We all know the tasty difference garlic makes in the kitchen, but did you know it has medicinal properties as well? Garlic has been used for its healing properties for thousands of years, especially in Chinese medicine. Our canine friends can reap the benefits too, if you believe the pro garlic brigade, with dogs seeing an improvement in their immunity, in production of white blood cells as well as being exposed to the herbs antifungal and antibacterial traits.
Despite garlic’s positive effect, dog owners should still exercise caution. The dangers onions pose to dogs are well known and similar concerns have been raised about garlic. Like onions, garlic contains the harmful compound thiosulphate. If consumed to a great extent the element can cause haemolytic anaemia in dogs. However the levels of thiosulphate in garlic are very low and for any real side effects, a dog would have to be consuming the equivalent of 50 garlic cloves on a repeated basis!
Garlic can be administered safely to dogs. Experts suggest a 1/8 teaspoon of garlic powder per pound of food 3-4 times a week and as with all herbs it is recommended that a break is also built into the routine. Some veterinarians are divided on the benefits of garlic. Some cite the lack of scientific evidence which proves that garlic has a positive impact on dogs, while others regularly recommend to their customers for a variety of ailments including;
- Immune system – Garlic can stimulate blood cells whose primary function is to seek out harmful microbes, therefore it can help dogs who have low functioning immune systems and those suffering from cancer.
- Fighting infections – Garlic is ideal for combating internal or external bacteria across a variety of body area including the throat, stomach and respiratory tract. Raw garlic or raw garlic juice is best for this type of treatment.
- Liver function – The detoxification property of garlic is well placed to help the liver in getting rid of toxins which may otherwise sit and accumulate, leading to possible cancerous growth.
- Cholesterol and Triglyceride levels – Uncooked garlic mixed in with your dogs daily nutrition can help to lower blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels, especially if the breed of dog is known for hyperlipidaemia, a condition in which the amount of fats in the blood are elevated. Garlic can also help to prevent blood clots in the vascular system.
- Flea repellent – It is not clear exactly why or how consistent garlic is in deterring pests such as fleas, but many people swear by it. One of the reasons offered is the herb’s strong odour being an active deterrent.
Like other medication, there are certain types of dogs that garlic should not be given to. Dogs that have a pre-existing anaemia condition should stay clear of garlic as should those who are waiting on surgery or those dogs that are very young – 6-8 weeks of age. Humans who suffer from lupus are advised to not take garlic as it has a negative impact on the immune system, although there is no hard evidence to suggest that it may be the same with dogs, it is best to err on the side of caution if your dog suffers from lupus or any other autoimmune conditions.
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