From all natural makeup remover to hair conditioner, coconut oil has been deemed a remedy for just about everything. Lovers of this plant based oil consume it in coffee, dessert, breakfast–even protein shakes. Coconut oil is so versatile, it might even save your marriage (apply evenly to angry spouse*). And just as it is helpful to humans, dogs benefit greatly from coconut oil too.
A Quick Look at Coconut Oil for Dogs
While comprised almost entirely of saturated fat (the not-so-good kind of fat compared to its healthy counterpart unsaturated fat), coconut oil also contains both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids. It’s also full of medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) which promote a balanced immune system, digestive system, and thyroid. The lauric acid in MCTs delivers a triple threat of antibacterial, anti-fungal, and antiviral properties. And though its high fat content might suggest otherwise, coconut oil can actually help dogs lose weight and increase energy levels as a result of the metabolic processes involved with MCTs.
Here are the top three benefits of coconut oil for dogs.
1. Healthy coat: Not only does it smell (and taste!) delicious, coconut oil can clear up eczema, produce a glossy coat, and expedite the healing process of minor cuts and scrapes. Use it as conditioner at bath time, add to your dog’s food, or apply topically to affected areas (note: your pup may lick and that’s okay).
2. Digestive aid: One of the biggest advantages of coconut oil for dogs is the digestive system’s response to the supplement. It will, of course, improve digestion, but it will also increase nutrient absorption, eliminate bad breath, and alleviate the symptoms of serious ailments such as colitis.
3. Allergen reducer: Dogs that suffer from seasonal or year-round allergies can also benefit from coconut oil–especially here in Encinitas during flea season. If your dog has itchy skin, hot spots, or frequent ear infections, the oil’s lauric acid can slow the production of yeast and minimize inflammation before it occurs.
Doggie Dosage: Easy Does It
As if that’s not reason enough, coconut oil boasts several other health positives like the prevention of infection, diabetes, and arthritis. But like any dietary change, the introduction of coconut oil to your pup should be gradual and controlled. Too much coconut oil can lead to upset stomach, diarrhea, and oily stool. Start with ¼ teaspoon per day for small dogs and 1 teaspoon for large dogs. If your dog reacts favorably, increase the dosage to 1 tablespoon per 30 pounds of weight per day. Microwaving the oil for 10-20 seconds will make it easier to administer.
Coconut oil is just as beneficial to canines as it is their owners. Rarely do we see dogs turn up their noses at this delicious source of fat. Heard of bulletproofing your coffee? Bulletproof Buddy’s water dish for the same reason and you’ll both reap the benefits of a strong, healthy body. At the very least, you’ll have a new morning ritual to share with your fur baby.
*Research based on anecdotal evidence. Do not attempt in uncontrolled environment.