Is Coconut Oil Beneficial to Dogs?
Humans are increasingly using coconut oil as a supplement. It's thought to provide health benefits such as stimulating the immune system, assisting with weight loss, acting as an anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal, and increasing cognitive skills in Alzheimer's sufferers. Coconut oil works well as a moisturizer and lip balm when applied topically.
However, some pet owners wonder if coconut oil benefits dogs. Coconut oil, according to certain holistic and naturopathic vets, has properties that can help with a variety of canine ailments. But Pet parents are buying and feeding massive amounts of coconut oil to their pets without understanding what it is or the possible harm it might cause, even though it is marketed to heal every condition under the sun.
Is coconut oil, on the other hand, genuinely beneficial to dogs?
While coconut oil isn't a cure-all for dogs, and there are risks associated with using too much of it, it may benefit your dog's skin, hair, digestion, and mental health. Let's look at the benefits of coconut oil for dogs and the disadvantages of using coconut oil.
Coconut oil, like coconut oil for humans, can be safe and beneficial for dogs. Coconut oil is an edible oil widely found in both food and beauty products due to its high content of saturated fat and medium-chain triglycerides, a type of saturated fatty acid linked to a variety of health advantages, including weight loss and improved cognitive function. Coconut oil has been proved to have several benefits for the canine population, from alleviating gastrointestinal difficulties and soothing irritated skin to preventing infection and minimizing allergic reactions.
Coconut Oil's Health Benefits for Dogs
Coconut oil could be beneficial to your dog's skin and brain. The following are some of the benefits of coconut oil for dogs:
It can hydrate dry skin. Coconut oil, when used carefully, can help moisturize a dog's dry skin, especially after a bath. It will also give your pet a pleasant odor.
It can act as an anti-allergen barrier. Coconut oil can help certain dogs avoid secondary illness by working as a barrier to allergens in the environment.
It can aid in the healing of wounds. Applying a small amount of coconut oil to dogs' minor wounds can help speed the healing process.
It can help your dog's brain function better. Coconut oil includes Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs), which are necessary fatty acids that enhance senior dogs' mood, memory, problem-solving abilities, and clarity of thought by feeding brain cells.
It can attract dogs to eat. If your dog is a picky eater, try sprinkling a little coconut oil on his food to make mealtime more appealing.
It may be beneficial to dogs suffering from liver illness. MCTs may also help pets with liver illness or lymphangiectasia, a condition characterized by improper fat or energy metabolism.
Coconut oil can be used in a variety of dishes and treats.
You can add coconut oil to your pet's meals after checking with your veterinarian to help balance out their thyroid, which can help overweight dogs shed weight and even the most inactive canines feel more energized. Coconut oil has also been shown in studies to increase nutrient absorption, aid in treating digestive problems such as inflammatory bowel syndrome and colitis, and lower general inflammation in the body.
Start with a quarter teaspoon for little dogs, larger breeds can manage up to one teaspoon for 10 pounds of body weight per day—and make sure your dog doesn't have a weight problem or is a breed that's prone to pancreatitis, as coconut oil's high-fat content can induce weight gain if not utilized appropriately.
Do you enjoy making your dog treats? Consider using coconut oil as a basis; when combined with health-promoting, anti-inflammatory spices like turmeric, it may transform a pleasant treat for Rover into a potent tool for keeping him healthy.
Just make sure you choose organic, virgin, cold-pressed coconut oil, and stop giving it to your dog right away if you observe any signs of stomach trouble, such as diarrhea or allergic reactions. If your dog appears to have an adverse reaction to coconut oil, omega-3 fatty acids in salmon oil and flaxseed oil can provide some of the same benefits as coconut oil.
Not only will the coconut oil make your pet's kibble irresistible, but because it's a medium-chain fatty acid (MCFA), it'll be absorbed directly into their GI tract and delivered to the liver, where it'll be metabolized into energy for your dog. It will help alleviate or even prevent physical and digestive problems that may arise. Some human and animal studies have found that eating a diet rich in MCFAs can help reduce fat depot size and possibly even prevent weight gain—all while offering an extra surge of energy to improve athletic performance and stamina.
