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Garlic, along with onions, leeks, chives and shallots are species of the allium family.  These foods are toxic to dogs as they contain N-propyl disulfide.  The sulphuric compound is absorbed into the gastrointestinal tract and transforms into reactive oxidants which damage the hemoglobin (the oxygen carrying substance in red blood cells).

One unexpected result is that it can take several days after your dog has ingested garlic before symptoms appear.  Some signs can include diarrhea, vomiting, elevated heart rate, anemia, lethargy, breathlessness, muddy coloured gums, discoloured urine or jaundice.  The pet may also experience abdominal pain which is more difficult for humans to notice in their dog. Garlicky breath is pretty obvious.

Some people might argue that their dog is large and therefore less likely to be affected than a small dog. However, some dogs are more sensitive to some foods than others. It is safer to avoid potentially toxic foods completely.  Also, ingesting small portions of garlic over a period of time can still result in poisoning. It is uncommon for this type of toxicity to be fatal to dogs, but it can create serious and expensive conditions.

Foods belonging to the allium family be avoided completely out of reach.  Make sure family members are aware of this potential harm so they can be cautious if feeding dinner scraps, soup broth etc. to the dog. Sometimes foods used to enhance flavor in dishes are kind of ‘hidden’ and can be the most concentrated. A classic example is onion or garlic powder. For those of you with moggy’s, cats are even more susceptible to a bad reaction than dogs.

Before introducing new foods or supplements to your dog, check with your vet.  For a snapshot of some veterinary advice see the video below…


Leah & Angela OMeara

Hound Dog Day Care (Specialists in Dog Minding & Dog Boarding, Pet Sitting Brisbane & Doggy Day Care Brisbane