Coconut oil is all the rage, and by now you may have heard of all, or at least some of the ways that people can use coconut oil for its many beneficial properties for hair, skin and diet. Whether you’re conditioning your hair, using it as a facial moisturizer at night, brushing your teeth with it or cooking with it, each way you use it has a unique benefit for a healthier and more gorgeous you. So you might be wondering, “Can I share this wonderful, natural product with my pet too? Is coconut oil good for dogs?” Unlike many human foods which are toxic to dogs, which we discuss in 8 Foods To Never Feed Your Dog, the answer here is yes, it’s good! In fact, great! Here we will talk about the uses and benefits of coconut oil for dogs, how much coconut oil to give your dog and finally, our favorite coconut oil dog treat recipes.
With all of the gross byproducts found in many dry pet foods these days, your dog’s gut might not be as healthy as you think. Adding coconut oil to your dog’s diet can have a wondrous effect on your pet’s digestion and vitality. When ingested, coconut oil improves digestion and the absorption of nutrients into the bloodstream as well as kills and expels parasites. The improved digestion provides increased energy and promotes a healthy, active lifestyle, which can be especially useful for dogs who have become sedentary. It can also be helpful in healing digestive disorders like inflammatory bowel syndrome or colitis.
If your pet is tipping the scales a little on the hefty side, adding coconut oil to his diet can help. Coconut oil balances the thyroid, which regulates metabolism. Coconut oil slightly increases the metabolism in dogs, which will help to shed those extra pounds (if only weight loss was that easy for humans!). Pets that are suffering from diabetes can also benefit from coconut oil as it balances insulin production (another function of the thyroid), and can help control or prevent the disease.
Strengthens Immune System
Want your pet to live to be 100 years old (well…in dog years at least)? Feeding coconut oil to your dog prevents infections and disease due to the antibacterial, antiviral and anti-fungal properties within. It may even help prevent cancer. But aside from the potential long term effects, one notable example you can observe on a daily basis due to these disease fighting agents, is a reduction in your pet’s bad breath or even the absence of it. No more stinky dog breath! So if your dog loves to give you lots of kisses, having less bacteria in the mouth is a plus. When your pet does reach old age, coconut oil can help ease arthritis and ligament problems as well.
Improves Cognitive Function
While older dogs may not “roll over” or do all the tricks they once did in their youth, coconut oil is great for helping dogs stay mentally sharp as they age and preventing the onset of canine cognitive dysfunction (CCD), a form of dementia in dogs. CCD is characterized by an amyloid protein build up that results in lesions on the brain of older dogs. The MCTs (medium-chain triglycerides) in coconut oil are known to improve brain energy metabolism and decrease this protein build up through daily ingestion.
Gorgeous Skin and Coat
The old saying goes, “you are what you eat” and when we put good things in our body, it can change how things look on the outside, and the same is true of course for when we put bad things in our bodies. Dogs are no exception when it comes to eating coconut oil. The reward for consuming this nutrient rich food is a sleek and glossy coat and healthier skin from the inside out.
An extra shiny coat isn’t the only benefit though. Coconut oil is a natural way to provide medicinal use for dogs that suffer from skin allergies. Coconut oil is known to reduce allergic reactions in dogs including flea bite allergies, contact dermatitis, and itchy skin. It even clears eczema. The less pet dandruff, the better!
So far we’ve explored all the benefits that coconut oil can have on dogs when ingested, but this amazing, product of nature can also be applied topically to heal wounds including cuts, hot spots, dry skin and hair, bites and stings. You can even brush your dog’s teeth with coconut oil and he will love it!…well at least the taste part.
How Much Coconut Oil Do I Give My Dog?
When adding coconut oil to your dog’s diet, it is extremely important that you give your dog the appropriate amount of coconut oil, which is largely based upon their weight. If you give your dog too much, there could be unwanted side effects such as diarrhea or greasy stools. When you first introduce coconut oil into your dog’s diet, you’ll want to start with a very small amount – 1/4 teaspoon for small dogs or puppies and up to 1 teaspoon for large dogs. Your dog’s body needs time to adjust to this dietary addition. Once your dog’s body has adjusted to the coconut oil, the optimal daily dose is 1 teaspoon per 10 lbs of weight or 1 tablespoon per 30 lbs of weight. So if your dog weighs 20 lbs, 2 teaspoons is ideal and if your dog weighs 90 lbs, 3 tablespoons is ideal. Again, if your dog shows any side effects such as diarrhea or greasy stools, simply lessen the amount.
Coconut Oil Dog Treat Recipes
Dogs love the irresistible taste of coconut oil, so one of the easiest ways to feed coconut oil to your dog is to just add it on top of their food. If you want to make it into a tasty treat for your loved one though, consider these simple 2-4 ingredient coconut oil dog treat recipes (just make sure to adjust the amount of coconut oil in each treat if necessary):