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Written by Joanna Kujath

Aloe Vera For Dogs

Have you wondered how Aloe Vera could benefit your dog? Just as for humans, Aloe Vera can help your dog in numerous ways, both topically and when taken internally. Consider the many health benefits aloe can have both for you and your dog, why not consider growing and keeping your own aloe plant? There are over 250 species of aloes (they are members of the lily family and relatives of tulips). The Egyptians called it the “plant of immortality” and it was used as an offering in tombs for the pharaohs. In Russia it is known as the “elixir of youth”.

The jelly like pulp inside the leaves of the Aloe Vera plant is soothing, cooling and anti-inflammatory to skin irritations. It can bring instant relief to insect/flea bites, minor burns, rashes, lick granulomas and hot spots. Aloe Vera is also antibacterial so it can be used on surgical incisions where it will relieve the itch and stimulate healing of wounds. Aloe is non- toxic so you definitely won’t have to worry about if your dog licks it and ingests it. It tastes bitter so it may discourage your dog from licking the wound. Use it on your dogs nose if he was sunburned (for use in sunburn it will have even more cooling effects if kept refrigerated before use!). Its anti-fungal effects are great for management of dog fungal infections.

Internally Aloe Vera juice can be added to your dog’s food to help soothe digestive irritation i.e. irritable bowel symptoms especially if associated with inflammation. It functions as a digestive tonic by soothing the lining of the stomach and intestines, and maintaining healthy intestinal bacteria. Aloe Vera can prevent intestinal worms, improve joint mobility and symptoms of arthritis in elderly dogs, gently lowers cholesterol, helps clear up kidney, bladder, and urinary tract infections, and also improve your dog’s skin and coat appearance. Aloe Vera is naturally high in amino acids (contains 20 of the 22 essential amino acids!), calcium, folate, iron, magnesium, chromium, phosphorous, selenium, beta carotene, potassium and zinc, and also vitamins A, C, and E.

Studies have shown that Aloe Vera can stimulate immunity and inhibit the growth of viruses. Acemannan is a polysaccharide that has been identified as being an immune stimulant which can help dogs with allergies, skin infections, and other diseases that suppress the immune system. The most researched medicinal compound in Aloe Vera is called “aloin” and it’s extracted from the sap. Other compounds found in Aloe Vera are also able to activate the white blood cells necessary to fight against the growth of cancer cells.

If you choose to use the fresh leaf only use the inner gel and avoid the bitter inner rind and its yellow juice as it contains a powerful laxative. The best source of Aloe Vera is a freshly cut leaf from an organically grown plant. Otherwise, always choose a reputable brand that doesn’t use herbicides or pesticides in growth of their crops (e.g. Lifestream)

Use only a small amount until your dog gets used to the taste, as it is slightly bitter and astringent. For general digestive health maintenance, 1 teaspoon per 5 kg of your dog’s weight is beneficial. It may be increased to 1 tablespoon per 5 kg when treating more serious and long standing health issues. And as with all herbal treatment, please be consistent and patient, as herbs take time to take effect.

Aloe Vera has been used historically for many years by many civilizations. Consider this gently yet powerful herbal remedy for your dog if he needs relief from any of the above mentioned health concerns.

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