Toxic Effects of Garlic in Dogs

by Naomi Millburn
    Make sure garlic is out of your pet's reach.

    Make sure garlic is out of your pet's reach.

    Medioimages/Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images

    The worst thing about garlic (Allium sativum) is not its persistent aroma but rather the fact that it's toxic to many animals, including dogs. If a pooch consumes enough garlic, it can wreak havoc on his red blood cells and sometimes ultimately bring upon hemolytic anemia. Like garlic, other veggies of the onion group -- the Allium genus -- also are serious hazards, including onions and shallots.

    When it comes to garlic consumption in dogs, the forbidden factor lies in its N-propyl disulfide. N-propyl disulfide, an alkaloid, is poisonous to dogs, cats and horses. If a dog munches on garlic, the red blood cell oxidation trouble might not be immediately obvious. The effects generally take a few days to show up. Onions are considered more aggressive in their effects. Avoid all parts of all plants of the Allium genus.

    Indications of garlic toxicity in dogs include garlicky breath, vomiting, excessive panting, hesitation regarding physical activity, fatigue, diarrhea, urine that contains some blood, salivation, reduced appetite, stomachache, rapid heart rate, falling down and feebleness. Make sure to get urgent veterinary care for your pet should you notice such symptoms. If you have reason to think your dog ate garlic, get him to the veterinarian even if he doesn't show signs.

    Some common veterinary management options for garlic toxicity in dogs include inducing vomiting and extracting the contamination via activated charcoal. Extreme cases of poisoning call for blood transfusion. Only your vet can tell you what your pooch needs, however, as all toxicity cases are different. Always take instances of garlic poisoning seriously. Hemolytic anemia can sometimes bring upon fatal consequences in dogs, including wee puppies.

    Keep garlic far away from your dog, no matter how small the amount. If your dog takes in more than 0.5 percent of his full body weight of the stuff, he could feel its toxic effects. Certain canine breeds are especially prone to garlic toxicity, specifically those originating in Japan such as the Shiba Inu and the Akita.

    Don't assume that only garlic cloves can be toxic to dogs. Garlic can be hazardous in its many different forms, including garlic powder -- since garlic powder is condensed, it can lead to toxicity even quicker than "normal" garlic.
    Garlic in minimal amounts occasionally is an ingredient in doggie snacks. Always check with your veterinarian before feeding your pet such treats just to make sure the levels are appropriate and 100 percent safe. Never feed your dog any new foods or treats without your vet's OK.

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    About the Author

    Naomi Millburn has been a freelance writer since 2011. Her areas of writing expertise include arts and crafts, literature, linguistics, traveling, fashion and European and East Asian cultures. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in American literature from Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo.

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