Aloe Vera


Snake Oil, beneficial product or marketing ploy? The jury is still out on the use of Aloe VeraSnake Oil, beneficial product or marketing ploy? The jury is still out on the use of Aloe Vera as an edible ingredient in Dog food. The basics on Aloe Vera are that it is a cactus-like evergreen plant belonging to the tree lily family. as an edible ingredient in Dog food. The basics on Aloe Vera are that it is a cactus-like evergreen plant belonging to the tree lily family. Originally native to the Mediterranean regions of Europe to Southern Africa it is now commercially cultivated in many regions of the world. The plant has a long holistic history as a folk medicine and semi cure all and in modern times the mucilaginous gels obtained from the leaves of this plant are widely used in cosmetic and pharmaceutical preparations. The gel, comprised of over 200 constituents, including polysaccharides, enzymes, glycoproteins, amino acidsChelated minerals are minerals that have been chemically combined with a molecule of protein, an amino acid or even a sugar “complex” (a polysaccharide) to form “complexes” which are more readily absorbable by the body., vitamins and minerals is purported to offer soothing and healing properties.


Aloin, the main compound found in the exudate of some Aloe species, was the common ingredient in over-the-counter (OTC) laxative products in the United States prior to 2003, up until the Food and Drug Administration ruled that aloin was a class III ingredient, thereby banning its use.


The little advertised fact is that Aloe Vera is potentially toxic, with side-effects occurring at some dose levels whether ingested or applied topically; although the risk of toxicity may be lessened when the aloin is removed by processing. A 2-year National Toxicology Program (NTP) study on oral consumption of non-decolorized whole leaf extract of aloe vera found evidence of carcinogenic activity in male and female rats. The NTP says more information is needed to determine the potential risks to humans.


As to its use and marketing in pet food, Aloe vera juice, extract, and other preparations are marketed to support the health of the digestive system, as a detoxifier and as an immune booster, but there is neither scientific evidence nor regulatory approval to support these claims. The extracts and quantities typically used for such purposes appear to be dose-dependent for toxic effects.


The following unverified claims taken from a site touting the beneficial effects of Aloe Vera are typical of a very competitive industry (Pet Food) in which each competing company wants to offer something its competitors do not in order to boost sales of its products. (Notice the disclaimer at the end):

1.  Constipation


o    Taking aloe vera orally can help some dogs with constipation. Aloe vera juice is believed to have anti-constipation effects since it is considered a medicinal agent that helps with bowel elimination. You can feed your dog aloe vera juice by mixing it in with your dog's wet or dry food. The weight of your dog will determine how much aloe juice to feed it. The Well Vet website recommends giving your dog one to three drops of aloe vera juice per pound of body weight, twice a day. So, your 20-lb. dog should be given between 20 and 60 drops of aloe vera juice two times a day.

2. Internal Inflammation


o    If your dog has an internal inflammation somewhere within the body, aloe vera juice may be able to help. Aloe vera has anti-inflammatory properties, which is why the plant sap is soothing to burn and bite victims. When you give your dog aloe vera juice, the anti-inflammatory effects can help it feel relieved if it has been experiencing inflammation in the stomach or colon with conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease, according to Dr. Jeannie Thomason, who operates The Whole Dog website.

3.  Immune Booster


o    Homeopathic and naturopathic doctors at the Aloe Medical Group International believe that a dog's immune system can be boosted by orally taking aloe vera capsules, gel or juice. Due to the immune-enhancing properties of aloe vera, dog owners may be able to prevent the onset of illnesses by fortifying their dogs' immune system, keeping their joints strong and healthy and helping dogs recover faster when they get sick. According to the Aloe Medical Group International, the daily minimum dosage of aloe vera gels for a dog should be 1 ml per kilogram body weight. After converting kilograms to pounds, a dog that weighs 20-lbs. should be administered between 9 and 10 mls of aloe vera juice in gel form.

4.  Detoxifier

o    Aloe vera juice or gel that is fed to dogs may act as a detoxifier to help purify the dog's internal system. If a dog gets a bacterial infection in the stomach or is suffering from food-related allergies, the Aloe Medical Group International believes that taking aloe vera might be able to help cleanse the dog's body and rid it of built-up toxins by forcing elimination of the bowels and providing nutrients that help fight off infections. However, in the case of bacterial infections, do not use aloe vera as a substitute for an antibiotic, which your vet might prescribe to your dog.

Aloe vera is known to have healing properties to which dogs may respond positively. Although aloe vera is commonly used topically to treat skin conditions, dogs can also take the medicinal herb internally to gain particular health benefits. When your canine has an ailment, seek medical advice from your veterinarian and talk to your vet about whether aloe vera is right for your dog. Although aloe vera is all natural, it should not be a substitute for professional help. <--Disclaimer


So in the end it really comes down to what you believe, the science or the myth.