Coconut oil is one of the new trends for people looking to live a healthier lifestyle. Over the years, studies have shown that it has a lot of very impressive health benefits for people that use it. This make pet owners wonder, is coconut oil good for dogs? Find out everything you need to know including the risks and benefits of coconut oil for dogs.
What Exactly is Coconut Oil?
Extracted from a coconut’s meat, coconut oil is an edible oil that is used both in beauty and food products. Like palm oil, coconut oil is very versatile. High in saturated fats, coconut oil is full of good kinds of fat along with medium-chain triglycerides that provide both dogs and humans great health benefits.
What are the Benefits of Coconut Oil For Dogs?
So, we know that dogs can eat coconut, but is coconut oil good for dogs? Coconut oil is very powerful with its anti-viral, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties. Here’s what happens when you use it on your dog:
- Reduce dandruff and hydrate his skin
- Creates a shinier coat that is not as susceptible to damage
- Helps to heal any wounds by inhibiting the growth of bacteria
- Prevents bites from insects like mites, ticks, and fleas while also making it harder for insects to latch on to your dog’s skin
- Gets rid of odors
- Eliminates hairballs and reduces coughing
- Improves metabolic function and improves digestion
- Promotes weight loss when it is used in the right amounts
- Increases your dog’s energy levels
- Helps to absorb important nutrients
- Cleans your dog’s teeth
- Slows the progression of dog dementia or Canine Cognitive Dysfunction
- Helps improve skin problems
There are many positive effects of coconut oil that is probably due to its many anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. Studies have found that it can effectively hydrate the skin of those suffering from xerosis, which is a condition that is characterized by itchy and dry skin.
So, since coconut oil can help to treat the skin conditions in a human, it’s not a stretch to think that it can also be helpful when used on the skin of a dog. When you use coconut oil on a dog’s skin conditions, you can expect many of coconut oil’s well-known benefits. Veterinarians and dog owners claim that coconut oil is able to treat eczema and dry skin in dogs when you apply it topically.
It also has the ability to improve the appearance of a dog’s fur making it shinier and less prone to becoming damaged. This is due to the lauric acid found in coconut oil, which is the main fatty acid found in coconut oil. Lauric acid has a unique chemical makeup allowing it to penetrate the hair shaft very easily. You will find that other types of fat do not have the same capability, so coconut oil will help to keep your dog’s coat beautiful and healthy.
In coconut oil, lauric acid is known to keep hair more healthy than other fatty acids will. This acid can be used to improve the appearance and health of a dog’s fur. It can also help to fight off pests thanks to its antimicrobial effects, which prevent a dog from being infected by an ectoparasite. This means it can be a part of home remedies for dog mange as well as mites, ticks, and fleas. Plus, it can help to eliminate these same pests in a dog that has already been infected.
Studies have shown that dogs that were treated with shampoo made out of coconut oil have better-wound healing abilities if they have an ectoparasite bite, which is probably associated with the ability of coconut oil to inhibit the growth of bacteria. Plus, coconut oil can also kill fungi, bacteria, and viruses in studies.
Risks Associated with Using Coconut Oil on Dogs
While coconut oil has rare adverse effects, there are some things you will want to keep in mind before you use coconut oil on a dog. Anytime you introduce something new to a dog’s grooming regimen or diet, you will have a risk for allergic reactions. If you do see a reaction, stop using the product immediately. There are some studies that have found that using coconut oil in a dog’s diet can cause him to have high cholesterol, and in very rare cases, it can cause a dog to have fatty plaques develop in his arteries.
Coconut oil also has a high caloric content, so using coconut oil excessively in a dog’s diet may lead your dog to gain weight. And another study found that eating a diet that is high in saturated fat can reduce dogs’ scent-detecting capabilities. While more research is needed to understand this phenomenon, you may want to be cautious if you are feeding coconut oil if you own a working dog breed.
Always consult your vet before you add anything new to a dog’s diet or put anything on his fur. Remember that coconut oil can cause high cholesterol, weight gain, and hardening of the arteries in some dogs. If you own a dog that is prone to any of these conditions, make sure your veterinarian is aware.
What to Do If Your Dog Develops Diarrhea After Eating Coconut Oil
Consider giving him a bland diet. When vomiting and diarrhea occur, it can be beneficial to feed your dog a bland diet of rice and cooked chicken for a couple of days. Not only will this help to reduce vomiting, but it will make his stools harder. And it will limit how much of a coconut oil food reaction your dog continues to have.
Your dog can canned pumpkin in a small quantity. Canned pumpkin will harden any loose stools and help to alleviate diarrhea. Remember that it needs to be 100 percent canned pumpkin, which will help to stop your dog from pooping all his liquid out.
