I talk a lot about garlic for dogs. I bore people talking about it. But every 5th or so person to whom I suggest it responds with “But I heard garlic is toxic to dogs.” Well, so isn’t vitamin D if you give too much of it.
Yes, there have been cases of garlic toxicity in dogs. Too much can cause hemolytic anemia or reduced red blood cell content. But I believe these can be attributed to either enormous quantities, or the use of garlic capsules and powders, which can be too concentrated, and sometimes too artificial. As with all herbs, garlic should be used in its whole plant state. Many companies isolate active constituents in the plant – but plants contain many (sometimes hundreds of) medicinal constituents which work synergistically with each other. Isolating just one may have deleterious effects. At best it may be ineffective; at worst, harmful side effects may occur. The most effective way to use garlic is to buy fresh, organic bulbs and chop them up, as the allicin compounds which are created by the act of slicing the garlic last only a few hours. If that’s too much work, buying a jar of minced, raw garlic is suitable. You don’t need to use a lot. About half a clove is enough for a medium-sized dog, and a whole clove for a dog over 100 lbs. For the little guys, just a pinch will do. Make sure to mix it with dinner! Raw garlic alone can be harsh on the tummy.
If I could recommend one supplement (OK, aside from whole-food vitamins, digestive enzymes, and EFAs), it’s raw garlic. It benefits almost every system in the body – especially the immune system. I specify raw because the active constituents (namely, allicin, thio-sulfinates, glycosides, amino acids, vitamins, minerals, and trace elements) are destroyed by heat. Give your dog your leftover shrimp scampi and, unfortunately, he or she won’t really benefit by the garlic.
Garlic is a known anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal, and anti-parasitic –
to name just a few of its benefits. It contains hundreds of sulfur compounds that parasites will not tolerate. Garlic will not only rid the digestive tract of parasites, it helps to set up an environment in the canine (and human!) body for beneficial bacteria in the gut. I find it ironic that the Hill’s (Science Diet) website cautions against the use of garlic with dogs. I usually caution against the use of Hill’s Science Diet with dogs. But I digress…
When my dog starts drinking from stagnant water, I don’t really worry about giardia, knowing that he is getting garlic regularly. Ringworm? Apply a little garlic juice twice a day to the site. If you are concerned about fleas or ticks, feeding a balanced raw diet with garlic is the best preventive I have experienced. In fact, when I lived in Maine surrounded by woods (and deer), I would open the door and let Rupert out to run. I never used harsh chemicals or any other preventive. From spring through the fall (heaviest tick seasons), I think I pulled a total of two ticks off of him. Add a B complex to your dog’s diet to help deter other pests (which is why brewer’s yeast and garlic was a popular anti-flea remedy; brewer’s yeast contains lots of B vitamins; coupled with the sulfur compounds in garlic, parasites will flee).
Its aromatic oil is excreted via the lungs, so it’s very beneficial in cases of kennel cough and other upper respiratory conditions. Combine this with fresh air & sunshine for a healthy recovery.
Have I mentioned the use of garlic for raising urine pH? It was originally believed to acidify urine, but when tested in cat food, it…
Wait. See, I’m boring you, aren’t I?