Coconut oil is a super-food, not only for you but for your canine companion as well. But before blindly adding coconut oil to your dog’s diet, it is important to familiarize yourself with its risks and benefits.
Coconut Oil Types
There are two types of coconut oil: refined and unrefined. Always choose unrefined. The difference in nutritional value between the two is substantial.
Although coconut oil has not always been recommended for dogs, it is now known to be safe for dogs. Introducing coconut oil to your dog’s diet can sometimes result in digestive upset, however, so it should be done gradually.
How Much Coconut Oil Should I Give My Dog?
As a rule, 1 teaspoon per 10 pounds is recommended, although many people argue that dogs exceeding 60 pounds should be limited to 2 tablespoons per day. Initially, you should start with a quarter to a half of this and slowly increase the amount. To reduce the risk of digestive upset when introducing coconut oil, consider feeding with a spoonful of canned pumpkin, or mix it with the dog’s food.
Benefits of Coconut Oil for Dogs
Once the dog becomes used to consuming coconut oil, you will find it helps to improve the animal’s digestion, increases metabolism and energy, and helps with weight loss. Coconut oil also helps to promote healthy joints and can improve mobility in dogs with arthritis and joint pain.
Whether you choose to add it to their diet or apply it topically, coconut oil can help create a healthy, shiny coat and relieve itchy skin. It is even praised for reducing “dog odor.”
Coconut oil is extremely moisturizing and can be applied to the bottom of your dog’s paws, either to heal existing dryness or to act as a barrier against the elements, particularly in winter weather. If you are applying coconut oil to your dog’s paws, she will likely want to lick it off, so in addition to rubbing it in thoroughly, you may want to try distracting her with a bone or a toy after applying.
Coconut oil is known for its antibacterial and antifungal properties. Because of this, coconut oil is frequently used topically on minor wounds as well as for treating and preventing yeast infections. It can also be topically to help clean and protect the ears. Especially with the increasing criticisms of conventional, chemical-filled insecticides, many people swear by coconut oil as a natural way to prevent fleas, ticks, and mites.
Since coconut oil helps to combat canine halitosis, some dog owners use it as an all-natural toothpaste when brushing their dog’s teeth. Another benefit of coconut oil that makes it especially great for puppies and older dogs is that it is said to help improve brain function.
As beneficial as coconut oil can be for your dog, it is recommended you talk to a holistic veterinarian prior to adding it, or any other supplement, to your dog’s diet if he or she has any pre-existing medical conditions. And remember, every dog is different. After introducing coconut oil to your dog, be it topically or internally, monitor for any reactions.