Everyone is talking about the benefits of coconut oil for dogs and how it is helpful to your dog in a variety of ways. Coconut oil has been said to improve your dog’s skin health and coat health, along with aiding in digestion and helping to give their immune systems a boost to help prevent infections. As long as you follow the guidelines for feeding and using coconut oil on your dog, it is a healthy, safe, natural remedy for many things. We will be discussing all of these points along with what makes coconut oil so good for your dog.
What is Coconut Oil?
Coconut oil is an edible oil that has been in use for thousands of years and originated in the Mediterranean. This oil is made by removing it from the meat of a mature coconut. This oil can be extracted through dry or wet processing. The dry processing means the coconut meat is removed and dried in the sun or over a fire. Once it is dried, it is dissolved and creates a mash. This mash is not suitable for humans and is fed to animals. The wet processing means you boil the coconut meat with water repeatedly until the oil separates and strain it off to use it. This oil is used in cooking, primarily as a frying agent and it has been used as an alternative fuel source to run cars, busses, and generators. It is also used as a base to make soap and it was used as oil for lighting in India.
What is In Coconut Oil?
Coconut oil, first and foremost, is high in saturated fats. It also has several medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs) including Caprylic, Lauric, and Capric acid. MCFAs are healthy fats that go through our system in a very fast 3 step process. Compared to other fats this is very fast as they have a 26 step process. MCFAs are easier to digest, anti-fungal, not readily stored as fat, and they are processed by the liver which means they are immediately put to use as energy in the digestive tract. They are turned into ketones, and these have been reported to have a calming effect on people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and other conditions like epilepsy.
Are Saturated Fats Bad?
We’ve all been told for years that saturated fats are bad for us and this simply isn’t true. If you’re looking from a chemical standpoint, saturated fats are fats that don’t have a double bond with carbon molecules because they are saturated with fat. Saturated fats are typically solid at room temperature. Small amounts of saturated fats in your dog’s diet are good for regulating the digestive tract and helping to balance out omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. If these two are balanced, it leads to a boost in the immune system, and this makes your dog less prone to sickness and infections.
How Does Coconut Oil Help my Dog’s Overall Health?
The benefits of coconut oil for dogs is broken down into several categories. These categories are digestive system, immune system, metabolic system, musculoskeletal system, skin and coat, and eyes, ears, and mouth.
Coconut oil benefits your dog’s digestive system because it has anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, and anti-fungal properties. The nutrients in coconut oil help heal and reduce irritation or reduce inflammation from an injury the digestive tract could acquire. The anti-fungal properties help kill the bacteria and microorganisms that are the root cause of chronic indigestion in your dog. It also helps to fight yeast that may be thriving in your dog’s digestive tract, and it helps absorb important nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and amino acids.
Coconut oil gives a very high boost to your dog’s immune system. It contains Lauric acid along with Caprylic acid, and these acids are known to actively fight bacteria and create a hostile environment so viruses will die rather than thrive. Your dog’s body will convert Lauric acid into monolaurin, and this is an antiviral agent that fights off a variety of diseases and viruses. Many common diseases that dog’s suffer from are caused by overgrown bad bacteria, fungi, viruses, and parasites in the body. Coconut oil helps fight them all so you have a happier, healthier pet.
Your dog’s metabolic system can also benefit from coconut oil is added to their diets. Small doses of coconut oil have been shown to help balance omega-6 and omega-3 fats. If these fats are balanced, it helps regulate and balance the insulin levels in your dog, which, in turn, helps control diabetes. Coconut oil helps keep the thyroid functioning normally. This oil stimulates your dog’s metabolism and will boost his energy levels. This will cause a chain reaction to your dog’s thyroid gland. The thyroid will regulate itself slowly and this will cause your dog to have more energy and help maintain a healthy weight.
The musculoskeletal system will benefit from daily coconut oil as coconut oil promotes healthy bone growth. Since it reduces inflammation, which will improve the range of motion and pain level a dog with arthritis feels. It has also been shown to soothe minor muscle aches and pains your older dog might experience.
Coconut oil helps ease common skin problems like dry, flaky skin and helps repair damage to your dog’s coat. As I mentioned a few points up in this article, coconut oil speeds up the healing process of yeast and fungal infections. Once these are healed, you should see an improvement in any skin conditions like eczema, dry skin, or hot spots caused by allergies. Coconut oil also protects the skin from being bitten by insects like mosquitos, wood ticks, and fleas. It will kill any existing fleas and stop new ones from hatching. This oil will reduce any fungal infection your dog might be suffering from and this will slow down or stop itching and scratching. Coconut oil will add nutrients to your dog’s coat making in shiny and healthy. It will also help repair any previous damage that it might have had.
