Is Garlic Safe For Pets?
There is a lot of controversy surrounding pets and garlic. Some sources believe that garlic is toxic to cats and dogs and that it should never be used in food or supplements. But garlic has been used for centuries as a medicinal aid, so can it really be that bad for our pets?
Experts who have researched in this area assert that garlic is actually good for pets. But the thing you must keep in mind is this:
It’s all about the type of garlic and the amount that you give your pet. (I’ll explain more about this below, but first let’s look at why there is controversy over garlic.)
Why is there controversy over garlic?
Garlic (Allium sativum) is a member of the lily family and has the same genus (Allium) as onions. Raw garlic contains a high amount of a sulfur-containing compound called alliin and an enzyme, alliinase. When raw garlic is chewed or crushed, the allliin comes into contact with the alliinase enzyme, which forms the compound allicin (it’s medicinal property).
When allicin (diallyl thiosulphate) , is taken in large doses, this can cause oxidative damage to red blood cells. The body rejects these cells from the bloodstream, and after injecting large amounts over a long period of time, it can lead to a rare form of anemia, hemolytic anemia.
Type of Garlic:
Air-dried garlic contains the least amount of allicin.
Air-dried garlic contains only 397 ug/gram post allicin compounds, compared to 3,192 ug/grams in raw garlic, and the allicin content is even higher in freeze dried garlic.
According to the National Institute of Cancer, these post-allicin compounds are actually the most beneficial and desirable. They produce strong garlic odor in Air Dried Garlic which is responsible for its repellent properties.
It is raw garlic that if given in excessive amounts can lead to anemia, but a dog would have to eat an outrageous amount of raw garlic before it woud lead to any health issues.
Let me explain.
Onions and garlic contain a compound named n-propyldisulfide. In large doses, it can cause oxidative damage to red blood cells. Daily large doses of n-propyldisulfide can lead to Heinz-body anemia and even death.
But does that mean garlic is bad or toxic for pets? No!
In reality, it’s difficult to find clinical evidence that garlic is bad for pets.
A study at Hokkaido University was done in 2000. For seven days in a row, four dogs were each given 1.25 ml of garlic extract per kg of body weight.
Translating this amount to raw garlic would mean that if the dog weighed 50 pounds, he would have been given approximately 25 large raw garlic cloves! (Would anyone ever give that much to their dogs in real life???)
Even though dogs were given a ridiculous amount of garlic, none of the dogs showed any signs of toxicity. The garlic did affect the dogs’ red blood cells, but none of the dogs developed anemia.
Then in 2004 a study was conducted by some of the same researchers. That study showed that the compound allicin was good for health, and that despite high concentrations of garlic used during the study, there was no development of hemolytic anemia in the dogs.
Results of this 2004 study led researchers to retract their earlier suggestion that garlic is bad for dogs. They even concluded that garlic has “the potential to promote immune functions and prevent cardiovascular diseases.”
What do the results of these studies suggest? Use common sense!
Although raw garlic can lead to red blood cell abnormality, an animal would have to ingest an incredible amount before the oxidative process would even begin!
Garlic Dosage for Dogs and Cats:
Even though raw garlic has much higher allicin levels than air-dried garlic, holistic veterinarians, such as Dr. Pitcairn, recommend feeding garlic to pets due to the many health benefits. The secret is to not overdo it. After all, too much of anything is bad for both humans and pets. Even minerals that make humans and pets healthy can be detrimental if given daily in amounts that are too large.
Here is Dr. Pitcairn’s guide on the garlic levels that are safe for pets per day.
Fresh Garlic for Dogs (taken from: “The Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats”, by Dr. Pitcairn):
10 to 15 pounds: .5 (1/2) clove
20 to 40 pounds: 1 clove
45 to 70 pounds: 2 cloves
75 to 90 pounds: 2.5 cloves
100 pounds +: 3 cloves
Fresh Garlic for Cats: .25 (1/4) clove per day
*As with any food or product that can have detoxification effects (including garlic), it is probably best to start by feeding only ¼ of less of this recommended amount and slowly increasing the amount over a 2 to 4 week time period. This will lessen the chances of diarrhea, sluggishness, etc. (detoxification symptoms).
There are many health benefits to feeding garlic. Here are some things you might not know about this healthy herb:
- Tick/Flea Repellent: It doesn’t kill fleas and ticks, instead it repels them and makes your pet undesirable to them.
- Immune System Boost: Garlic is a natural antibiotic and won’t affect the good bacteria in the gut which are needed for digestion and immune health. It can do wonders for pets with suppressed immune systems and as well has those fighting cancer. It gives a boost to bloodstream cells that kill bad microbes and cancer cells.
- Liver Boost: Garlic has detoxifying effects, which can help the liver get rid of toxins from the body.
- Fights Bacterial, Viral, and Fungal Infections: Garlic has potent antimicrobial and antibiotic properties, and it fights parasites and protozoan organisms as well!
- Cardiovascular Boost: For older and overweight dogs, garlic can help prevent blood clots, and can reduce cholesterol levels and fat build up in the arteries.
- Lowers Blood Cholesterol and Triglycerides: Mix the proper dose of uncooked garlic with your dog’s food and it can help lower blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
- Cancer Prevention: Garlic’s sulfur compounds can prevent certain cancers by helping to control carcinogens (cancer-causing substances).
- Ridding of Systemic Toxicity: Garlic is one of the best foods and supplements for promoting detoxification (removing toxins/poisonous substances). Garlic’s high sulfur content assists the liver with detoxifying harmful substances so they can be metabolized and removed from the body.
So, in summary, is garlic safe for pets? YES!!!
Healthy Food for Pets carries a natural flea and tick prevention supplement which contains air-dried garlic (the safest type of garlic containing the least amount of allicin). For more information about this safe, effective and guaranteed to work product, click here.
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