Coconut Oil for Dogs – Is It Safe To Use? What Are The Benefits?
The favorite hair oil for Indian moms, coconut oil is one of the most used oils across the world, in terms of cooking and as a moisturizing lotion. Coconut oil has a long history in Asia, particularly in tropical regions where the plant is abundant. It is commonly used in baked goods, pastries, and sautés due to its nut-like quality coupled with some sweetness. The usage of coconut oil doesn’t end here. It is an important base ingredient for soaps. Oil has gained popularity recently in the western part of the globe.
What is Coconut Oil?
Coconut oil is an edible oil extracted from the meat of matured coconuts and harvested from the coconut palm tree. Unlike the name, they are not actually nuts but drupes, which is a fruit with a single seed. Whether it’s drinking coconut water, using the oil as a moisturizer or adding a spoonful to bake, coconut has found numerous applications and it benefits us, humans, tremendously.
Benefits of Coconut Oil
Coconut oil has gained prominence in our kitchens as well as our bathrooms. The numerous benefits of Coconut oil include –
Burns Fats – Coconut oil is a rich source of medium-chain triglycerides which is a type of saturated fat. These MCTs have fat-burning properties. And coconut oils are 65% MCTs.
Energy booster – MCTs work as a quick source of energy. They go directly to your liver and generate a rapid energy supply in the same way as carbs.
Anti-microbial effects – Coconut oil is naturally anti-microbial and anti-fungal. This helps in fighting disease-producing bacteria.
Reduces hunger – MCTs are broken down in a process that forms ketones which directly help reduce appetite by acting directly on the brain messengers
Helps reduce seizures – Replacing carbs with fats in your diet reduces the glucose levels in the blood which the frequency of seizures reduce.
Boosts skin health – It works beautifully on dry skin as a moisturizer. It also helps prevent excessive water loss and protect you from external factors, such as infectious agents, chemicals, and allergens
Protects hair – One of the most common uses of the oil is for hair. It helps prevent hair damage by deeply penetrating hair strands and making them flexible.
Improves oral health – It can be used as a mouthwash. It would also be more economical as a solution against bacteria in your mouth.
There are other significant uses as well. Now some of these may not be applicable to our pets but most are relevant and we may think that if it can help humans then why not dogs? The answer is Yes, Coconut oil is safe and can be very beneficial for dogs.
Is Coconut Oil safe for your dog?
The answer is Yes. It is safe to use on dogs. It can give dogs similar benefits that it gives us humans. It can be used as a cooking oil and as a skin ointment both for dogs. However, there is a limited quantity of coconut oil is to be used on pets as excessive use can cause problems.
Benefits of Coconut Oil on Dogs
Just like the numerous benefits of Coconut oil for humans, there are similar benefits for dogs as well. These include –
Ease inflammation – The oil is anti-inflammatory in nature and can be applied on swollen areas or joints to reduce inflammation
Fight harmful fungi and bacteria – The anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties can be equally useful to dogs when applied on the skin to keep the fleas and pests
Helps digestion – The MCTs present in coconut oil act as a catalyst during digestion
Eases coughing – The soothing and smooth texture of coconut oil helps reduce the dryness in the throat and thus reduce coughing among pets
Helps skin and hair – Hair or fur on dogs is protected in the same the human hair is. While the skin gets moisturized with the oil and also retains more water
Makes their coat glossy – The oil provides an outside shiny layer to the coats of the dogs and makes them look fresh
Eliminate odor – Coconut has a very strong smell and so does the oil made from it. It can dominate over other bad odors and provide a fresh smell to your doggies after a nice bath or a sweaty training session.
Boosts the immune system – The MCTs help improve digestion and hence extract essential nutrition from the foods which in return improves the disease-fighting mechanism in dogs.
Cures infections, hot spots, dry paw pads, and cracked noses – The moisture content in coconut oil help fasten the process of healing dry and flaky skin or a cracked nose.
9 significant benefits that Coconut oil can give your loved doggies. And there’s more of it. It can also help with the following –
Decrease brain lesions that worsen with your dog’s age
Improve the functioning of the thyroid
Help bad breath
Ease allergic reactions to outdoor pollen
Make them more energetic
What more is there to ask for?
Now let’s come to the caution part while using Coconut oil on dogs.
How to use Coconut Oil on Dogs?
You can use coconut oil topically. Apply it to the skin about once a week. Take a small amount of oil and pat the coat, run your fingers through the fur, massage a little down onto the skin and let it be absorbed for a few minutes. After five minutes or so, rinse your dog off with clean water.
Virgin coconut oil can be used for cooking but in small quantities. Not to use it for deep or even shallow frying.
How much Coconut Oil should be used on Dogs?
Firstly, when any new element is introduced to your dog, always start with small doses irrespective of safety levels. It is important to check the suitability of the substance on your dog. The oil can be given to your dog, once or twice a day. The following is the classification as per weight of the dog –
5 – 30 pounds – 1/4th tea-spoon
40 – 50 pounds – ½ teaspoon
60 – 80 pounds – 1 teaspoon
90 – 120 pounds – 1 ½ teaspoon
> 120 pounds – 1 tablespoon
What can happen if your dog eats an unusual amount of Coconut Oil?
Coconut oil doesn’t have any side effects per se but only can be harmful if given disproportionately outside the recommended quantities. The symptoms include –
If any of the above symptoms are seen, reduce or stop the intake of Coconut oil for your pet temporarily until the vet recommends a solution and marks it safe again.
Cautions while using Coconut Oil for Dogs
Coconut oil is high in fats and hence should be used sparingly on obese dogs or dogs prone to gaining weight
Some dogs can be allergic to coconut oil, in which case no benefits will be seen and can turn negative. Consult a vet if signs of discomfort are seen after feeding.
If the dog is suffering from pancreatitis, do not feed it coconut oil at all.
Most of the research done on coconut oil for dogs is in the favor of the oil and its tremendous benefits. However, there are some researchers that do not believe in the benefits and actually consider coconut oil harmful to pets. The best thing to do here is to start off with small quantities and check the reaction. Increase the quantity gradually up to the recommended amount to ensure no sudden changes in the diet or any side effects.
Happy Mood and Health to your Doggo and lots of Love and Licks to you!
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