Aloe vera is one of the most common house and garden plants. It is a succulent plant that is easy to grow and offers a wide variety of unique health and beauty benefits for humans. Aloe vera is a powerful antioxidant, has antibacterial properties, and can help soften the skin, relieves sunburn, and reduce wrinkles, to mention a few.
But what if your dog decided to take a nibble from your aloe vera plant?
The good news is that this popular succulent is only mildly toxic to pups. Contrary to common belief, the prominent harm can be done to dogs from the white sap rather than the green gel inside the leaves. The reason is that this sap which is the plant’s latex can invoke vomiting or diarrhea in canines.
Read on to find out can dogs eat aloe vera. Also included in this guide is information about how aloe vera can be harmful to some dogs and the symptoms of poisoning from eating it.
We have added some valuable tips on recognizing toxic plants for canines, dog-proofing your garden and house plants, and taking advantage of the many benefits of aloe vera.
Will eating aloe vera harm my dog?
The answer depends on the size, age, the overall health of your pup, and the quantity of the plant ingested.
Overall, aloe vera is considered mildly toxic for dogs. Thankfully, the taste of the succulent plant is horrible, so your pup will not find it too appealing if it takes a bite of it. So the chances are that it won’t ingest a dangerous amount of the plant.
Still, the aloe vera sap causes the intestines to free themselves of content via vomiting and diarrhea, leading to mild to severe dehydration in some pups.
Dehydration can quickly cause severe health problems in dogs, including kidney failure.
The more aloe vera your pup eats, the bigger the risks for it. Small and toy-sized dogs are in greater danger than dogs from larger breeds.
If you fear that your pup has eaten a part of a whole of your aloe vera plant, you should call your veterinarian as soon as possible for advice.
Is the green gel in the leaves toxic to canines?
The gel itself is not poisonous to dogs. The potentially harmful part of the aloe vera plant is the white latex it produces, which can cause profuse diarrhea and vomiting and thus can lead to dehydration.
But is it safe to treat a wound on your dog’s skin with some of the aloe vera gel? Generally, it is best to talk to your vet for advice if you plan to treat your pup with aloe vera or any other plant or non-veterinary medicine.
What actions should I take if my dog eats aloe vera?
If you suspect that your pup has swallowed parts of your aloe vera plant, call your vet immediately!
Be prepared to answer some basic questions, including how much your dog weighs, how old it is, the estimated amount of plant ingested, and whether your pet is showing symptoms.
In most cases, when the pup has eaten a small amount of the plant, the symptoms will be mild and usually include a stomach upset.
But if your dog has eaten a lot of aloe vera, the symptoms can become more serious, and you will probably need to take it to the clinic.
What is the treatment for aloe vera poisoning in dogs?
Suppose your dog needs to be taken to the vet for treatment after eating the aloe vera. In that case, you can expect your veterinarian to perform a physical examination and, if needed, a blood test.
The usual treatment for this type of poisoning is inducing vomiting or giving the pup activated charcoal to absorb and neutralize any leftover toxins as they pass through the digestive system.
Some dogs may need IV fluids to help hydrate them, and others may require oxygen until they stabilize.
What are the most common symptoms of poisoning with aloe vera in dogs?
You should call your vet if your pup has gobbled up part of your aloe vera plant. If the veterinarian instructs you to monitor your pet, then here are some of the most common symptoms (mild to severe) you can expect to see:
- Abdominal discomfort and pain
- Excessive drooling
- Dark-colored urine
- Unsteadiness when standing and walking
How to recognize which plants are toxic for my pup?
Unfortunately, there is no universal way to determine which plants are poisonous to dogs and which are not. So unless you are an expert in botany or veterinary medicine, you will probably have trouble determining which plant is safe to eat by your four-legged companion and which is not.
This is why it is recommended to always keep an eye on what your dog grazes and munches when outside.
If you notice it chewing on an unfamiliar plant, make sure to stop it from further ingesting parts of it, and keep an eye for any worrying symptoms after that.
It is a good idea to take the time to learn some general facts about the plants in your home, garden, or those commonly found in the areas where you usually walk your pet.
You can download and install the special Animal Poison App by the ASPCA on your mobile phone and use it to identify which plants or other toxins are harmful to your dog, cat, or other animals and what to do in case of poisoning.
How to make my home and garden safe for my pup?
If you have a curious young puppy or a dog that simply loves tasting and chewing on anything it can get its paws on, then you may try the following to create a safe environment for it:
- Train your dog using positive reinforcement. Make sure to teach it the “leave-it” command. Reward it with a delicious treat, praise, or a toy every time it obeys you.
- Take the time to check all of the plants you grow inside the house and which ones are potentially harmful or toxic for dogs. If you have poisonous plants, move them to places that are out of reach for your pet.
- If your dog runs freely in your garden, remove any poisonous plants, or fence them, so your pet doesn’t have any access to them.
- Have your vet’s number and the numbers of the emergency veterinarian and an animal poison hotline handy just in case. Don’t panic. Remove the plant, secure the dog, and call the veterinarians or toxicologists ASAP.
- You can refer to the abovementioned Animal Poison App for basic guidelines for the actions you should take and the symptoms to watch for.
Is it safe to use aloe vera on my skin if I have a dog?
Natural aloe vera gel is not harmful or toxic for canines.
Most sunburn or other skin lotions contain many different ingredients apart from the aloe vera, and often they have alcohol as well. If your pup manages to get to your aloe vera sunburn lotion, then make sure to find the label and list of ingredients in case you need to call your vet.
Being a dog parent comes with many responsibilities, alongside all the benefits of adding a pup to your family. One of your primary responsibilities is to take care of your pet and minimize the risks to its health and wellbeing. Keeping your dog away from toxic or harmful plants is only one part of this task.
Still, such incidents can happen, so you must know how to act if your pup eats aloe vera or another potentially harmful plant.
Remain calm. Stop the pup from eating more of it, and call the animal poison hotline, your vet, or an emergency vet immediately for the best advice.