Pet Care

Aloe vera is a plant that is an ally of our health and that of dogs and cats. Here is how to use it for the treatment and prevention of diseases in the veterinary field.

The Aloe vera plant

Aloe vera (Aloe barbadensis, Miller) is part of the botanical family of Aloaceae. The ancient peoples had learned to extract its beneficial juice: for this reason it is also called “miracle plant” or “silent healer”. It is a plant that lives in desert areas thanks to its fleshy leaves on the outside, but rich in gel inside. The plant contains a juice full of precious substances. Native to North Africa, it grows in hot areas with sandy soil. For this reason it has been imported and cultivated in Central America.

The plant reaches maturity after four years of life. The leaves are harvested by hand and the gel they contain must be extracted within a few hours of harvesting so as not to lose its important nutrients. The gel is then stabilized, so that it can be stored as closely as possible to its original state. It is very important that producers do not use chemical fertilizers, additives or pesticides: there are certifications that attest to the quality of the product and the producer.

The properties of Aloe vera

The leaves of this plant contain a gel made up of water and various active ingredients. The Aloe vera gel contains numerous polysaccharides and monosaccharides, 7 essential and 11 non-essential amino acids.

There are many vitamins in groups A, C, E and B. Among the minerals, potassium, iron, calcium, phosphorus, sodium, magnesium, manganese, copper, zinc, chromium, selenium and germanium. There are numerous enzymes and organic acids, including salicylic and cinnamic acid. In the chemical composition of Aloe we also find steroids and plant hormones.

Acemannan is important against infections. Aloe vera contains a compound called acemannan. This substance stimulates particular cells, the macrophages, to produce interleukin-1, a product that increases the body’s response against infections, stimulating the formation of natural-killer cells. Even at the level of the gastroenteric apparatus, acemannan has a remarkable antifungal and bacteriostatic action.

“The antiviral activity of acemannan is scientifically proven and documented in the human field also against the HIV virus.

Anti-inflammatory properties, cellular improvement and renewal, and wound healing aids are present in two other compounds found in the Aloe vera gel: veracylglucan B and veracylglucan C.

Use of Aloe vera in pets

The Aloe vera gel contains 160 natural active ingredients with immunizing, nourishing, antiphlogistic and purifying properties.

At the level of the intestinal system, the Aloe vera gel favours the use of vitamins C and E and the transport of proteins, molecules and insulin. A precious aid in the absorption of substances and medicines, especially in elderly cats and dogs suffering from joint diseases.

It is used in dermatology because it allows to absorb on the skin of animals important substances that otherwise would be difficult to give them through food or water. This action is also used to heal wounds more quickly.

Aloe vera gel is able to lower blood sugar: a great help, along with insulin, for cats and older dogs who often suffer from diabetes. Aloe vera is a very energizing substance, useful together with medicines for the rehabilitation of dogs and cats after illness or surgery.

How to find Aloe vera products on the market

The products used for dogs and cats are nutraceuticals, registered for human use. Aloe vera gel is sold in opaque containers that must be kept in the refrigerator once opened. Aloe vera is commercially available in the form of the most widely used Aloe vera gel. You can also find Aloe vera creams or liquid solutions containing stabilized Aloe vera gel with allantoin – commonly called Aloe Sol. In orthopaedics, a specific product called Aloe Arthrosis can be prescribed.

Aloe vera in the diet of dogs and cats

The Aloe vera gel has an important nutritional action: it provides the animal with mineral salts useful for proper cardiac function (magnesium) and for an antioxidant action (copper and manganese).

In the gel we also find many fat-soluble vitamins A, C, E and water-soluble vitamins of group B, amino acids useful for the proper functioning of muscle tissue and epithelials of our pets. The digestive enzymes contained in the Aloe vera gel help animals in the intestinal absorption of substances present in food and medicines. The gel has a strong antioxidant power that can limit the damage caused by free radicals.

For all these reasons it is important to include the Aloe vera gel in the diet of our pets. Growing dogs, adult and elderly dogs as well as overweight dogs and those who do not eat meat all have a different diet. Even cats have a diet that differs from that of dogs. In Roberto Setti’s book, “La Salute di Cani e Gatti con l’Aloe Vera” (The Health of Dogs and Cats with Aloe Vera), we can find all the dietary tables and the quantities of Aloe vera gel to be introduced into the diet of our pets.

Pathologies of dogs and cats in which Aloe vera can be used

During his work as a veterinarian, Roberto Setti treated many diseases of dogs and cats using the beneficial properties of Aloe vera. In the book he tells them in detail, also showing several photographs of the improvement achieved for different clinical cases.

In general, Aloe vera has given good results in the treatment of ear and eye diseases, especially in the case of severe irritation or conjunctivitis. Also in the care of the nose and oral cavity this plant is of considerable help for problems of gingivitis and stomatitis in both dog and cat.

In the case of the use of industrial foods, dogs and cats may show inappetence or a dull, shiny hair. The Aloe vera gel has greatly improved these problems of our animal friends. For animals suffering from intestinal problems with vomiting or diarrhea and for cats regurgitating masses of hair, Aloe vera has proven to be a functional product.

In animals suffering from heart disease, especially the elderly, this substance can be of help along with specific medicines. It is also an excellent support for dogs and cats suffering from kidney failure. Very interesting is its use for all problems related to the tegumentary system: itching, inflammation, wounds, scars. Many problems related to the skeletal system have been solved with the use of Aloe vera combined with other drugs: hip dysplasia, arthrosis, dislocation, spine pain.