Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Garlic for Dogs - Health Benefits, Preparation, Use, Safe Dosage

In this article...

1. Garlic - Why It Is Good For Dogs...
    1.1 Time to Put Myths and Misnomers to Rest

           - The debate
           - A common substance shared

           - What those that do not know miss out on
2. History of Garlic 
3. Health Benefits of Fresh Garlic 
4. Active Medicinal Ingredients in Garlic
5. Activating The Medicinal Properties of Garlic 
6. Forms of Garlic You Should Not Use 
7. How to Include Garlic In Your Dog's Daily Diet
       - Safe Daily Dosage
8. Cautions
9. Drug Interactions
10. Other Uses for Garlic
         -  Insect and Parasite Replant, Treatment and Preventative
         - Topical Treatment for Ear Infections

1.0 Garlic - Why It Is Good For Dogs...

The photo just above is of me walking some members of my own dog pack. Everyone of my dogs eats fresh garlic with one of their daily meals - they have done so for years. As you can see from the photo above my dogs range in breed, age and obviously size. They are all very healthy and are not on chemical-based insect and parasite preventatives (veterinarian prescribed or off-the- shelf), antibiotics etc. I build their health from the inside out and garlic is one of those herbs that help me to keep them healthy!

My Happy, Healthy Boxer x Pit Bull 'Robbie'

You may have heard that garlic is bad for dogs. Well, garlic has been used for many years by loving dog owners and by holistic veterinarians to support the good health of dogs.

1.1 Time to Put Myths and Misnomers To Rest

 The Debate 
The debate about whether garlic is good or bad seems to have arisen from confusion with its close cousin, the onion.  And that question has been furthered by people - professionals and public alike - who do not inform themselves about the actual properties of these foods prior to pronouncing their opinion...

Which means that their pronouncement is an OPINION and an uninformed judgement based on lack of information rather than an evidence-based fact.
A Common Substance Shared 
Both garlic and onion contain thiosulphate, the substance responsible for causing ‘Heinx Factoranemia in dogs and cats. 

The amount of thiosulphate found in garlic is much lower than in onions, in fact the amount in garlic is barely traceable and when garlic is provided in proper daily dosage the thiosulphate is not sufficient to cause harm to dogs (it can cause harm to cats) and the health benefits garlic offers to dogs is enourmous.

The fear of garlic is a new one - propagated by rumor on the internet and not proven by any facts or study. To see an extensive list of foods that dogs should truly not be consuming and/or should be consuming with cautionyou can read here.
What Those That Don't Know Miss Out On
Garlic is a powerful, natural broad-spectrum antibiotic. Garlic is also an antioxidant, anti-allergen, antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-protozoan, anti-viral and anti-carcinogen. Garlic contains germanium, an anti-cancer agent and an anti-protozoan. Garlic can also be used topically to treat specific ailments - for example ear mite infestation and ear infections.
Garlic also contains sulfur - a natural insect repellent!

When garlic is ingested in reasonable amounts there are no harmful results - only benefits, and no, it won’t make your dog smell like garlic! 

2.0 History of Garlic
Garlic is a herbal plant  and an ancient food crop - harvested and cultivated by mankind for thousands of years. The word garlic comes from the Old English word garleac - ‘spear leek’. Chives, leeks, shallots and onions are toxic for your dog…but the benefits of garlic are many…
Abby and Jordie - my German Shepherd x Malamute and my
German Shepherd x  Belgian Shepherd eat garlic on a daily basis
 3.0 Health Benefits of Fresh Garlic
  • Anti-bacterial;
  • Anti-biotic (broad spectrum);
  • Anti-carcinogen, garlic contains germanium - an anti-cancer agent;
    • Garlic helps to prevent a variety of cancers such as: bladder cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer, lung cancer; rectal cancer, stomach cancer.
    • Garlic is also used to treat some forms of cancer such as bladder and prostate cancer.
  • Garlic helps to regulate blood pressure;
  • Heart health support to prevent:
    • Heart disease;
    • Heart attack;
    • Hardening of the arteries;
  • Helps strengthen the body's defenses against allergies;
  • Helps regulate blood sugar levels;
  • High cholesterol reduction;
  • Garlic is high in vitamins, minerals and nutrients:
  • Calcium, Potassium, Zinc;
  • Protein;
  • Vitamin A, B, B2, C;
  • Garlic is an aid to fighting and treating:
    • Asthma;
    • Environmental allergies'
    • Diabetes;
    • Diarrhea; 
    • Fatigue;
    • Liver, heart and kidney disease;
    • Maintenance of healthy liver function;
    • Ear infections and ear mite infestations;
    • Stress.
  • Garlic is a natural:

4.0 Active Medicinal Ingredients in Garlic
Garlic contains multiple sulphur-inclusive compounds. Allinn and another enzyme ‘alliinase’, both present in garlic, but contained in separate cells gain the opportunity to combine and create a new enzyme called ‘allicin’ when garlic is chopped, crushed, minced or chewed. Allicin (an anti-biotic, anti-bacterial, anti-cancer, heart healthy enzyme) is the most beneficial of the healthful enzymes in garlic.

