Coconut oil is reputed to offer a wide range of health benefits to humans. But have you ever considered giving coconut oil to your dog?
The healing and nurturing power of this oil for dogs has been promoted heavily by celebrities such as Dr. Oz and has become known as a super food for dogs.
What Qualifies Coconut Oil as a Super Food?
Most people are aware that there are two different kinds of fat; unsaturated fats (which are good for you), and saturated fats (the bad ones). This is, of course, a generalization since both fats are required for a healthy lifestyle.
However, coconut oil consists of Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCT’s). These are a sub-type of saturated fat which is actually good for the body! It is these MCT’s which have been shown to provide a range of health benefits.
It also consists of 2% linoleic acid and 6% oleic acid; which are both forms of unsaturated fats.
You should also be aware that coconut oil has Lauric acid which is known to have antibacterial and anti-fungal properties.
The question is whether this super food is actually good for dogs? To answer this it is essential to understand the benefits and the deficiencies of coconut oil first:
Advantages of Coconut Oil for Dogs
Unsurprisingly, this healthy oil has a similar range of benefits for dogs as it does for us humans!
- Skin and fur
Coconut oil can be applied directly to your dog’s skin or fur to help a wound heal. In addition, when it is added to their food it has been found to help relieve a variety of skin complaints. This includes eczema, dermatitis and itchy skin; especially if it is allergy related.
You will quickly notice that your dog develops a glossy coat and even the cracks on their pads will disappear.
Coconut oil is also reputed to be effective at protecting your dog from fleas and ticks.
It has been suggested that dogs with healthy coats lose less fur; this should certainly be of benefit when you look for why your dog is shedding so much!
You may also be interested to note that celebrities such as Jenifer Aniston use coconut oil to help keep their bodies looking perfect. Research shows this effect is mirrored in dogs.
- Digestive Issues
The digestive system is one of the most important elements of any living creature.
It is this part of your body which extracts the useful nutrients and disposes of the unwanted or unneeded parts.
Coconut oil has been shown to improve digestion in dogs and can even enhance the absorption of nutrients.
Its powerful healing abilities will help to reduce any inflammation within the intestine and can even get rid of bad breath in dogs!
Coconut oil contains lauric acid. In 90% of scientific studies this acid has been found to kill a wide range of bacterial infections.
It can even destroy viruses and eliminate fungal infections. As such, coconut oil is essential to the general good health of your dog!
Despite the fact that coconut oil is high in saturated fats the MCT’s in it will increase the levels of good cholesterol in your dog. The latest research even suggests that a daily dose of coconut oil can be beneficial in reducing the chances of your dog contracting cancer.
Dogs have a habit of smelling. There will be very few dog owners who are not familiar with the ‘damp dog’ smell; whether they have just been bathed or got wet on a walk.
Fortunately, coconut oil can be of valuable assistance in resolving this issue.
As well as getting rid of smelly breath, coconut oil has been shown to eliminate the general odor of their bodies; without excessive bathing!
Coconut oil will increase your dog’s metabolic rate. The fats in the oil can be transformed into virtually instant energy; this can actually help with weight loss in your day!
In addition, coconut oil will help to balance the insulin levels in your dog and prevent them from getting diabetes. The improved metabolism will have the additional benefit of improving nerve and even brain function in your beloved pet.
Deficiencies of Coconut Oil for Dogs
Unfortunately, nothing is perfect! There are some precautions to be taken to ensure these downsides are not an issue to your dog:
Fat is an essential part of any diet. Unfortunately, research shows that coconut oil, despite its high fat content, has just 243mg of linoleic acid; your dog needs 2,700mg of this each day; per 1,000 calories!
This means that this oil simply does not have enough of the right fats for your dog!
Although coconut oil has been shown to improve the levels of good cholesterol in the body, it has also been shown to increase the levels of bad cholesterol.
Whilst this is not as detrimental to dog health as it is too human; it does show that it may not help the overall level of cholesterol in your dog.
How Much Coconut Oil Should I Give My Dog A Day?
Studies and research are continuing into the positive and negative effects of coconut oil on dogs.
However, it would appear that the overall effect is positive. This will probably leave you wondering the best way to administer it to your dog and how much to give them.
In short answer: start small!
If you choose not to start with a small dose your dog will almost certainly develop diarrhea or greasy stools. This is simply a reaction to their change in diet. Your dog must be allowed time to adjust to a new diet.
It is best to give them just ¼ teaspoon of the oil; you can go as high as one teaspoon if your dog is large.
You should gradually increase the dose until you reach your target.
The idea allocation is 1 teaspoon for every ten pounds of their weight. This means you will need to weigh them regularly to maintain the right dose; it is important not to round up the dose; excessive coconut oil could lead to the side effects mentioned above.
Coconut Oil on the Skin
As a final thought you can choose to give your dog a bath once a week and then apply some oil directly to their skin. You should rinse it off after approximately five minutes. You will be surprised at how quickly you notice the improvement in their skin and coat.