It’s no secret that coconut oil is a powerful superfood! But pet owners can also take advantage of its beneficial properties for their four-legged family members, making for a fantastic natural remedy to supplement what can often be expensive vet bills.
Dogs need 6 key types of food in their diets: protein, carbohydrates, fats, minerals, vitamins, and water. While many pet food commercials emphasize protein sources in their products, fats are necessary to provide your dog with twice as much energy as protein and carbs will. (9) Fats are also essential for proper hormone function, for absorbing certain vitamins, and for keeping their skin and coats healthy (9).
Coconut oil shouldn’t be the only source of dietary fat for your furry friend, but it’s a special option that comes with several of its own unique health benefits. Keep reading for the top 12 reasons to incorporate coconut oil into your dog’s routine.
Coconut Oil Uses for Dogs
While the complete effects of coconut oil for dogs has not been fully researched, each of these health benefits is supported by anecdotal evidence, as well as many veterinarians. One such pet expert Dr. Colleen Smith, DVM, CVA, CVCP of the Chattanooga Holistic Animal Institute says, ” [Coconut oil] provides many benefits for dogs…Coconut oil can increase energy levels, improve skin and coat, improve digestion, and reduce allergic reactions.” (1)
Dr. Katie Gryzb, a Brooklyn-based veterinarian, also explains that coconut oil can help fend off cognitive decline in dogs. “Fatty acids are helpful in cognitive function, which has been medically proven,” she says (1)
Talk to your veterinarian about using coconut oil to help in these ways:
- Aiding digestion (3) (Note: visit your vet right away if your dog is vomiting often. It could be a sign of parasites or kidney failure)
- Relieving allergic reactions (1)
- Producing a shinier coat (1) (Note: a rough coat could be a sign of worms)
- Relieving dry itchy skin (1)
- Eliminating pests (4, 5)
- Fighting yeast infections (2)
- Prevent cognitive decline (1)
- Promotes swift wound healing (6)
- Reduces bad breath (6)
- Helps to recover faster from kennel cough (7)
- Boost immune system by helping to fight infections (8)
- Eases inflammation- great supplement for older, arthritic dogs (8)
How to Give Coconut Oil to Your Dog
To Apply Topically: Rub a small amount in your hands, then massage into your dog’s fur and skin. Use this topical method for treating inflammation, allergic reactions, dry skin, wound healing, and dull looking fur.
To Consume Internally: Mix an appropriate amount of coconut into your dog’s food. Follow these guidelines for accurate dosage: Start with a very small amount, just 1/4 teaspoon daily. Then work your way up over the course of a month. For small dogs, the maximum dose shouldn’t exceed 1 teaspoon; for larger dogs, the maximum dose is about 1 tablespoon. However, if your dog is overweight, you can keep the dose at 1/4 teaspoon.
A Note of Caution
There is potential for allergic reaction, you should always test with a small amount of coconut oil and watch for adverse reactions over the next 24-48 hours before proceeding. If your dog shows side effects, bring them to your vet immediately.
Coconut oil could lead to becoming overweight in dogs. Closely monitor their weight while supplementing and talk to your veterinarian about alternative natural supplements to add to your dog’s diet. Additionally, don’t replace sources of Omega-3’s with coconut oil, since it is not a source of this important fat.
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