Ward Johnson of Sojourner Farms and producer of Sojos natural dog food products reports on his website:
“Technology can be a dangerous thing. For example, we’ve had a couple of people call and say that they read on the internet that garlic is harmful to pets. Garlic? Harmful to pets? Are we talking about the same garlic that’s been used by holistic vets for decades as a natural flea treatment and antioxident? Okay, we admit – garlic can be harmful to pets, and people for that matter. Then again, so can water. Allow us to explain.
Garlic (Allium sativum) has been used for thousands of years for medicinal purposes. Sanskrit records show its medicinal use about 5,000 years ago, and it has been used for at least 3,000 years in Chinese medicine. The Egyptians, Babylonians, Greeks, and Romans were known to have harnessed the healing properties of garlic as well. According to the Whole Dog Journal, small amounts of garlic not only act as a natural flea repellant, but garlic can be used for its wonderful antifungal and antibacterial properties. It also promotes the production of white blood cells thereby acting as an immune booster for dogs with low or compromised immunity and may benefit dogs with diabetes by helping reduce blood-sugar levels.
What makes garlic so great for dog health problems? Allicin appears to be the active component in the root bulb (cloves) of the garlic plant which trigger its healing properties. Allicin is formed when alliin, a sulfur-containing amino acid, comes into contact with the enzyme alliinase when raw garlic is chopped, crushed, or chewed. Heating garlic will lessen the medicinal capabilities, but naturally dehydrating it won’t. That is to say the garlic used in a nutritional supplement, or garlic found in one of our pet food mixes is simply raw garlic that has been crushed and dehydrated.
Despite its healing qualities, Garlic contains a compound named thiosulphate. In extremely high levels thiosulphate can be a dangerous toxin that cause hemolytic anemia in dogs. But we’re not talking about garlic dog treats, supplemental garlic, or healthy table scraps that may have included fresh garlic in the recipe. We’re talking about situations where your pet sniffs out several bulbs of garlic you were about to use for a giant batch of homemade spaghetti sauce for the whole neighborhood and winds up eating 50 cloves in one sitting. We repeat . . . it would take up to 50 cloves for garlic to be harmful to your dog! 50 cloves of garlic wouldn’t be a good idea for anyone, let alone your dog. In the event that your dog did get into a basket of garlic cloves, the symptoms of hemolytic anemia can develop within a few hours or a few days. Signs include vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, depression, and loss of appetite. If you see these symptoms in your pet and you're missing a lot of cloves of garlic, call your vet.
The bottom line there is that dogs and cats can get into many things around the house that are toxic if consumed in large quantities. But, when used in moderation, garlic can be a healthy supplement. According to Charlie Fox, the co-author of The Garlic Cure (McCleery & Sons, 2002), garlic can be used to stimulate and support immune function, trigger gastric juices for better digestion, encourage the growth of friendly bacteria, and prevent infections. He’s seen garlic reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer as well as improve blood sugar regulation and promote detoxification.”
Contribution by Ward Johnson, Founder & Owner of Sojourner Farms, the maker of Sojos natural dog food products. Ward feels good adding garlic to some of his products because of the natural health benefits (and taste benefits!) and he assures you garlic is not being added to his homemade dog food in toxic amounts. Sojos lists ingredients according to the guidelines in order from highest quantity to lowest so you can tell when you see garlic near the end, it’s being added in moderation to take advantage of its healing properties, while still being far lower than toxic levels. For more information on Sojos natural dog food and natural dog treats, with or without garlic, please visit us online.