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Garlic is a delicious household favorite as an herb, spice, and seasoning. Pasta, soups, stews, and sauces are commonly made with garlic to create the aromatic, earthy, warm flavor that we all know and love.
Additionally, garlic is believed to boost immunity, improve cardiovascular health, have antibacterial properties, and work as an anti-inflammatory. Garlic bread sounds great, doesn't it? But is garlic bread bad for dogs? In this article, we'll take a deep dive into the effects of the ingredients in garlic bread can have on your dog and provide alternative dog food choices that are equally delicious!
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So, will a piece of garlic bread hurt my dog?
Despite the numerous health benefits for humans, garlic is very dangerous for dogs. At best, garlic can cause your dog stomach aches, vomiting, or diarrhea, and in a worst-case scenario, anemia, collapse, or even death. This means that allowing your dog to eat garlic, including garlic bread, is a major no-no.
Knowing that garlic bread is not a feasible option for feeding your dog is only part of the story. It’s also important to understand the risks of the individual ingredients (garlic and bread), as well as the health complications that could potentially arise. To learn more, and to see the alternative snacks and treats we recommend, keep reading!
Harmful Ingredients in garlic bread
Garlic is a member of the Allium family, related to onions, leeks, scallions, and shallots. All plants from the Allium contain a compound called thiosulfate, which is highly toxic to dogs, but not humans.
Thiosulfate damages hemoglobins that are responsible for carrying oxygen around the body, and can cause hemolysis – a breakdown of the dog’s red blood cells. At the same time, the compound inhibits their bodies’ ability to reverse the damage, eventually resulting in severe anemia. This certainly makes garlic the most dangerous element in garlic bread.
The other primary ingredient in garlic bread is bread, of course. While bread itself is not particularly harmful and can be fed in small amounts to most dogs, it is not something dogs should eat often. When dogs eat bread, they are taking in processed carbohydrates with unnecessary calories which have the potential to upset their stomach.
Another concerning ingredient found in most garlic bread is some form of cheese. Although cheese is certainly tasty, it is not good for dogs to have in large quantities. Aside from being a high-calorie food, dairy products like cheese can cause gastric upset, vomiting, or diarrhea, especially if your dog is lactose-intolerance.
The last potentially dangerous ingredient commonly found in garlic bread is butter. Butter in itself is not toxic for dogs, but it doesn’t offer any true health benefits, and instead presents health risks.
Butter has a high likelihood of giving your dog gastrointestinal upset since it is both a dairy product and very fatty. Not only can butter give your dog a stomach ache, but it can also cause vomiting, diarrhea, and pancreatitis.
What happens if my dog eats garlic bread?
If your dog ate garlic or is showing symptoms of vomiting or diarrhea, take them to the emergency veterinary hospital as soon as possible. The vet will be able to monitor your dog’s signs of anemia and help them vomit safely.
When a dog consumes garlic, there are a few different ways they can be affected: firstly, the mouth and guts can become irritated, causing vomiting, excessive drooling, diarrhea, and abdominal pain, and secondly, the dog may experience garlic poisoning. Dogs who eat enough garlic to develop garlic poisoning or garlic toxicity are in for a lot worse than an upset stomach.
When a dog eats garlic, the thiosulfate causes damage to the dog’s red blood cells, eventually resulting in hemolytic anemia. This will make it difficult for the circulatory system to distribute oxygen through your dog’s body, which will cause high blood pressure and an increase in both the respiration rate and heart rate.
Additionally, garlic can cause relaxation of the heart muscles and widening of the blood vessels, which will increase how difficult it is to pump blood and further raise the dog’s heart rate.
Symptoms of garlic toxicity and when to take action
If your dog ate garlic bread, garlic powder, garlic supplements, roasted garlic, or even a plain garlic clove, they could be in danger of garlic toxicity. Most studies have shown that the threshold for harmful changes in the dog’s blood is about 0.24 to 0.48 ounces per pound (15 to 30 grams per kilogram) of the dog’s body weight.
Some of the most common symptoms of garlic toxicity are pale gums, drooling, dehydration, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, trouble breathing, and elevated heart and respiratory rates. In severe cases, symptoms like jaundice, extreme anemia, ataxia, blood in the urine, seizures, and inflammation of the liver and spleen can also occur.
If you know or suspect your dog ate garlic bread, or any other type of garlic and developed garlic toxicity as a result, there are a few important steps to take. Firstly, you should try to determine how much garlic your dog has ingested, and take away any remaining morsels.
