Coconut oil is becoming extremely popular among health enthusiasts and is fast becoming a mainstream holistic health product. Many have found coconut oil to be useful for a multitude of ailments and health improvements including:
- Fat burning
- Reduce hunger
- Antibacterial and antifungal
- Skin and hair conditioning and moiturizing
- Insect repellant
- Yeast infections
- Mental alertness
Not only is is great for us, but our dogs gain great benefits from using coconut oil too. Just as we can use it to improve our health, you should take advantage of the health benefits of coconut oil for dogs.
What is Coconut Oil Anyway?
Coconut oil is extracted from the kernel of the coconut or what some call the meat of the fruit. The coconut is usually matured by the time the oil is extracted before being dried and pressed to extract the oil.
Coconut oil contains high levels of saturated fatty acids which are known to aid weight control, energy levels, moods and brain function. The high content of saturated fat also helps to preserve the coconut oil by keeping it from oxidizing. This allows the coconut oil to last for longer than other oils.
But aren’t saturated fats bad for us?
I like the response by Authority Nutrition who states: Coconut oil has been demonized in the past because it contains saturated fat. In fact, coconut oil is one of the richest sources of saturated fat known to man, with almost 90% of the fatty acids in it being saturated.
However, new data is showing that saturated fats are harmless. Many large scale studies that include hundreds of thousands of people prove that the whole “artery-clogging” idea was a myth. Additionally, coconut oil doesn’t contain your average run-of-the-mill saturated fats like you would find in cheese or steak.
No, they contain Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs) – which are fatty acids of a medium length. Most of the fatty acids in the diet are long-chain fatty acids, but the medium-chain fatty acids in coconut oil are metabolized differently.
They go straight to the liver from the digestive tract, where they are used as a quick source energy or turned into so-called ketone bodies. These can have therapeutic effects on brain disorders like epilepsy and Alzheimer’s as well as increase energy, mood and brain function as well as control weight . Sounds good to me!
Health benefits of coconut oil for dogs
#1 Gentle on your dog’s digestive system
Dogs have a very peculiar digestive system, which could be considered delicate. Being made of medium chain fatty acids, your dog will be able to break it down more easily and will be milder on your dog’s system.
#2 Maintain weight control
Many of the oils available like olive oil or other vegetable oils are made up of long-chain fatty acids. This kind of fat is not easily digested by dogs and may get stored as fat in your pet.
Coconut oil offers a great solution because it is mostly made up of medium-chain fatty acids. A dog's digestive system should be able to break down this kind of fat and not worry about his or her weight.
#3 Improve your dog’s energy levels and metabolism
Coconut oil will improve your dog's metabolism as your dog's energy levels. The energy boost may boost a dog's desire to exercise more, which should be great for dogs who are entering a "lazy" phase.
#4 Antibacterial and antifungal for your dog
These properties are a great thing thing for your dog and can help with some of the following:
- Skin conditions and eczema can be improved
- Prevent minor illness as these properties will improve your dog's immune system
- Reduce allergies
- Cuts and wounds
You can either add coconut oil to your dog’s diet gradually or put the coconut oil directly onto your dog’s skin to reduce skin ailments, allergies or bacterial infections.
#5 Controls fleas
Coconut oil is a very safe and effective natural flea prevention. It will reduce the risk of your dog getting fleas.
Rub coconut oil into your dog’s fur and onto his skin and wipe off any excess. Fleas have been known to jump off your dog straight away so it might be a good idea to do this outside of your yard.
#6 Dog treats
It is likely that your dog will love the taste of coconut oil. This makes it a great ingredient for dog treats. A great recipe from Wellness Mama is as follow:
- 2 medium size sweet potatoes, cooked and cooled
- ½ cup coconut flour
- ¼ cup gelatin powder (optional- I ordered this one in bulk for our pets and it lasts months and months)
- ½ cup coconut oil (at room temp)
- 1 egg
- 1-2 tablespoons of water as needed for texture.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Combine all ingredients and mix until well incorporated. If needed, add a little extra coconut flour to get a dough that is slightly thinner than Play Dough.
- Form into 1-inch balls and flatten with hand.
- We made "paw print" shapes with our fingers to make them cute (totally optional).
- Bake for 20 minutes until slightly browned on the edges.
- Remove from oven and let cool completely before removing.
- Store in an air-tight container in the fridge for several weeks or freeze for several months.
One treat per day.
Another great doggy treat is the dehydrated flesh of the coconut. Dogs love the taste of coconut!
#7 No more doggy breath
Brushing your dog's teeth with coconut oil will prevent any dental disease in your do particularly due to the antibacterial and antifungal. In addition to helping with dental disease, you should see an improvement in doggy breathe as well.
#8 Coconut oil for a shiny coat
The texture and shine of your dog's coat will improve when you conditioning his coat with coconut oil. Massage the oil into your dog’s coat and skin for a great effect. It may also help with hair loss and hair growth.
How to feed my dog with coconut oil.
Like a normal change in your dog’s diet, you dog will need to get used to the coconut oil. Start slowly. You can start with one teaspoon of coconut oil, less for puppies and small dogs. Monitor your dog and his poop for an upset stomach. You may wish to increase or lessen the amount depending on how your dog is reacting.
The recommended amount is 1 teaspoon for every 10lb but start small and increase to this amount. You can easily add this to your pet's diet by mixing the oil into your pet's food.
Topical treatment with coconut oil
As mentioned previously, you may also wish to treat your dog topically with coconut oil. This method will be good for fleas, dry skin, skin infections, small cuts and dry paws, Rub the coconut oil into your dog’s fur or onto his skin and wipe off any excess.
You will most probably need to warm up the coconut oil if you are living in a milder or colder climate. Not hot of course. Warm gently by rubbing between your hands and apply to your dog. The coconut oil will be absorbed into your dog’s skin, but you may wish to have him outside for awhile or sitting on an old towel at first.
As you can see, there are a large list of health benefits of coconut oil for dogs and you will definitely be helping your dog health and well being.
Other conditions that you find natural treatments for include, ear infections, skin conditions, Arthristis or even Doggy Dementia . Always see your vet if your dog gets sick but it is worth exploring natural treatments that may be more gentle on your dog.