Allium, Alliaceae, Liliaceae, disulfides, thiosulfates
Toxicity to pets
Garlic is the most potent of all Alliums and is poisonous to most species including dogs, cats, cattle, horses, birds, reptiles, sheep, and goats. It is about 5 times more toxic than onions or leeks.
Cats, some Japanese breeds of dogs (e.g., Akita, Shiba Inu and Japanese Chin), horses and cattle are more susceptible to garlic. Toxic doses of garlic cause damage to red blood cells, making them more likely to rupture. Destruction of red blood cells leads to anemia which can manifest as lethargy, pale gums, increased heart rate, increased respiratory rate, weakness, exercise intolerance, and collapse. GI upset (e.g., nausea, drooling, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea) can also occur secondary to garlic ingestion.
Large ingestions of garlic may cause clinical signs within 24 hours while signs of garlic poisoning after small ingestions can be delayed for up to 1 week. While very small amounts of garlic may be safe in some animals, large amounts can be very toxic.
Common signs to watch for:
- Anemia (e.g. lethargy)
- pale gums
- increased heart rate
- increased respiratory rate
- exercise (intolerance, collapse)
- GI upset (e.g., nausea, drooling, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea)
The content of this page is not veterinary advice. A number of factors (amount of substance ingested, size of the animal, allergies, etc.) determine what is toxic to a particular pet. If you think your pet has eaten something potentially toxic, call Pet Poison Helpline or seek immediate veterinary treatment.