In recent years, coconut oil has become one of the most popular products on the health food market – and for good reason. It has a wide variety of uses as an ingredient in household cleaners, in skin care products, and as a dietary supplement.
Coconut oil is also known for its antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial properties. In fact, it is so widely used that many pet owners are now giving it to their dogs. Yet the question remains: is it good for our furry friends? Here’s what you need to know.
What is coconut oil, exactly?
Coconut oil is extracted from the meat of the coconut palm. It is high in saturated fat and slow to oxidize, which means that it won’t go bad for a long time. In fact, coconut oil generally lasts up to 6 months at 75°F without spoiling.
Most specialists agree that your beloved pet needs oil to maintain a healthy coat, fight common skin conditions, and keep its heart and joints healthy. In the past, pet owners have generally turned to omegas to serve these purposes, although coconut oil offers an arguably superior – and increasingly popular — alternative.
When ingested, coconut oil is directly absorbed in the GI tract and goes straight to the liver to be absorbed and transformed into usable energy. Its desirable taste also makes it easy to add to your dog’s regular diet, giving all meals that extra health kick.
What are the health benefits?
There are numerous, well-documented benefits to coconut oil, both for humans and their furry best friends. Here are a few.
- Gets rid of dog odour
- Supports wound healing
- Offers a glossy and sleek coat
- Soothes and heals cracked and dry pads
- Safeguards against ticks, mites, and fleas
- Improves skin health and lowers allergic reactions
- Treats and prevents fungal and yeast infections, like candida
- Relieves itchy skin, eczema, contact dermatitis and flea allergies
- Helps heal cuts, wounds, bites, and stings, dry skin and hair
Immune and digestive system
- Possible reduction in cancer
- Potent antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-fungal that prevents disease and infection
- Helps prevent bad breath
- Removes or kills parasites
- Increases digestion and the absorption of nutrients
- Helps many digestive ailments, such as colitis and inflammatory bowel syndrome
Metabolic and endocrine system
- Encourages normal thyroid function
- Improves energy and promotes weight loss
- Balances and regulates insulin and may control or prevent diabetes
- Supports strong bone development
- Reduces inflammation and may assist in arthritis pain
Eyes, brain, ears and mouth
- Prevents dementia
- Improves oral health
- May be used to clean teeth
- Aides in eye and ear infections
- Supports good brain and nerve function
How to give your dog coconut oil
Coconut oil is often administered as a supplement. The standard recommendation for a dog is approximately 1 teaspoon per 10 pounds of body weight.
Generally, it is best to start your dog off with small portions – about ¼ of the standard amount. For instance, if you have a 60-pound dog, then the formulated amount would be 6 teaspoons.
On the onset, you would give ¼ of the 6 teaspoons, or 1.5 teaspoons. A lesser amount is given so that your dog’s stool is not extra loose.
Some final words of caution
Note that it is always recommended to first consult your veterinarian before starting your dog on any new products.
Due to the high-fat concentration of coconut oil, is it advised to reduce the amounts given to overweight dogs as they are not able to tolerate the extra fat.