How Do You Use Coconut Oil on a Dog
After you have checked with your dog’s veterinarian and have determined that the natural and holistic coconut oil regimen is worth trying, you will need to start small using cold-pressed, organic, and virgin coconut oil. Basically, there are two different ways you can use coconut oil on a dog – topically or orally.
If you plan to give coconut oil to a dog orally, make sure to incorporate it into a meal no more than two times a day. If you have a small dog, do not give him any more than ¼ of a teaspoon a day when you are starting out. If you have a larger dog, you can give him up to a teaspoon or one tablespoon depending on his size. However, if you have an overweight dog, do not give him coconut oil more than one time each day.
Always monitor a dog closely for side effects once you start adding coconut oil to his diet. Look for signs of diarrhea or greasy stools that will indicate that he’s had too much coconut oil and needs it reduced. Since coconut oil is not a toxic substance, it can easily just pass through his digestive system with no harm done.
If your dog takes a pill at dinner time, using coconut oil can be used to coat the pills making them easier to swallow. It will also help the pills taste better and pass right down his throat.
Coconut oil can be applied right onto a dog topically to make his coat smooth and silky and his skin healthy. All you need is a small amount that you rub into your hands before massaging it into your dog’s fur and skin. Once you’re done, allow it to absorb into his skin for a couple of minutes. If he looks really greasy, you can give him a fast rinse to remove the excess oil. Otherwise, he can lick his coat clean without any harm.
There are also a few hydrating shampoos made with coconut oil that you can use at bath time if you would rather skip some steps. Coconut oil can also be used on dogs that get cracked and dry paw pads during the winter, and you can even make him a paw balm to soothe his paws if you don’t mind a few more steps.
Alternatives to Coconut Oil
When it comes to raising a healthy dog, there’s really isn’t just one way to go about it. If your pup turns out to have a coconut oil allergy, or you don’t want to risk using coconut oil on him, you have a few alternatives to think about. Coconut oil contains fatty acids, and food items like flaxseed oil, hemp oil, salmon oil offer similar benefits. You can also find supplements that provide similar benefits to those you were looking for in coconut oil such as fish oil for dogs or hemp oil for dogs and add them to your dog’s diet instead.
Can I put coconut oil in my dog’s food?
Yes, you can add coconut oil to your pet’s dog food. Plus, there are a lot of fun ways to add coconut oil to a dog’s diet. Just make sure you are adding the right amount to prevent your dog from having health problems in the future. Here are a few fun recipes to try:
No-bake treats – Easy to make, these no-bake treats requiring mixing shredded coconut, rolled oats, peanut butter, and coconut oil. Then shape the mixture into your preferred shape before giving them to your pup in moderation.
Frozen peanut butter and coconut oil treats – Mix peanut butter, bananas, and coconut oil together. Place the mixtures onto a silicon tray and then freeze. This is a great treat for a hot summer day.
How does coconut oil help dogs? What are the benefits of coconut oil?
There are a lot of benefits to give your dog coconut oil including:
- Easing inflammation
- Fighting harmful bacteria and fungi
- Aiding digestions
- Easing coughing
- Improving his coat and skin
- Makes a dog’s coat glossy
- Eliminates doggy odor
Plus, coconut oil can also:
- Give a dog more energy
- Balance insulin
- Relieve allergic reactions to pollen
- Improves bad breath
- Improves how a dog’s thyroid operates
- Decreases lesions on a dog’s brain that can get worse as your dog ages
Since many of these claims have not been proven by scientists, you should discuss using coconut oil, or any new product, on your dog with your vet. He can determine if your dog will benefit from coconut oil and then recommend the correct amount of the oil to feed him based on the size of your dog.
What happens if my dog licks coconut oil?
You can give coconut oil orally to a dog, so you don’t have to worry if your dog licks up some on his coat once you have applied it. In general, coconut oil considered safe for a dog, although some dogs can have a reaction to it like diarrhea and
Can a dog overdose on coconut oil?
No, he cannot overdose from too much coconut oil, but if he eats a large amount, he will probably end up with some severe diarrhea. Along with pretty bad-smelling diarrhea, a dog can also develop an upset stomach, low energy, and vomiting for up to three days depending on slowly or quickly your dog ends up digesting the coconut oil.
While very rare, the biggest issue that can develop from eating a lot of coconut oil is that your dog will get pancreatitis. This organ is necessary to release enzymes that help digestion, so pancreatitis will prevent proper digestion. The common indications of pancreatitis are a pain in his abdomen, diarrhea, vomiting, and a hunched back. If you notice these signs, call your veterinarian immediately.
When feeding coconut oil to your dog, he has a probability of getting diarrhea, so make sure he drinks a lot of water. When a dog has diarrhea, dehydration is very common, so if he won’t drink for you, then try and soak your dog’s daily meal in water. You can give your dog Pedialyte to help with the dehydration if they are willing to consume it. If he has diarrhea for over 48 hours, call your vet to also ensure that your dog isn’t allergic to coconut oil.