My Dog Ate A Small Piece Of Garlic


Ah, the smell of sizzling garlic in the kitchen. Doesn’t it make your mouth water?

I bet Fido wants in on the action, too, right? He’s probably looking at you with that little pouty face, pleading as though you’ve never, ever given him any food, ever.

No wonder most people cave and give their fur kid a bite of whatever they’re eating.

But garlic isn’t good for dogs. It could literally kill them.

That’s a bleak thought, but luckily it doesn’t usually come to that. Let’s unpack why garlic is dangerous for dogs and what to do if your pup gets his paws on the stuff.

How much garlic can kill a dog?

Dogs don’t need much garlic to suffer significant health issues. Between 15 – 30g garlic per kilogram of body weight is enough to kill a dog. To put this in perspective: the garlic heads that you find in the grocery store contain 3-7g pure garlic per clove. Yikes! So, essentially, if your pup gulps down three cloves of garlic, he’s in trouble.

As with humans, some of our fur kids are more sensitive to garlic poisoning than others. For some pups, having a tiny bit of garlic for a few days running could send them over the edge. This means that if your pup accidentally ate something that contains a bit of garlic once, he’ll probably be fine. However, if you intentionally feed him this garlicky thing more than once, he’ll get very ill.

If you want a more detailed answer to this question, read this.

Can I Give My Dog Garlic Supplements?

There are some that recommend garlic supplements for dogs, specifically to combat fleas and ticks. Usually it’s part of a natural wellness program. Unfortunately, there’s not hard and fast scientific evidence that proves your fur kid would benefit from this. Added to that, Fido could easily suffer from an overdose of the stuff, leading to garlic poisoning. So, if you plan to use garlic supplements as part of your pup’s general health plan, ask your vet for guidance. He will guide you to figure out the right dosage for your fur kid, based on age, weight, and general health conciderations. If the dosage is very small, your fur kid will be safe, and there’s a slim chance that he could get some benefit from it.

Whatever you do, keep the risk in mind, and keep the stuff securely locked up. That way, Fido won’t accidentally get his paws on it and gobble up an entire month’s supply in one go. 

What are the signs of garlic poisoning?

If your Rover is looking under the weather, and you suspect that he ate some garlic, here are some signs to look out for:

–          Upset tummy

–          Loss of appetite

–          Dehydration

–          Pale mucus membranes

–          Dark-colored urine

If you see any of these symptoms, it’s a good idea to get your pup to the vet faster than Flash circles the globe.

How is garlic poisoning treated?

If your dog just ate the garlic, the vet will probably induce vomiting. This removes the nasties from his body, giving him the best shot at recovery. She’ll also administer some activated charcoal since this will bind the poison. That makes it easier to get it out of your pup’s system.

If that doesn’t work, your pup is in for a potentially wild ride. The vet will book Rover into the hospital and flush his system using a saline solution lavage to wash away the poison. Say what now? Lavage is a special tool that the vet uses to squirt a medicated solution into your pup’s intestines, rinsing them out. Don’t worry. They’ll sedate your pup for this one, so he won’t feel a thing.

They’ll also give Rover some IV fluids and oxygen therapy to help him recover. In severe cases, your pup could even need a blood transfusion, although this isn’t common.

When you take Rover home, he may need to follow a special diet to help him recover. He could even be on bed rest for a few days. Either way, if you get him treated quickly enough, his odds of recovery are excellent.

While garlic poisoning is severe, healthy dogs hardly ever die from it. Most of them recover completely. 

What to do if a dog ate a small piece of garlic?

If your pup ate a tiny piece of garlic, and he’s a big dog, keep an eye on him for signs of garlic toxicity. If he shows any symptoms, rush to the vet. 

If your pup is tiny, like a Yorkie, and he ate even the tiniest sliver that you nearly can’t even see without a microscope, rush to the vet. He’s so tiny that the ratio of garlic to bodyweight is way off the charts already.

How does garlic poison or hurt dogs?

While garlic is perfectly safe for humans, it’s super dangerous for dogs because their bodies handle it differently from how we do it. Garlic contains thiosulfate, which attacks the dog’s red blood cells. This causes hemolytic anemia, a condition where the red blood cells get destroyed faster than your body can replace them.

Side note: thiosulfate is the same stuff you find in onions, leeks, and chives. That’s why those veggies are also off limits for our fur kids. I know they’re super tasty, and they’re awesome for seasoning food, but they’re really dangerous for our pups.

The worst part is that your pup’s immune system kills off the red blood cells because his body is all confused.

How long does it take for garlic to kill a dog?

Garlic poisoning won’t instantly kill your fur kid. It could take days, or even a week, for symptoms to start, by which time you probably won’t even know what started it all. So, keep that garlic under wraps, far away from your pet.

Is raw garlic as dangerous as cooked garlic?

While raw garlic should be kept far from dogs, cooked garlic is even worse. Cooking or even just heating the garlic intensifies the toxicity, so your pup is even more at risk.

Why is garlic powder more dangerous to dogs than fresh garlic?

We’ve already established that garlic is dangerous for dogs, but it seems that powdered garlic takes the cake. That’s because it’s way more concentrated than fresh garlic. When they powder the stuff, all the juices evaporate, so you’re left with the bits that are all garlic and no water. 

Powdered garlic is typically found in seasonings, so keep a close eye on the seasonings you use before you feed your fur kid scraps from the table.

I go into more details about the dangers of garlic powder here.

Can a puppy eat garlic- why does size matter?

Puppies younger than six months can’t produce red blood cells. So, if they get garlic poisoning, their odds of recovery are slim. Additionally, puppies are tiny, and garlic poisoning works based on grams per bodyweight. That means that puppies are at high risk when it comes to garlic.

It seems that Japanese dog breeds, like the Akita, Shiba Inu, and Japanese Spitz are more susceptible to garlic poisoning. We don’t know why, though. It could be because these fur kids have higher levels of red blood cells than other dog breeds.

Can dogs eat garlic bread?

No. Just, no. While garlic bread is delicious and Fido will probably look at you with those you-never-give-me-any-food-I’m-starving-please eyes, you should be firm and say no. Seriously. Garlic bread usually contains a hefty dose of the stuff, so that’s enough to necessitate a trip to the emergency vet. Then, there’s the other baddies in the bread: lots of butter, oil, cheese, and herbs. Even without the garlic, those are enough to upset most doggy stomachs. And, it contains so much fat and calories, which is terrible for Rover.

Can dogs eat garlic sauce?

Uhm, no. Garlic sauce contains one key ingredient that your pup should never, ever have: garlic.

And, it’s usually full of butter or cream, which are also super bad for dogs. It upsets their tummies and leads to unhealthy weight gain. So, steer clear of this one too.

If you want a more in depth answer about dogs and garlic sauce, read this article.

What can dogs eat instead of garlic?

We all want to give our pups yummy treats, and what’s more fun than having him snack with you? So, we know that garlic, and everything potentially seasoned with garlic, is off limits. What other snacks can we share with our fur kids?

Why not opt for a healthy treat, like fruits and veggies packed with valuable nutrients. You could feed your fur kid blueberries, apples, strawberries, carrots, watermelon, sweet potatoes, and cucumbers. Those are healthy snacks for you too, so it’s a win-win situation in my books.

James Grayston

My name is James and I love dogs. have owned four Golden Retrievers in the past 15 years. Currently I own two "Goldies"- a five year old and a seven month old. The photo shows me with our youngest when she was about 7 weeks old!