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Garlic Poisoning In Dogs

Garlic Poisoning In Dogs

Consumption of Garlic can cause garlic toxicosis in your dog. It doesn’t matter whether the garlic is raw or cooked- all forms of the garlic, including the powdered form, are dangerous for your dog. Moreover, other forms of garlic and the powder is unsafe - dried, dehydrated, and fried is risky as well.

The reason garlic and other allium family plants are dangerous is that it doesn’t take a lot to cause health problems in dogs. Allium family is quite a large family of plants with approximately 95 species of plants including garlic, shallots, leeks, chives, rakkyo, and scallions, not counting ornamental varieties. 15 to 30 grams of garlic per kilogram body weight can cause toxicity in dogs.

Is there any daily recommended consumption of garlic for dogs?

  • 4 to 7 kg: 1/2 clove
  • 7 to 18 kg: 1 clove
  • 18 to 31 kg: 2 cloves
  • 31 kg to 40 kg: 2 1/2 cloves
  • 45 kg+: 3 cloves

Keep in mind, that cloves can vary considerably in size ranging anywhere from 4-to 8 grams.

One-time or sporadic ingestion of a small piece of fried garlic or garlic products isn’t enough to cause health concerns such as severe anemia in your dog.

Symptoms Of Garlic Poisoning

  • “Muddy” or yellow or pale-colored gums.
  • Blood in the urine (hematuria).
  • Vomiting / Diarrhea
  • Nausea: This looks like drooling in dogs.
  • Abdominal tenderness and cramping.
  • Liver and spleen inflammation (hepatosplenomegaly).
  • Lethargy
  • Labored breathing
  • Exercise intolerance
  • Bad breath
  • Discolored / Red / Brown tinged urine.
  • Trouble breathing (dyspnea).
  • Tachypnea, tachycardia
  • Cold sensitivity

Treatment Options For Garlic Poisoning

  • If ingestion was in the past 1-2 hours or less, Vomiting may be stimulated or vets use saline solution to flush the stomach and remove any undigested toxic portions.
  • Activated charcoal can be administered to decrease absorption of the toxins from the GI tract.
  • IV fluids to maintain hydration and to flush the bloodstream.
  • Severe cases may need blood transfusions until the dog’s body generates enough new, healthy erythrocytes.
  • To make up for the reduced circulation of red blood cells, supplemental oxygen may be required.

Home Remedies For Garlic Poisoning

The home remedies for anemia in dogs start with providing their body with enough nutrients to facilitate the synthesis of RBCs.

Ask your veterinarian for advice about a special diet for your dog.

Prevention Of Garlic Poisoning

  • Make aware of everyone in the household not to share their human food with pets especially if it contains garlic (ex. Garlic bread, spaghetti sauce with garlic, etc.).
  • Keeping garlic foods, powders, plants, and supplements away from your dog is the best prevention.
  • Place the canine toxic substances in a cupboard at inaccessible locations for your pet.
  • Place a suitable protective mechanism such as fences around gardens and plant beds containing garlic and/or other allium family plants.
  • Dispose of leftovers and watch the things that get dropped on the floor since cooking scraps or groceries can be easily picked up by your dog.

Affected Breeds Of Garlic Poisoning

Akita, Japanese Spitz, Shiba Inu, Japanese Chin, Japanese Dog Breeds.

There is no breed disposition.

Additional Facts For Garlic Poisoning

  1. Causes:

The main toxic ingredient in Allium family plants is N-propyl disulfide (an organosulfur compound). The enzyme to digest this sulfur compound is not present in dogs.

Oxidative hemolysis is caused by the oxidizing agents of garlic as the sulfur compound binds with the dog’s RBCs. When they suffer oxidative damage, the oxygen-carrying capacity throughout the body is damaged greatly. Oxidation of beta-93 cysteine residues present in hemoglobin forms sulfhemoglobin. The sulfhemoglobins are lesser soluble than hemoglobin; it precipitates, collect, and combine with the cell membrane to form specks called Heinz bodies.

This is the identification sign on a blood smear for hemolytic anemia and/or garlic poisoning. It is similar to a rounded, purple bead above the red blood cells under microscopic view.

The problem is Heinz bodies are considered foreign particles and they are attacked by the dog’s own immune system. Dog’s own RBC components are now considered the imposters. This destruction of own RBCs is called hemolysis.

If left untreated, RBCs’ will be destroyed faster than the body can replenish and the body’s ability to provide oxygen to the tissues as well as organs is diminished. When the quantity of oxygen needed to continue organ or system functions is not provided, sooner or later, everything burgeons into a deep anemic state.

  1. Risk Factors:

These Susceptible traits can make certain dogs more susceptible than others.

  • Dogs with high erythrocytes reduced glutathione and potassium concentrations.
  • Diminished erythrocyte oxidative defenses (g.due to the usage of acetaminophen).
  • Zinc deficiency
  • Treatment with xenobiotics or certain drugs (ex. Tylenol) or other compounds.
  • Dietary factors that induce erythrocyte oxidative injury (propylene glycol, propofol, sulfonamides, dl-methionine, sulfapyridine, benzocaine, large doses of vitamin K3).
  • Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency.
  • Already anemic dogs.
  1. Morbidity:

If large amounts have been ingested, Garlic toxicosis may manifest within one day of consumption; however, most common clinical signs develop after a few days.

  1. Diagnosis:
  • Physical examination
  • Complete blood cell count (CBC), Hemoglobin concentration.
  • Biochemistry analysis
  • Blood glucose levels
  • Urinalysis
  • Abdominal radiograph (X-ray).
  • Ultrasound
  • CT scan
  1. Differential Diagnoses:

This includes other common toxicoses:

  • Brassicaceous vegetables
  • Acetaminophen
  • Propylene glycol
  • Dl-methionine
  • Benzocaine
  • Naphthalene
  • Vitamin K3
  • Zinc and copper
  1. Mortality:

When a dog consumes garlic or garlic products of more than half a percent of their body weight, it would be at the risk of poisoning and if left untreated, it would be fatal.

  1. Prognosis:

Mild exposure to garlic or garlic products has a good prognosis and the dogs will recover soon. Increased consumption of garlic can be serious, particularly without appropriate treatment. When you suspect that your dog has eaten an excessive amount of garlic, rush to the vet immediately even if there are no instant signs.

When To See A Vet

Contact your vet right away, if you notice any of the following:

  • If you suspect that your dog has eaten excessive garlic.
  • Excessive vomiting and diarrhea.

Food Suggestions For Garlic Poisoning


The size, breed, age, and overall health determine the garlic toxicosis levels, Large breed dogs that consume small amounts of garlic may evade garlic toxicosis better than smaller dogs. But it is better to NEVER provide garlic (in any form) to dogs.

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