Garlic Supplements for Dogs

When used properly, canine garlic supplements offer a variety of health benefits to your dog. When used improperly, however, they can be harmful and even fatal. Let’s look at the benefits and hazards of garlic supplements and discuss the proper ways to administer them to your dog.

The Benefits of Garlic Supplements for Your Dog

Garlic has had a long history as a health supplement for both humans and animals. It was used more than 3,000 years ago by Chinese healers, who recognized its uses as an antibiotic, an antioxidant, an antifungal, as well as its ability to regulate blood sugar and cholesterol levels.

Garlic can be used both internally and externally to improve a dog’s health. One of its best-known uses involves flea and tick relief. You can give your dog regular doses of garlic in his food, or you can use raw garlic juice on his coat to help rid him of parasites. The sulfur content in garlic may help naturally repel many external parasites, or the continued use of low doses of garlic may make your dog smell and taste unappealing to fleas, ticks and mites.

Among the other health benefits garlic can provide for your dog are:

  • Better blood-sugar control for diabetic dogs
  • Enhanced immune system and liver function
  • Expectorant properties to alleviate allergies and other respiratory problems
  • Lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels
  • Relief from digestive system worms and recurrent ear infections
  • Topical treatment for fungal skin infections

The key to successful use of canine garlic supplements is knowing what a proper dose is for your dog. Discuss garlic supplementation with your veterinarian because he or she can help you determine a safe and effective dose based on your dog’s weight and his unique needs.

The Hazards of Garlic Supplements for Your Dog

As a member of the onion family, garlic has the potential to be harmful to your pet because large doses of garlic may cause excessive bleeding. Garlic is less likely to threaten your dog’s health than onions, but you still need to exercise caution when giving your dog garlic because, over time, excessive amounts of garlic could cause your dog to develop a condition called hemolytic anemia, which can be life-threatening.

Symptoms of hemolytic anemia include:

  • diarrhea
  • discolored urine
  • pale gums
  • panting
  • vomiting
  • weakness

How to Give Your Dog Garlic Supplements

If you’ve got a green thumb, you can easily grow your own garlic in most climates. If you aren’t a gardener, garlic is available in dried, powdered or fresh forms at your local grocery or health food store. Garlic tablets, garlic granules or garlic oil capsules are available at your local pet supply store. Any of these can be easily added to your pet’s diet as recommended by your veterinarian.

Before giving garlic supplements to your dog, check the ingredients on his regular diet and treats to ensure that you won’t give him too much dietary garlic. Some pet food and treat manufacturers have begun adding small amounts of garlic to some of their products, so your dog may already be reaping the health benefits of garlic without you even realizing it.

When selecting garlic supplements for your dog, look for products that have been cold-treated rather than cooked or heated. Cooking can remove some of garlic’s beneficial properties, while cold-treating leaves them in place.