Garlic Health Benefits
Is Garlic Toxic to Dogs and Cats?
Happy National Garlic Day! Did you know that garlic has a ton of health benefits for you, your dog, and your cat? What? But how many times have you heard garlic is toxic to dogs? Today, I will provide you with a rundown on the health benefits of garlic and what you need to know when feeding garlic to your dog or cat.
The garlic study that made garlic a bad guy in our dog’s health: In 2000 there was a small (4 dogs) study to determine the effects of garlic on a dog’s health. Four dogs were given 5 grams of garlic clove (about 2 cloves) per 1 kg (2.2 pounds) of a dog’s weight every day for seven days. In other words, a 25-pound dog received 25 cloves a day!
Their results: “Compared with initial values, erythrocyte count, Hct, and hemoglobin concentration decreased to a minimum value on days 9 to 11 in dogs given garlic extract. Heinz body formation, an increase in erythrocyte-reduced glutathione concentration, and eccentrocytes were also detected in these dogs. However, no dog developed hemolytic anemia.”
On the other side of this one study with only four dogs and an insane amount of garlic, you have veterinary food therapists and pet herbalists like Dr. Martin Goldstein, Dr. Richard Pitcairn, and Gregory Tilford promoting the use of garlic with our pets. But, like with anything, you need to use common sense and moderation when giving your dog, cat, or yourself garlic.
Health Benefits of Garlic
When garlic is chopped, it releases a sulfur known as allicin that provides us with some amazing health benefits. The allicin is also responsible for that garlic smell.
Garlic has a healthy dose of manganese, Vitamin B6 and Vitamin C. Garlic is known for its ability to boost the immune system. Garlic also improves cholesterol levels, which may lower the risk of heart disease. Add to this that garlic contains antioxidants that help with brain and bone health, and you’ll agree that this little bulb is something that should be in every pantry.
When introducing garlic into your pet’s nutrition, speak with your veterinary food therapist and start slowly. Note any behavior or medical changes such as diarrhea or lethargy, and discontinue if your pet does not tolerate fresh garlic. Do not use with puppies, pregnant dogs, nursing dogs, or dogs on medications prior to speaking with your veterinarian. Cats and Japanese breeds can be more sensitive to the compounds in garlic. Garlic also affects blood clotting, so if your dog or cat will be having surgery or has a pre-existing anemic condition, discontinue use and consult with your veterinarian. When using garlic as a supplement, feed up to three days in a row then 5-7 days off.
First, fresh, organic, raw garlic is the way to go. About 10 minutes prior to feeding, remove the peel from the fresh garlic clove and mince your pet’s garlic. Allow it to set on your counter for the 10 minutes, and mix in with your pet’s fresh food. Mincing the garlic and allowing it to set releases a chemical reaction and provides all the health benefits you are looking for in garlic.
Approximate Dose of Fresh, Organic Garlic:
- 5 pounds 1/8 tsp
- 6-10 pounds ¼ tsp
- 11-15 pounds ½ tsp
- 16-20 pounds ¾ tsp
- 21-30 pounds 1 tsp
- 31-50 pounds 1 ½ tsp
- 51 + pounds 2 tsp
One final note: Don’t take my advice—speak to your holistic veterinarian.
Do you provide fresh foods and herbs for your pets? Tell me in the comments.
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