Choosing Holistic Foods for your Pet

When considering all of the food choices available for pets, there is a dizzying array of preventative and holistic choices. The tendency for some pet owners is to cut to the quick about food selection and aim for foods that offer the most value for the cost.  For some, this means reaching for garlic because It has been touted as a fantastic addition to a dietary plan. When anyone considers how garlic is largely regarded as a holistic remedy, it just makes sense.

Let’s consider the conditions and diseases prevented:

  • Heart disease
  • High cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Flea warding
  • Some forms of cancer


The issue:

Any concentrated form of garlic can be toxic and poison a pet, and unfortunately, lead to death.


Why is Garlic deadly to pets?

Garlic is classified as a species of the Allium family. The Allium family includes onions, shallots, leeks, chives, and rakkyo (otherwise known as Chinese onion).

Garlic contains disulfides and thiosulphates, which can be toxic cats and dogs if ingested. Essentially, the compounds in garlic have been known to invariably cause red blood cells to become very fragile and burst.  Therefore, major disruptions like hemolytic anemia, Heinz body anemia, and methemoglobinemia can occur, All of which carry varying degrees of deadly consequences.


Garlic is Toxic to Pets?

Since garlic is many times more concentrated than an onion, a smaller ingested amount could lead to toxicosis—as little as one clove can lead to toxicity in both cats and dogs.

Please note that a pet’s weight, type of breed, and prior health history can vary the toxicity level of ingested garlic.

If you suspect your dog or cat has ingested garlic, you should contact your veterinarian immediately.


Symptoms of Garlic Toxicity in Dogs and Cats

It can take several days after your pet eats garlic for symptoms to appear.

Symptoms of this condition can include

  • vomiting and diarrhea
  • anemia–breathlessness
  • lethargy
  • pale, yellow, or “muddy” colored gums
  • rapid breathing,
  • and an elevated heart rate.
  • abdominal pain
  • discolored urine.


Lastly, while vomiting and diarrhea may occur within one day, it may take several days to a week after your pet eats garlic for symptoms of anemia to appear.

What happens to a dog?

“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.” **


Preventing Garlic Toxicity in Pets

For pet owners using garlic supplements for themselves and family, make sure steps are taken to protect curious pets. It bears mentioning that keeping garlic, onions, chives, and similar foods out of reach is a great first step.

And of course, the best advice when introducing a new food or a supplement for your pet is to always consult your family veterinarian first.


Be Ready for Anything

And it is also advisable to keep a collection of immediate phone numbers posted where anyone (like house-sitters, pet baby sitters, family, etc.) can see if your pet is found with unexplainable symptoms.

When rounding out your pet’s diet, other holistic food choices exist and can easily be vital substitutes for garlic and onion, such as:

  • apples
  • blueberries,
  • strawberries,
  • watermelon,
  • carrots,
  • cucumbers
  • sweet potatoes.


it’s worth shopping a bit more for our most important family members.

After all, our pets are our lives.

What we love, we protect.


Bill Bistak B Sc., SEO/SEM Spc, CRT

“Some of the best memories in life are from our relationships with our pets.”




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