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How Much Garlic Is Toxic to Cats?

How much Garlic is toxic to cats is controversial. So I delved deep for answers and prepared the following information for cat enthusiasts who want to feed their cats with Garlic but don’t know-how:

Conclusively, more than a quarter clove of Garlic is toxic to cats. Many people highly regard Garlic is highly regarded universally as a remedy for chronic diseases, including:

  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • High Cholesterol
  • Specific types of cancer

Garlic has many underlying benefits to our human body, as well as to cats. However, when given to cats in large quantities, it tends to be toxic and poisonous and may result in death if treatment is not sought early.

Garlic contains thiosulphates and disulfide compounds that are toxic to cats when ingested. It may cause conditions such as:

  • Methemoglobinemia, 
  • Hemolytic anemia
  • Heinz body anemia

These conditions destroy the cat’s red blood cells, causing them to become very weak to the extent of bursting.

Garlic is five times stronger than onions in toxicity to cats. According to Dr. Ahna Brutlag, intake of 5g of onions in cats results in the damage of its red blood cells to the extent of the cat getting admitted to a clinic. Now that we see how Garlic is more concentrated than onions, this gives us a picture of how serious its toxicity is to cats.

Consumption of as little as one clove of Garlic can cause toxicity. However, this is also dependent and varies with the cat’s weight, breed, and previous health history.

Garlic Composition

To understand garlic cloves better, let us look at their composition:

Garlic comprises 60% water, 32% carbohydrates, 5 % protein, 3% dietary fiber, and 1% fat. When consumed per 100 grams, it boasts of various nutrients in affluent amounts such as phosphorous, Vitamin A, C and B6, Manganese, and some dietary minerals.

In each serving of 100 grams, Garlic acts as a significant source of some specific vitamin B, together with thiamin, germanium, sulfur, calcium, pantothenic acid, potassium, iron, zinc, magnesium, amino acids, inulin, and selenium.

It also has a compound known as n-propyl disulfide and little amounts of thiosulphate.

Now here is the catch. When Garlic is taken in large quantities, it can lead to oxidative harm in a cat’s blood cells, which sequentially can cause the cat’s body to reject the red blood cells from the bloodstream.

As the saying goes, too much of something is poisonous; so I ensure I don’t give my cat more than the recommended dosage. Even minerals that you think are healthy to the cat can be harmful in large amounts. Salt, Zinc, and Vitamin D are suitable for the cat as long as they are administered in moderation, and the same applies to Garlic.

With so much controversy around feeding Garlic to cats, I wondered why so much controversy while I use Garlic every day as a detoxifier, and it has helped my body.

That’s why I decided to provide you with this information.

Although a lot of people may dismiss that Garlic can be poisonous to cats; that it is approved as a spice or seasoning in some cat’s food, yet Garlic is in the FDA database list of poisonous plants.

Is Garlic Beneficial To Cats in Any Way?

As much as Garlic can be toxic to cats, some veterinarians such as Dr.Richard Pitcaim argue that at least ¼ garlic clove daily is beneficial to cats. Some of the benefits I read from Dr. Pitcaim’s natural remedy guide for cats include:

  • It minimizes the cat’s cholesterol level and enhances its cardiovascular system
  • Gets rid of bacteria and fungus 
  • Aids in cat’s digestion system
  • It boosts its immune system
  • Garlic aroma behaves like a parasite repellent and keeps fleas and ticks at bay around cats
  • It assists the cat’s liver in eliminating toxins

Are Cats Attracted to Garlic?

Cats are pure carnivores and have a strong dislike for Garlic. My cat found the mild garlic smell of Garlic overwhelming and baffling—cats boast of a sharp aromatic sense of smell. What I did is I put Garlic in cooked food before giving my cat. If you have a habit of sharing your garlic food with your cat, ensure that you do so in moderation to avoid garlic poisoning in your cat.

