Coconut oil has become a natural, healthy, and popular supplement for humans. It is thought to have tons of benefits like aiding in weight loss, boosting the immune system, and working as an antifungal. There are hundreds of ways humans can use coconut oil, ranging from skincare to health care.
But did you know this all-natural trend for humans can also be beneficial for your dog?
Yes, coconut oil has qualities that aid in many types of canine conditions. According to Dr. Colleen Smith, DVM, CVA, CVCP of the Chattanooga Holistic Animal Institute, coconut oil provides many benefits for dogs.
Want to know about the benefits and best coconut oils for dogs?
Read the blog and learn everything about coconut oil for dogs.
What is Coconut Oil?
Coconut oil is an edible oil extracted from mature coconuts found in both beauty and food products. It is high in saturated fat and medium-chain triglyceride (MCTs), which are proved to be beneficial for both humans and dogs.
Coconut oil comes from the meat of the coconuts harvested from the coconut palm. It consists of almost 90% saturated fatty acids, which are thought to be behind the touted health benefits for humans and dogs. The benefits range from preventing infection and weight management to enhanced cognitive function and soothing tummy troubles.
Is Coconut Oil Good for Dogs?
Yes, coconut oil has proved to be beneficial for dogs. It has a wide range of science-backed uses for dogs. Studies have shown that coconut oil has several health benefits for humans, and so do dogs. Many studies conducted on coconut oil have been conducted on humans; the results may be applicable for dogs as well.
According to research studies, coconut oil has well-known benefits for dogs ranging from treating skin issues to acting as an anti-inflammatory. Many dog veterinarians claim that coconut oil can help treat eczema in dogs and other skin problems.
Is Coconut Oil Safe for Dogs?
Yes, coconut oil is generally safe for dogs due to its special components. It has medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs) that contain 7% capric acid, 8% caprylic acid, 48% lauric acid, palmitic, and myristic acid.
All of these acids work well to naturally tackle health problems like digestive issues, infections, cuts, wounds, skin diseases, to name a few.
However, despite the possible health benefits, the high amount of dosage may not be healthy for your dog. As coconut oil is a high-fat food, it can cause complications in dogs like weight gain and obesity.
Before you provide your dog with coconut oil, you need to consult your vet and decide the amount of dose safe for your canine.
What Kind of Coconut Oil is Good for Dogs?
If you plan to give your dog coconut oil, you need to find out which type of coconut oil is good for your dog. Here are some of the options you can consider while buying coconut oil for your canine.
- Refined or unrefined coconut oil
- Virgin coconut oil
- Cold-pressed coconut oil
- Organic coconut oil
Is Coconut Oil Bad for Dogs?
Coconut oil is generally good and safe for dogs if provided in a small amount or applied to the skin. Many benefits of coconut oil for dogs have been observed that prove coconut oil is not bad for dogs.
According to some credible sources, coconut oil can be given to dogs one to two times with meals. However, you need to be careful about the amount of oil you give to your dog. The amount of dose sufficient for your dog depends on your canine’s size, age, and weight.
Veterinarians also suggest starting slowly with coconut oil. It will help you monitor how your canine reacts to the oil.
What are the Benefits of Coconut Oil for Dogs?
So what makes coconut oil beneficial for dogs, and can it aid health benefits in dogs?
Here are some of the benefits your dog can get from coconut oil.
Coconut oil is a great item to make your canine coat silky and shiny. To give your canine coat a glossy and sleek look and improve the coat’s health, you can use various coconut oils. You may add coconut oil to your dog’s diet or just simply apply it on the coat.
Studies have proved that coconut oil is really helpful for treating many different health conditions. It may include dry skin, itchy skin, or other skin infections. Coconut oil can be added to the food as an ingredient or directly applied to the skin to get its essential benefits.
Healthy Digestive System
The antibacterial and antiviral properties of coconut oil help dogs absorb nutrients easily, leading to a faster metabolism. It also helps prevent several diseases and infections and promotes normal thyroid function. It is also known to be beneficial for colitis and irritable bowel syndrome.
You can maintain your dog’s dental health by using coconut oil as toothpaste. Brushing your dog’s teeth with coconut oil will diminish bad breath, prevent dental infections, and combat gum disease. You can clean your dog’s teeth by directly brushing with coconut oil or provide your dog with an oil-coated bone and let them chew it.
Prevent Bad Odor
Adding a small amount of coconut oil to a dog’s food has proved to be helpful in preventing bad doggy odors. In addition to helping bad breath, it can prevent stinky odor in dogs.
Disinfect Wounds and Cuts
The antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties of coconut oil help in the treatment of wounds and cuts. Topically applying coconut oil to cuts or wounds will help them heal quickly. Simply applying pure coconut oil or making an antibiotic out of it, both will have the same effect in healing the cuts and wounds of your dogs.
Improve Brain Function
According to a study published in 2010, the MCTs in coconut oil have long-lasting improved cognition effects on aging dogs. Coconut oil is said to stave off dementia in humans; it can be used for treating the aging brain of your dog. Coconut oil provides energy to the dogs in the form of ketones which improve the dog’s brain functioning.
Boosting Immune System
Caprylic acid and lauric acid make coconut oil an excellent choice to boost the dog’s immune system. These acids help fight off bacterial infection and yeast overgrowth. It is great for their gut too, and aids in overall nutrient absorption.
Coconut oil not just helps humans in their weight loss journey but dogs as well. It helps dogs slim down in no time. It is absolutely a safe way to help your dog lose weight.
What Does Coconut Oil Do for Dogs?
As we have seen many benefits of coconut oil for dogs, let’s see what coconut oil actually does for dogs.
