Saturday, 10 March 2012

dogs and aloe vera

After my recent post about using aloe vera on Penny's feet, Lassiter Chase's mum posted a comment saying she was glad to read that licking off aloe vera won't hurt a dog.

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.

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.
Burke's Backyard says:
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.”


proud womon said...

i'm a great believer in aloe parlance... i have known a few dogs and cats to benefit from its soothing, healing qualities... i'm sure it won't prove toxic to penny but beneficial...

parlance said...

Thanks for the reassurance, proud womon. I'd hate to cause anyone to harm their beloved animals.

Lassiter Chase and Benjamin said...

Wow you did some great followup research! Thanks for all the info!

parlance said...

Lassiter Chase and Benjamin, we're still putting aloe vera on Penny's foot and she seems to be okay, so I think I'll relax about it.

Lassiter Chase and Benjamin said...

Thats great to hear. Thanks for sharing.

Honey the Great Dane said...

I've always understood that the natural aloe vera gel is quite safe (I guess in sensible doses!).

That's so good of you to do so much followup research!


parlance said...

Hsin-Yi, since I'm very careful with Penny, I thought I owed it to others to try to find out as much as possible, so their dogs also would be safe. And I love research!

Anonymous said...

I buy aloe Vera leaves from fresh produce section, and use the flesh inside for the dog.

parlance said...

Anonymous, I'd love to hear more about how you have used the aloe vera, as I think it seems good but I've only tried it for skin irritations and just a little experiment for healing a deep cut in the paw pad once it was closing over and not weeping.

It's a super easy plant to grow, by the way. I bought one years ago and put it in a corner of the garden where the pot got lost under weeds, and when I weeded that area I found a giant aloe vera plant that I've since broken into pieces and it has grown roots and I've given the new plants away. (It was a drought at the time, so I guess it liked the dry conditions.)

Libbie webb said...

I have used fresh aloe vera to treat my cat's skin condition (unknown cause) which cleared up & the hair started growing back. Am currently treating my dog for a cancerous lymphoma which aloe vera is very good at blocking cancerous cells from growing. I can't afford vet treatments, and am leery of traditional meds for both humans & animals. I have an abundance of aloe vera that I can use fresh. Thanks for your research.

parlance said...

Libbie, thanks for this useful additional comment. I'm no expert, just a dog owner who likes researching things, so it's great to have this first-hand reaction to the use of aloe vera.

Anonymous said...

Wow, I just found out the general negative consensus on the aloe vera plant....oddly, for about a month I have been adding about one cup of Stockton One 100% fresh frozen aloe vera drink to both my beagle and golden retrievers food. In addition, I was pour it all over my golden retriever in hopes of getting rid of a terrible skin condition that came on unexpectedly and left my dog with a slight anemia. I have told two vets what I was doing and neither of them mentioned anything about it being toxic....Both my dogs are still alive and the sores and skin condition of my golden has completely disappeared....I'm just wondering if this is toxic why didn't they have a reaction?

parlance said...

Hi, Anonymous
I didn't really think the consensus was negative. It seemed to me to be fairly positive, with the proviso that we take care when using it. If you were using an aloe vera drink, that would be quite different from raw aloe vera, I guess.

Anonymous said...

My dog injured his paw pads and I am going to use fresh aloe gel. Did you also wrap the injured area on your dog or no? My dog won't allow wrapping unless I use the medical collar also.

parlance said...

Hi, anonymous
Its a while ago now that we had that problem, but if I remember correctly, we did not wrap the paw. Penny usually gets wrappings off within five minutes!

Good luck with you treatment. I'd love it if you get a chance to come back and tell me in a week how you went with the aloe vera treatment.

Anonymous said...

My baby got her flea bath tonight but afterwards her skin was still so red and itchy she couldn't stop scratching I finally found aloe vera but I only had it with lidocaine .8 so I found that at that strength it's ok topically. I put a small amt on her red bumps it stopped her itching in 5 mins and 3 hours later no more irritation and redness is gone. She is finally relief.

parlance said...

Hi, Anonymous
thanks for adding to the information here about aloe vera.

Anonymous said...

both of my boston terriers have skin problems ( bad rashes) tired of going to vets nothing worked had aloe plants in my garden decided to try it on my babies within two weeks rash was almost completely gone I love aloe vera

parlance said...

Anonymous, thanks for this comment! As I'm going to post in the next couple of minutes, we've been worried sick about a lump in Penny's neck, but alongside that was an issue that she is licking herself all the time on her rear end. So I'm going out into the garden right now to get some aloe vera. I had forgotten how good it is.