recently decided to revisit the idea of giving garlic to my Shelties.
Previously I was concerned about the anemia it can cause but I have since read that
the dose needed to cause that anemia is so high as to be almost impossible.
As with most health issues, there is no simple answer.
The one actual scientific trial I could find that specified how much garlic was needed to cause the hemolytic anemia.
The dogs were intragastrically fed 1.25 ml of garlic extract/kg of body weight or (5 g of whole garlic/kg) once a day for 7 days.
That equals about 1 tablespoon
of extract daily for an average sized Sheltie or 2 oz. of fresh garlic which is
about 18 average sized cloves per day.
as always, I think moderation in all things is going to be the key.
Which is pretty motivating.
is some conflicting information regarding what the active ingredients in garlic
are and how they work. (I told you this wasn’t going to be simple.)
The chemistry of garlic is
quite complicated and different types of processing produce products which differ
in their ingredients, effects, and toxicities. Garlic products that contain the
most safe, effective, stable, and odorless components are the most valuable as
dietary supplements for man or beast.
According to studies of AGE
(Aged Garlic Extract), this water extraction process results in greater and
more consistent efficacy and safety compared with raw garlic, dehydrated garlic
powder, or other preparations, with powder being the least effective. (Maybe
that is why dogs fed powder have little to no side effects?)
AGE contains the compounds S-Allyl-l-cysteine, (SAC) and several nonsulfur compounds, (steroid saponins) which do provide health benefits, but no allicin.
Within a dosage range of ∼1–7.2 grams/day, AGE has been shown to lower plasma cholesterol in humans.
the other hand,
sources say that the fresh form of crushed, minced or sliced garlic for Shelties is the best. This is based on the undisputed knowledge that garlic
contains both alliinase, an enzyme and alliin which remain inactive until the
garlic is bruised.
the mashing or slicing occurs there is a chemical reaction and the two
components mix and create allicin. It is the allicin that many consider
to be the compound that produces the wonderful benefits we have come to know
and love including being a cancer killer.
Because the process is unstable, the valuable health
benefits can be quickly lost. The garlic must be ingested soon after preparation
(15-30 minutes seems to be the agreed upon time frame).
However, one research study I read determined that
allicin could not be the active ingredient because it is not bioavailable when
consumed. The study showed that it was not absorbed into the blood stream,
that it never made it past the stomach. The acid content of the stomach
neutralized any ability to be absorbed.
Finally, the cancer killing properties of allicin were only active in a petri dish. Have that compound ingested and it is inactivated almost immediately. That doesn’t sound very useful to me.
They also found the allicin to be an irritant to the
stomach and the compound that gave garlic its odor.
I couldn’t find any studies showing the effectiveness of garlic for Shelties as a flea and tick preventative either. But there are plenty of anecdotal experiences to support it.
So it’s your guess whether the smell of garlic is what discourages parasites or other components that provide the protection.
Why is nothing simple??
My opinion is that I’m better off hedging my bets. So
some days my dogs will get fresh crushed garlic mixed in with their
carb/meat/veggie meal and some days organic AGE in capsule form and other days nothing.
I will avoid the use in pregnant or lactating bitches.
Then we will see if my dogs remain healthy, flea and tick
free, and low cholesterol. (I have one dog that has a high cholesterol level
that is unresponsive to diet).
A few times per week I'll add to their meal:
1 clove of average size per day or
1/4 tsp of the liquid per day Kyolic Garlic Formula 100, Original Cardiovascular Formula or
1 cap of 300mg AGE per day.Kyolic Garlic Formula 100, Original Cardiovascular Formula
I have to say, the more I read about the health benefits
of natural foods, the more fascinated I become with the intricacies of proper
preparation to keep the medicinal value of each. Don’t you ever wonder how the
first people figured it out?
I mean, really, who was the first guy to pull garlic out
of the ground and find out it had a use? How did he decide the many ways to try
and prepare it and get some benefit from it? I certainly tip my hat to their
perseverance. After all, biologists are still testing to see what it is that
makes it all work.
As always, I’d love to hear about your experiences with
garlic for your Shelties.