Symptoms of Garlic Poisoning in Cats

You may not notice immediately when your cat gets poisoned. It may take more than two days after consumption for the symptoms to be seen, which may be severe to make its treatment a challenge for veterinarians and cat owners. Some of the symptoms you need to keep an eye on include:

  • Pale gums
  • Vomiting
  • Increased heartbeat
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Diarrhea
  • Increased respiratory rate
  • Fatigue
  • Ataxia
  • Abdominal pains
  • Lethargy
  • Jaundice
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lack of consciousness
  • Drooling
  • Discolored urine

Diagnosis of Garlic Poisoning in Cats

If you come across any of the above symptoms on your cat and you had given it garlic cloves, take your cat to the veterinarian for treatment immediately. Talk to the vet about the symptoms and how long they have been around. Also, please talk about your cats’ diet and the amount of Garlic you had given them.

Once the vet starts processing the information you have provided, he or she will start performing various tests, including blood count, blood chemistry outline, and urinalysis. Once the results are out, the vet will be able to tell if your cat is ailing from low red blood cell levels. 

He or she should spot some Heinz bodies in the blood sample at this stage, which transpires when the cat is ailing from hemolytic anemia.

Nonetheless, hemolytic anemia can occur due to various causes. The vet may not determine if your cat is suffering from garlic poisoning unless you mention cases of garlic consumption that you know of. As earlier mentioned, onions also cause hemolytic anemia. Therefore, every detail of your cat’s diet matters a lot to the vet, so it is vital to keep track of what goes into your cats’ mouth and stomach, either accidentally or self-administered.

Treatment of Garlic Poisoning In Cats

Garlic poisoning in cats is treatable, and it depends on the duration of the garlic poison in the cat’s bloodstream. The earlier the diagnosis, the easier the treatment. If the cat consumed Garlic not more than three days ago, the medical personnel could start treatment of inducing vomiting by orally giving the cat a small portion of hydrogen peroxide solution.

Hydrogen Peroxide works by removing every Garlic from the cat’s stomach that has not yet undergone digestion. Once the cat vomits, its condition will start to improve. 

If need be, personnel may perform gastric lavage, which is simply a stomach wash to ensure that all toxins have been eliminated from the cat’s stomach.

Sometimes, veterinarians administer activated charcoal to the cat, which absorbs garlic toxins, and prevents them from entering the cat’s bloodstream. 

After the cat’s stomach is free from toxins, the vet monitors its condition to determine if it needs more nurturing, such as oxygen and IV fluids therapy. But why nurture with IV fluids? The fluids are essential at keeping dehydration arising from diarrhea and vomiting at bay.

In the case where your cat never ingested Garlic but instead you sprayed it far with Garlic to keep fleas away, staff will have to rigorously bathe the cat to get rid of any remaining toxins.

If med personnel has carried out all the above procedures and your cat still seems to be affected severely, med personnel might recommend a blood transfusion to be carried out since your cat will have lost plenty of red blood cells.

Cats Recovery from Garlic Poisoning

A cats’ recovery from garlic poisoning is depended on the intensity of toxicity. If your cat suffered mild to moderate garlic poisoning, its chances of getting cured are high. However, in cases of severe garlic poisoning, the chances of recovery may be dim.

In cases where the poisoning was severe, a vet may decide to keep the cat after treatment to monitor for some time until its health stabilizes before letting you take your cat back home. Once stability has been established, the cat can then be given an okay bill of health.

Before you take your cat away back home, it is wise to ask the vet for home care advice.

You may be advised to do away with Garlic from your cat’s diet and also keep Garlic away from the reach of the cat to avoid situations where it may accidentally come across and consume it.

Finally, if you need to wash your cat’s fur, use products that don’t contain garlic elements.

Other Potential Sources of Toxicity

It is wise always to look at the nutritional labels of your cat’s food. Keep in mind that traces of garlic elements can come from unexpected sources, including:

  • Your baby’s food
  • Garlic supplements
  • Broth
  • Chicken breast, meat boiled in Garlic, and fish
  • Meal preparation—avoid leaving your food preparation ingredients on the kitchen counter if your cat has a habit of moving in around the kitchen.