The next step will be to observe your dog closely, looking for symptoms of garlic poisoning or other signs of issues with your dog’s health. If your dog becomes ill or begins displaying abnormal behavior, you should take them to your veterinarian immediately.
Your veterinarian can diagnose garlic poisoning through a physical examination and lab tests such as a complete blood cell count, hemoglobin concentration, biochemistry analysis, and blood glucose levels. The most important aspect of your dog’s treatment will be ridding its body of the toxins; the most common method of this is to induce vomiting and empty the dog’s stomach.
Although garlic is toxic to dogs, garlic poisoning is rarely fatal. Most dogs that eat garlic will need supportive care to help aid their recovery, but the specific treatment your veterinarian chooses will depend on how much garlic bread your dog eats.
Some common treatments are prescribing activated charcoal to absorb the toxins, iv fluids to fight dehydration, and oxygen therapy. A blood transfusion may also be necessary in cases where the dog consumes large amounts of garlic or has severe symptoms.
Alternative treats for your furry friend
We know how hard it is to leave your dog hanging, especially when they give you puppy eyes and beg. Garlic bread is simply not a safe treat for dogs to have, and it's better safe than sorry. To make it up to them, here are some healthy alternatives that will keep your dog happy and healthy!
Milo's Kitchen Chicken Meatballs Dog Treats
Home-style dog treats with 100% real beef as the ingredient
A common pairing with garlic bread is meatballs, and although garlic bread isn't safe for dogs, these meatball dog treats are! Milo’s Kitchen makes dog treats with the same high-quality products you would want in your food. These meatballs have a lot of protein, no artificial flavor or colors, and no meat by-products, making them an all-around great treat!
Blue Buffalo Health Bars Baked with Bacon, Egg & Cheese Dog Treats
These Blue Buffalo Health Bars are made with bacon, egg, cheese, healthy grains, and even some fruits and veggies! The bars are enhanced with vitamins and antioxidants but contain no bone meal, BHA, or wheat. They even have a satisfying, oven-baked crunch that your dog is sure to love.
Hill's Prescription Diet Soft Baked Dog Treats, 12-oz bag
Soft with a chewy texture that’s easier on teeth and gums
Some dogs have dietary restrictions or a sensitive stomach, even without eating dangerous, unhealthy treats like garlic bread. To make sure every dog can have a healthy treat, Hill’s Prescription Diet created this soft-baked cookie, which is compatible with several conditions and diseases. Made with healthy ingredients, this treat is made to help support kidney and heart health in all dogs.
Eating garlic is toxic to your dog and can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. If several cloves were eaten, it could be fatal. Garlic bread is also filled with no nutritional benefits and usually contains too much salt and oil for dogs.
It is important to take your dog to the veterinarian if they become ill or start showing symptoms even if it has been a few days since they ate the garlic bread. Ensuring that your dog doesn’t eat any more garlic bread and providing him with supportive care greatly increases his likelihood of recovery.
How much garlic is toxic?
As little as 1 gram of garlic per 5 pounds of body weight would be toxic to your pup. Garlic powder is more vigorous and can cause more severe problems than fresh garlic. Several cloves could have fatal effects on your dog.
Can I give my dog garlic supplements as a flea and tick preventative?
Some internet sources and dog owners suggest using a small amount of garlic as a health supplement to prevent flea and tick infestations. While very small doses of garlic may not produce harmful results for every dog, there is a lack of evidence to suggest that using garlic as a health supplement will be effective. In the end, the risk of making your dog sick after eating garlic is not worth the potential benefit of killing fleas and ticks.
Although it can be tempting to sneak your dog a piece as a treat, the answer to "can dogs eat garlic bread?" is no. Garlic bread is not safe for dogs and can make them quite ill. Garlic itself is highly toxic for dogs, and the other ingredients in garlic bread are often fatty and likely to give your dog digestive issues.
When dogs eat garlic, not only can they have a stomach ache, but also their red blood cells are damaged, causing issues like anemia, seizures, and fatigue among others. This is why it's so important to find healthy alternative treats, some of which we have included above. We’ve also added some frequently asked questions to ease your concern on related topics.
After reading this article, you should have gained some insight into why garlic bread is bad for dogs, what to do if your dog eats garlic bread, and some better alternatives for your dog to eat. Thank you for reading!
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