If you are scouring the internet, then you have seen countless sites vilifying garlic as a poisonous ingredient for dogs. Unfortunately, there are also vets online and in their offices that have echoed this concern. You are here reading this blog because you do not want to do anything that will harm your dog, and we appreciate the chance to share with you what we have found to be true about dogs and garlic.

Learn and understand the myths surrounding garlic and its supposed toxicity, and discover the many health benefits it offers dogs

The first question is, when there is nothing in the literature to indicate garlic is toxic for canines, how does the popularity of unsubstantiated information proliferate so quickly? The conversation about garlic and dogs is somewhat misleading, and we will tell you why. This misleading information is because most research studies base their findings on the effects of excessive dosages.

When it comes to your dogs’ health, you need the most up-to-date and accurate information about safety and benefits. Garlic is listed by the FDA as approved for pet food, but is still under attack despite a 2004 follow-up study recommending garlic for dogs by the majority of scientists involved in the 2000 study done by Japan. The Japanese study was the catalyst that cultivated garlic’s reputation as a food that can harm your dog. This study by K W Lee et al. fed 5 grams of garlic per kilo per day to the dogs. That’s an excessive amount equivalent to feeding about four full heads of garlic (or 60 cloves) to a 75 lb Golden Retriever or 23 grams of garlic (6 to 8 cloves) to a 10 lb dog before they’d experience any adverse effects. Definitely don’t feed this amount!

Like nettle and turmeric, the evidence suggests that small doses of garlic is medicine for dogs.

What? But the internet and my vet say...

This blog will serve to bust the myth of garlic toxicity for canines by reviewing the following need-to-know information:

  1. The Ways Garlic Can Help Your Dog
  2. The Flawed Research That Caused the Garlic Misunderstanding
  3. Garlic Poisoning

1. How Does Garlic Help Dogs?

The amount of garlic in the FurLife Anti Flea And Tick Chews is small but just enough to reap the benefits. We have never had any health issues related to garlic.

Here are some benefits of garlic:

  • Prevents the formation of blood clots (anti-platelet)
  • Decreases cholesterol build-up (anticholesterolemic)
  • Widens blood vessels (vasodilator)
  • Helps prevent the formation of tumors (anti-tumor)
  • Stimulates the lymphatic system to remove wastes
  • Antibiotic, anti-fungal, and anti-parasitic - (deworming agent) for pets.
  • Studies have found these compounds to be anti-cancer

Lower blood sugar, Lower cholesterol. Most have heard it’s “great for the blood” because it has been used to fight various blood infections and reduce blood pressure.

Garlic has other uses in addition to these health benefits: Garlic as a Flea and Tick Repellent for your dog. The truth of the matter is that fleas prefer weakened animals – the very young, the very old, the sick, and the unhealthy. A flea issue on a healthy, immunologically robust dog is an infrequent occurrence. Most FurLife feeding pet owners go their whole life without seeing a single one.

Garlic may help you fight fleas and ticks if you feed it to your dogs during flea and tick season. It takes a couple of weeks for garlic to build up in your dog’s natural coat oil, so start feeding it before the bug season starts. Garlic is often used to repel ticks in pets, as research suggests it has anti-tick qualities in humans. The sulfur in the garlic eliminates those pesky insects by excreting through the dog’s skin. It takes a couple of weeks before working, so it’s recommended to start feeding small doses of garlic before the tick season starts.

2. What Was the Flawed Research That Caused the Garlic Misunderstanding?

Garlic got a bad rap in 2000 when a research paper was published that was based on garlic’s effect on dogs. Even though the dogs tested didn’t show any outward appearance of toxicity symptoms, there was an effect on the red blood cells. The researchers stated: “We believe that foods containing garlic should be avoided for use in dogs.” From that point on, the rumor spread that garlic could be deadly for dogs. However, that reaction was a little hasty and harsh. Most people read summaries of the study and jumped to conclusions. Reading the results in detail reveals a more complicated story.

Be mindful that this research study used an extraordinary amount of garlic for the sake of research. But, while the dog’s blood parameters went south, not a single dog developed hemolytic anemia. The final outcome was that this amount of garlic ingestion in that limited time frame might cause hemolytic anemia.

This overwhelming amount of garlic fed to the dogs skewed outcomes and made the experiment useless. That sort of flawed research bears no relevance to the medicinal recommended doses of garlic in your dog’s diet.

3. Garlic Poisoning in Dogs

Garlic poisoning in dogs is incredibly rare. Obviously, there is not a dog that will voluntarily sit down to 100 cloves of garlic in one sitting. Much of the fear-mongering comes from the research and misguided information we shared above, whereby pet owners have been told and believe the tiny bit their dog ate might harm them in some way, which it won’t.

The best thing you can do for your dog is to prevent them from having access to any member of the allium family unless you provide it. Keep onions, leeks, and other offenders up and out of your dog’s reach. If your dog is a known counter surfer, this may mean finding a secure spot in your cupboards or pantry for any items you aren’t planning to refrigerate. This includes garlic. Limiting your dog’s access to garlic gives you complete control over its dose.


After extensive research, we certainly recommend feeding your dog a small amount of garlic.
We use the right amount of garlic for all benefits and tick protection in our Flea & Tick Defense Chews