5.0 Activating the Medicinal Properties
Use Fresh Garlic and Prepare it As Follows...
  • Chop, crush, mince or press/bruise the fresh garlic, and then;
    • Allow to sit at room temperature for at minimum five (5) minutes and better ten (10) to fifteen (15) minutes;
    • This gives the allinn and alliinase sufficient time to undergo the enzymic reaction that creates allicin - the medicinal ingredient in garlic;
    • Mix the garlic into your dog's food in his/her bowl and its now time for your dog to eat;
    • The medicinal properties remain active for up to one (1) hour after you have activiated them;
    • After one hour has passed the medicinal properties begin to degrade which is why it is improtant to use fresh prepared garlic. 
6.0 Forms of Garlic You Should Not Use

Dry, Dehydrated, Powdered, Mixed Garlic, Supplement
  • Do not add garlic in a mixed form to your dogs diet  - i.e. garlic steak spice 
    • May contain fillers, sugar, salt and herbs or spices, food colouring and other additives that are not safe for dogs to consume;
    • Dehydrated, powdered garlic, or preserved minced garlic intended for culinary use has been degraded from processing and it's medicinal qualities are lost - it's only remaining purpose is to please the human palate - don't give these forms of garlic to your dog as they offer no benefit.
  • Fresh always refrigerated preserved garlic - much like fresh sauerkraut that has been pickled/preserved/fermented in pure water (not in wine and with other additives) and has been kept refrigerated after the initial curing period will have beneficial probiotic properties but may not have the other medicinal qualities offered by fresh garlic.
  • Cooked garlic does not retain the medicinal properties found in fresh garlic.
When I refer to ‘garlic’ I mean garlic in its pure, fresh form.

7.0 How to Include Garlic in Your Dog’s
      Daily Diet

More of my garlic eating dogs...
Add the properly prepared fresh garlic to one of your dog's daily meals. The safe daily dosage is as follows...

Safe Daily Dosage for Dogs
  • 1 clove fresh raw garlic per every:
    • 30 pounds of body weight
    • 13.6 kg of body weight
  • For dogs less than 30 pounds:
    • 20 pound dog - 2/3 of a clove
    • 15 pound dog - 1/2 of a clove
    • 10 pound dog - 1/3 of a clove
    • 5 pound dog - 1/6 of a clove

  • 1 teaspoon (tsp) fresh, raw minced/finely chopped garlic per every:
    •  30 lbs of body weight
    • 13.6 kg of body weight
  • For dogs less than 30 pounds:
    • 20 pound dog - 2/3 of a tsp
    • 15 pound dog - 1/2 of a tsp
    • 10 pound dog - 1/3 of a tsp
    • 5 pound dog - 1/6 of a tsp

If you can afford to do so, buy organic garlic.

8.0 Cautions

  • Pregnant and Lactating Dogs
    • When used in the dosage provided above, garlic is safe for pregnant dogs;
    • The only caution around garlic for pregnant dogs is that if ingested in large quantities it can flavor the milk of lactating females (human and canine).
  • Puppies
    • As a general guideline for puppies...
    • Don't give garlic to puppies that are 6 months of age or younger.
  • Garlic From China
    • Some garlic from China has been found to be contaminated with high levels of arsenic, lead and added sulfites.
  • If your dog has IBS or Colitis
    • Garlic is high in insoluble fibre and sulfur compounds - as a general rule it is best  not to give fresh garlic to dogs that have IBS or colitis.

9.0 Drug Interactions
  •  If your dog is on cyclosporine:
    • Garlic may increase the rate at which cyclosprine is broken down by the body, and;
    • Might decrease the effectiveness of cyclosporine;
    • So, do not give your dog garlic if he/she is on cyclosporin.
  • If your dog is on any medication that is changed by the liver. 
  • If your dog is on a blood thinner:
    • Consult your veterinarian before giving your dog garlic;
    • Garlic can slow down blood clotting -  garlic may increase the efficacy of the blood thinner;
    • The dosage of the blood thinner would need to be adjusted for intake of garlic. 

10.0 Some Other Beneficial Uses For

10.1 Parasites and Insects
Garlic is a natural dewormer and can also be used in combination with other herbs and nutraceuticals to treat repel and avoid the development of parasite infestations - you can read about that here.

Garlic is a natural insect repellant and can also be used topically in combination with other herbs and nutraceuaticals to treat and repel insects - you can read about that here.

10.2 Ear Infections
Garlic can be used topically in combination with other nutraceuaticals as a topical treatment for ear infections - you can read about that here.