Many people these days are incorporating coconut oil into their diet because of the health benefits that it has to offer, but did you know that coconut oil has a wide range of benefits for your dog too?
From itchy skin to a compromised immune system, a spoonful of coconut oil can be just the thing to get your dog back to feeling good!
But what do you need to know about giving your dog coconut oil and what exactly can coconut oil be used for?
What Type of Coconut Oil Should I Give My Dog?
Organic, virgin, cold-pressed coconut oil is best. We recommend Viva Naturals brand.
How Do I Give My Dog Coconut Oil?
Coconut oil can be put directly on your dog’s skin or given to them orally depending on why you are giving your dog coconut oil.
When putting it on the skin, simply rub the oil onto the affected area. When giving coconut oil orally, mix it into food to make it more palatable.
How Much Coconut Oil Should I Give My Dog?
When giving your dog coconut oil orally, begin with a very small dose to limit the chance of your dog experiencing diarrhea while they adjust. Begin with a dose of 1/4 tsp. a day for small dogs and 1 tsp. a day for large dogs. From this starting dose, you can begin to build up to a maximum dose of 1 tsp. for every 10lb. of body weight or 1 tbsp. for every 30lb. of body weight.
If you find that your dog experiences an upset tummy after reaching a certain dose, reduce that dose to one that is more tolerable.
Is Coconut Oil Dangerous for Dogs?
Dogs with Allergies
While generally safe, there are some dogs with allergies to coconut who should never be given coconut oil orally or topically. If you are unsure whether your dog has an allergy, you can request an allergy test from your vet, or test your dog’s tolerance with a minuscule amount of coconut oil.
Dogs with Pancreatitis
Coconut oil is high in fat and as such, it should not be given to dogs with pancreatitis as it can exacerbate symptoms.
Coconut oil is high in calories and some vets believe it may increase levels of “bad” cholesterol, so it’s not recommended in large amounts for overweight and obese dogs. That said, in minimal amounts, coconut oil has been shown to assist with weight loss.
Dogs with Gastrointestinal Problems
For dogs with very sensitive stomachs and digestive systems, coconut oil may do more harm than good. As an oil, it is not unknown for coconut oil to cause loose stool or diarrhea and when that is already a concern, you definitely don’t want to add to it.
What Can Coconut Oil Do For My Dog?
Moisturizer and Itchy Skin Relief
Coconut oil makes a great moisturizer for dogs with dry and itchy skin. Simply take a small amount of coconut oil, rub it between your hands, and massage it over your dog’s coat.
Don’t worry if your dog tries to lick it off, it’s perfectly safe for them to eat so long as they don’t fall into one of the categories noted above!
An Anti-Viral, Anti-Fungal, and Anti-Bacterial
Coconut oil is a natural antiviral, antifungal, and antibacterial. While it should never take place of veterinary treatment, coconut oil can speed up healing time when applied to some wounds, yeast based skin infections, and when given orally during illnesses such as kennel cough.
Staving off Dementia
The fatty acids found in coconut oil are believed to promote cognitive function and stave off dementia. Incorporating coconut oil into your senior dog’s diet can help to improve their alertness and slow down existing canine cognitive dysfunction.
A Natural Flea and Tick Repellent
Whether your dog already has a flea infestation or whether you are trying to prevent fleas and ticks, coconut oil on their skin can help. It’s all down to the lauric acid which repels fleas and ticks!
Improves Digestive Issues
Ironically, while some pet parents should avoid giving coconut oil to dogs with gastrointestinal concerns due to the fact that it can cause diarrhea, coconut oil has been known to improve digestion by improving nutrient absorption and soothing the digestive tract of dogs with colitis and inflammatory bowel syndrome.
Arthritis and Ligament Damage Relief
The antioxidants found in coconut oil are excellent at reducing the inflammation that is commonly associated with arthritis and pain from ligament damage. Reduction of inflammation not only results in lowered levels of pain, but it also results in faster healing of ligament repair.
So, Should You Give Your Dog Coconut Oil?
While coconut oil can have a range of benefits for your dog, it’s important to talk to your vet before adding it to your dog’s diet. Adding any new supplement to your dog’s routine has the potential of causing side effects which need to be weighed against the benefits of using the supplement.