Aloe vera has a multitude of benefits for humans. It clears up skin problems and can even help treat certain inflammatory conditions. Because it works wonders for a variety of human conditions, some pet owners may think it’s okay to give aloe vera to their pets. Although aloe vera is safe for pets in certain forms, pet owners should educate themselves and exercise caution when using products containing aloe on their pets.
Is Aloe Vera Safe for Dogs?
Yes and no. Products containing aloe vera are generally safe to use, provided that the packaging establishes them as pet-safe. However, dogs should never ingest any part of the aloe vera plant. It is mildly toxic for domestic animals, and will cause vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, depression, and urinary changes. Ingestion of large quantities may cause tremors, although this is rare.
How to Use Aloe Vera for Dogs
Aloe vera is best used in topical applications for skin conditions. Always consult your vet before purchasing or applying any creams or ointments, particularly if your dog has an existing skin condition.
The inside of an aloe vera plant contains two parts. The center of the plant, which is green and aqueous, is safe to use. However, the outer edges contain a white sap called the latex, which is toxic for animals. Most aloe products, like aloe vera gel, do not contain this latex.
Avoid applying any portion of the aloe vera plant directly to your dog’s skin. If your dog’s skin needs soothing, purchase some pet-safe aloe gel or spray. This reduces the risk of inflammation and other adverse reactions.
Other Safe Herbs for Dogs
Many of the herbs you can find in your kitchen are safe for dogs. In fact, some of them are good for your furry friend. These include:
Basil: Boosts the immune system.
Carob: A natural substitute for chocolate often used in pet-safe bakery goods.
Oregano: Helps resolve gastrointestinal issues.
Peppermint: Relieves nausea, and may protect against radiation.
Rosemary: Contains vitamin B6, iron, calcium, and antioxidants.
Parsley: Contains lycopene and carotenes.
The herbs listed here contain vitamins, antioxidants, flavonoids, and other compounds that can help boost your pawesome pal’s health and stave off disease. Some even help freshen your dog’s bad breath and soothe his upset stomach. Before giving your pet any herbs or spices, though, research them to make sure they’re safe for your dog to eat.
When giving your dog fresh or dried herbs, always do so in very small quantities. Small dogs should only eat a pinch of fresh herbs, while larger breeds can safely eat as much as a teaspoon. Sprinkle them on top of food or add them to homemade dog treats. Spring parsley is also toxic to dogs, so do not confuse normal parsley with spring parsley.
Herbal supplements are also available for dogs in capsule, liquid, and oil form. Only administer herbal supplements under the guidance or instruction of your veterinarian, to ensure both safety and effectiveness for your furry friend.