Eyes, ears, mouth, and brain
This oil is beneficial to your dog’s eyes, ears, mouth, and brain as well. It promotes healthy eye and can be used to help clear up eye irritation or infections. It helps keeps the gums and teeth healthy and clean, as well as help with plaque build up. It kills the bacteria that causes bad breath. It is a great natural remedy for ear infections and chronic ear infections. The acids in the oil will kill the fungus or bacteria that is causing the ear infection or flare up. It will help boost an older dog’s brain function and slow the aging process. Your dog will be more alert, aware, and want to learn new things.
Is Coconut Oil Safe for Dogs?
Coconut oil is very safe for dogs, even in large quantities or heated. You should start out slow when you first introduce coconut oil into your dog’s diet so their body can get used to it a little at a time. You should watch for any adverse reactions like an allergic reaction. If this happens, stop using the coconut oil immediately. It is a good idea to always check with your vet first if your pet has any pre-existing medical conditions and you are worried that the coconut oil may make them worse.
What type of Coconut Oil is Best for Your Dog?
Extra virgin coconut oil is the least refined of any type of coconut oil. You get virgin coconut oil by extracting the oil from the meat without drying it first. The coconut milk is extracted first, then the meat is boiled repeatedly to further separate the oil from the water. Refined coconut oil or refined, bleached, and deodorized (RBD), as it is called is a more processed version of coconut oil. The oil is ‘bleached’ or filtered through a bleaching clay to remove any impurities, then it is steamed to remove any odor. This makes for a very bland taste and little to no odor. This process strips away some of the nutrients, which makes virgin coconut oil higher in antioxidants. Now that we know this, we can say that virgin coconut oil is better for your dog.
How Much Coconut Oil Should You Feed Your Dog?
As it was mentioned earlier in this article, you should start to feed your dog small amounts of coconut oil. The main purpose of this oil is to be used as a supplement, and not to replace anything. Start by feeding your dog 1 teaspoon for every 10 pounds of body weight, or 1 tablespoon for every 30 pounds. To start off, feed your dog 1/4 of the recommended dose and slowly build it up to the suggested amount over a period of 1 to 2 weeks. This should ensure your dog doesn’t have any digestive upset or issues with the oil. If you are feeding your dog this for medicinal purposes instead of everyday use, you can double the dosage starting out with 1/2 of a teaspoon for every 10 pounds and two tablespoons for every 30 pounds.
Ways to Feed Your Dog Coconut
You can feed coconut to your dog in a variety of ways. Most dogs like the smell and taste of coconut and will eat it without any problem.
- You can add the coconut oil straight to your dog’s food. If you think your dog will be picky about eating it, adding the oil to his or her food is the way to go. It is hassle free and most dogs will eat it with no problems.
- You can try feeding your dog coconut meat or milk straight from a coconut. It has a sweet smell and taste that dogs enjoy and since it is fresh, it’s packed with minerals and nutrients.
- Coconut water is another excellent source of minerals and nutrients. This has a more mild flavor than straight coconut milk and your dogs might like the taste of it over the coconut milk.
Alternate Uses for Coconut and Coconut Oil
Coconut can be used in several different ways to help improve your dog’s quality of life. Since it is so packed with good fats, minerals, and nutrients it can help with many issues.
- Parasites. Coconut oil will help eliminate any parasite your dog could have like tapeworms. Parasites don’t like the fatty acids that coconut and coconut oil is packed with and this will cause them to die or get out. During this process where the parasites are leaving, your liver will be working overtime and the nutrients in coconut or coconut oil will help give it the boost it needs to keep working at full capacity.
- Yeasty Skin. Coconut oil will help kill the bacteria that causes yeast infections and yeasty skin in dogs. This can be either topically applied or ingested, as it works both ways to kill the bacteria.
- Cuts and sores. When used topically coconut oil will help to heal cuts and sores.
We have covered what coconut oil is and where it came from, what type of fats are good fats and several benefits of coconut oil for dogs. We also compared virgin coconut oil to RBD coconut oil, along with how much you should feed your pet and ways to feed coconut to your pet. The final point we covered was other uses for coconut oil like yeast and parasites and why coconut oil works so well to eliminate them.