6 Things Every Dog Owner Should Know About Aloe Vera
I’ve been using Aloe vera to treat my sunburns for years. Referred by scientists as 'nature’s gift to humanity', Aloe vera is fondly known as 'the Wonder Plant'. This amazing plant has many benefits to offer. I love the cooling effect from the gel on my skin after spending extra time in the sun. A friend of mine said that she heard about a case where an Aloe plant actually killed a dog. This made me wonder, is this safe for our dogs? or not?
Is Aloe Vera Safe Or Toxic For Dogs?
Well, it is, and it isn't. Let me explain. Whilst there are some great benefits for your dog from this plant, there's one part of the plant that is mildly toxic, but not deadly. If your dog eats a large amount of the plant's leaves, then they may experience:
- Loss of appetite
- Urinary changes
This is because the leaves contain saponins, glycosides, and other mildly toxic compounds for pets.
Aloe vera is a perennial, succulent plant from the Liliaceae family. There are over 500 different species of Aloe vera. The most edible variety is aloe barbadensis. You can identify this species as they have long, triangular shaped leaves with serrated edges. Often sold in supermarkets, this is the plant to use for your dog.
What Makes Aloe Vera So Great?
Aloe vera contains many components that give it its various healing properties along with being rich in amino acids and minerals that your dog needs. These help to heal your dog inside and out.
6 Ways Aloe Vera Can Help Your Dog
Soothes Skin Rashes and Irritation
Aloe vera has benefits that can help skin rashes heal faster and even cool the temperature of inflamed areas. You can use Aloe for
- heat rash
- hot spots
- dry nose
- flaky skin
- bug bites.
When applying Aloe vera to your pet, try a small patch, wait a few minutes, and check for irritation or negative reactions. If there is no sign of irritation, apply the gel to the desired area. Reapply every few hours to provide relief when needed.
Aloe vera is 98% water and can be used in a variety of ways for your dog’s gut health. It can improve bowel regularity and also help relieve short term constipation.
Helps Prevent Leaky Gut
The gut lining is a layer of cells with little spaces between. When the gut is inflamed, these spaces widen. As a result, protein, harmful bacteria and other particles leak into the body where they cause problems. Aloe vera soothes the inflammation so the gut lining tightens keeping these particles in the gut, where they belong.
Soothes Swollen Joints
Aloe vera has anti-inflammatory properties that reduce joint inflammation. Apply the gel directly to your dog's swollen joints to ease symptoms.
Reduces Urinary Tract Infections
Aloe vera is great for reducing inflammation in the urinary tract which can lower the chance of your dog developing an infection.
The anthelmintic properties in Aloe vera mean that it is able to expel worms and other parasites from your dog's body. This is a great way of treating your dogs for worms without using chemicals.
How To Use Aloe Vera With Your Dog
The toxic part of the Aloe vera plant is the yellow coloured juice you'll see when you cut open a fresh leaf, called the latex. The clear or very pale greenish gel part is what you want to use. Apply a thin layer of the gel to the affected areas of your dog's skin.
If you buy a gel, make sure it is 100% organic aloe vera and has no added preservatives, sweeteners, or flavourings.
For treating internal issues, you can scoop a teaspoon of the fresh plant, or gel and mix it into your dog's water. I like to add it to some broth and then pour this over my dog's food.
What To Do If Your Dog Ingests Aloe Vera
If your dog accidentally licks or ingests the plant leaves, carefully monitor their behaviour for potential side effects. Call your veterinarian immediately if your dog starts vomiting, has diarrhoea, or stops eating.
Aloe Vera Really Is The Wonder Plant
Aloe vera does live up to its reputation as a wonder plant that can be used for many things. With both external and internal benefits, it's great to have on hand at all times. If you’re looking for a natural way to care for your dog or yourself, then an aloe plant may just be the answer.
About the Author:
Sarah-Jane White is an Animal Behaviour & Enrichment Expert. Her mission is to help pet parents use enrichment for a happy and fulfilling life together. She runs award-winning enrichment product business Ruffle Snuffle® and her Top 10 'Life With Pets' Blog.