Can Dogs Eat Aloe Vera? Dangers of Aloe Vera Poisoning in Dogs

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birds eye view of aloe vera plant

birds eye view of aloe vera plant

Can dogs eat aloe vera?   Hmm.. 

Aloe vera is a versatile plant that has been used for medicinal purposes for generations. As a result, it is now a common indoor potted plant found in many households across the globe. Although it can benefit humans, aloe vera can be harmful to your pets if ingested. The plant contains various vitamins, minerals, and amino acids, but the bark and leaves contain substances called anthraquinone glycosides, which can cause vomiting and diarrhea in dogs. It is only safe to give pets small amounts of the clear aloe vera gel, but it is recommended to avoid feeding aloe vera if the boundary between the gel and the inner layer surface between the bark and flesh is unclear, as this may result in aloe vera poisoning.

What is aloe vera poisoning?

Aloe vera poisoning in dogs is a condition that occurs when a dog ingests the toxic part of a aloe vera plant. The toxic component of the plant is the latex, or the aloin, found in the inner leaf. Ingesting this part of an aloe vera plant can cause irritation and damage to the digestive tract leading to symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. In severe cases, it can lead to dehydration and electrolyte imbalances. It's important to seek veterinary care if a dog ingests an aloe vera leaf whole, as treatment may include decontamination, supportive care, and medication to control symptoms. Pet owners should take precautions to keep aloe vera plants out of reach of their dogs in the house.

two leaves of aloe vera cut from the plant on a white backdrop

What causes aloe vera poisoning in dogs?

Aloin, also referred to as aloe latex, is a bitter yellow layer that exists just below the surface of the leaf. The latex, which contains the chemical compound aloin, has moisturizing properties. The main component of aloin, anthraquinone glycosides, is a potent purifier of toxins that can cause abdominal pain, diarrhea, and vomiting in dogs. Additionally, the latex contains saponins, a significant component of aloe vera. Saponins are molecules that bind with sugar, resulting in a sudden drop in blood sugar levels.

Common symptoms of aloe vera poisoning:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Drooling
  • Change in urine color
  • Dehydration
  • Convulsions
  • Abdominal pain

How to safely use aloe vera on your dog

It is important to choose pure aloe vera gel without any added ingredients that may be harmful to dogs. Ensure that you remove the outer leaves and the yellow layer of latex completely before feeding the clear gel from the inner leaf. It's always advisable to consult with a veterinarian before using aloe vera gel on a dog, as individual pets may have different needs and reactions. It is also essential to monitor your dog for any signs of allergic reactions or abnormal symptoms.

How to safely prepare aloe vera for dogs

If you still wish to offer the benefits of aloe vera to your dog's diet without aloe vera poisoning, it is important to feed only pure aloe vera gel without any added ingredients. Start with small amounts, mixed in with the dog's food to make it easier to consume. Aloe vera should be used in moderation as it can cause digestive upset if fed in large quantities. If any adverse reactions occur, stop feeding it and seek veterinary consultation.

close up of aloe vera gel from cut side of two leaves

Health benefits of aloe vera in a dog’s diet

  • Promotes digestion:

    Aloe Vera gel contains 98% water, which helps to hydrate the body. It also contains digestive enzymes that break down food, reducing the strain on the intestines and improving nutrient absorption.

  • Soothes the intestine:

    Soothing inflammation involves the secretion of mucus that protects the intestinal lining and tightens the cells to prevent bacteria and other particles from passing through.

  • Joint enhancement:

    Aloe vera has anti-inflammatory properties that can reduce joint inflammation. Additionally, it can prevent urinary tract infections as the mucous substance lining the urinary tract reduces inflammation and lowers the likelihood of infection.

  • Managing diabetes:

    Dogs with diabetes are unable to produce enough insulin, which results in an elevated level of sugar in their blood. The consumption of aloe vera may help to lower blood sugar levels in dogs with diabetes.

My dog ate a whole aloe vera leaf, should I be worried?

If your dog has consumed an entire aloe vera leaf, they may have ingested the latex found on its surface, which can cause aloe vera poisoning symptoms. The severity of these symptoms depends on the quantity of aloe vera ingested. Common symptoms to look out for include vomiting and diarrhea, while severe cases may result in dehydration and convulsions. It is recommended that you contact a veterinarian immediately and take your dog to the hospital as soon as possible.

Wondering if you can give your dog other foods besides aloe vera?

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Does your dog also look up at you with those puppy dog eyes whenever you are snacking on something? You know foods like chocolates should not be shared with them but do you search the Internet every time if it’s okay to share a bite of whatever you are eating? The Buddydoc Food Dictionary provides information on hundreds of foods that we consume and informs you whether it is safe for them to consume and the nutritional benefits for your pet. If you're curious about other foods, try searching on Buddydoc!

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