‘Moderation in all things,’ is a saying that’s stood many of us in good stead for hundreds of years.
Americans consumed almost half a million metric tons of coconut oil in 2020. That might sound a lot, but used wisely and in relatively small amounts it can offer a tempting health boost.
So can America’s 90 million pet dogs reap the benefits too? Read on to find out:
What’s Coconut Oil Made Up Of?
To begin understanding the benefits of coconut oil for dogs we need to know its composition.
Coconut oil is 100 percent fat. Saturated fat makes up to 90 percent of this. Fat consists of molecules known as fatty acids. There are a few different kinds of these in coconut oil. Here’s the lowdown:
- 47 percent lauric acid
- 8 percent caprylic acid and 7 percent capric acid
- Smaller quantities of palmitic and myristic acids
- Trace amounts of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats
There’s no fiber or cholesterol in coconut oil and there are only minute quantities of minerals, plant sterols and vitamins.
What Are the Benefits of Coconut Oil For Dogs?
Nutritionists say that lauric acid found in coconut oil can help with skin conditions. They claim it can reduce inflammation and might also help with weight loss. Lauric acid has grown in popularity as a way to combat viral infections.
Caprylic acid often forms part of the treatment for yeast infections. It can help with skin conditions, digestive disorders, and high cholesterol.
Here are some of the other key ways that coconut oil might benefit your dog:
- Keeping their coat glossy
- Relieving allergies, itchy skin and cracked paws
- Reducing instances of bad breath
- Helping with cognitive function
- Providing a boost for the immune system
- Helping to repel insects and ticks
- Providing antifungal, antiviral and antibacterial properties
- Soothing dry skin, paws and cracked noses
Some scientists believe that coconut oil can boost cognitive function in more elderly dogs. This happens by supporting the brain with energy in the form of ketones. This promotes good brain and nerve function and can prevent dementia.
What’s the Truth about Digestion and Coconut Oil for Dogs?
Whether your dog should consume coconut oil as part of their diet has the world of science divided. The key area of contention centers on how quickly your dog can digest the fatty acids found in coconut oil.
That’s not to say that it’s not beneficial when absorbed by your dog in a variety of different ways.
There are plenty of reputable scientists who take a holistic approach. They argue that coconut oil has the potential to slow down cognitive dysfunction in dogs, for example.
They also say that medium-chain fatty acids, like those found in coconut oil, help with physical and digestive ailments. They claim it’s because the digestive system absorbs these fatty acids more quickly. It then efficiently converts them into energy.
Other scientists suggest that coconut oil could inflame your dog’s gut and cause diarrhea. There is also evidence to suggest that other fats might do as good a job at keeping your dog’s digestive system healthy.
How Much Coconut Oil Is Too Much for Dogs?
If you choose to feed your dog coconut oil, you should give it to them one or two times a day with meals. Your dog’s size will decide how much coconut oil you should give them. Many vets also suggest beginning gradually.
A recommended starting dose would be a quarter of a teaspoonful for smaller dogs and up to one or two teaspoonfuls for big dogs. If your dog is overweight or obese, you should consider reducing the frequency and size of the doses.
You should always monitor your dog for potential weight gain once you start feeding them coconut oil.
Will Coconut Oil Keep a Dog’s Coat Looking Healthy?
Coconut oil naturally hydrates the skin and hair. It is a highly effective moisturizer and will help keep your dog’s coat looking glossy and healthy-looking.
All this is useful if your dog suffers from dry skin or dandruff. Because of its pleasing aroma, coconut oil acts as a natural deodorant helping to mask any unpleasant doggy smells.
Can I Use Coconut Oil as a Dog Treat?
Coconut oil can act as a tempting base for dog treats. You could try mixing turmeric, ginger and vitamin D in with coconut oil as an extra-healthy snack.
Turmeric has excellent anti-inflammatory properties and vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin. Ginger can soothe the digestive system. Take care to keep the quantity of vitamin D you give your dog balanced. Too much can cause kidney problems.
Nutritionists recommend using organic, virgin, cold-pressed coconut oil as the base for treats.
How Can Coconut Oil Soothe My Dog?
Some studies suggest that the properties found in coconut oil act against harmful viruses and bacteria. This makes it a good choice to rub into and help heal wounds, cuts and sores.
If you find that your dog scratches their ears or chews their paws, then you could try applying a little coconut oil in these areas. It will help to soothe and heal affected trouble spots.
Coconut oil also acts as a repellent against fleas and ticks. Its pleasant odour and non-toxic properties make it ideal for rubbing into your dog’s coat. You should do this before setting off for a long walk in the park.
Should I Use Coconut Oil to Clean My Dog’s Teeth?
Because of its antimicrobial properties, coconut oil is a great alternative for keeping your dog’s teeth cleaner. It helps get rid of harmful bacteria that live inside your dog’s mouth.
This can stop plaque from forming and reduce costly dental disease. Most dogs enjoy the taste of coconut oil which makes teeth cleaning less of a chore.
Coconut Oil Keeps Your Dog Healthy
Using coconut oil wisely can help your dog to stay happy and healthy. You should consult your vet about how much coconut oil you should give your dog and the optimum ways to administer it.