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How to Use Coconut Oil for Dogs (+ the Top 8 Benefits)

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Coconut oil for dogs - Dr. Axe

You’ve heard all about coconut oil benefits before and know that it serves as an amazing superfood because of its fatty acid content. But what about coconut oil for dogs? We want our furry friends to experience the same range of benefits, but it’s common to hesitate before adding any new food to your dog’s diet.

Here’s some great news: Not only is coconut oil safe for your dog — it’s extremely beneficial too. According to a study published in PLoS One, when healthy beagles with the mean age of 9.9 years consumed coconut oil along with corn oil and reduced animal fat for a six-month period, the healthy fats appeared to counterbalance the effects of aging.

There are several coconut oil uses for dogs. Adding a small amount of coconut oil to your dog’s diet can help boost his energy, support his digestion and fight infections. Plus, using coconut oil topically on your dog’s fur and skin works to reduce odor, soothe skin damage and freshen her coat.

This is largely due to coconut oil’s medium-chain fatty acid content, which is easy to digest and quickly used for fuel. These types of fats also are smaller in size, allowing them to permeate the skin easily. If you’re looking for a holistic approach to your dog’s health and well-being, consider adding coconut oil into your dog’s regime.


8 Benefits of Coconut Oil for Dogs

1. Supports Metabolism and Weight Loss

One of the most well-known coconut oil benefits is its ability to support metabolic function. Coconut oil helps support weight loss, which is due to the medium-chain fatty acid content. MCFAs control a number of physiological processes, and studies have found they have fat-burning abilities. When consumed by rats, MCFAs had an effect on fat breakdown.

2. Boosts Energy

Because coconut oil is easy to digest and boosts your dog’s metabolism, it also helps increase his energy levels. The MCFAs in coconut oil are sent directly to the liver after they’re ingested, which is quickly converted into energy. If your dog has been sluggish or lethargic, she may benefit from consuming coconut oil once or twice daily.

3. Fights Infections

The lauric acid in coconut oil works to boost immune function by fighting bacteria, viruses and fungi. Adding coconut oil to your dog’s diet or applying it topically to his skin and coat can help fight infections naturally. It also helps reduce inflammation and enhance skin barrier function, according to a 2019 in vitro study published in the Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine.

This is a healthier alternative to constantly turning to pharmaceutical antibiotics and antifungals when your dog is fighting an infection.

4. Improves Digestion

The MCTs in coconut oil help improve gut health by destroying bad bacteria and reducing inflammation. You can use coconut oil for dogs to help relieve digestive problems, including IBS and colitis, as it’s been shown to help with these conditions in rats.

Coconut oil also helps increase nutrient absorption, as many vitamins and minerals are fat-soluble and need fats to be properly absorbed by the body.

5. Supports Skin and Coat Health

Coconut oil can be used to improve the texture and appearance of your dog’s coat. It has moisturizing properties and is easily absorbed into the skin. You can use plain coconut oil or a dog shampoo made with coconut oil to clean your dog’s coat and improve skin damage. Don’t be afraid to rub the oil into your dog’s paws and ears too.

Coconut oil for dogs also helps fight skin infections and speed up wound healing, as shown in a study done on rats. This is due to its antimicrobial properties. Plus, coconut oil may work to repel (and even kill) fleas and ticks in your dog’s fur.

6. Improves Dog Odor

Coconut oil has antimicrobial and antifungal properties, so when it’s applied to your dog’s fur and skin, it can improve odors that have been lurking. Plus, unrefined, virgin coconut oil has a fresh, nutty and coconut aroma that will certainly benefit the smell of your dog’s coat.

7. Helps Eliminate Hairballs

You can use coconut oil for dogs to help eliminate hairballs and ease a cough. The oil acts as a lubricant that will help your dog expel the hairball and soothe his throat. Also, if your dog has a cough, try giving him a small amount of coconut oil to fight bacteria and ease the discomfort.

8. Supports Dental Health

Have you ever wondered if coconut oil is good for dog teeth? Because it has antimicrobial properties, you can actually use coconut oil to boost your dog’s oral health. Using a soft baby toothbrush, use a small amount of coconut oil to brush your dog’s teeth. This will help to eliminate bacteria and freshen his breath.


How to Use and Where to Buy Coconut Oil for Dogs

How much coconut oil can I give my dog?

If you plan to give your dog coconut oil orally, it’s a good idea to consult with your veterinarian about the right dosage. Generally, it’s smart to start with small amounts to make sure it’s well-tolerated and then build up the dose slowly over time. A good starting dose is about ¼ teaspoon one to two times per day. You can then increase the dose slowly over time so the dog’s body can adjust to this addition to his diet.

There are a few easy ways to add coconut oil to your dog’s diet. You can simply add the oil to dry or wet food once or twice daily. You can also make these Homemade Dog Treats that includes coconut oil, along with an egg, shredded cheese and gluten-free baking mix. You’ll also be able to find doggy treats made with coconut oil at your local pet store.

How do you use coconut oil on dogs’ skin?

You can apply coconut oil to your dog’s skin and coat by adding a small amount to your hand and massaging your dog. You can run your fingers through your pup’s fur, including the paws and ears, or simply pat your dog with coconut oil on your hands. If you think her coat is too greasy after applying coconut oil, try a quick rinse or even use a light and gentle shampoo afterward.

What kind of coconut oil is good for dogs?

Just like for humans, going with an organic, unrefined virgin coconut oil is best. This is the least processed form of coconut oil, and when it’s organic, it doesn’t contain toxins that may cause adverse side effects when ingested or used topically. You can find a high-quality coconut oil in your local grocery store. There are also products like dry dog food with coconut oil and topical solutions meant for dogs available online and in pet stores.


Precautions

Is Coconut Oil Safe for Dogs?

Yes, coconut oil for dogs is safe. It’s safe to give your dog coconut oil orally and to use it topically on his skin or fur. Keep in mind, if your dog is ingesting coconut oil, it’s best to start with very small amounts. If your dog has diarrhea or greasy stools, you may be giving too much oil, and you should reduce the dose. It’s recommended that you consult your veterinarian before adding new food or regime to your dog’s diet.

Some dogs may be allergic to coconut oil and experience an adverse reaction, so again, starting with a small amount at first is recommended. If you are using the oil topically for the first time, try it on a small surface area first to make sure your dog doesn’t have an adverse reaction. Also, dogs with pancreatitis may not react well to high-fat foods, so it would be best to avoid coconut oil in these cases.

Read Next: Bone Broth for Dogs & Other Pets: Top 5 Benefits & How to Make Your Own


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