When Giving Coconut Oil to Your Dog, Take Care
Coconut oil is a fat source, which means it boosts the number of calories your pet consumes regularly. If you're going to add coconut oil to your dog's food, you should reduce the amount of food you give him daily to avoid weight gain.
Obese pets are more likely to have chronic health problems. Your pet's veterinarian should be informed of any weight gain.
Coconut oil, either alone or in combination with other products, should not be used in a pet's ears.
Coconut oil can hold moisture in a mostly enclosed location like the ear canal, worsening ear infections. Coconut oil has no anti-itch effects; thus, it won't help you with itching ears or head shaking.
Apply Coconut Oil on Pills as a Coating
Anyone who has ever had to administer a medicine to their dog knows how tough it can be. If your dog realizes the spoon full of peanut butter you're offering it is a prescription and refuses to eat it,t, coconut oil can help. It can be used as a coating on pills to make taking medicine more appealing and delightful for your pet, as well as making the pill easier to swallow.
Apply Coconut Oil on the Skin of Your Dog
Applying coconut oil to your dog's skin, just like it does to people's skin, will help infuse moisture into your furry friend's skin, which is especially crucial during the cold winter months, and prevent flaking and other signs of irritation. Coconut oil is particularly effective at hydrating and increasing lipid levels on the surface of the skin if your dog already has dry skin or dandruff.
Rub a tiny quantity of coconut oil into your hands and massage it into your dog's skin while running your fingers through their fur. Coconut oil may also help your dog's coat appear more smooth and glossy. Just keep in mind that your pet might lick himself a little more that day!
If you live in a forested region or enjoy hiking with your dog, know that coconut oil can help repel fleas and ticks while keeping your pet safe from disease.
Coconut oil can help deter unwanted pests from latching onto your dog's skin when applied to his coat, and some study has indicated that it can also help eradicate mites.
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Coconut oil can be used to brush your dog's teeth.
The antibacterial characteristics of coconut oil make it a natural—and delicious—way to brush your pet's teeth. According to human research, oil-infused toothpaste can be used to achieve the same benefits as the widespread technique of oil pulling. Coconut oil toothpaste can help eradicate dangerous germs in the mouth and prevent plaque from forming, which can contribute to dental disease in the first place. 8 You can mix the oil with your dog's toothpaste or brush their teeth with it straight, just like you would with conventional dog toothpaste.
Soothe Wounds with Coconut Oil
Coconut oil has natural antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties7, so if your dog has broken pads or other cuts, you can use it as a natural topical antibiotic to help cure and soothe the wounds. Seasonal allergies in dogs, which cause them to chew on their paws or scratch their ears more regularly, can benefit from applying coconut oil to these types of sores.
What kind of coconut oil are you using?
Coconut oil for dogs is available at most grocery stores, vitamin stores, online retailers, and pet stores. Make sure there are no added sugars or unnecessary substances by reading the labels.
Look for organic, virgin, or cold-pressed coconut oil if you're going to give your dog coconut oil orally or topically because cold-pressed coconut oil is produced without the use of heat. Heat decreases the antioxidant content of refined coconut oil, as it does with all food processing. As a result, cold-pressed oil should be predicted to have more robust antioxidant levels than refined oil.
You should give your dog the unpolished version because it is less processed. However, your dog will not be harmed if he eats refined coconut oil.
Alternatives to Coconut Oil for Dogs
There are options if your dog has an adverse reaction to coconut oil or if adding coconut oil to your dog's diet does not result in any changes. Coldwater fish oils, such as salmon oil and, to a lesser extent, flax seed oil, are high in omega-3 fatty acids and can give some of the same health benefits as coconut oil. Of course, as with any supplement, a dog's consumption should be monitored, and any health issues with your pet should be discussed with your veterinarian. Giving your dog coconut oil or other supplements isn't a cure-all or a quick fix.