I’m so sorry to write that Barbara’s boxer mix Missy passed away from cancer. Missy was such a sweet, sweet girl. We wanted to share this picture of her because it shows the enthusiasm she had for food! Rest in peace, Missy girl. -Lindsay
Is raw garlic safe for dogs?
I started adding raw garlic to my dogs’ raw meals a few times per week when I learned about its many benefits in mid 2015.
Until then I always thought that garlic was a food that should never be offered to dogs. After all, the cheat lists of foods for dogs to avoid on Pinterest said so.
I admit it never occurred to me to question them, much like I didn’t question feeding highly processed dog food for over 3 years.
So what made me reconsider?
First, a tweet by raw pet food brand Darwin’s Natural Pet that shared an article about the benefits of raw garlic for dogs. It was written by holistic veterinarian Dr. Deva Khalsa who has over 30 years of experience in her field, and published in Dogs Naturally Magazine.
Dr. Khalsa’s YouTube video on garlic:
That theoretic “aha” moment was followed by a more practical one when I noticed garlic on the ingredient list of a dehydrated bag of dog food I bought for the pups (Sojo’s pre-mix).
I figured if a holistic veterinarian and two reputable brands of species-appropriate pet food were on the same page as far as garlic for dogs was concerned, it would be safe to start giving some to the pups on a regular basis.
Benefits of raw garlic for dogs
Raw garlic comes equipped with the following health benefits:
- Anti-cancer properties
- Anti-microbial properties
- Anti-bacterial properties
- Anti-fungal properties
- Anti-parasitic properties
It’s important to understand that the natural compound Allicin is responsible for all of them. Allicin, however, is only released in chopped or minced garlic and does not occur in whole cloves of garlic.
How to serve raw garlic to your dog
If you feed raw dog food
Dr. Khalsa recommends cutting it up finely or mincing it with a garlic press, and then letting it sit for 10-20 minutes before feeding it. This allows the Allicin to reach its full potential.
You can then simply mix it in with your dog’s raw food, which is my preferred way of feeding it. Should your pup be super picky and eat around the garlic, try wrapping it in a piece of raw liver.
If he’s finicky about eating liver (yes, some raw-fed dogs have to be tricked into eating organs!), throw it in a blender and mix the liver/garlic purée into his food. That should do the trick.
Homemade cooked dog food
If you cook your dog’s meals, you could go ahead and sauté his food in garlic and some olive oil (or whichever other oil you cook with) and then serve his food the way you normally would.
Dry dog food
If you feed a kibble diet, your dog will probably not eat the garlic you sprinkle on top of his food, but it’s always worth a shot. If he refuses to eat it that way, you could wrap his garlic allowance in a slice of turkey breast or cheese, or any other favorite treat of his that’s easily bendable and that has a tendency of getting gobbled up quickly.
You can also add some chopped garlic to a batch of homemade bone broth.
How much raw garlic is safe for dogs?
Dogs can eat 1 clove of raw (or cooked) garlic per 20 lb of dog weight per day.
Missy weighed around 50 lbs and could have about 2.5 cloves of garlic per day. I will say that I didn’t feed her garlic every single day simply because I didn’t always have fresh garlic in my pantry. I tried to feed it several times per week.
Do make sure not to feed more than the recommended amount of garlic. It can cause anemia (a drop in red blood cells) when fed in exorbitant amounts. However, according to Dr. Khalsa (she mentions this in her video on garlic), these amounts would truly have to be excessive in order to be able to have this effect on a dog’s red blood cells.
Raw garlic for dogs – to sum it all up
Powdered and cooked garlic is a lot less efficient than raw garlic, so in order to reap the full benefits it’s recommended to feed it raw.
Remember that the natural compound Allicin is responsible for the plethora of health benefits of garlic, and only occurs when the clove has been crushed or cut up.
I’ve used raw garlic in my pups’ meals since mid 2015.
While it wasn’t able to keep Missy in remission from cancer, it seemed to have helped in keeping parasites away from her and her brother Buzz. Neither of them have (ever) had to deal with fleas. That is even after I stopped using all topical & oral pest preventatives when making healthier lifestyle choices after Missy’s first cancer diagnosis.
Do you give your dog garlic? Do you have any questions about it?
Let us know in the comments.
Barbara Rivers writes regularly for That Mutt about feeding a raw dog food diet. She is a blogger and dog walker and maintains the blog K9s Over Coffee.