Coconut oil has been blowing our minds in the last decade. Dry skin? Coconut oil. Need a quick hair treatment? Coconut oil. Morning breath? Coconut oil. Digestive health? Coconut oil. You get it. Coconut oil is pretty great. What many pet parents may not know if that the concept of coconut oil for dogs is making its own headway in the world of holistic healing and wellness.
What is Coconut Oil
Harvested from the coconut palm, coconut oil is an edible oil that is extracted from mature coconuts. It's highly likely that you've used coconut oil in the past, whether or not you realized it at the time. Coconut oil is found in many dishes, particularly Asian cuisines, as well as in beauty products. It comes in different forms, from unrefined coconut oil to organic virgin coconut oil or extra-virgin coconut oil. There is also refined coconut which is more processed and has a neutral taste.
WHAT IS COCONUT OIL FOR DOGS
Coconut oil for dogs, when administered properly, can have very similar benefits for our furry friends as it does for humans. Dog owners can administer the oil either orally or topically for a slew of conditions (more on that in a second).
What is in Coconut Oil for Dogs
Coconut is made up of saturated fatty acids. The majority of these fatty acids are Medium-Chain Fatty Acids (Medium Chain Triglycerides). The Medium-Chain Triglycerides are known as the “miracle” fatty compounds that provide the medicinal and therapeutic benefits of coconut oil.
One of the most significant medium chain fatty acids in the chain is the chemical compound classified as Lauric Acid. You've likely heard of Lauric Acid. It's most commonly found in mother’s milk, making it highly rich in nutrients as well as anti-bacterial properties. These nutrients and anti-bacterial properties are directly associated with building a strong immune system.
Additionally, Medium Chain Triglycerides metabolize differently from other fatty acids and move through the system much more quickly. This provides the individual (both humans and dogs) immediate energy. Furthermore, Medium Chain Triglycerides (or MCTs) have proven to produce therapeutic effects on the brain. In fact, MCTs have shown to have positive effects on those suffering from Alzheimer's Disease and other brain conditions.
Health Benefits of Coconut Oil for Dogs
Thanks for sticking with us through all the scientific information backing the health benefits of the miracle oil. Now let's get down to all of the incredible ways that coconut oil can be great for Fido.
Coconut Oil for Weight Loss
Dog owners may not realize that obesity in their fur-babies is a very common issue. However, it doesn’t stop there. A dog with obesity can have long-term health issues. Obesity causes too much stress on the body which can ultimately lead to:
High blood pressure
Liver disease or other liver dysfunctions
This is where coconut oil comes in. Simply adding coconut oil to your dog's diet can help balance the body's thyroid and help with weight loss. Research has found that incorporating MCT into your dog's diet will help with their weight gain and can potentially decrease the size of fat deposits. Furthermore, the medium chain fatty acids will metabolize and give your dog an immediate boost of energy that enhances their athletic performance and aids with weight loss.
Easing Digestive Issues with Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is also great for soothing digestive conditions such as inflammatory bowel syndrome and colitis. The medium chain fatty acids improve digestion, aid in the ability to absorb nutrients, and promote overall gastrointestinal health. However, there’s a bit of a warning. Too much coconut oil may cause loose stools which is a digestive issue you likely don’t want to deal with. Always give the recommended amount and start off slowly when introducing coconut oil into your dog’s diet. Like with humans, coconut oil can also help with bad breath and in dogs, it can eliminate parasites in the gastrointestinal tract.
Coconut Oil for Cracked Paws
Research has found that coconut oil has all natural antifungal, antibacterial, and antiviral properties. This makes coconut oil a wonderful topical antibiotic and a great alternative to chemical-based medications. It can be used on the skin to help heal cuts and wounds and keep them clear of infections. Additionally, if your dog suffers from allergies and is constantly chewing on their ears or paws, coconut oil can be used to help heal these sores as well. A great feature of coconut oil is that it is safe to eat, so you won’t have to worry if your dog licks it off. Other chemical-based medications can lead to a lot of issues if your dog accidentally ingests it.
Boosting the Immune System with Coconut Oil
As we previously mentioned, coconut oil benefits don’t stop at the skin level. When ingested, coconut oil can do wonders for the dog's immune system. Coconut oil contains powerful antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal properties that prevent infection and disease. Many studies show that coconut oil may also reduce the risk of cancer.
Coconut Oil Skin Benefits
One of the most common ways that coconut oil for dogs is used is topically on the skin. Coconut oil can do wonders for your dog's skin in terms of curing current conditions and preventing others from developing.
