Coconut oil is a beloved ingredient in most kitchens. It is an edible oil from mature coconuts and much safer than other processed oils. It helps burn body fats, improve the skin’s texture and appearance, improve oral health, and protect the hair, among other benefits.
The oil’s merits also stretch to dogs, where it can be used to deal with issues such as weight management and dry, flaky skin. However, not everyone agrees that it is beneficial to dogs.
In this piece, we take a closer look at this oil and why there is some controversy surrounding its benefits.
Benefits of Coconut Oil for Dogs
Most neuropathic and holistic veterinarians believe coconut oil contains beneficial properties that can aid in many types of canine problems. The lauric acid in coconut oil is considered to fight off viruses. It also has anti-inflammatory, antifungal, and antibacterial properties that help keep your pooch healthy.
Another benefit of coconut oil is the Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCT), which help digestion and deal with digestive disorders. The MCTs are also believed to improve brain function, especially in older dogs. Giving your dog some coconut oil when they have a cold can help reduce coughing. Coconut oil also assists in eliminating hairballs.
Moreover, the oil is good for dogs who need to lose weight, have improved metabolic function, strengthen their bones, and get rid of arthritis.
Coconut oil is also used for its topical benefits that can help your dog deal with skin conditions like bites, dry skin, hot spots, or stings. Some people use coconut oil-based shampoos to reduce allergens and improve damaged skin.
Are There Downsides to Using Coconut Oil?
While some see coconut oil as a cure-all for most dog diseases, some veterinarians are skeptical. It is important to learn what your vet thinks of coconut oil before using it on your pooch.
Note that, no credible studies show coconut oil helps in weight loss, cancer prevention, or thyroid dysfunction. You only have pet owners’ accounts of this.
Furthermore, although coconut oil contains an impressive amount of saturated fats, it is not enough to make up for your dog’s daily fat requirements. The MCTs in the oil also doesn’t contain enough omega-3 and omega-6 acids, and what they do have is not processed efficiently.
Nevertheless, many pet owners swear by this oil’s benefits, especially as an excellent alternative to pharmaceutical antifungals and antibiotics.
You can try coconut oil to see whether their beliefs hold water – with your vet’s approval, of course.
Related: What Essential Oils are Bad for Dogs?
What About Coconuts?
You can give your dog raw coconut instead of coconut oil. Coconut meat is considered healthier than coconut oil as it contains the same properties as coconut oil and is more fun to eat. You might now be asking yourself, can dogs have coconut milk? And the answer is also yes.
Coconut milk comes from the same source as coconut oil. It is safe for your dog’s consumption, provided you serve it in small amounts.
If store-bought, you should ensure the milk doesn’t contain additives such as sugar, additional fats, and preservatives. These are harmful to dogs.
How to Use Coconut Oil for Dogs?
There are multiple ways to use coconut oil to ensure your dog gets the most out of it. They include:
Add It to their Meals and Treats
Once your vet approves of using coconut oil and confirms that your pup is not allergic to it, you can add the oil to their meal. It can help rebalance thyroid activity.
Most pet owners use this method to assist their dogs in losing weight and give sedentary dogs more energy. Some use coconut oil for constipation because of its anti-inflammatory and laxative properties. Coconut oil can counteract digestive disorders like constipation and reduce inflammation in the body.
However, be careful with the amount of coconut oil you add to your dog’s food or treats, as too much can lead to an upset stomach.
Apply It to the Skin
Most humans use coconut oil for lubrication, and you can do the same for your dog. You can even use coconut oil for dog shedding as it soothes irritation. It can also be a lifesaver during winter as it helps prevent flaking. It also increases lipid levels on your dog’s skin, helping control dandruff or dry skin.
Coconut oil makes your dog’s coat seem glossier, although you risk your pet licking themselves more frequently. The oil also acts as a natural flea-repellant, keeping ticks and fleas away and protecting your dog from diseases.
Use It to Soothe Wounds
Coconut oil has antiviral, antifungal, and antibacterial properties that come in handy when your dog has wounds. You can apply the oil to their cracked pads or other cuts and bruises to help them heal.
The oil’s soothing properties can also relieve dogs with a tendency to scratch their ears or chew on their paws. Simply apply it in the hurt areas in small amounts and let it work its magic.
Coat Their Pills
Some dogs can get fussy when taking their meds. Luckily, coconut oil is here to help! It has a sweet smell that most dogs find attractive. Apply some coconut oil to their medicine; it masks the pill’s smell and encourages your dog to eat it.
You can use it as a replacement for peanut butter for dogs who have already figured out that trick. The oil also makes the medicine easier to swallow.
Use It to Brush Their Teeth
Take advantage of coconut oil’s antimicrobial properties and use it to clean your pup’s teeth. Add the oil to your dog’s regular toothpaste or buy coconut oil-infused toothpaste to clean your pup’s mouth. Use it the same way you would commercial dog toothpaste to clean and refresh your dog’s mouth.
Not only is coconut oil suitable for ingestion, but it also has multiple uses that can make you and your pup’s life easier. Remember that there isn’t enough scientific evidence to back up the claims. Thus, getting guidance from your vet before using it is advisable.
When used correctly, coconut oil can help dogs lose weight, soothe wounds, and increase their appetite.