So I honestly got turned on to coconut oil during my research to support my own thyroid health and lose some weight.
I had no clue about the HUGE benefits of coconut oil for dogs. I had no idea this simple household item could boost my dog's health just like it could boost mine. So after doing the research, why wouldn't I easily and routinely give it to my dog and share its benefits? As a big dog mom, I want to incorporate daily beneficial practices to boost my dog's health so that he/she has the fullest and healthiest life and I can possibly selfishly get a longer amount of time with him/her.
For so long we have heard only bad things about coconut oil but there are really many benefits for both humans and dogs.
Key benefits of coconut oil for dogs.
- reduces or eliminates bad breath
- expels or kills parasites
- clears up skin conditions such as eczema, flea allergies, contact dermatitis and itchy skin
- helps reduce allergic reactions and improve skin health
- disinfects cuts and promotes wound healing
- heals dry cracked pads and elbows
- clears up ear infections
- improves oral health and can be used to clean teeth
- improves digestion
- promotes normal thyroid function
- increases energy
- helps with weight loss
- promotes good nerve and brain function
- helps build strong bones
- eases inflammation and help with arthritis dis-comfort
If there isn't at least three things on that list of benefits that could help you, then consider your dog lucky to be in such great health!
What’s In Coconut Oil?
Coconut oil consists of more than 90% saturated fats. All fats and oils are composed of triglycerides and coconut oil is composed primarily of Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCFAs). All triglycerides are made up of individual fat molecules called fatty acids. Coconut oil contains 64% Medium Chain Fatty Acids (MCFAs).
Breaking it down further, the MCFAs in coconut oil:
- 48% lauric acid
- 8% caprylic acid
- 7% capric acid
- plus myristic and palmitic acids.
Coconut oil also contains about 2% linoleic acid (polyunsaturated fatty acids) and about 6% oleic acid (monounsaturated fatty acids). Most of coconut oil’s health benefits come from the MCFAs, especially lauric acid.
Lauric acid has antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-fungal properties.
Capric and caprylic acid have similar properties and are best known for their anti-fungal effects. In addition, the body can efficiently metabolize MCFAs to provide an immediate source of fuel and energy, enhancing athletic performance and aiding weight loss.
I need to credit Dog Naturally Magazine as a great reference for all this scientific information.
Why every dog owner should give their dog coconut oil
A huge issue for many dogs is being overweight. Obesity creates and exemplifies many health issues. The MCFAs in coconut oil helps to balance the thyroid, which in turn help overweight dogs lose weight and help sedentary dogs feel more energetic. Extra weight can compromise a dog’s health while increasing joint pain and making movement difficult. Coconut oil promotes a healthy metabolism while increasing a dog’s energy and promoting healthy joints.
Coconut oil can also help eliminate the notorious dog breath. Many dogs are not fans of getting their teeth brushed but that will all change when you brush their teeth with coconut oil. Dogs love the taste and you get to brush off tartar and plaque and help improve their breath at the same time.
Coconut oil is also excellent for a dog’s skin and coat health. You can apply coconut oil to your dog's dry itchy skin for relief but when you feed coconut oil to your dog regularly you'll see a huge improvement in the look and feel of your dog's coat and minus the itch. Applying coconut oil on dry cracked paws also does wonders. You'll have to apply repeatedly because they love the taste and will happily lick it off.
Since coconut oil is naturally an anti-bacterial, I generously apply it to bites and sores.
How Much Coconut Oil Should You Give Your Dog?
As a daily supplement, work up to about 1 tsp per 10 lbs of body weight per day. Start with ¼ of this amount to avoid loose stool from the extra oil going through your dog’s digestive system, then increase gradually until you get to the recommended dose.
Note: Because of the essential fatty acids in Omega-3 oils, your dog will still need some Omega-3 oil as well a coconut oil. It’s a good idea to rotate coconut oil on alternate days or at different meals with your choice of Omega-3 oil so that your dog gets the benefits of both types of oils.
For therapeutic or medicinal purposes, you may need to double the above dosage – but again, work up gradually until your dog’s system adapts to the extra oil in her diet. You might want to consult your holistic vet about the optimal dose for your dog’s size and health condition.
Some dogs love licking coconut oil off the spoon (or your hands!) but others prefer it mixed into food. Adding it to food can also help prevent digestive upset when you first start giving coconut oil to your dog.
Where to Buy Coconut Oil?
I would always recommend purchasing organic coconut oil. You can typically find this in the health food section of your local grocery store, but for convenience, you can also order online. I do a good amount of shopping on Amazon and here is my favorite organic brand.