I started to worry that I hadn't done enough research for my last post. I did read that aloe vera is safe, and I'm trying it on Penny's feet, but I only looked at the one site I mentioned. So I've looked around further and this is what I've found:
eHow says the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals lists it as a poison, if eaten. The article concludes that it could be used on coat and skin, but with care.
This is the ASPCA page on aloe vera.
Marvista Vet says:
ALOE VERA GEL - If possible, obtain 100% aloe vera gel from a health food store. Products "containing aloe" are much more available but are generally not as effective and not meant to be licked away by a pet. Aloe vera gel comes from the aloe vera succulent and contains enzymes which break down inflammatory proteins and enhance healing. Pure aloe vera gel is not harmful for pets who want to lick it off.WebMD gives an overview of the aloe vera in relation to humans and points out the the middle of the leaf is a gel and that just under the skin there is latex. It continues:
But taking aloe latex by mouth is likely unsafe, especially at high doses. There is some concern that some of the chemicals found in aloe latex might cause cancer. Additionally, aloe latex is hard on the kidneys and could lead to serious kidney disease and even death.However, the aloe vera latex that is mentioned is taken by humans as a laxative, so I presume they would be eating larger amounts than Penny would get by licking at her paw.
The article conludes with an overview of how aloe vera is thought to work.
The useful parts of aloe are the gel and latex. The gel is obtained from the cells in the center of the leaf; and the latex is obtained from the cells just beneath the leaf skin.Burke's Backyard says:
Aloe gel might cause changes in the skin that might help diseases like psoriasis.
Aloe seems to be able to speed wound healing by improving blood circulation through the area and preventing cell death around a wound.
It also appears that aloe gel has properties that are harmful to certain types of bacteria and fungi.
Aloe latex contains chemicals that work as a laxative.
Cuts and abrasions - aloe vera is a useful, naturally occurring antiseptic derived from the succulent Aloe vera. It can be safely applied to a pet to help the healing of minor cuts or abrasions. Any thing major, particularly a burn or severe laceration, should be examined by a vet.Dogs Life has some sensible advice:
“Allergies to natural substances are still possible, and dogs can have series reactions, especially if they are they are allergic types,” Fougère warns. “Before using a natural remedy, it’s always a good idea to do a patch test. This means applying a very small dab to a less hairy part of the body (like the groin area), then waiting 24 hours to see if there is a reaction. If there is, you’ll need to avoid that substance.”