My Dog Ate an Aloe Vera Plant: Should I Be Worried?

It seems that to a dog, plants are just an opportunity to taste life, no matter how many times they’ve seen that particular plant. And no matter how well we supervise our dogs, sooner or later, they will ingest something we don’t want them to. Many of us grow Aloe Vera both inside and outside for its medicinal purposes and beauty. So at some point during your puppy parenting, you may think: “My dog ate an Aloe Vera Plant, should I be worried?”

If your dog eats an aloe vera plant, you should be concerned but not panicked. An aloe plant is mildly toxic to dogs. It’s not the greenish gel in the center of the plant that presents the problem; it’s the white sap around it. This white sap is the latex produced by the plant, and it is a purgative, which means that it encourages the intestinal tract to empty itself via diarrhea and vomiting.

Can an aloe plant hurt a dog?

The answer depends on how much of the aloe plant your dog ingested. Most literature lists aloe as mildly toxic. And fortunately, aloe has an extremely nasty taste, even to dogs. The primary danger lies in dehydration due to diarrhea and vomiting. Our pets can dehydrate much quicker than we do, and dehydration can lead to kidney failure, among other serious complications. Simply put, the more aloe plant your dog ingests, the more concerned you should be.

Is Aloe Vera Gel toxic to dogs?

Aloe gel is not considered toxic to dogs. It is the latex produced by the plant that causes problems in dogs. If you want to apply the gel portion of an aloe leaf to a wound on your dog, you shouldn’t run into any issues. Still, it is always best to consult with your veterinarian before using ANY type of plant or medicine on your dog.

What should I do if my dog eats an Aloe Vera plant?

If you suspect your dog has eaten Aloe Vera, then you should call your veterinarian immediately. You should know how much your dog currently weighs and how much you think it ingested, along with any symptoms your dog is displaying. Most of the time, your dog may experience mild stomach upset at the worst. But depending on how much your dog consumed vs. its size and tolerance, it can become very serious. Your vet will tell you exactly how you should proceed.

If I have to take my dog to the vets for Aloe Vera poisoning, what will they do?

Treatment for poisoning is very similar across species. Your vet will likely induce vomiting and possibly perform something called a “gastric lavage” to clean out any remaining aloe found in your dog’s stomach. Your vet will probably give your dog activated charcoal to render the aloe inert as it passes through your dog’s intestines. The vet will place your dog on IV fluids to ward off dehydration and administer Oxygen to keep them stable as they recover.

What are the symptoms of Aloe Vera poisoning in dogs?

First, it’s helpful to define poisoning. By poisoning, we mean that your dog has ingested enough aloe vera plant to cause moderate to severe illness. Mild stomach upset, including vomiting and diarrhea, are expected in milder cases of aloe vera poisoning. But if your dog has ingested enough aloe vera plant to cause serious illness, you can expect:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal Pain
  • Drooling
  • Lethargy
  • Tremors
  • Unsteadiness
  • Dark Urine
  • And Many Others

How do I know if a plant is toxic for my dog?

Unless you are a veterinarian or a botanist, you will have no idea whether the plants your dog decides to sample are harmful or not. Paying attention to your dog when you are out walking is a good way to keep tabs on what they are eating. If your dog eats a plant you’ve never seen them eat before, pay attention to them afterward. Look for signs of discomfort and report them to your veterinarian promptly if you suspect something was poisonous. Make an effort to know the types of plants generally found in the areas where your dog plays. And learn the name of all the plants you keep in your house.

To help you with this, the ASPCA has created an app called the Animal Poison App that is available on iOS and Android phones. It is a free app that lets you choose the type of pet, be it dog, cat, bird, or horse, and the source of the poison like food, plant, medication, etc. You can download it from either the App Store or Google Play. It is definitely an app worth having.

What can I do to plant-proof my dog’s environment?

If you have a dog who likes to sample everything in it’s environment thoroughly, there are steps you can take to mitigate the chances of them ingesting bad things:

  • Teach the leave-it command. The leave-it command pairs the cue “leave-it” with a tasty treat so that the dog will leave the bad thing alone for the expectation of something better.  
  • Place indoor plants that are poisonous out of your dog’s reach. Some simple preventative plant placement can eliminate the untimely meeting of pup and plant.
  • Remove outdoor plants that are toxic to your dog. If your dog roams the yard alone, know what plants are in his environment and remove them if you can.
  • Know what to do in case of an emergency. While not part of plant proofing, know your emergency contact numbers. You should have your vet’s number, the number of a 24-hour emergency veterinarian for when your vet is closed, a pet poison hotline number, and an app like the Animal Poison App we previously mentioned.

Is the aloe lotion I use on my sunburn toxic to my dog?

It depends. Many of these lotions have other things added to them. Alcohol is often used as a drying agent. You need to check the list of ingredients and have them handy if you need to consult with your veterinarian. But if you are talking pure aloe gel with no additives, it is generally considered safe.

Conclusion

Having a dog is an awesome responsibility. We care about our dogs so much because they give us so much. Dogs are dogs, and they get into everything. And dog lovers are dog lovers, so they worry about their best friends. By reading this article, we hope you’ve educated yourself to know what to do if your dog happens to eat an aloe vera plant. Don’t panic. Know the symptoms and the circumstances. And call your veterinarian for their advice on what to do next.

Enjoy your dog! 

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