My Dog Ate An Aloe Vera Plant [Should I Be Worried?]

If your dog ate part of an aloe vera plant, they are probably not feeling too great at the moment. Have you noticed the following changes in their behavior: Are they vomiting or experiencing diarrhea? Are they lethargic, or do they have tremors? Are they dehydrated, or do they seem to be experiencing cramping? 

If any of those sound familiar and you know they’ve been in contact with an aloe vera plant, it’s important that you visit a veterinarian to test for aloe vera poisoning.

Is Aloe Vera Healthy For Dogs?

silver beige poodle
A Silver Beige Poodle starts off with a darker coat

Keeping our furry friends healthy and happy is an integral part of our lives, but finding ways to introduce alternative options for care and grooming is not always clear. 

The aloe vera plant is a popular way for humans to treat skin conditions, either as a balm or remedy for burns. 

While this plant works wonders for us, they are harmful to dogs in several ways. Be wary of new-age medicines targeted for dogs, including aloe vera as a supplement. If your dog has consumed or been exposed to aloe vera please get in touch with your local veterinarian immediately.

When Should I Worry About Aloe Vera Poisoning?

gray poodle happy at the vet
A gray Poodle happy at the vet. Toy or a small Miniature size.

So how much should you worry if you think your dog has ingested aloe vera? Luckily, aloe vera poisoning is a relatively mild condition, but it can cause severe discomfort and lead to more serious issues if not resolved quickly by a professional.

Aloe vera poisoning can appear as either acute or chronic poisoning. The common symptoms of aloe vera poisoning in dogs includes:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea.
  • Change in urine color
  • Anorexia
  • Depression and/or lethargy 

If you have witnessed any of these symptoms, call your local veterinarian. The primary difference between acute and chronic aloe vera poisoning is the length of exposure to the plant. 

Just as we use aloe vera to treat minor cuts and burns, we might assume it works the same for dogs. However, prolonged usage on dogs can lead to more serious issues and create a longer recovery period. 

Acute vs. Chronic Poisoning

How do you determine if your dog is suffering from acute or chronic aloe vera poisoning? Take into consideration the following: Have you administered aloe vera as a supplement or as a part of your dog’s diet? 

If yes, how long has your dog been consuming aloe vera? Have you applied topical aloe vera on your dog’s skin? Check your dog’s skin and fur to see if any shedding or skin irritation is present.

Knowing how long your dog has been exposed to aloe vera will aid the veterinarian in determining the extent of the poisoning and whether it is acute or chronic. 

a chow chow with a curly tail
A Chow Chow with a curly tail. What a beautiful dog!

Know Your Dog’s Surroundings

That being said, how do you know if your dog has aloe vera poisoning and not some other ailment? 

If you have applied the aloe vera or introduced it into your dog’s diet, remove the aloe vera immediately and place the aloe vera plant in a place in the home where your pets cannot reach it. 

Only a veterinarian can determine the root of the problem, but it is important to be aware of your dog’s surroundings and what they are able to get into. 

How Can I Treat My Dog For Aloe Vera Poisoning?

Treatment for aloe vera poisoning is only available through a veterinarian’s office. Take your dog in for testing immediately if you spot any of the symptoms listed above. 

As always when we take our dogs in for care, it is imperative to know the medical history and cite any abnormal behavior. For new pet owners, erring on the side of caution is okay! 

If you think your dog is in discomfort or suspect poisoning, whether it be aloe vera or otherwise, it is always safer to have a professional perform an examination.

cavapoo in the sun
A Cavapoo shines in the sun. So cute!

What To Expect At The Vet

First-time dog owners fear not. You might be told by the veterinarian that they will need to perform physical examinations, neurological exams, and even perform x-rays to get a full picture of how much aloe vera was consumed. 

Because the plant can also affect the dog’s digestive system, they may perform an endoscopy to check for extended damage. This is why it is important to bring as much information to your veterinarians as possible. 

Your vet will likely induce vomiting and clean out the dog’s system to make sure there is no more aloe vera present if ingested. If the aloe vera was applied topically, there are ointments that can assist with skin irritation and recovery. 

Properly Identifying an Aloe Plant 

aloe vera plant
An Aloe Vera plant

This plant has seen a rise in popularity as a form of human-safe skin treatment and can be used by us in a variety of ways. They are also well-loved as a succulent plant to keep around the house for decoration. 

If you have any of these plants or utilize aloe vera as either a supplement, ointment, or other product, treat aloe vera like you would a chemical.

 As we do with young children, it is important to keep these substances out of reach and unavailable to our dogs. But if you do not have any aloe vera as succulents nor have any aloe vera products and think you might have seen your dog getting into something on your walk, here’s how to identify the plant: 

Aloe vera is composed of serrated, or spiky, green leaves that occasionally feature yellow flowers. They look similar to cacti and are a fairly invasive plant that can grow in hot and dry climates. They are popular for the gel that is found inside the leaves of the plant, which is then made into ointments, balms, and even some drinks. 

Does your dog aim in on every plant in the garden like its a special treat? Learn how to get a dog to stop eating plants.

labradoodle puppy apricot happy on grass
An Apricot Labradoodle puppy happily laying in the dog park

Final Thoughts

Each treatment plan will be different depending on the level of aloe vera consumed and the manner in which it affected the dog. As with humans, it is important to maintain a healthy regiment and keep a close eye on your dog’s condition.

 Always trust the advice of your veterinarian, and be cautious of products that will do more harm than good. If you are looking for ways to help a dog’s skin and want to avoid the effects of aloe vera poisoning, consider switching to a shampoo that better conditions your dog’s coat.