Can dogs eat garlic bread?

Health and Wellbeing

Who doesn’t love garlic bread? Whether you’ve made it yourself at home or bought it ready-made from the shop, whether it’s baguette style, sticks, doughballs, or flatbread, it’s all delicious (…but certainly not nutritious!).

Can dogs eat garlic bread?

The smell doesn’t just tempt us humans though, and you’ve probably had your pooch snooping to see if they can snuffle a scrap. So can dogs eat garlic bread, or is this one scrumptious snack that’s best kept out of reach of greedy paws? Read on to find out why you should think twice before letting Fido munch a morsel of garlic bread.

CAN DOGS EAT GARLIC BREAD?

No, dogs shouldn’t eat garlic bread. Firstly, garlic bread contains ingredients that are harmful for your dog, or simply not healthy for them to eat in the first place such as fatty butter and oil.

Sure, the bread part of garlic bread is safe for dogs. Plain white or brown bread is perfectly safe for a healthy dog to eat occasionally. However, the shining star of this snack, the garlic, is problematic for pooches.

Garlic is a member of the allium family of plants, which are all toxic plants to dogs. That means garlic and it’s relatives like onions and leeks are all harmful for your dog if they eat any, so it’s safest not to feed them to your dog.

CAN DOGS EAT GARLIC NAAN BREAD?

No, dogs shouldn’t eat garlic naan bread either, for the same reasons they shouldn’t eat garlic bread. Garlic naan is full of fat thanks to all the butter used to make it.

It usually has quite a lot of sugar and salt in it too, which must be moderated in your dog’s diet to keep them healthy. But most importantly, dogs shouldn’t eat garlic naan because they shouldn’t eat garlic due to its toxicity.

IS GARLIC BREAD BAD FOR DOGS?

Garlic bread certainly isn’t good for dogs, that’s for sure. There’s nothing in it that’s particularly nutritious or beneficial for your dog to eat, so there’s no benefit to them eating it. Secondly, garlic is toxic so that’s pretty bad as far as any food goes!

Garlic bread can be considered “bad” for dogs because it has quite a lot of fat and salt in it from the large amounts of butter and seasonings used to make it. Fat can upset a dog’s stomach and cause discomfort and vomiting, but eating too much can cause weight gain and other serious issues.

One brand of garlic bread had a massive 6g of fat in a single slice of bread. That’s way too much fat for a dog to eat and not a whole lot of bread packing it in, so your pooch could easily snaffle a single piece and end up unwell. Too much fat at once can cause gastrointestinal problems like vomiting, but more worryingly it can trigger acute pancreatitis which can put your pup’s life at risk and requires urgent veterinary care.

Meanwhile, salt should be moderated in your dog’s diet to keep them healthy. Eating too much salt can lead to dehydration and poisoning in the short term, but regularly eating too much can cause issues like high blood pressure over time.

Basically, garlic bread has nothing in it that’s “good” for your dog to eat. It’s not healthy and could even be harmful to your pooch if they eat a lot of it, so it’s best to play it safe and not let them eat any at all. Not least because they can enjoy much safer and healthier treats that won’t put them at any risk, and they can eat much more of them. (And let’s face it, dogs care about the number of treats more than what those treats are!)

IS GARLIC BREAD TOXIC TO DOGS?

Yes, garlic bread is somewhat toxic to dogs because garlic is toxic. In very small amounts it shouldn’t cause your pooch any serious, immediate harm and it shouldn’t put your dog’s life in danger.

However, it’s best to avoid feeding your dog anything with garlic in because symptoms of sickness can develop any time from a few hours after ingestion to a few weeks. Secondly, the toxins and effects from garlic can build up, so even if your dog only eats a small amount of garlic but eats it regularly, they can still become sick.

BUT WHY IS GARLIC CONSIDERED TOXIC TO DOGS?

Garlic contains a compound called n-propyl disulfide, which causes oxidative damage to your dog’s red blood cells. This compound also attaches itself to the red blood cells, and your pup’s immune system recognises n-propyl disulfide as a foreign compound that could be harmful, so destroys it. However, in doing so it also destroys the red blood cells it’s attached to as well. In severe cases, lots of red blood cells are damaged or destroyed which will cause anemia.

There is another compound called thiosulfate in garlic, which dogs can’t digest properly. Thiosulfate can then build up inside their body and lead to further damage to their red blood cells.

Sadly, that’s not the only thing about garlic that’s bad for dogs. It also contains organosulfur, which is poisonous to pooches.

In terms of toxicity, garlic is more toxic to dogs than other alliums, like onions or chives. Plus, powdered garlic is more concentrated than fresh garlic, which increases its toxicity and makes it more dangerous for dogs. It isn’t always clear if a garlic bread uses fresh or powdered garlic, or both, so there’s no way of telling how much is in the bread and how it might affect your pooch.

Eating a tiny bit of garlic bread shouldn’t be enough to cause serious harm to your pet, but individual dogs can be more sensitive to garlic and its toxins. Equally, small breeds like Chihuahuas are much more affected by garlic than big dogs so they can become sick after eating much smaller quantities.

WILL GARLIC BREAD KILL DOGS?

No, garlic bread shouldn’t kill a dog if they’ve only eaten a little bit. Garlic poisoning is rarely fatal, but it’s always best to prevent poisoning from occurring to save your pooch the stress and pain of being sick. (And save you both a vet trip.) Since illness and garlic poisoning can be avoided so easily, by simply not feeding garlic or garlic bread to your dog, there’s no reason to run the risk.

If your pup has managed to scoff some garlic bread and shows any signs of sickness, they will need to visit the vet. You should also call your vet and ask for advice if you’re worried about your dog eating something they shouldn’t have.

So, if you're having a spaghetti bolognese, a portion of pesto pasta or even a lasagne, don't offer your dog any of your garlic bread from the side of the table!

RECAP: CAN DOGS HAVE GARLIC BREAD?

No, dogs shouldn’t eat garlic bread because it is very unhealthy for them, plus, garlic is toxic to dogs.

Plain bread might be fine for your furry friend on occasion, but all the fatty oils and butter that’s slathered on garlic bread can upset a dog’s stomach and lead to illness. Secondly, the garlic is actually toxic to your pooch, and any other herbs and spices used to flavour the bread could also be harmful.

Since garlic bread offers no nutritional benefits for your pup but carries a fair few risks, it’s always best to keep it out of reach of peckish pups to avoid potential illness.

If your dog seems hungry between meals, garlic bread isn't a good choice of food to fill the whole. Instead, if you feed your dog a complete and balanced dog food that's packed to the brim with nutritious, wholesome ingredients, it'll help them feel fuller for longer. Also, it's healthy and has tons of benefits that things like garlic bread just don't have.

Dr Andrew Miller BVSc MRCVS

Written by: Dr Andrew Miller MRCVS

Andy graduated from Bristol University in 2010 and sees nutrition as a foundation for our pet's wellbeing and takes a common-sense approach. We are what we eat, and it shouldn't be any different for our pets.