In recent years, coconut oil has become tremendously popular due to its incredible versatility and seemingly endless applications. However, most people are only aware of its use in cooking and beauty applications. But did you know that it might be good for your dog?
What is Coconut Oil?
When coconuts mature, they are harvested and oil is extracted from the “meat.” This oil is high in natural saturated fats– which increase healthy cholesterol (HDL), in addition to turning bad cholesterol (LDL) into good cholesterol– and medium chain triglycerides (MCTs).
According to WebMD, MCTs may help in treating a range of food absorption disorders including liver disease, diarrhea, and steatorrhea (fat indigestion), just to name a few. Coconut oil is generally shelf stable and should last for several months or longer if it is stored and handled properly.
Coconut Oil For Dogs – Benefits For Your Pet
Coconut oil has a variety of benefits for dogs, just like it does for humans. The applications and advantages are diverse and significant, making coconut oil an excellent dietary supplement for most dogs. Here’s a list of the many ways coconut oil can help your pet:
Aids in digestion and improves the body’s ability to absorb nutrients
Kills and gets rid of parasites
Eliminates or improves bad breath
Improves symptoms of digestive disorders like colitis and inflammatory bowel syndrome
Reduces inflammation that may contribute to arthritis
Facilitates the growth of strong bones
Skin and Coat
Relieves dry, cracked elbows and pads on the bottom of the paws
Defends against ticks, mites, and fleas
Eliminates bad odors
Speeds up healing of wounds, cuts, bites, stings, hot spots and dry skin when applied topically
Reduces the severity of allergic reactions
Improves skin conditions like contact dermatitis, flea allergies, eczema, and itchy skin
Treats and protects against fungal and yeast infections, like candida
Helps wounds heal quicker and disinfects scrapes and cuts
Improves the appearance of coats by making them glossy and sleek
Eyes, Ears, Mouth, and Brain
Can be melted and used as eye drops or applied topically inside the ears in order to treat eye or ear infections
May be used to clean teeth
Promotes good oral health
Improves brain and nerve function and may prevent dementia
Metabolism and Endocrine System
Boosts energy levels to promote weight loss
Can prevent or manage diabetes by balancing insulin and regulating blood sugar levels
Improves thyroid function
Can reduce the risk of developing cancer
Includes powerful antiviral, anti-fungal, and antibacterial properties that can protect against disease and infections
Coconut Oil For Dogs: How To Use It?
As a general rule of thumb, coconut oil should be served once or twice per day with meals. However, the amount will depend on your dog’s size.
Puppies and small breeds should start off with servings no more than 1/4 teaspoon per day, while large dogs can begin with as much as 1 teaspoon per serving. Gradually, you can work up to giving your dog as much as 1 teaspoon per 10 pounds of body weight.
It is very important that you slowly increase the amount of coconut oil over time so your dog’s body has time to adjust to the supplement. Starting out with too much can cause unpleasant side effects like greasy stools or diarrhea. Additionally, if your dog is overweight or obese, the coconut oil should be offered just once a day due to its high fat content.
To moisturize your dog’s fur and skin, rub a small amount of coconut oil in your hands to warm it up, pat it onto the fur, and massage it into the skin. If your dog has long fur, you may need to work it into their coat a little at a time. Don’t worry if your dog starts licking it off after it’s applied; whatever he licks off his fur isn’t likely to exceed the recommended daily dosage.
Proper Storage of Coconut Oil
If you choose to give your dog coconut oil supplements, it’s very important that you know how to store it properly so you get the most usage out of it and to prevent it from going bad. Ideally, coconut oil should be stored in a glass jar in a cool, dark, dry place.
If you notice that your oil tends to be in its liquid state when stored in the cabinet, it should probably be moved to a different location. Always use a clean spoon or other utensil when scooping out coconut oil to prevent the addition of contaminants to the jar. Food particles or other substances can cause the oil to go rancid quickly.
Please be aware that coconut oil does not typically change color, texture, or smell over time. If you notice any of these undesirable changes in your oil, don’t take a risk on your dog’s health; throw it out!