The Truth About Aloe Vera for Dogs
Any time you have had a sunburn, you have probably turned to aloe vera for relief. Once you place it on your skin, you can almost immediately feel the relief. But, for many dog lovers and pet parents, aloe as an ingredient raises a red flag. That’s because there are misconceptions that the plant in its entirety is toxic, but that’s not the case.
There are a lot of misconceptions about this useful succulent. For example, there are parts of aloe that get a bad rap but that have plenty of benefits, and then there are parts of the aloe plant which deserve that bad rap because they can cause diarrhea. Similar to many other helpful natural remedies, it’s all about knowing which part of the plant is therapeutic.
For dogs with hot spots and skin allergies, aloe can be incredibly helpful. Aloe can help heal burns, wounds, infections, skin sensitivities, and it can act as an antifungal. Safely using aloe all depends on the part of the plant that the aloe comes from and the additives inside of it.
Parts of the Plant
If you take a bite from a raw aloe plant, it can be harmful to both dogs and people (not to mention, the barbed leaves will leave you with more than a few cuts in your mouth). In order to fully understand where aloe is not helpful, and where it can become therapeutic, it’s important to know the aloe leaves have three parts. Each part serves its own purpose, and there is one part, in particular, that is of interest to us (for humans, dogs, cats, and other animals) for medicinal purposes.
The “Bad” Parts
The rind of the plant is usually barbed and has no nutritional value — you can think of it as the skin of the plant. Directly under the rind is a yellow layer called aloe latex, which contains saponins that can be potentially harmful. Aloe latex contains a chemical called aloin. Aloe latex can cause skin irritation in anyone with a latex allergy, and aloin can be used as a laxative. In fact, people use aloin on themselves and their pets in small doses for diet cleanses.
Therapeutic Part of the Plant
The important part of the aloe plant is directly in the middle of the plant in the inner leaf juice. The inner leaf juice is perfectly healthy and safe for external use and even for consumption. The inner leaf juice is anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, and can heal burns, eczema, hotspots, lesions, and rashes (among other things).
Aloe Vera has also been shown to be helpful with ulcers, although additional research is necessary to determine how administration would be most effective. According to current research, “anti-ulcer activities of A. vera has been attributed to several possible mechanisms including its anti-inflammatory properties, healing effects, mucus stimulatory effects and regulation of gastric secretions.”
Can I Put Aloe on My Dog’s Skin?
Not all aloe products are created equally. Products made for dogs that contain aloe should be extracted with care and should not include any of the yellow part of the plant. If you are cutting your own aloe plant, take care to ensure that you scoop out only the inner leaf juice, and leave the rind and yellow parts before putting it on your pet.
In its pure form, aloe is clear and can be slightly watery. Food grade aloe does not contain aloin or aloe latex and is perfectly safe to rub on your pet’s skin. If they lick food-grade aloe, your pet should not have any reaction.
Aloe that you purchase at the store to treat sunburns, however, may not be safe for your pet to lick. You may notice that aloe from the store is a bright green color — this is because there are other chemicals, additives, and dyes to prolong the shelf-life and preserve the enzymes in the store-bought aloe vera. Unless your product is all-natural and marked as “pet-safe”, it is a good rule of thumb to stop your dog from licking it.
CBD Salves with Aloe
Salves that combine CBD and aloe (including SOOTHE from CBD Dog Health) provide several nourishing benefits for your pet. CBD for dogs already has several healing benefits. CBD acts as an anti-inflammatory and interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system. Topically, CBD oil provides an all-natural solution for hot spots, dermatitis, and allergies. Combined with aloe, the benefits of CBD oil are even greater and topical salves are able to nourish and heal dry skin.
Even more comforting, CBD oil is completely safe for dogs to ingest (because as we all know — if it is on a dog’s skin, it is going to be licked), and food-grade aloe is also safe for your pet to lick.
CBD and aloe are not the only ways to help your pet’s skin. Your dog’s skin and coat can find relief with the help of other all-natural plants, such as:
- Carrot seed oil
- Coconut oil
- Shea butter
- Eucalyptus oil
- Arnica oil
- Peppermint essential oil
There are many natural remedies that can prove extremely beneficial, but there are also some you must use caution with. Be certain to do your research prior to adding a product to your dog’s regimen. To learn more about healthy, natural solutions for your pet, take a tour of our blogs, or reach out to a member of our team.
About Angela Ardolino
Angela Ardolino is a holistic pet expert who has been caring for animals for over 20 years and operates a rescue farm, Fire Flake Farm, in Florida. She is also the owner of Beautify the Beast, a natural pet salon and shop. After getting her certificate in Medical Cannabis Biology and Therapeutic use from the University of Vermont School of Medicine, she founded CBD Dog Health to provide high quality, all-natural medical cannabis products designed specifically for pets. Angela has seven dogs, Odie a 12-year-old mini-schnauzer, Nina an 8-year-old Doberman. Jolene a 7-year-old mutt, Maza a 7-year-old mutt, Rhemi an 8-year-old poodle, Potato a 15-year-old shih-tzu, and Miss Daisie a 15-year-old black lab, plus 4-10 more at any time she is fostering or boarding. She uses Full Spectrum Hemp Extract on all her pets at her rescue farm every day, and has since 2016. She is a member of the Society of Cannabis Clinicians, the Veterinary Cannabis Association and has trained hundreds medical doctors and veterinarians about the therapeutic uses of medical cannabis on animals. Visit www.angelaardolino.com for more information.