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Can Dogs Eat Garlic and Onion?  RSS feed

 
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When I read that I can't give garlic and onion to my dog, I worry that I might poison her. She eats some of my food and I like to use a lot of garlic and onion.  So I decided to find out why?

Garlic might be good for us, but dogs metabolize certain foods differently than we do. According to the Merck Veterinary Manual, garlic and other members of the allium family, including onions, contain thiosulfate, which is toxic to dogs but not to humans.



The article goes on to say:

Studies have found it takes approximately 15 to 30 grams of garlic per kilograms of body weight to produce harmful changes in a dog’s blood. To put that into perspective, the average clove of supermarket garlic weighs between 3 and 7 grams, so your dog would have to eat a lot to get really sick. However, some dogs are more sensitive to garlic toxicity than others, and consumption of a toxic dose spread out over a few days could also cause problems.



https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/advice/can-my-dog/can-dogs-eat-garlic/

While I am on this topic ... what fruits and vegetable would be bad for dogs?  According to this article:

https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/nutrition/natural-foods/fruits-vegetables-dogs-can-and-cant-eat/?utm_source=akc.org&utm_medium=blueconic&utm_campaign=blueconic-content-page-right-side-bar

Avocado   No, dogs should not eat avocado. While avocado may be a healthy snack for dog owners, it should not be given to dogs at all. The pit, skin, and leaves of avocados contain persin, a toxin that often causes vomiting and diarrhea in dogs. The fleshy inside of the fruit doesn’t have as much persin as the rest of the plant, but it is still too much for dogs to handle.

Cherries  No, dogs shouldn’t eat cherries. With the exception of the fleshy part around the seed, cherry plants contain cyanide and are toxic to dogs. Cyanide disrupts cellular oxygen transport, which means that your dog’s blood cells can’t get enough oxygen. If your dog eats cherries, be on the lookout for dilated pupils, difficulty breathing, and red gums, as these may be signs of cyanide poisoning.

Grapes  No, dogs should not eat grapes. Grapes and raisins have both proved to be very toxic for dogs no matter the dog’s breed, sex, or age. In fact, grapes are so toxic that they can lead to acute sudden kidney failure. Definitely skip this dangerous treat.

Mushrooms  No, dogs should avoid mushrooms. Wild mushrooms can be toxic for dogs. While only 50 to 100 of the 50,000 mushroom species worldwide are known to be toxic, the ones that are can really hurt your dog or even lead to death. Washed mushrooms from the supermarket could be OK, but it’s better to be safe than sorry; skip out on the fungi all together.

Tomatoes  No, dogs should probably avoid tomatoes. While the ripened fruit of the tomato plant (the red part humans normally eat) is generally considered safe for dogs, the green parts of the plant contain a toxic substance called solanine. While a dog would need to eat a large amount for it to make him or her sick, it’s better to skip tomatoes all together just to be safe.







 
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Thanks! I always wondered about that though thought that those things are a bit exaggerated.  I worked in avocado groves and often the farmers had dogs and the dogs would have shinny coats from eating avocados off the grove floor.

Our dog loves her leftovers.  I think there may be some benefits to eating slightly toxic stuff.  Consider humans do that too, and it helps with parasites.
 
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I am not a vet, but I do have a lot of dogs and I cook their meals twice each day. I tend to season it with things like turmeric and sage which are said to be good for fighting cancer and I include some grains and a lot of fruits and vegetables along with eggs and meats. (As a vegetarian, it disturbs me to use meat, but dogs aren't vegetarians and I want them to be healthy.) I also give them fish oil capsules a couple times each week and use coconut oil for their skin and coat. I've read the literature on alliums, grapes, etc. and I have to say that I am not convinced that feeding dogs something I have personally witnessed them (and other canids) eating in the wild is bad for them. (Coyotes and foxes eat wild grapes and I know my dogs do--plus wild onions.) At least I seriously doubt they are harmful in small doses. Like Amit said, maybe a little bit of toxin helps--possibly to strengthen our immune systems. We eat things like pokeweed on a regular basis and though toxic in large amounts, it is tolerated by the body in small quantities (and tastes good!) Sometimes I think we over-emphasize science and forget to pay attention to nature. Besides, if you look at commercial dog food, it claims to be 100% nutritionally complete and yet it contains things like wood dust and feathers as filler. (That's why I feed our dogs "people" food.) If you look closely at those same labels, I guarantee that in 9 out of 10 commercial dog foods, you will also find garlic mentioned as a flavor enhancer.

My point is that you really can't go by what the so-called experts say about dog nutrition. They still don't have it right and I am convinced most kibble may even be harmful to canine health. (For example, the same poisons found in flea and tick collars are also found in many commercial feeds--that is a direct result of putting the whole carcasses of cats and dogs--collars included--in the meat vats that they cook down into kibble. The ingredient lists it as "meat meal". I'm not making that up. Check this out ... Dog Food Advisor. Here's another one ... Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine and another (Warning! If you love animals, this will break your heart and make you feel sick.) Dog Naturally

That last one is just too sad and I am only posting it so that you will see for yourselves that there are far worse things in your dog's food than garlic. I can't talk about this anymore, sorry.

 
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I am a little more on the believing-veterinary-nutritionists side of this, and I think a few additional pieces of information could be helpful for people trying to decide if they want to let their pets eat table scraps that may contain onion.

