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What happens if my dog eats garlic bread?

There are many human foods that your dog can eat; garlic is not one of these things. Garlic bread is commonly eaten with many pasta dishes. When your dog is sitting beside you wanting a piece of your food, you should resist giving in to those tempting eyes and offering them a piece of garlic bread. 

What happens if my dog eats garlic bread?

Garlic bread contains a large amount of oils, butter, and garlic. Garlic is toxic to dogs, and the oils and butter are high in fat and can cause your dog to have vomiting and diarrhea. If your dog eats garlic bread, they could have signs of garlic toxicity.

Many times your dog will just have gastrointestinal signs such as vomiting or diarrhea, but if they eat a toxic level of garlic, they can have more severe health issues such as anemia. In rare cases, garlic can be life threatening to dogs. This is usually seen in small dogs who eat a very large amount of garlic. 

What Causes Garlic to be Toxic to dogs?

Garlic belongs to the Allium family. This is the same family as onions and leeks, which are also toxic to dogs. They contain thiosulfate, which is toxic to dogs but not people. Garlic can cause your dog’s red blood cells to rupture, causing your dog to become anemic. 

How long after eating garlic will a dog get sick?

If your dog eats garlic, you can start seeing signs after just a few hours and may not see any for 2 to 5 days later. It does take a few days for the toxic component of garlic to damage your dog’s red blood cells and for them to show signs of anemia. 

Dogs that eat just a small amount will start vomiting and having diarrhea even after 30 minutes post ingestion.  Any issues with red blood cells usually will not be seen for 5 days after they eat garlic.

What to do if my dog eats garlic?

If your dog just eats a small amount of garlic, I would recommend that you watch them for any vomiting or diarrhea. If your dog gets ahold of a whole clove of garlic, it would be best to see your vet right away. Your vet can give your dog medication to make them vomit up any garlic that they have eaten if it has been just a few hours.

If it has been longer than 2 hours, inducing vomiting is not helpful. Your vet then may give them activated charcoal to help prevent their body from being able to absorb the toxins.

How much is garlic bread too much for a dog?

The toxic dosage of garlic for a dog is 15 to 30 grams of garlic per kilogram of your dog’s body weight. So for a 20-pound dog, the toxic dosage would be 135 grams to 275 grams of garlic.  

Normal cloves of garlic found at the grocery store weigh about 3 to 7 grams. So your dog would need to eat a lot of garlic to get very sick. 

The garlic bread does contain oils and butter, which is high in fat. Dogs who have a very sensitive stomach can develop vomiting and diarrhea from just a small amount of garlic bread. High fatty meals can lead to pancreatitis, which in some instances can be life threatening.

What signs to look for?

There are different signs based on the amount that your dog ingests. These are a few signs that you need to look for.

  • Gastrointestinal issues: You will see issues such as vomiting, diarrhea, not eating, stomach pain. After a few days, you may notice yellow or white gums. 
  • Heart and lung issues: elevated heart rate, decreased respiratory rate, exercise intolerant, lethargy, and depression
  • Urinary Tract issues: Blood colored urine may also be seen in severe cases.
  • Blood issues: The toxic component in garlic damages your dog’s blood cells, causing them to become anemic. If your dog does not have enough blood circulating in their body, they can have organ failure. 

Mild gastrointestinal signs are seen with a small amount of garlic, whereas heart and lung signs are seen with a larger amount of garlic eaten. 

If you notice any of these issues, it would be best for your dog to see your vet right away. The more severe signs will require swift veterinary care in order for your dog to make a full recovery.

What is the prognosis of my dog eating garlic?

Usually, with quick and aggressive treatment, your dog can have a very good prognosis. It may take 3 to 4 weeks for blood levels to return to normal, and many times your dog may need to spend a few days in the hospital to recover from garlic toxicity. 


What if the garlic is cooked?

If you cook or dry the garlic, it does not affect the toxic components. So even if you use garlic powder, garlic flakes, or cooked garlic on your garlic bread, your dog can still have these unwanted side effects. 

Are certain breeds more predisposed to Garlic toxicity than others?

Japanese dog breeds such as Akitas, Shiba, and Jindo breeds have a lower glutathione and potassium concentration, thus making them more sensitive to garlic. Glutathione is the chemical component that is needed to help prevent damage to your dog’s cells.

Are cats also sensitive to garlic?

Yes, cats are 2 to 3 times more sensitive to garlic than dogs. Cats should never be fed garlic, and if they accidentally ingest garlic, they should see your vet right away. 

Final Thoughts

If your dog does get ahold of a piece of garlic bread, you may just have a small bout of vomiting and diarrhea from all the butter and oils. If there was a large amount of garlic on the bread and your dog was small, you may see signs of anemia. If you notice anything off with your dog after they eat garlic bread or anything containing toxic levels of garlic, it would be best for them to see your vet.