Ultimate Guide to Using Coconut Oil for Dogs
Asking the question for pet parents everywhere: Is coconut oil good for dogs?
Quick answer: YES!
This tropical fruit is not only a delicious treat for humans, but it also provides significant health benefits for the furry friend in your life. Organic coconut oil, if processed correctly, can give you all the essential nutrients needed for a healthy body inside and out.
Pet parents who have used coconut oil before know the therapeutic benefits and can vouch for the efficiency and ease of this all-natural remedy, especially with dogs who struggle with traditional forms of medication. Coconut oil is a potent supplement for dogs with skin irritations, digestive problems, and a variety of other bodily imbalances.
All these benefits, in addition to the drool-worthy taste of coconut, leave pet parents wondering if the hype surrounding coconut oil is too good to be true.
Coconut for Dogs 101
What’s so great about coconut?
Coconut oil is an edible oil extracted from mature coconuts harvested from the coconut palm. Found in both food and beauty products, it has many applications but the most notable are the health benefits it provides for humans and dogs.
This natural remedy can be delivered both orally or topically, giving pets the best of both worlds. Applied topically it can relieve skin conditions and help speed the process of healing for minor scrapes. Given orally, it can provide digestive, cognitive, and immune system support for dogs.
Coconut is made up of saturated fatty acids, with the majority being Medium Chain Fatty Acids (Medium Chain Triglycerides). These are the “miracle” fatty compounds that provide the medicinal benefits of coconut oil. One of the most helpful medium chain fatty acids is the chemical compound labeled Lauric Acid. Lauric acid, most commonly found in mother’s milk, is rich in nutrients and anti-bacterial properties that are associated with building a healthy immune system. Thankfully, the benefits of lauric acid aren’t just restricted to babies; canines can gain the same health advantages that this compound offers humans.
Medium Chain triglycerides are metabolized differently from other fatty acids, they move through your system quicker and therefore provide an immediate source of energy for the dogs who are constantly on the go! Coconut oil will not only give them an all-natural energy boost but balance internal systems like the thyroid and digestive tracts. Extensive research on medium-chain fatty acids has proven that MCTs can also provide therapeutic effects on the brain, improving the cognitive function of those facing Alzheimers and other brain disorders.
Coconut Oil Benefits
So now that we know the science behind the coconut compounds, we can talk about the specific benefits they provide for our best buds. There is a significant amount of anecdotal evidence that points to coconut oil as an effective dietary supplement and treatment option. Coconut oil can be used as a topical treatment for skin conditions or as an oral supplement to treat digestive and immune system issues.
The therapeutic powers of coconut are endless, and with consistent use of coconut oil as both a preventive or proactive measure, you can help protect your dog against a variety of troublesome conditions.
We listed some of the main benefits below:
Protect and Relieve Skin Irritations
Coconut oil has potent anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties which makes it a perfect choice to treat skin conditions. Coconut oil can be used to hydrate dry skin, clear up eczema or relieve uncomfortable skin rashes caused by allergic reactions.
Whether it’s taken orally or rubbed on the skin for immediate localized relief, coconut oil can rejuvenate irritated skin and promote faster healing of cuts, wounds, and hot spots. It has also been shown to provide welcoming relief against bug bites and fleas.
Your pup will thank you for the relief, only if he doesn’t lick it off first!
Helps with Digestive Issues
Pet parents have started giving coconut oil to their dogs as a daily dietary supplement. The medium chained fatty acids (discussed earlier) have been shown to soothe digestive conditions such as inflammatory bowel syndrome and colitis. They improve digestion, aid in nutrient absorption, and promote good overall gastrointestinal health.
However, as the saying goes, “too much of a good thing” isn’t always the best. If you give your pet too much coconut oil, it may cause their stool to loosen.
Minor Cuts and Scraps
The antibacterial properties of lauric acid help disinfect wounds and speed the healing of minor external cuts and scrapes.
Coconut oil can keep your dog’s coat looking like new!
Packed with high levels of Vitamin C, coconut oil helps moisturize dry skin and keeps your dog’s fur glossy and healthy. Adding it as a dietary supplement or directly into their shampoo will help boost the overall look of their coat and reduce irritation caused by skin conditions. Lauric acid’s unique chemical properties allow for easier penetration of the hair strands. Providing better absorption of nutrients through the skin to help improve the appearance and health of your dog’s coat.
