Just and FYI: The Reality of Garlic in Dog Food
When garlic is added for flavor, the maximum usage level is around 3 g per kilogram of food. Our 12 kg dog eating 200 g of food would eat approximately 0.6 g per day. To achieve the health benefits of garlic, the usage level is around 1.5 g of garlic per kilogram of food. A 12 kg dog would eat about 0.3 g a day. It is very apparent that these levels are nowhere close to the levels used in their experiment, and at these levels research had not shown any effect of garlic on red blood cells. The confusion comes from not considering the dosage rate. Dosage
Question: What is the difference between a nutrient, a drug, and a toxin? Answer: Dosage.
That is an old saying among nutritionists, and it’s true. To say something is toxic without some reference to the level needed to cause the toxic effect is misleading, especially in the fields of nutrition and health.
Lots of nutrients we, and our pets, consume are potentially toxic. An example is the trace mineral selenium. Selenium is usually added to pet foods at the level of 0.2 ppm (parts per million). Increase that level to 1 ppm you get additional health benefits. Increase it to 10 ppm and the level becomes toxic, possibly even deadly.
Another example of where confusion is caused by talking about toxicity without considering dosage rate is Poinsettias. “Poinsettias are toxic; don’t let your dog near them.” Not true.
Chocolate is another example. Chocolate can be deadly to dogs in high dosages, especially highly-potent chocolate such as unsweetened baker’s chocolate or cocoa powder. If your Labrador steals a single milk chocolate off the table, it will likely suffer no ill effects. If your Teacup Poodle eats a whole box of dark chocolate, she should visit the veterinarian immediately.
The list of potentially toxic items could go on and on. I could include nutrients like salt, vitamin D, or Zinc. You name it, and it could be toxic at some level. Garlic is Healthy
Garlic is added to dog foods because it has many health benefits, even at the very low levels used. Its main benefit is improvement to the health of the digestive tract. The other medicinal properties of garlic include: anti-microbial, antioxidant, antibiotic
, fights cancer cells, decreases blood cholesterol, helps to prevent strokes and decreases blood pressure.
In fact, most of the research into the effect of feeding garlic to dogs is done because the researchers want to better understand the benefits of garlic, not the dangers.
Be assured that garlic is safe at the level used in dog foods, and remember that talking about toxicity without putting in some context of a “normal” consumption level is misleading.