• Ruby Balaram
  • Head of Operations at Real

  • 2 minutes read time
  • Garlic... to Feed or Not to Feed?

    I bet you can think of 5 items that you almost always hear can be toxic to dogs. For the most part, in large quantities, those items are in fact toxic, but as learn more and more about nutrition and dog anatomy, we’re learning that some of those foods can be beneficial in the right amounts.

    Garlic, my absolute favorite thing on the planet, is one of them. First of all, it makes everything taste better and secondly, it’s good for you. And it’s good for you dog.


    • Here are some of the benefits of feeding fresh garlic:
    • It boosts the immune system
    • It has cancer-fighting properties
    • It can fight bacterial and fungal infections
    • It lowers cholesterol and triglyceride levels
    • It helps detoxify the body and enhance liver function
    • It can repel mosquitoes and fleas even when applied topically or fed orally

    So why does everyone tell us not to feed it? There is a compound in onions that cause oxidative damage to red blood cells - firstly, garlic contains a much smaller amount of this compound and secondly, it must be fed in large doses (at least 25 cloves of raw garlic) to cause such detrimental effect. So what you’ve heard isn’t completely false, but it isn’t likely that you’d ever feed this amount, right? Besides, that study that gave everyone a scare was published in 2000 and reversed in 2004


    Garlic should be fed fresh (within 3-4 hours of chopping or pressing), not minced garlic in a jar nor garlic that’s been cooked with any high heat else it will have lost its nutrients and medicinal properties. Allicin is the compound in garlic that gives it the strong odor as well as its antibiotic properties, but it dissipates quickly when exposed to air, moisture, or heat. As an immune-system enhancer or simple supplement for cancer prevention, you can feed garlic either raw or in powder form.

    Here are safe dosages you’ll want to follow depending on your dog’s weight:

    • 10-15lb ¼ tsp
    • 20-40lb ½-¾ tsp (about 1 clove)
    • 40-60lb 1-1½ tsp
    • 60-100lb 1½-2 tsp
    • 100lb or more - 2½ tsp (no more than 3 cloves)


    Dogs with diabetes, anemia or similar conditions

    Pregnant dogs

    Young puppies (younger than 8 weeks)

    Dogs with lupus or other autoimmune disorders

    Breed specific health issues.

    If you are unsure, consult a holistic vet before using.

    Suggested Readings:

    R.H. Pitcairn, The Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats

    1. Goldstein, The Nature of Animal Healing:
    2. Messonnier, The Natural Vet’s Guide to Preventing and Treating Cancer in Dogs

    Martin Zucker, The Veterinarians’ Guide to Natural Remedies for Dogs: Safe and Effective Alternative Treatments and Healing Techniques from the Nation’s Top Holistic Veterinarians