Fur-fetched or Paw-some: What’s the Verdict on Coconut Oil for Dogs?
These days, it can often seem like people use coconut oil for everything: their food, skin, hair, and more. So, it is only a matter of time before you start wondering if you can use coconut oil to help keep your pup healthy as well.
The good news is that you aren’t alone in your musings. Experts have wondered about the same thing which means that there are some questions to your answers. Now, without further ado, let’s see whether coconut oil is right for your pooch.
Fur-st Things Fur-st - Can Dogs Eat Coconut Oil?
Now, the first question on your mind, obviously, is coconut oil good for dogs. Or, more precisely, is it safe for them to eat? Well, coconut oil is a natural substance and is derived from a plant. Thus, it is an oil that you can add to your dog’s diet.
Nonetheless, it is important to think of coconut oil as a supplement and not a dietary ingredient. As a result, it shouldn’t be used as a substitute for any kind of food that you are currently giving to your dog. However, it can help to boost your pup’s health and treat a number of issues when used properly.
The Paws-itive Benefits of Coconut Oil for Dogs
Now that you have established that coconut oil is safe for your furry friend, it’s time to take a look at the benefits afforded by this oil.
Before getting started, though, there is something you should understand. When you read through scientific articles related to coconut oil and dogs, you will quickly realize something. Most scientists will use synthetic or natural multi-chain triglyceride ingredients in their experiments.
So, what does this mean?
Well, in short, it means that the results of the experiments may not always be replicated in real life.
See, coconut oil does contain MCTs. However, unlike the synthetic or pure versions used in experiments, coconut oil contains just 54 percent of MCTs. Therefore – health-wise, at least – coconut oil may not have as much of a positive impact as substances that contain 100 percent MCTs.
Nevertheless, there is a good chance that coconut oil can still have a number of benefits for your pup. These include:
Can Help with Digestion
As you are probably aware, fat is an important nutrient. In particular, it provides your dogs with enough energy. This is why every dog needs to have a certain level of fat in their diet. Now, unfortunately, fat can also be rather difficult to digest.
This is especially true for pups with certain digestive disorders. The side effects of these issues include lowered energy levels and a lack of necessary calories as well. In this instance, MCT has shown to be a great deal more digestible than other forms of fats.
So, if your pup is having trouble getting the type of healthy fats that they need. Or, if they need a boost in energy or calories, coconut oil could be the answer.
Aids Senior Dogs in Maintaining Cognitive Abilities
As your pooch gets older, it isn’t just physical issues that you have to worry about – you also have to be concerned about their mental capabilities. Just like humans, dogs can experience cognitive decline as they age as well.
The good news is that MCTs may help to minimize this effect. Dogs that were provided MCT supplementation were able to perform mental tasks much better than those who didn’t receive this intervention. What’s more, this result was maintained over a greater period of time as well!
Can Be Used to Ward Off Fleas
You will be certainly pleased to hear that you can use coconut oil for fleas! In one study, it was discovered that shampoo with up to 80 percent of virgin coconut oil was most effective for treating ticks, fleas, and mites.
So, if your pup has fleas or similar pests, it might be time to ditch the commercial dog shampoo. Instead, go ahead and use some high-grade coconut oil. Not only will it get rid of the fleas for you, but it will also keep them away for longer.
May Help with Dry Skin
Research has shown that coconut oil is quite useful for treating dry skin conditions in humans. However, there are some vets that ask pet parents to rub it into the skin and fur off dogs that have long-standing dry skin as well. This oil may act as a moisturizer.
A Woof of Warning
Now, you should keep in mind that coconut oil isn’t good for every pup. For instance, it is possible for certain dogs to be allergic to it. Others may find the oil difficult to digest. If this is the case, one of the first side effects is loose stools. Stop the dose immediately if you notice this.
It should also be noted that coconut oil can cause your pup’s cholesterol level to rise. So, if your dog is on the heavier side or is already dealing with cholesterol issues, make sure to avoid it all costs. Furthermore, don’t give coconut oil to any dog that is dealing with fat-related metabolic issues.
To avoid encountering any issues with coconut oil, it is important to always check with a vet before starting supplementation. This is something you should do even if you want to use coconut oil topically. It is only a vet that will be able to conclusively tell you whether or not coconut oil is safe for your pooch.
Sniffing Out the Best Coconut Oil
When you go shopping for coconut oil, you will realize that there are different types. In particular, there will be a processed version and virgin oil. So, which one should you get?
Well, whenever possible, go with the virgin coconut oil as it is much less processed than the cheaper options. Due to this, it contains more nutrients and is free from by-products that tend to accumulate during the processing procedures.
In short, the virgin coconut oil is much healthier for your dog than the processed version.
Figuring Out the Dosage
It is important to slowly introduce coconut oil into your dog’s diet. This is especially true if they are on the smaller side.
Here are a few guidelines for knowing how much coconut oil for dogs is useful:
For smaller dogs, start with just ¼ of a teaspoon a day. If your dog doesn’t show any side effects, you can give them coconut oil twice a day – but no more than this.
Larger dogs can take anywhere from 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon. However, it is important to start off slow and watch for any problems after introducing the oil into their diet.
Consider the Paws-abilities: How to Use Coconut Oil for Your Pup
Now, let’s take a look at how you can use coconut oil for your pup. Your pup may be rather reluctant to simply swallow a spoonful of coconut oil. Thus, you may be better off using it as a base for your homemade dog treats. This way, you will be able to give it to your pup without any fuss.
If you want to use it for your pup’s skin, simply massage the oil into the dry spots. Use a little bit at a time so that their fur doesn’t end up too oily. If you are using it to get rid of ticks, fleas, or mites, then you can rub it into the infested areas.
This concludes what you need to know about using coconut oil for your pup. As you can see, in certain instances, it can help your pup to be healthier and look better too. However, always get the advice of a vet before you decide to change your pooch’s diet in any way.
Riya Borah is a nutritionist educator and her job involves guiding people towards a healthier lifestyle. Growing up in India, Riya was aware of just how much coconut was used on a daily basis. This encouraged her to research the properties of this versatile drupe. It opened her eyes to both the limitation and possibilities of coconut. Her aim is to now educate as many people as possible about the best ways to utilize coconut in their own lives.
An Important Disclaimer
The information on this page should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice. Consult a doctor if you wish to consume any form of coconut regularly for the purpose of treating any condition or illness.