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There seems to be a bit of a controversy over dogs and garlic.
Garlic is great for the immune system, and for keeping fleas away. Particularly in conjunction with brewer’s yeast, garlic can work like a charm as a natural flea treatment.
But many people are worried that garlic is bad for dogs, and so are wary of giving any garlic to their dogs.
What’s the basis of this fear?
Well, onions and members of the onion family (as garlic is) are generally bad for dogs. This group of foods (the allium group) can cause an anemic reaction in dogs due to their high sulphur content, which can, in extreme circumstances, be life threatening for a dog.
But will a little onion cooked in with your dog’s meat cause this anemic reaction? – Very unlikely. Why? Because it’s a very small amount of onion.
And garlic, although having a stronger taste than onions, is actually not as concentrated as onions apparently – perhaps because you need so little of it to provide a high flavor. So the small amount of garlic you might put in your cooking would not harm a dog.
And likewise the amount of garlic in natural flea medicine preparations (most notably garlic and brewer’s yeast tablets or powder) is extremely unlikely to cause any adverse problem to a dog’s health.
From my research, it appears that if you gave a small dog two cloves of raw garlic a day, there’s a possibility that over time it may cause an anemic reaction. But two cloves for a small dog is a pretty large amount of garlic.
So to my mind, and in the opinions of many (though not all) experts, the benefits to your dog’s immune system, and most importantly the benefits of a natural flea control product, by far outweighs a tiny risk of harm that large quantities of garlic could cause.
Perhaps if you have a very small dog and are using a garlic preparation, you might want to have your dog’s blood tested for anemia occasionally, but other than that, I can’t see any cause for concern.