Coconut oil has the ability to clear up skin conditions such as flea allergies, eczema, contact dermatitis, and irritated, itchy skin. Additionally, coconut oil can also reduce allergic reactions and improve overall skin health. Due to its antiviral and antibacterial properties, coconut oil can disinfect cuts and promote wound healing. Topically, it can promote the healing of hot spots, dry skin, bites and stings, and open wounds. It also soothes and heals dry cracked paws and elbows. Coconut oil also prevents against fleas and ticks. Additionally, coconut oil can prevent and treat yeast and fungal infections including candida.
Coconut Oil for the Coat
It's no surprise then that coconut oil can also do wonders for your dog's coat. Coconut oil is packed full of vitamin C and can moisturize dry skin and keep your dog's fur healthy and shiny. Pet owners can add the coconut oil as a dietary supplement or directly into their dog's shampoo to enhance the overall look of the coat and eliminate itchy, irritation caused by a wide array of skin conditions.
Lauric acid, the super nutrient that we discussed earlier, has chemical properties which allow for easy penetration of the hair strands. This, in turn, provides a great absorption of nutrients through the skin to then improve the dog’s overall coat health.
Coconut oil also helps increase lipid levels making it an effective moisturizer if your dog suffers from dandruff.
Finally, using coconut oil to eliminate dry, itchy skin also help combat that stinky "dog smell" that we grow accustomed to living with from time to time.
Endocrine/Metabolic System Support
Speaking of internal benefits, coconut oil for dogs also benefits the endocrine and metabolic systems. Coconut oil helps regulate and balance insulin which therefore helps prevent and/or control diabetes. Coconut oil also promotes normal thyroid function, increases energy, and aids in body weight management.
Studies show that coconut oil helps build strong bones. Additionally, coconut oil for dogs eases inflammation and can ease arthritis discomfort.
Curing and Preventing Yeast Infections
Aside from allergies and hot spots, a common cause of itchiness and irritated skin are yeast infections. Yeast infections are among one of the most common inflammatory skin conditions. They are caused by yeast and bacteria accumulation in different parts of the body, including the skin and ears. As we previously mentioned, the antifungal and antibacterial properties of coconut oil can aid in curing and preventing mild cases of yeast and fungal infections.
Supporting the Brain, Ears, and Eyes
Coconut oil can also benefit the brain, ears, and eyes of our four-legged friends. We briefly talked about lauric acid. Lauric acid is most commonly found in a mother's milk. It is essential to child development. Therefore, lauric acid in coconut oil provides similar cognitive benefits to dogs. Medium-chain fatty acids metabolize directly into the liver and are then converted to energy properties called Ketones. Ketones are a great energy source for the brain. They promote brain health, promote healthy brain function, and can actually slow down the deterioration of cognitive diseases such as Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia. Who knew?!
Eliminating Dog Odors
We know that you love your fur baby, but it’s undeniable that Fido can get pretty smelly from time to time. Coconut oil, with its pleasant smell and disinfecting properties, has the ability to significantly reduce dog odor. Pet owners can use it to clean their dog's teeth to freshen up bad breath as well as applying it directly to the dog's coat to deodorize the fur.
Conventional medications that are used to combat parasitic infestations can have a laundry list of potentially harmful side effects. Coconut oil is an all-natural, non-toxic treatment for intestinal worms. Like many of its benefits, coconut oil can be used to treat a current parasitic condition as well as a preventative measure.
Supporting Overall Health
You may have guessed that coconut oil for dogs is great for overall health in general. If pet parents decide to administer coconut oil internally, you can act as an anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and immune boosting agent. It can promote brain, skin, and gastrointestinal wellness. Additionally, coconut oil promotes normal thyroid function, healthy cholesterol levels, and helps fight heart disease. All in all, we are fans!
How to Use Coconut Oil for Dogs
At this point, you’re probably sold on the benefits of coconut oil for dogs. But how can it be used and integrated into your dogs daily life? Well, there are a number of ways to do so.
Topically, pet owners use coconut oil to repel fleas, ticks, and other insects by using it as a protective barrier for our four-legged friends in the summer months. Coconut oil’s smooth texture makes it easy to apply and you won’t have to worry about any potential he harmful side effects if Fido decides to lick some of it off.
Additionally, dog owners use coconut oil as a substitute when baking or cooking for their fur-babies. Many dog owners like to make homemade dog treats. Try adding coconut oil into a peanut butter recipe in order to maximize the health benefits that your dog receives.
