have them give him a dietary plan that fits his specific needs…personally I do not think that a raw diet is advisable. While dogs are descendants of wolves. Domesticated canines such as you Spaniel sometimes require certain grains and vegetables to help them maintain a balanced diet and boost their immune system. About the Keifer…great work! Will definitely help you dog to have a healthy gut. But, you have to give it in small amounts, and put him on antibiotics as well. That’s what it’s for: to keep the good bacteria alive in your dogs belly while the antibiotics work their magic. Hope this helps!

    • Quite right Robbie, but my earlier point is this. Why give garlic anyway. If a dog has certain symptoms there are plenty of known safe remedies that you don’t need to risk your dogs life with.
      Would some of these pro garlic users give their dogs grapes, because evidence tells us that as little as ONE grape can kill a healthy dog.

  9. Small amounts of garlic over time can cause anaemia in dogs and my dog suffered from a severeve case of anemia and nearly died. Some may be fine but hell is it worth it? I think not why would you risk it the health benefits just aren’t worth it. DO NOT FEED YOUR DOG GARLIC

  10. I can’t believe those that say garlic is toxic for dogs, no it’s not. I’ve been giving garlic to my dogs for many things. It will hurt them if you don’t give them the right amount. People have to insult others because they just don’t know.

    • Someone in these very comments had a dog who died at just 3 years old of anemia after feeding it garlic. Guess what the PROVEN cause of death from dogs consuming garlic is? Anemia, from the allicin, the chemical which person who wrote this article claims has positive effects on a dog. It’s in the top 3 results in Google as well. And why would you EVER give your dog something that could possibly hurt them? Moreover something that has been claimed to kill them? Why wouldn’t you purchase safe, trusted medications for them? Why risk it?

  11. My 14 Yeager old lab mix enjoys carrots broccoli Brussel sprouts cauliflower potato’s my Dads special concoction flavored with fresh garlic simmered in olive oil. i normally feed.Loki twice a day dry food topped with a milkbone to encourage his appetite. He gets the veggies as a treat. The garlic has never caused any problems. No one can believe he is actually 14. Everyone asks what I feed him. What’s my secret. At the dog park he outruns most of the dogs. Everything in moderation. That’s the take I get when reading various sources regarding garlic for dogs. It’s been my experience that it’s good for Loki. His coat is shiny. Teeth very good. Breath normal. I’ve read a number of articles that praise the benefits of garlic and yes for people and dogs. These are intelligent well written specific articles from those who know so much more than me. The only things you should never cut out are hugs and praise for our God given best friends. Kris

    • Glad to hear your dog is so healthy. Yes some vegetables, the ones you named can be good from time to time for dogs. Except the garlic and olive oil. The oil from all I’ve researched is not a good thing for animals. The garlic -may- have benefits again the research I’ve done is the benefits arent confirmed, what is confirmed is it is poisonous. As you said in small amounts it can be consumed with little effect however it is like eating arsenic. Low levels(really low) are ok you shouldn’t be harmed but high doses will do what we all know will do. As well constant low does that are “safe” will eventually lead to health complications, and yet it is something that is used and touted as being good for you in low doses used by some wackadoodles.

  12. This article is informative but then again it’s not. It still leaves you with questions on how much to give a certain pound dog. Not only that is not very specific on doses and does not mention warnings on too high of doses.

  13. Just give it to the dog , it’s fine.
    I’ve been giving my dogs garlic for many years and have not had a problem. I crush it in a paste and mix it in , they love it. I do it for the health benefits and the side benefit is my last 4 dogs have never had fleas.

  14. I knew nothing about this topic, trying to research both sides due to chronic ear infections in a Cocker Spaniel — and after reading everyone’s comments….definitely still confused about garlic. I will add though, that my guess is most of the folks who are against a natural cure (even in a safer small amount, as basically everyone who suggested it has mentioned) would likely have no problem giving an outrageously-priced-unknown-chemical-composition in the form of a prescription medicine to their pets. Just sayin’.

  15. I want to give garlic for fleas and ticks. A lot of you talk about fleas, but what about ticks? I live in the woods and ticks are around more. I’m thinking of buying Bug Off Garlic Chewables. Has anyone tried these?

