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There are a lot of ways people use coconut oil, ranging from moisturizing the skin to treating eczema, but you probably didn’t know it could be beneficial for your dog too!
Extracted from mature coconuts, coconut oil is an edible oil that is often found in both food and beauty products. These benefits are due to its high content of saturated fats and medium-chain triglycerides, a saturated form of fatty acid with proven health benefits, ranging from weight management to improved cognitive function.
From relieving digestion problems and soothing irritated skin to preventing infections and reducing allergic reactions, coconut oil has been shown to have many benefits for the canine population.
Is coconut oil safe for pets?
Coconut oil is very safe not only for dogs, cats, guinea pigs, and rabbits but also for cows and horses. Research shows that coconut oil is very well tolerated. Even if your pet consumes more coconut oil than it should, the only adverse effect it can have will be diarrhea.
Caution: Although coconut oil is safe for dogs, before administering it, you should consult your veterinarian. Unlike other oils that become toxic by heating, coconut oil is stable at high temperatures. Due to its stability, it can be used for two years.
Add coconut oil to your dog’s meals and rewards
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After consulting your pet’s veterinarian, you might consider adding coconut oil to its meals as a way to help balance the thyroid, meaning it can help overweight dogs lose weight and even the most sedentary dogs will feel more energetic.
Studies have also indicated that coconut oil can improve nutrient absorption, help counteract digestive disorders such as inflammatory bowel syndrome and colitis, and reduce overall body inflammation.
Start with no more than 1/4 teaspoon for smaller dogs, while larger breeds can handle up to a spoon daily. Make sure your pet doesn’t already have weight problems or is a breed prone to pancreatitis because coconut oil has a high-fat content and can cause weight gain when not used correctly.
Do you like to make your own dog treats? Consider coconut oil as a base. When mixed with health-boosting anti-inflammatory spices like turmeric, it can help turn a delicious treat for your dog into a powerful way to keep him away from disease.
Make sure you choose organic, virgin, cold-pressed coconut oil, and stop giving it to your dog immediately if you notice any signs of stomach distress, such as diarrhea or allergic reactions. If your dog seems to have an allergic reaction to coconut oil, alternatives like salmon oil and flaxseed oil may offer some of the same benefits as coconut oil due to omega-3 fatty acids.
Not only will coconut oil probably make your dog’s croquettes irresistible, but because it’s a medium-chain fatty acid (MCFA), the oil will be absorbed directly into the GI tract and go straight to the liver, where it metabolizes into energy for the dog and helps to ease or even prevent physical and digestive problems.
Some studies have shown that feeding your pet a diet that includes MCFA can help decrease the size of fat deposits and may even help prevent weight gain, all of this while providing your pet with extra energy to help improve athletic performance and endurance.
What kind of coconut oil should I buy for my dog?
When you want to buy coconut oil, it is preferable to be organic and make sure it is in a glass jar. On the market, you can find another form of coconut oil that is refined, bleached, and deodorized. Because it has been heated and filtered, this kind of oil has lost some of its nutrients, but it can be an acceptable solution for pets who do not like the taste of coconut oil.
You should know that coconut oil has a white color, but it can liquefy and become clear if you leave it in the kitchen. Therefore, you need to store it at a temperature below 25C.
Apply coconut oil to your dog’s skin
Just like in humans, applying coconut oil to your dog’s skin can help infuse your furry friend’s skin, with humidity, especially important in the harsh winter months, and to prevent peeling or other signs of irritation. If you have a dog that already has dry skin or dandruff, coconut oil is extremely effective at moisturizing and increasing lipid levels on the skin’s surface.
Simply apply a small amount in your hands and massage it onto its skin, passing your fingers through your dog’s coat. Coconut oil can also help your dog’s coat look more elegant and shinier. Be careful, however, that your pet may lick himself a little more often that day!
If you live in a wooded area or want to go hiking with your dog, you should know that coconut oil can also serve as a non-chemical way to repel fleas and ticks, so it keeps your pet safe from diseases transmitted by these parasites. When applied to a dog’s coat, coconut oil can help repel unwanted pests to lure into a dog’s skin. Some research has shown that it can also help remove mites.
Use coconut oil as a coating on pills
Anyone who has ever had to give a dog a pill knows that it is not always the easiest task. If your dog has realized that the peanut butter ball you are giving him is actually masking a pill, and therefore refuses to take it, coconut oil can also be used as a handy trick for your pet to take its medications.
Used as a coating for pills, dogs may see taking medications more appealing and enjoyable, but it will also help your pet swallow the pill more easily.
Use coconut oil to soothe wounds
Coconut oil is considered to have natural antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties, so if your pet suffers from cracked pads or other cuts, it can be a good way to get a good deal of coconut oil. It can be safely used as a natural topical antibiotic to help heal and soothe wounds. Dogs with seasonal allergies, and thus tend to chew their paws or scratch their ears more frequently, can also get relief from applying coconut oil on these types of wounds.
Coconut oil for brushing teeth
Isn’t your dog a fan of brushing its teeth? The antimicrobial properties of coconut oil make it a natural, and delicious way to clean your pet’s teeth.
The oil can help remove harmful bacteria from your dog’s mouth and prevent plaque formation that can lead to dental problems. You can apply coconut oil to your dog’s teeth just like you would use commercial dog toothpaste, with a dog-friendly toothbrush, or even with your finger.
There are so many ways you can use coconut oil both as a supplement and for therapeutic purposes. You can try it and see improvements in your pet’s health, but not before you talk to your current veterinarian.