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

As a dog owner, you know how common it is for your little (or large!) furry friend to beg at the table. Sometimes, they’ll even be bold enough to snatch some food right off your plate! Some “human” foods are just fine for dogs to consume, but our pets can’t eat everything we can. So what should you do if your dog ate garlic bread?

Essential ingredients in garlic bread, such as garlic, butter, and salt, can all be harmful to dogs in large quantities. Garlic is toxic to dogs and can cause hemolytic anemia, a serious and potentially fatal condition. Ingesting high levels of salt can cause organ damage or severe dehydration in dogs, while butter and other high-fat foods can cause digestive upset and pancreatitis. 

If your dog grabbed a small piece of garlic bread, you likely have nothing to worry about. It may make them a bit sick, but through monitoring and at-home care, your dog should be fine. I’ll describe some warning signs of serious illness in the rest of this article, so I’d advise you to keep reading to be aware of the dangers of garlic bread!

Why is garlic bread bad for dogs?

Garlic is a staple in many dishes, but it can be harmful to dogs if they eat too much of it. Garlic contains a chemical called allicin that may cause hemolytic anemia, which damages the animal’s red blood cells and causes them to rupture.

Dogs may also experience gastrointestinal upset from the large amounts of butter and salt used in garlic bread. In some cases, dogs can develop a condition called pancreatitis from ingesting fatty foods or can cause damage to their organs from eating foods high in salt. I’ll touch more on this later in the article, so keep reading!

Is garlic toxic to dogs?

Garlic can be toxic to dogs in large quantities. This toxicity can lead to gastrointestinal upset, drooling, vomiting, and diarrhea. Garlic does not usually cause any harm if the dog only eats a small amount of garlic bread or other foods containing garlic because the amount of garlic consumed will be low enough not to cause problems.

Garlic is toxic to dogs because, like all allium plants (including garlic, onions, and chives), compounds found within the plant cause hemolytic anemia in dogs. This means that these compounds circulate through the bloodstream and compromise the dog’s red blood cells, causing them to burst, which leads to anemia.

Large amounts of garlic or onion ingestion can make this condition very serious, and symptoms of allium toxicity often do not appear until several days after ingestion, which makes regular monitoring for symptoms essential in early detection and treatment.

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If your dog eats more than just a small amount of garlic, they may experience these symptoms, and you should contact your veterinarian immediately.

What are the side effects of garlic ingestion in dogs?

Ingestion of garlic may cause side effects, including:

  • Lethargy
  • Weakness
  • Decreased appetite
  • Red urine (from burst red blood cells)
  • Pale gums

As I mentioned earlier, symptoms of allium toxicity often do not appear until several days post-ingestion. It’s crucial to monitor your dog for these symptoms after they have ingested garlic. If you see any of the above symptoms, contact your veterinarian immediately to get your dog treatment.

Is salt bad for dogs?

Garlic bread is typically seasoned with garlic salt. I’ve already outlined the potential side effects of garlic ingestion in dogs, but is salt harmful to dogs?

Large amounts of salt are toxic to dogs and can lead to several side effects, including:

  • Allergic reactions like hives, swelling of the face, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain
  • Heart arrhythmia
  • Kidney failure

This is why it’s so important to prevent your dog from eating salty foods – high levels of salt can have very serious side effects, causing organ damage that can lead to chronic health issues for your dog.

If your dog stole a piece of garlic bread, you might not have anything to worry about, but it’s essential to be mindful of potential symptoms.

As always, if you notice any symptoms after your dog has ingested something it shouldn’t, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Is butter bad for dogs?

Garlic bread wouldn’t be the same without butter. We love it, but is butter bad for dogs?

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Butter is bad for dogs because of its high-fat content. Dogs are naturally evolved for a particular diet, as many animals are, and that diet is not high in fat. When dogs ingest something very fatty, it can lead to problems with their digestive system.

Like salt and garlic, dogs can experience digestive upset when they ingest butter or other high-fat foods. If your dog does snatch a buttery piece of garlic bread, you may notice that they experience discomfort, bloating, gas, or even vomiting and diarrhea.

For dogs, butter can also be bad for their skin and coat. Butter has a higher concentration of lauric acid which is used in the manufacturing of soap. The lauric acid can accumulate in the skin and coat and cause dryness, irritation, redness, scaling patches, or even infection.

If your dog vomits once or twice, you’re probably safe to wait it out. But persistent vomiting, diarrhea, or abdominal discomfort can be a sign of pancreatitis in dogs.

What is pancreatitis?

Ingestion of foods that are high in fat can also induce a medical condition in dogs called pancreatitis. Pancreatitis is a serious condition that can become chronic or even fatal. However, when pancreatitis is caught and treated early, dogs have a much higher chance of success.

What are the symptoms of pancreatitis? Pancreatitis can be detected by a number of symptoms, including:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Abdominal pain or discomfort
  • Vomiting
  • Increased abdominal girth/weight (bloating)
  • Diarrhea

If you notice these symptoms in your dog, especially after catching them eating something they shouldn’t or rifling through the garbage, you should seek medical attention from your veterinarian.