Garlic has been widely used as both a culinary and medicinal herb for thousands of years, both for people and animals.

In more recent times, the use of garlic in dog and cats foods has been questioned because there is evidence that at high doses it can cause toxicity (its close relative, onions, are also quite toxic when fed raw). Whilst this is true, the reported toxic doses are in the order of one large clove of garlic per 5kg bodyweight of animal daily (which is a very high dose), and it is most toxic when it is fed raw and crushed – cats do appear to be more sensitive than dogs.

Much lower doses of dried garlic have been demonstrated to be perfectly safe, and do indeed confer some significant health benefits. Garlic contains a natural antibiotic substance called Allicin, which is unique in that bacteria do not develop natural resistance to it. Allicin can help fight infections and control overgrowth of pathogens in the gut, and it also has both antifungal and antioxidant properties. Garlic also contains Diallyl Sulphides, which have been shown to boost the immune system and lower cholesterol. There is also anecdotal evidence that these compounds may “discourage” enteric and external parasites.

Like chilli, there are thousands of strains and varieties of garlic available around the world, which can vary in strength. The garlic component in all Vets All Natural products is pharmaceutical grade and of consistent strength.

So the final word on garlic is that it is OK, at low doses, and use dried garlic rather than fresh garlic. Like many foods and minerals (eg. selenium and boron) a small amount is vital for good health, but a large amount can be harmful.

Dr Bruce Syme BVSc (Hons), Founder of Vets All Natural.

Dr Bruce Syme is a practicing vet and expert in natural pet nutrition, has spoken at the Australian Veterinary Association Annual Conference, and provides regular comment on TV and Radio.

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Disclaimer: The entire contents of this article are based upon the opinions of Dr. Bruce Syme, unless otherwise noted. The information is not intended as medical advice, it simply shares the knowledge and information from the research and experience of Dr. Bruce and his community. Pet health care decisions should be based upon your research and in partnership with a qualified pet health care professional.
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