The toxins in the allium family can cause anemia in dogs and cats, which really isn't a zero-sum condition. A little bit of anemia may not kill you, but can make you more susceptible to other diseases or over-exertion, or cause organ damage that will only be discovered later. The toxicity of the sulfoxides present in alliums also compounds in the body -- it isn't flushed easily or quickly by the body, so small amounts over a long period of time can really do some damage. I think this page actually does a surprisingly good job of explaining it -- with citations!

Additionally, the alliums we typically grow on purpose have been selected to have higher flavor compounds than wild alliums. Since the flavor compounds are among the toxic elements of alliums, we've essentially selected these plants to be more toxic than their wild counterparts to our pets. Consumption of as little as 0.5% of their own body mass in onions in one go consistently creates clinical symptoms in dogs. For my 50 lb dog that's about 4 oz of onion (around 3/4 cup). I've absolutely known dogs who would happily eat that amount of cooked onion if it fell on the floor, or in foraged/stolen table scraps.

For those of us with pets who do forage in the garden or woods, we may not know what wild alliums our pet has already been eating. So if they are already ingesting alliums on their own and we feed them more, we might unknowingly tip them toward allium toxicosis.

Finally, these data aren't gathered by the same nutritionists who are putting meat meal or sawdust in pet foods. They're gathered by veterinarians and researchers treating live cases of allium toxicosis. So in this case, it's not really about what Big Dog Food is willing to (or capable of) putting into kibble, or believe makes a "balanced" diet for a pet. It's about cases of toxicity gathered by years and years of treating hemolytic anemia.

On the other hand, some studies suggest that dehydrating or cooking alliums breaks the sulfur double-bonds that act as the oxidizing agent in alliums. On the other, other hand, studies exploring the toxicity of onions are done using cooked (boiled) onion, and that is still toxic to dogs. A fourth hand: the organisulfates in alliums are also used as tumor therapy in some cases.

I believe that many observant owners do a fine job of keeping their pets safe and healthy even with their pets consuming small amounts of alliums. And you aren't going to see me rushing my dog in to the vet because she picked up a stray onion sliver while I was cooking (ha! trick question -- my dog hates vegetables). I think that veterinarians recommend feeding no alliums because, without testing it, we don't know what a dog's sensitivity is, and the "test" is often expensive, traumatic, and not worth it.
 
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I feed my dogs some kibble, but the rest is leftovers, excess food etc. One of the main things they eat is the leftovers from stock, mostly chicken, large onion and garlic bits removed, pressure canned with water. They seem happy with it.

I find vets and human doctors too, tend to speak in absolutes. And they often won't explain why this food or that thing is good or bad. I don't usually take people's word for much, research is my friend.
 
Amit Enventres
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N Murray, thanks and ha! On the onion sliver. Our dog also turns her nose at veggies but loves meat and dairy and baked goods.  She doesn't do raw though-no, it has to be cooked meat- but heaven forbid someone leave some cinnamon rolls in the table.

As for these alerts at toxins, some dogs are more sensitive, less picky, only exposed to kibble or something and some owners don't say "hey fido, that's enough with the junk food.  Eat your meat." So these alerts serve a purpose.
 
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I study as a veterinarian and I have the answer to your question. Despite the fact that I'm only a student, my experience is on a high level! I even write my college essay about pet's feeding. So... Although garlic is also useful, regular feeding of garlic to a dog can lead to disastrous consequences. Feeding the animal with garlic will give rise to the development of gastritis, accompanied by inflammatory processes in the stomach and intestines, abdominal pain, spasms. Complications of gastritis can be an ulcer. If the pet has worms, consult a doctor! The plant can cause poisoning, the symptoms of which appear on the 2-4 day after eating the plant. Characteristic signs of poisoning are shortness of breath, vomiting, palpitation, weakness, increased breathing, drooling, loss of appetite. Onion is even more dangerous for a dog. Even a small amount can cause problems with the health of the dog. Its main danger lies in the fact that substances contained in onions destroy red blood cells, thereby anemia develops. Common symptoms of hemolytic anemia are rapid heartbeat, weakness, depressed condition, decreased endurance, loss of appetite, vomiting, and diarrhea. In addition to these symptoms, signs of anemia are dark or reddish urine, pale or bluish gums. Changes can occur when using only 5 grams of onions on a regular basis.
 
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Aside from onions and garlic, leeks and chives contain allium which is toxic for dogs.
 
Deb Stephens
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Matt Rountree wrote:Aside from onions and garlic, leeks and chives contain allium which is toxic for dogs.



Just to clear this up ... leeks and chives do not "contain" allium, they ARE alliums -- it's the genus name for all members of the onion/garlic family. The type species for the group (which contains hundreds of species) is Allium sativum, the cultivated form of garlic.

What actually is in garlic and its relatives is a class of organic molecules known as amino acid sulfoxides. When you damage (by cutting into one) the tissues of a clove of garlic or onion bulb, you release enzymes called allinases, which convert these molecules to sulfenic acids. The sulfenic acids, in turn, spontaneously rearrange to form syn-propanethial-S-oxide, the chemical that triggers the tears. (Most of that is a direct quote -- see this article for more details ... Scientific American
 
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