The wonders of coconut aren’t limited to external treatments. The antibacterial properties found in coconut oil helps prevent bacterial and viral infections. The lauric acid compound can also protect your dog against harmful diseases, which then helps them boost up their immune system even more.
Not all itches are alike. One of the most common causes of itchiness, aside from allergies and hot spots, are yeast infections. Yeast infections are a fairly common inflammatory skin condition caused by yeast and bacteria accumulation on the skin, ears, and other areas on a dog’s body. The powerful antibacterial and antifungal functions of coconut oil can aid in treating mild cases of yeast and fungal infections.
Brain, Ears, and Eyes
The lauric acid found in coconut oil is the same compound found in mother’s milk; therefore it provides similar cognitive benefits to dogs as it does to child development. MCT’s are metabolized directly in the liver and then can be converted into energy properties known as Ketones. Ketones are an alternative energy source for the brain. This compound is excellent for brain health, promoting proper brain functions and helping to slow down deteriorating cognitive diseases such as dementia or Alzheimers.
Coconut oil can also be used to clear up ear and eye infections with its antibacterial functions. Used topically in the ears and eyes, pet parents can use an eyedropper to deliver immediate relief to their furry friends.
With its yummy smell and disinfecting properties, coconut oil has been found to reduce -and sometimes eliminate- bad doggy odors. Pet parents have used it to clean their dog’s teeth and freshen up their breath. It is also applied directly on their coat to deodorize their fur. The pleasant smell of coconut helps keep your pup feeling fresh and smelling great.
Reducing doggy odors and having your house smell like a tropical oasis? Sounds like a win for everybody!
Coconut oil is recommended as a non-toxic, all-natural treatment for intestinal worms. Pet parents who have introduced coconut as a dietary supplement has seen effective results with expelling worms. The use of dried unsweetened coconut meat or oil has been proven to help eliminate and prevent a parasitic infestation.
When taken internally, coconut oil can act as a powerful antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and immune boosting agent. The “good” medium chain fatty acids are directly absorbed in the gastrointestinal tracts allowing faster metabolism which in turn provides an immediate source of energy and aids in healthy weight loss. It promotes healthy cholesterol levels, normal thyroid function and helps fight heart disease.
So yes, it’s safe. It’s yummy. And it could potentially help your dog in many different ways. The next question is, how should you give it to them?
Coconut Oil Uses
There are numerous ways you can integrate coconut oil into your dog’s daily schedule. Topical ointments, treats, and shampoos are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to coconut oil. People use coconut oil as repellents for fleas and other insects, helping create a protective barrier for our furry buddies during hikes and the summer months. The smooth texture makes it easy to rub on, the only problem you’ll face is keeping your pet from licking it off because it tastes so good!
Coconut oil is a great substitute when cooking or baking for your pup. Next time you’re making your favorite homemade dog treats, try inserting some coconut oil into the recipe and see how fast your pup gobbles them up. They’ll be begging you for more, and the best part is that you’re giving them a healthy treat that gives them all the satisfaction of commercial treats, just with an extra health boost.
Coconut oil isn’t the only coconut product that’s suitable for dogs. Fresh or dried coconut chunks are an excellent snack for your dogs. It gives them the crunchy texture they know and love with a refreshing hydrating taste. Companies like Cocotherapy are coming out with whole lines of coconut-inspired treats from coconut macaroons to dehydrated coconut chips. Made from 100% pure organic coconut meat– with no sugar or chemicals added– these raw coconut chips are an excellent source of dietary fiber.
Coconut oil is an inexpensive and healthy option for pet parents who are seeking more holistic remedies for their pet’s ailments. Whether you use it as a topical ointment, shampoo, or simply a few drops in their food, your dog will experience all the health benefits this superfood has to offer.
How much Coconut oil should I give to my Dog?
Like any other all-natural remedy, the dosage is very subjective. Pet parents and vets recommend that you start slow and gradually build up to more. The recommended dose is about a teaspoon of coconut oil per 10 lbs of dog. When starting out, give ¼ of the recommended dosage and see how your pup reacts to it.
Because coconut oil kills harmful bacteria, viruses, parasites, and yeast, the result of removing harmful organisms from the body can trigger symptoms of detoxification. Gradually increasing the amount every few days allows you to monitor your dog’s reaction and can help avoid upset stomachs or loose stools. If your dog seems tired, uncomfortable or has diarrhea, reduce the amount temporarily and consult your vet.
