Garlic has many benefits such as anti-septic, anti-inflammatory and antibiotic effects, reducing blood pressure, improving respiratory problems in horses and acting as a fly repellent.

Garlic is rich in Selenium and Sulphur. Sulphur is recognised as having blood cleansing properties that are useful in treating and preventing equine disease. Garlic is believed to contain over 25 germ-killing compounds. The sweat produced by a horse fed on garlic gives out an odor that keeps flies, ticks and mosquitoes away – making it a natural fly repellant. Garlic contains a substance that helps to clear mucus in the airways. This cleansing action, together with its ability to reduce inflammation, also benefits the urinary tract.

Garlic has been shown to:

  • Help to increase a horse’s appetite
  • Boost the antibiotic effect of drugs
  • Act as a fly repellant – keeping midges, gnats, flies and mosquitoes away
  • Reduce blood pressure
  • Purify the blood
  • Be a natural source of Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM), commonly used to treat joint problems and allergies.

On the negative, a substance contained in garlic known as N-propyl disulfide can lead to anemia in horses when fed in large quantities. The debate is still going if there are long term effects of small quantities.
The National Research Council states that more data is needed to fully assess the potential risks and benefits of feeding garlic, but that feeding 15 mg per kilogram of body weight per day (or 7.5 grams) of dried garlic powder on a long-term basis should not lead to any adverse event in horses under normal circumstances. 

Does it work as a bug repellent?

Success reports vary on this. While many people say garlic works well for their horses, for others it doesn’t make much of a difference. There is one way to find out: try it! 

Every horse is different, and as with any herb, some horses can have a reaction to it. While the recommended amount is considered safe, stop feeding garlic immediately if your horse seems out of energy, lethargic or has pale gums.

Further reading:

Garlic is found in: Garlic Granules, Garlic and Rosehips

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