If you’ve ever had a sunburn, you likely know about the soothing powers of aloe vera. What you might not know, though, is that aloe vera can be used for other skin issues—like cuts and abrasions.
Can aloe vera for dogs be used in the same way? We asked veterinarians to weigh in.
What is Aloe Vera?
Aloe vera is a plant commonly used to soothe wounds, burns, and other skin conditions in people. According to Dr. Karie Johnson, co-founder of VIP Vet Visit, aloe vera can also be safe for use on dogs.
However, she recommends that pet parents use aloe vera products made specifically for pets, “as human products can use the leaves of the plant, which are toxic to pets if ingested.”
How Does Aloe Vera for Dogs Work?
The aloe vera plant contains the chemical compound aloin, which has anti-inflammatory properties. “When applied to your dog’s red and inflamed skin, it can decrease inflammation and soothe their skin,” says Dr. Sara Ochoa, a veterinarian with Whitehouse Veterinary Hospital.
Aloe vera is also high in vitamins A (good for vision and immunity, among other things), C (which helps with the forming of muscle and collagen, as well with the healing process), and E (good for the health of blood, brain, and skin).
How to Use Aloe Vera for Dogs
Aloe vera comes in many different forms and different types of products. The kind that works best will be dependent on your dog and their skin condition. Some are creams and shampoos that you can rub directly on your dog’s skin, says Ochoa. If you decide to try a cream or lotion, she recommends only applying a small amount to the skin to keep it from getting too oily.
Johnson recommends ensuring that your pet doesn’t lick areas where aloe vera is applied in case parts of the leaf—which can cause gastrointestinal issues in dogs—are accidentally used in the product preparation. It is best to supervise and distract your dog for 15 minutes after application to allow the product to soak in and not be licked off. After applying aloe, take your dog for a walk!
Aloe Vera Side Effects in Dogs
Any time you decide to add something new to your dog’s wellness regimen, it’s always a good idea to consult with your veterinarian first. With aloe vera, your veterinarian can help you recognize potential adverse side effects or suggest the right products based on your dog’s needs.
Finding the right product is essential because aloe vera also has a laxative properties, and ingesting too much may cause your dog’s stool to become very loose, Ochoa says.
Animals that ingest aloe plants directly may vomit or have diarrhea. If your dog reacts this way after being exposed to an aloe product, call your veterinarian immediately.
Best Aloe Vera Products for Dogs: 5 Options to Consider
There are plenty of great aloe products for dogs that can help soothe skin conditions, sunburns, or minor cuts. Here are a few of our favorites. If you’re unsure which aloe vera option is the right fit for your dog, talk to your veterinarian.
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If your dog suffers from dry and itchy skin, a shampoo with aloe can help alleviate some discomfort. This one from Great Pet is tearless, so it won’t cause your dog discomfort and it has a great tropical scent that is refreshing—not overwhelming. The aloe and oatmeal in the formula can soothe your dog’s skin and restore natural moisture. Plus, this aloe dog shampoo is made in the USA.
- Tearless and hypoallergenic
- Restores natural moisture while helping alleviate skin symptoms
- Smells great
- A small business makes this product in the USA.
Things to Consider:
- Should be left on for 5-10 minutes before rinsing
- It’s a soap-free formula, so won’t rather as well as some other shampoos
- It is scented, so be aware of that if you are sensitive to scents
When you can’t get to a bath right away, or your pet’s fur needs a little extra TLC, a conditioning spray with soothing ingredients like aloe works in a pinch. In addition to aloe, this luxurious spray contains chamomile, oatmeal, and almond oil—all of which help to soothe and condition your pet’s coat. Just spray on and brush it through for a soft and shiny impact between baths.
- It contains 13 conditioning agents, including aloe, chamomile and oatmeal.
- Almond oil helps condition your dog’s skin while leaving them smelling good.
- Panthenol helps prevent tangling.
- A portion of the proceeds from every bottle is donated to animal and wildlife organizations.
Things to Consider:
- The dispenser can be a bit finicky.
- If you use too much, it can leave a bit of a greasy feeling behind
- Some reviewers found the almond scent a bit too strong
These aloe-based wipes can be a savior and help promote ear health, particularly in dogs prone to ear infections or dogs with folds of skin that make the ear area particularly hard to clean. The aloe and eucalyptus in these wipes gently reduces itchiness without any harsh ingredients. Plus, they leave behind a fresh scent and tone down ear odors.
- Gently cleans and deodorizes
- Formulated by veterinarians
- Helps to soothe and deodorize ears
- Easy to use and mess free
Things to Consider
- The wipes are on the small side, which may not be ideal for large or giant breeds
- Not everyone is a fan of the scent
- Not a solution for recurrent ear problems
Dogs who suffer from itchy and irritated hot spots on their skin can benefit from this aloe-infused spray, which helps keep them from biting, itching and scratching the area, causing further infection. It also includes apple cider vinegar to help restore your dog’s pH balance.
- Helps to moisturize and restore your dog’s skin pH balance
- Free from sulfates, fragrances, colorants and harsh chemicals
- Can be used for both adult dogs and puppies
Things to Consider
- Doesn’t provide long-term relief for hot spots
- Won’t prevent all dogs from licking or biting
Pet wipes with aloe are a great way to clean up messy pups without needing a full bath, particularly if you’re away from home. These nicely sized dog wipes are formulated with aloe, oatmeal, and other conditioning ingredients to keep your dog’s coat soft while soothing their skin.
- Gentle ingredients like aloe and oatmeal help soothe all pet skin types
- Taking wipes with you while out helps remove dirt, debris and dander quickly
- Can be used on both dogs and cats
- Made in the USA
Things to Consider
- They do produce a bit of a lather, but there’s no need to rinse
- Not everyone likes the piña colada scent
What to Look for in Aloe Vera Products for Your Dog
Aloe vera can be purchased online or at your favorite pet store, but Ochoa reminds pet parents to always start with their veterinarian if they’re in the market for these products.
“When looking for a company, make sure to choose one that is reputable,” she adds. “Some companies have products that don’t contain enough aloe vera to provide any benefits to your dog.”
Remember that not all pets do well with topical aloe vera products since they may be prone to licking, says Johnson. In this case, it would be best to avoid them altogether.