    • LOL.
      What saddens me about this read is the rudeness, the put downs, the ignorance of what the intent is being discussed.
      Are you not all adults who love their dogs?
      I’ve scrolled all the way down to find a spot where I could no longer read the crass comments especially the ones who persist. People! Where are your manners? Nevermind about manners, where is your humanity?
      If you disagree with what you read here…just simply state it. Why get nasty?

  16. I cannot trust these articles. I had a dog and read that garlic would help in our battle against fleas. We lived backed against a field so had terrible issues. I fed him about a clove or two of garlic a week, he was roughly 75lbs. He died at 3yrs old from anemia. I don’t know whether it was the garlic that caused it but I’ve had to live with the possible guilt that I may have poisoned my dog to death. It is a giant weigh I’ve borne for years now. If I could go back in time I would never have taken the risk if it meant my baby would be alive now.

  17. Garlic is toxic to dogs in any dose, and could kill them. Just because something is “natural”doesn’t mean it’s safe for you or your pet! Why don’t you guys not risk your pets life and just get a flea/tick collar, or oral meds, or topical meds from a REAL vet, NOT holistic. So many options and yet owners choose to use something where it’s debatable if it could kill your pet or not, so disappointing to see. And if you want to improve your dogs coat, try salmon oil. A tablespoon in their food up to twice a day is perfectly safe and it helps with shedding and mild dryness. Please don’t listen to this article and risk losing your furry friend!

  18. If you have never had an experience with garlic then quit telling people what to do I’m 50 years old and I fed my dalmatian he was heartworm positive fresh garlic daily after several years we went back to the vet he was no longer heartworm positive he had passed all the heartworm’s due to the garlic it is an old remedy and works fine as it says don’t overdo it too much could be bad but a garlic clove a day is fine I did it for years and my dog lived me 13 years old which is the lifespan of a Dalmatian

  19. I’m more confused than ever 🙄 my dog has just stole my dinner when my back was turned, it consisted of lettuce cucumber and carrots with chicken and bacon in mayo, a pre made salad from a super market, I added some beef mince dry fried with 2 tsp mustard powder and 2 tsp of garlic salt. He ate the lot!!!! Should I be worrying?

    • I don’t think so. Some dogs has a stomach made of iron and will eat anything. The only thing you may have to worry about is having a mess to clean up if his stomach rejects it. Good luck and sorry about your lunch .

  20. My dog had an ear infection and it spread into his eye, nothing the vet prescribed worked.
    I was giving up all hope, when a friend told me to use garlic and olive oil..
    A couple of drops of the oil that has had garlic soak over night.
    A frw drops in his ears and let it rest over night wipee out in the morning and in two days the ear was clear.

    His eye was still a problem, so I took a cotton ball and dipped it into the oil and just coated the infected area at night and first thing in the morning.

    His eye is clearing and he is happy and pain free.
    I wish I would have tried it sooner and saved a bunch of money.

  21. Its an old debate i know, but here’s my 2 cents. Small amounts of garlic is not only safe but has many health benefits for dogs. Keep in mind these people who say its toxic at any level. Purina one brand dog food read the ingredients list. Guess what, ITS GOT GARLIC IN IT! they even talk about it on their website, and its benefits.

  22. If humans have been eating garlic for thousands of years, and Dogs have evolved next to humans(essentially as garbage disposals), I have a hard time believing that garlic will seriously harm your dog.

    • That is a very ignorant comment JoAnn. Our ancestors WERE the guinea pigs for most of our modern medicines, foods, etc. Case in point about garlic: I have been consuming 1 raw clove of garlic daily since my 20s (almost 40 now), never been seriously ill and the few infections I had never came back again, like strep throat. Similarly, been giving our beloved medium sized mutt 1 raw clove of garlic for the past 3 years and he’s the picture of health. Stop being so brainwashed by big western pharma, which needs you AND your pets to stay sick so you can take more costly poison to get temporarily well.

  23. I wish I did research before I gave my Golden Retriever garlic ..I was told how good it was and I believed them.% years I did and now we are paying for it as our puppy is now 6 and on his last legs..These people should be straightened out somehow on giving false information.DON’T GIVE YOUR PUPPY GARLIC

  24. The article says that when the garlic is heated or cooked it is the most toxic, it also says to use cold processed garlic and to MONITOR your dog. Garlic actually has very beneficial properties as long as it’s administered careful and correctly. Pet owners should always check with your dogs vet before giving your pet anything that could potentially harm them if not given correctly. It’s called being RESPONSIBLE.