Dog owners have found success in using an eyedropper as a delivery method for transdermal treatments and for adding coconut oil directly to dog treats.
Coconut oil is an excellent massage oil and if mixed with other aromatherapy oils can be used to calm anxious or hyperactive pets. For itching and dry skin, you can apply coconut directly into the skin, thoroughly massaging it into their coat to ensure maximum absorption. It can be used on cracked paws, or on hot spots in their belly or armpit regions. Since coconut oil is super hydrating and does not dry quickly, you should use a towel to remove excess oil when applied topically. Due to the smell and taste, using a towel to cover the treated area can help keep your pup from licking off all the oil.
Is Coconut Oil Safe for Dogs?
Coconut oil is safe for all types of animals. Studies have shown that animals can tolerate coconut oil very well and pet parents do not need to worry about toxicity due to overconsumption. If your dog accidentally licks a whole jar of coconut oil, they may experience a bout of diarrhea but nothing too serious. You also don’t have to worry about coconut oil going bad or turning toxic with high temperatures. It is a stable, non-toxic substance with approximately two years of shelf-life.
However, just like any other holistic option, it is always important to check with a qualified veterinarian before adding any health supplement to your dog’s diet.
Coconuts are notorious for having high levels of saturated fat. While this is technically correct, it is important to remember that not all fats are bad. The fat content found in coconuts, as discussed earlier, are medium-chain fatty acids which carry multiple health benefits. The fat levels in coconut oil, although still high, are considered safe for dogs (if given in moderation).
What’s the Best Type of Coconut Oil?
We only want the best when it comes to the food and medicines we give to our pups. When deciding on the best coconut oil for dogs always go for virgin coconut oil, preferably organic and sold in a glass jar. Some of the coconut oils found in the supermarket are refined, bleached and deodorized. Meaning that they take out all the good things naturally found in the coconut. When feeding your dog coconut oil, it is best to avoid RBD products because the chemical processing removes a huge chunk of the nutritional and therapeutic value.
The Difference is in the Details: CocoTherapy Coconut Oil
Charisa Antigua and Carmina O’Connor, founders of CocoTherapy, always stress the importance of using all-natural, untreated coconut oil. Dedicated to using only the highest quality ingredients, Cocotherapy sources 100% USDA certified organic, cold-pressed coconut oil from their family coconut farm in the Philippines. Bottled from one of the best sources of coconut available and processed with care, it is some of the highest quality coconut oil you can give your pets. Their customers can definitely tell the difference in both taste and quality. The commitment they have to making products through all-natural processes is one of the main reasons so many pet parents turn to CocoTherapy for their coconut needs.
They started this business because they wanted to find a better way to treat their pet’s recurring conditions. One of their pets, a Yorkie named Violet, had dealt with allergies all her life. She was taking Prednisone to help manage her allergies, but due to adverse reactions to the medication, they needed to find a better alternative to the traditional treatment plan. By introducing coconut into her diet, she was able to manage and almost eliminate the itchy and irritating symptoms of her allergies.
Maggie, another one of CocoTherapy’s original customers, was diagnosed with a condition called “Borderline Hypothyroidism”, meaning that she was suffering from a weak thyroid system but it wasn’t severe enough to register as full Hypothyroidism. As the concerned pet parents that they are, they wanted to avoid subjecting Maggie to the full 30-day thyroid supplement treatment. This thyroid treatment risks elevating a pup’s thyroxine levels too high, which can then cause damage to other organs. Since coconut oil is said to support healthy thyroid functions, and with the guidance of their holistic vet, Charisa and Carmina decide to give it a try. After adding coconut oil to her diet, they can happily report that Maggie’s thyroid levels are now under control.
To put it simply, Coconut oil is a WIN!
It’s an all-natural health supplement that provides numerous benefits both inside and out. Unlike other herbal supplements that boast significant health benefits for your dog, coconut oil is a taste they are sure to love! Adding coconut oil to your pup’s diet should be a no brainer.
Coconut oil is an excellent source of nutrients, and with regular use, coconut oil will help keep your dog happy and healthy!
What’s your favorite way to use coconut oil for your dog? Let us know what you think.