My Dog Ate Garlic: What Now? (Solved & Explained!)

Owning a dog is one of the best responsibilities you can take on. They are loyal, loving and make great companions for just about anyone. However, they can get a little too curious at times, getting into things that are not necessarily meant for them. Many things that are just fine for humans can be toxic to our furry companions.

Garlic, for example, is fairly toxic to dogs and should be kept out of reach of your pet. If your dog consumes any amount of garlic, it is best to seek the medical advice of your vet to determine if medical intervention and care are needed. 

We’ll take a deeper look into why garlic seems to harm dogs and what to do if you suspect they’ve ingested it on accident.

Why is garlic bad for dogs?

There is a reason many vets and other pet owners will warn you against feeding your dog “table food” or human food. Things that may be perfectly fine for humans to ingest can be harmful to your dog. Most people know that chocolate isn’t agreeable to a dog’s digestive system, but few others know that garlic is arguably worse for them.

Unless you research what dogs can or cannot eat before you bring a dog into your home, you may never guess that a certain food like garlic, an otherwise harmless food, could end up causing your dog to become sick or die.

So, what exactly makes garlic so harmful to your pet’s system? The disulfides and thiosulphates found in garlic and other Allium family members can be toxic to cats and dogs if consumed. Heinz body anemia, methemoglobinemia, and hemolytic anemia are all manifestations of damage to red blood cells and are brought on by the consumption of garlic.

How much garlic do they have to eat to cause symptoms?

Ideally, no garlic is better than a little garlic for your dog, but if your dog gets into a clove or two unexpectedly, when should you worry?

According to studies, it takes between 15 and 30 grams of garlic per kilogram of body weight for a dog’s blood to undergo adverse changes. To give you a further idea of what that means exactly, a supermarket garlic clove typically weighs between 3 and 7 grams, so your dog would need to consume a lot of it to become seriously ill.

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With this information, some people still believe that giving your dog garlic could be okay for the health benefits it could provide. This is usually not recommended due to the idea that, like people, different dogs process and metabolize things in different ways. Your dog may take a lot less garlic consumption than another dog to exhibit symptoms and possible severe illness.

It probably isn’t the biggest deal if your dog licks up the little bit of garlic that falls off of your cutting board onto the floor. However, it is always a good idea to be aware when you’re handling garlic and do your best to keep it out of reach.

What about foods that contain small amounts of garlic?

Foods like garlic bread, pasta sauce, or even meat dishes that contain small traces of garlic are usually not recommended to give to dogs. As stated previously, although garlic in small amounts may not end up harming your dog, it is never worth the risk of your dog becoming ill.

If you are cooking something with garlic and want to give your furry companion a treat, it is best to think twice before you do so.

Symptoms to Watch for If Your Dog Eats Garlic

If you suspect that your dog may have garlic poisoning, there are some signs and symptoms you should be on the lookout for over the course of the next few days.

It may take a few days for symptoms to show up after your dog has ingested garlic. The amount of garlic the animal consumed and the level of anemia present will influence how severe the symptoms are. In general, the severity of the anemia will increase with the amount of garlic consumed.

Dogs who have consumed too much garlic may experience fatigue, pale gums, weakness, and collapse. Your pet may appear yellow (jaundiced) as a result of hemolysis’s effects, or their urine may turn red.

Your dog may experience breathing difficulties or a fast heartbeat as a result of the anemia. Although it is rare, vomiting and diarrhea can occasionally affect pets.

Treatment for Dogs That Have Consumed Garlic

The most crucial aspect of your dog’s care will be to induce vomiting and give activated charcoal if the dog recently ate garlic. This will help the body get rid of the toxin. To help with its removal and detoxification, the charcoal will bind to the poison.

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If that doesn’t work, the vet will likely take your dog to the hospital and perform a saline solution lavage to remove the toxins from the digestive system. IV fluids and oxygen therapy are frequently given in addition to other treatments. The veterinarian might need to administer a blood transfusion to treat the patient’s severe anemia.

The at-home care your dog would then require should be discussed prior to sending it home. Your veterinarian can give you advice on the right diet to follow in order to heal quickly. During the initial days or weeks, based on your best friend’s level of poisoning, there might also be restrictions on exercise.

Your veterinarian will also advise you to keep garbage securely stored and out of your curious pet’s reach, as well as to fence off your garden if you have one to stop your pet from getting into toxic plants. 

You can rest assured that it is very unlikely that an otherwise healthy dog will die from ingesting garlic if proper care is given to them in time.


Owning a pet brings a lot of responsibility along with it. Keeping potentially toxic foods, such as garlic, out of reach of your dog is crucial to keeping them healthy and happy, allowing them to live a long life being your loyal companion!