Furthermore, the benefits don’t stop at coconut oil. Coconut products are also healthy and beneficial for dogs. Fresh or dried coconut chunks make for a healthy, nutritional snack for Fido. They can also be very hydrating on a hot summer day. Coconut chips are also an excellent source of dietary fiber. Be sure that when you are purchasing coconut treats for your dog that you read the labels. No added sugar and no chemicals are the first things to look for. You don’t want to accidentally cause more harm than good when adding a nutritional snack to your dog's diet. Check out our coconut treats with simple, easy-to-read ingredients.
Whether you are adding coconut oil to your dog shampoo, using it as a topical ointment, adding it to their diet, or baking with it, coconut oil is an inexpensive and nutritionally beneficial option for dog parents who are actively seeking a more holistic remedy for any of their pet’s ailments. We are fortunate to be living in a time where studies are continuing to show just how effective and safe conventional medications can be. Coconut oil has the potential to eliminate several chemically-based drugs that can ultimately do a lot of harm to our dogs. For that, we are incredibly thankful for coconut oil.
Coconut Oil Dosage - Orally
We don’t have to tell you that no two dogs are like. Yes, coconut oil is all natural and non-toxic. However, while one dog may have no reaction to coconut oil, the next might have a few minor side effects. For this reason, the dosage of coconut oil can be very subjective. We always recommend starting off slowly. There’s no need to rush. The recommended dose is approximately 1 teaspoon of coconut oil per 10 pounds of dog. When starting out, give a 1/4 of the recommended dose and monitor your dog to see how they react to it. From there, you can gradually increase the dose.
We have already mentioned that coconut oil has powerful anti-fungal and antibacterial properties. The results of removing harmful organisms such as bacteria, viruses, parasites, and yeast, can trigger symptoms of detoxification. You may have guessed that symptoms of detoxification are typically sour stomachs and loose stools. By starting off slowly with the dosage of coconut oil that you use, you were able to monitor your dog and see how they are reacting to the coconut oil. If your dog does have loose stools or seems tired or uncomfortable, reduce the amount of coconut oil that you are using. Again, there is no need to rush the process. Before you know it, Fido will be reaping all the benefits of coconut oil has to offer.
Coconut Oil Dosage - Topical
In terms of using coconut oil topically, many pet owners like to use it as a massage oil. In terms of easing itchy and dry skin, dog owners can apply the coconut oil directly onto the skin and thoroughly massage it into the coat. The same goes for treating hot spots and cracked paws.
Fair warning, coconut oil does not dry quickly. Once you massage it into your dog's coat you can remove the excess with a towel so that it doesn’t get all over your carpet or furniture.
Is Coconut Oil Good For Dogs
The short answer is yes. Coconut oil is safe for dogs. Research shows that animals tolerate coconut oil very well. Unlike conventional treatments, dog owners do not need to be overly concerned about toxicity from over-consumption. However, with this being said, all dogs react differently. It is important to discuss the best treatment plan for your individual dog with your holistic veterinarian.
Many pet parents might be concerned about the high levels of saturated fat that coconuts notoriously have. We like to remind our readers that are not all facts are bad. The fat contents in coconuts are medium chain fatty acids that can provide a great number of health benefits for Fido.
Moderation is key. Too much of a good thing can end up causing harm. Always give the recommended dose and monitor your dog for any changes that you may find.
The good news and bad news about holistic wellness becoming so popular is that you’ll always be able to find the product that you’re looking for, however, you’ll have to triple check the quality of the product.
There are now copycats for just about everything. Some companies will label their product in an eye-catching way, but it won’t have the nutritional benefits that you’re looking for. You will find some coconut oils in your grocery store that are refined, bleached, and deodorized. This essentially means that all of the great qualities of the coconut are removed leaving it with virtually no health benefits. Always be sure to read your labels!
Coconut Oil for Dogs: The Bottom Line
Coconut oil - We are fans!
At the end of the day, we all want the best for our beloved four-legged friends. When your dog develops an ailment of any kind, it can be incredibly stressful. As much as we would like to be mind readers and be able to talk to our dogs, it’s not entirely possible. Conventional medications, while certainly necessary to some degree, can also put in an enormous amount of pressure on your dog's body. Being able to find a holistic, all-natural alternative is a great way to eliminate potentially harmful adverse reactions for Fido.
Coconut oil has such a wide range of health benefits that we recommend our readers to give it a try. From flea prevention to digestive wellness, it'll be next to impossible to find a conventional medication that can provide the support that coconut oil can. As always, consult with your holistic veterinarian regarding the proper dose of coconut oil for your furry friend's individual needs. We hope Fido feels better soon!