In human medicine, garlic is traditionally used as an anti-microbial agent. A compound called allicin, present in garlic, is known to have an anti-microbial effect which (along with some other compounds) is thought to give garlic this property. Garlic also has a well-liked taste and smell and is used to give food flavor.
Garlic is a popular supplement for horses as it is rich in amino acids, minerals, vitamins, and hundreds of sulfur compounds. It is believed the sulfur compounds in garlic are mainly responsible for its many benefits.
Benefits of Garlic for Horses
The antioxidants found in garlic may protect against cell damage caused by damaging free radicals. Antioxidants can neutralize free radicals and may reduce or even help prevent some of the damage they cause over time. Garlic also deters biting flies and parasites.
Garlic is also a natural antibiotic which has reported benefits with horse respiratory problems. At Equi-Herbs, we provide a garlic powder for horses that provides just enough daily intake to contribute to your horse’s overall health.
Simply add it to the horse’s feed to reap these potential benefits:
Boost immune system
In addition to treating equine respiratory diseases and infections, garlic contains sulfur, which has blood cleansing properties. It also serves as an anti-inflammatory compound and can inhibit the growth of several types of bacteria, including streptococcus, staphylococcus, and salmonella. Garlic has anti-fungal properties too, as it can inhibit the growth of Candida albicans.
Boost effects of antibiotics
Garlic is often used in combination with antibiotics to leverage its germ-killing properties. The allicin in garlic, released when it is chewed or crushed, helps defend garlic cloves against soil pathogens, and continues to provide antibacterial, antibiotic, and antiseptic properties when consumed.
Promote heart health
Garlic is known to lower high blood pressure and cholesterol, in turn reducing the risk of heart disease. It can therefore be an effective supplement to help support heart health as your horse ages.
Clear nasal congestion
Garlic can help clear the airways of mucus. Garlic has antihistamine properties that can help reduce the symptoms of allergies. If your horse has a runny nose, garlic can help reduce nasal discharge and the inflammation that triggers excess mucus production.
As a prebiotic, garlic helps support healthy bacteria in the digestive tract, which helps improve digestion and intestinal health. Better digestive health also contributes to a stronger immune system.
Garlic is considered a natural fly repellant and can deter flies, ticks, gnats, and mosquitoes. From biting insects to parasites, it can act as a deterrent by altering the scent of a horse’s sweat. Horses can live free of frequent bites and annoyances by bugs attracted to manure and other environmental attractants.
Heal cold sores
Garlic, which is known to help treat cold sores, can be provided to help horses with equine herpes virus.
Can Garlic Pose Any Risks to Horses?
Note: Always consult with your vet for the correct garlic powder dosage for your horse. Feeding large amounts of garlic can lead to the development of Heinz body anemia in horses.
What is beneficial to humans is not always good for other animals. For example, garlic, onions, macadamia nuts, and chocolate have nutritional and health benefits for people when eaten in moderation, but any amount can be toxic for dogs. In horses, consuming large amounts of garlic can decrease blood cell count and hemoglobin concentration, leading to anemia. Onions are correlated with anemia in horses as well.
Garlic contributes to anemia through a toxic element in allium that depletes phosphate dehydrogenase. This chemical in red blood cells protects them from oxidative damage. When the chemical is depleted, cellular hemoglobin oxidizes, causing it to form a bubble outside the cell. This is called a Heinz body. While these cells are removed by the spleen, the more red blood cells that are damaged and removed, the more anemic the horse becomes. In studies, horses fed enormous quantities of onion tops experienced substantial losses of red blood cells in a short amount of time.
There’s been no consensus on what a safe vs. toxic dose is. However, horses fed garlic in increasing doses were tracked in a Canadian study. There were no changes in blood chemistry reported until horses consumed about seven ounces per day. At a quantity of nine ounces of freeze-dried garlic per day (equal to about 200 cloves) for another 30 days, anemia resulted. When the garlic was taken out of their diet, horses completely recovered after a month.1
The bottom line is garlic can be beneficial in low doses and you should carefully monitor your horse’s health after adding it to their diet. Generally, about a half-ounce to two ounces per day is recommended to support equine nutrition.
Order Our Equine Garlic Powder Today
With our premium quality dried granules, feeding garlic to your horse has never been easier or safer. Our product is available in 1.5-, 5-, and 10-pound sizes. Place your order today to supplement a diet that can yield a healthier, happier horse. For more information, call 800-786-0708 today.
This information in our Herbal Reference Guide is intended only as a general reference for further exploration, and is not a replacement for professional health advice. This content does not provide dosage information, format recommendations, toxicity levels, or possible interactions with prescription drugs. Accordingly, this information should be used only under the direct supervision of a qualified health practitioner such as a naturopathic physician.