We use garlic to add flavor to our favorite foods. However, we should not include garlic in cats’ diets because it is toxic for them.
No, cats cannot eat garlic. Garlic is extremely toxic to cats. There are cat owners who believe this condiment has medicinal properties, including preventing fleas and heart diseases. The truth is that you shouldn’t include it in your cat’s diet. Garlic ingestion can cause different types of anemia.
Cats cannot eat garlic. For cats — and dogs — garlic is almost five times as toxic as onions are. Some breeds appear to be more sensitive, especially Japanese descent ones.
Garlic Poisoning In Cats
A little bit of garlic in a sauce, for example, is not likely to cause issues. But, ingesting a clove of garlic may cause your cat’s stomach to be upset.
Garlic Toxicity: Why Is It Bad For Your Cat?
Garlic is a member of the Allium plant — onion — family. It contains a mixture of thiosulphates and disulfides. This compound is very toxic for cats if ingested.
How Much Garlic Is Toxic For Cats?
The quantity of garlic that it will take to poison your cat will change based on your cat’s health, weight, and type of breed. In most cases, even a single clove of garlic is enough to poison a cat.
Regarding onion toxicity, think about the rule of thumb:
5 g of onion ingestion in cats results in significant red blood cell damage. Based on scientific studies, animals that ingest more than 0.5% of their weight in onions at a time are consistent with onion toxicosis.
Now, garlic has a higher concentration compared to onions. So, consuming even a smaller amount — like one clove of garlic —could cause toxicosis in cats.
Signs Of Garlic Poisoning In Cats
The issue with garlic is that it can take time for the effects to come and delay treatment. You should check with a veterinarian even if your cat seems to be acting normally after eating garlic.
By the time symptoms appear, garlic ingestion could already have effects on your cat’s digestive system.
Garlic can impact different parts of your cat’s body, including his bloodstream and gastrointestinal tract. Your cat may have just one or both symptoms.
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Symptoms Of Garlic Poisoning In Cats
Symptoms of garlic poisoning may not start right away. After ingestion, it can take between 2 to 4 days for the symptoms to appear. It can make it difficult for vets and cat owners to diagnose this condition.
Symptoms you might see are:
- Difficulty breathing
- Increased heart rate
- Increased respiratory rate
- Pale gums
Causes Of Garlic Poisoning In Cats
What causes garlic poisoning is exposure to garlic.
After garlic ingestion, it begins to damage the red blood cells, making them more likely to burst, eventually leading to hemolytic anemia.
Diagnosis Of Garlic Poison In Cats
If you can catch any of the symptoms of garlic poisoning, take your cat to a veterinarian for immediate treatment. Describe all the symptoms you have seen, when they started, and any changes you have made to your cat’s diet.
Then, the veterinarian will start running tests, including a full blood count, a blood chemistry profile, and a urinalysis.
Your vet will be able to tell if your cat has low levels of red blood cells when they see those results. The veterinarian should notice Heinz bodies. It occurs when the cat is struggling with hemolytic anemia in a blood sample.
However, the vet can’t determine your cat has garlic poisoning only from the presence of Heinz bodies. Especially since there are many causes of hemolytic anemia,
In many cases, the vet will make the diagnosis based on the presence of Heinz bodies and whatever information the cat owner provides. That’s why being as detailed as possible when explaining to your vet about your cat’s situation is so important.
Treatment For Garlic Poisoning In Cats
Treatment for your cats will depend on when your cat ingested the garlic.
If the cat ingested the garlic recently, the veterinarian would start by inducing vomiting. The vet will administer a 3% hydrogen peroxide solution orally. This solution will take out all of the ingested garlic from his stomach. Whatever your cats have not digested yet, this will prevent your cat’s condition from getting worse.
Also, the vet might perform a stomach wash to make sure he removes all toxins from the stomach.
In addition to these steps, the vet may also have to provide activated charcoal. The activated charcoal will soak up all the toxins; that way, they can’t enter your cat’s circulation and causing more damage.
The doctor will have to monitor the state of your cat to know whether he requires additional care, like oxygen therapy or IV fluids. Cats with garlic poisoning commonly need IV fluids to prevent dehydration due to diarrhea and vomiting caused by this condition.
Suppose you used a homeopathic product or spray containing garlic on your cat’s skin. In that case, the vet will have to shower your cat to remove any remaining toxins.
Although it is not common, if your cat’s state is severe, he will need other steps. He may require a full blood transfusion to survive if he has already lost a great number of red blood cells.
Recovery For Garlic Poisoning In Cats
Garlic poisoning cases that are mild and moderate have a very high recovery rate. But, for garlic poisoning cases that are high, cats may have complications.
After treatment, the veterinarian may want to keep your cat to make sure his condition is stable before sending him home. Once your cat is released, ask your vet what at-home care to follow while your cat is recovering.
Primarily, it is crucial to eliminate garlic from your cat’s diet. Stick to cat food that the veterinarian approves of. Look over the products you use to make sure they don’t include garlic. That consists of any skin treatments or homeopathic flea.
- Facts about cats and garlic
- What leftovers have more garlic
How To Prevent Your Cat From Getting Garlic Poisoning
The best way to prevent garlic toxicity in your cats is to keep your garlic in a safe place out of your cat’s sight. It would be best if you also tried to remove all garlic from his diet — make sure there is no garlic by checking the labels on his food.
If you have more concerns, ask your cat’s veterinarian for ideal foods.
Other Human Foods That Are Toxic For Cats
Many human foods are toxic, harmful, even deadly for cats.
Here are some human foods that should stay away from your cat.
Alcohol is never safe for your cat. Cats can get drunk, and alcohol can also cause brain and severe liver damage.
Chocolate ingestion can cause muscle tremors, heart arrhythmias, or seizures because of its caffeine content.
- Raw meat, fish, and eggs
When given inappropriately, there is a risk of diarrhea. It can lead to catching bacterias such as E. coli, vomiting, or Salmonella for some animals.
- Dairy products
When becoming adults, cats can become intolerant to lactose. They stop producing lactase that helps them digest milk. So dairy ingestion can lead to diarrhea and vomiting.
- Baby food
They use garlic or onion to season meat flavored baby food, so you should not give it to cats.
Thinking In The Future: Pet Insurance
Were you aware that you can get comprehensive health insurance coverage for your cat — or any pet? Insurance companies are offering these services and will refund any eligible expenses for conditions like this.
Can You Apply Garlic To Your Cat For Fleas?
You probably have heard that you can make home remedies for cat flea using garlic. You may have also heard of a homeopathic remedy to prevent your cats from having fleas.
As we have discussed, feeding your cat with garlic is extremely poisonous. Even just applying garlic to your cats will require a deep bath to remove and toxins. So, it is not worth the risk.
If you are looking for options to have natural flea control, you can try a few other things — that are garlic free —.
- Try to keep a dish of soapy, warm water close to where your cat sleeps. It will attract and drown the pests.
- Bathe your cat regularly. Also, brush him with a fine-tooth comb; this will help keep fleas away.
- Also, try to wash your cat’s bed and vacuum your home regularly.
If you use garlic in your kitchen, make sure to store it in an area where your cats cannot get to it.
The answer to the question if your cat can consume garlic — either by ingestion or by application — is a solid no.
Shawn Manaher is a serial entrepreneur but when he isn’t working, he loves dogs. He’s owned different pets over the years, and always gives a part of his heart to each pet.