The Little-Known Benefits of Coconut Oil for Your Dog

From skincare to oral hygiene, there are many things that you can do with the coconut oil that’s probably already sitting in your kitchen cabinet. But did you know that it’s also supposed to be great for your dog?

By Guest blogger, Zoe Dobson

According to the American Kennel Club, there are many holistic and naturopathic veterinarians who believe coconut oil has properties that can help many canine conditions.

Coconut oil is a convenient, affordable product that can also be used to improve your dog’s skin and coat. Most of the benefits of coconut oil come from its high level of monounsaturated fatty acids, especially lauric acid. Lauric acid has proven antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal properties.

So, before heading to the store to buy yet another pharmaceutical treatment for your dog, why not first try some coconut oil and see how well it works? Here are a few of the health benefits coconut oil offers to man’s best friend.

Moisturizes the skin and fur

Coconut oil can be applied topically to moisturize your dog’s skin, prevent flaking and shedding. To apply the oil to your dog, rub a small amount on your hands and gently pat his or her coat, lightly massaging the fur and skin. Coconut oil can also be given orally to prevent your dog from licking it off.

The oil can be used to relieve discomfort and improve certain skin conditions such as itchy skin, eczema, contact dermatitis, flea allergies, yeast and fungal infections, cracked pads, and elbow calluses. It can also promote the healing of cuts, hot spots, and wounds.

Wards off infection

When taken orally, coconut oil improves digestion, aids in the healing of digestive disorders such as inflammatory bowel syndrome, kills parasites, and improves nutrient absorption.

With regard to your dog’s immune system, the antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal agents in coconut oil can prevent disease like yeast infections and kennel cough. Studies have also shown that it’s also effective at treating mange.

Helps your dog stay strong

You want your dog to be strong, right? Well, coconut oil promotes healthy bones and mobility in dogs with arthritis and joint issues. If your dog is overweight, the oil can increase their energy and help with weight loss.

Gives your dog a pleasant scent

If you’ve noticed that your dog can get smelly from, well, being a dog, coconut oil is the answer. Whether it’s your dog’s coat or their breath, a bit of oil can give them a refreshing, tropical scent that isn’t overpowering.

It can also be used to clean their teeth when applied to a small brush or your finger. It helps that dogs tend to love the taste, which will make brushing their teeth feel like less of a chore!

Promotes brain health

Coconut oil is also very good for your dog’s brain health. It promotes nerve and brain function, and decreases the chances of dementia and Alzheimer’s, which typically develop in older dogs.

Dogs love the taste!

On top of the many benefits already listed, most dogs happen to love the taste of coconut oil and will be happy to lick it. It can be used as a base for homemade dog treats and food.

How to give your dog coconut oil

When giving your dog coconut oil, it’s typically recommended that they consume it once or twice a day when taken orally. Doses depend on the size and weight of your dog’s breed.

The recommended daily starting dose is ¼ teaspoon for smaller dogs and up to one tablespoon for larger dogs. However, if your dog is overweight, coconut oil should be taken orally no more than once a day due to its high fat content.

Keep in mind that it is always advisable to consult your vet if you have any concerns about coconut oil, especially if your dog has the tendency to gain weight, metabolizes fat inefficiently, or has pancreatitis.

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