Medium Chain Triglycerides
MCTs are partially man-made fats that are proved to be beneficial for both humans and dogs. It is beneficial to improve skin and coat, improve digestion and reduce the allergic reaction. It also improves mental function, heals digestive disorders, and boosts brain energy in older dogs.
The lauric acid in coconut oil helps in fighting off several viruses. It develops monolaurin in the dog's body that is an antimicrobial agent which fights bacteria, virus, or yeasts.
Topical benefits of coconut oil include treating multiple skin infections, like dry skin, itchy skin, bites, stings, and hot spots. Some vets recommend using coconut oil-based shampoos and balm to improve damaged skin and reduce allergens.
When it comes to the health benefits of coconut oil, there is a never-ending list. However, here are the five top health benefits of coconut oil.
- It reduces coughing and helps eliminate hairballs.
- It treats ligament and arthritis and improves bone health.
- It possesses antifungal properties.
- It can relieve allergies and itchy skin.
- It increases energy levels.
Coconut Oil for Dogs Side Effects
While coconut oil has some incredible proven benefits but some canines may have an allergic reaction to the supplement. The following things you should keep in your mind while using coconut oil for your dogs.
Coconut oil is saturated fat which is considered good fats that provide several benefits, including energy and fuel. It consists of medium-chain fatty acid, which is not toxic at any dosage. However, giving too much coconut oil to your dog can cause various issues like diarrhea, greasy stools, and other health problems.
Dogs are prone to pancreatitis; giving high doses of coconut oil at once can be risky due to its high-fat content. According to Dr. Ken Tudor, too much coconut oil can cause high cholesterol levels by adding 120 calories for every tablespoon without providing any appreciable nutrition value.
Giving your dog too much oil in one dosage may cause your dog to have loose or runny stools. A dog’s stomach takes approximately 2 weeks to adjust to extra fat content, so you should be careful about the suitable dosage. Though it may not be toxic to dogs, anything in excess is dangerous and causes hazardous effects.
Consult your vet before starting any type of supplement regimen for your pet.
How Much Coconut Oil for Dogs is Sufficient?
The right amount of dosage can only be decided by discussing with your vet. The veterinarian monitors your dog’s health conditions, size, age, and weight and decides the right dosage accordingly. Vets usually stress the importance of starting slowly with coconut oil.
However, the recommended amount of coconut oil for puppies and small dogs is 1/4 tablespoon and 1 tablespoon for large dogs. Carefully monitor how your dog reacts to it and gradually increase or decrease the dosage. If your canine tolerates it well for 2 weeks, increase the dosage by 1 teaspoon per 10 pounds of body weight.
Due to the lack of research, these recommendations are not established. Therefore, consulting your vet about the dosage is the best option. Otherwise, the wrong amount of coconut oil intake can be dangerous, especially for overweight dogs.
How to Use Coconut Oil for Dogs
There are tons of ways coconut oil can be used for dogs. However, here are the five uses of coconut oil for dogs.
1. Add to Meals and Treats
Adding coconut oil to the dogs’ treats and meals can provide several health benefits. It is a simple way of providing your pet with sufficient fatty acids to balance the thyroid hormone. Studies also show that it can help improve nutrient absorption, reducing allergic reactions, and many other problems.
Turmeric mixed with coconut oil can turn into a tasty dog treat and become a powerful way to help keep your canine illness-free. Adding coconut oil as a base in dog food recipes can turn simple food into tasty meals.
2. Apply to the Skin
Just like on a human's skin, coconut oil can be applied to a dog's skin. It can help infuse your canine skin with moisture and prevent flaking and other signs of infection. Coconut oil is really beneficial for dry skin, itchy skin, and dandruff. Coconut oil is highly effective in harsh winter months at hydrating and increasing lipid levels on the skin surface.
Gently rub a small amount of oil on your hand and massage your canine’s skin. Run your fingers through the hair or fur to make the coat appear sleek, glossy, and shiny. Moreover, coconut oil is a non chemical way to repel fleas and eliminate mites. It can also be used to repel unwanted pests from latching onto your canine’s skin.
3. Use as Coating on Pills
Giving your dog pills is not an easy task, but turning it into a yummy treat can help you make your dog take pills. Masking the pills with coconut oil is a handy trick to make your pets take their meds. Used as the coating will not just make taking medicine enjoyable, but it’ll also help your dog swallow the pill easily.
4. Use as a Product
Coconut oil is used in many beauty and food products. While you choose the commercially manufactured food for your dog, you can look for products that contain coconut oil as an ingredient. This way, you do not have to separately feed your dog coconut oil, and your dog will get a balanced amount of nutrition.
Many beauty products like shampoo, essential oils, or even toothpaste contain coconut oil these days. As research studies have proved many benefits of coconut oil, beauty product manufacturers are adding it into everyday essential products.
5. Brush the Teeth
As coconut oil effectively prevents dental problems, you can brush your canine teeth with coconut oil. You can also find a toothpaste that contains coconut oil as one of the ingredients. But you can directly apply the oil to your canine teeth and gently brush them with a toothbrush.
Types of Coconut Oil for Dogs
You must be wondering what kind of coconut oil for dogs is best. There are many types of coconut oil available in the market, so knowing the right type of oil for your dog becomes essential. Almost every store has several brands of coconut oil available. It is important to know the different types of oil before investing money into a brand.
Coconut oil is categorized into two groups:
- Refined or unrefined coconut oil
- Virgin or extra virgin coconut oil
Many retailers sell both kinds of oil in the market, and some even sell online or by mail. Henceforth coconut oil for dogs of each brand is easily available; you can buy any brand’s oil easily.
Refined or Unrefined Coconut Oil
Refined coconut oil is made from dried coconut called copra or dried coconut meat and then treated to remove impurities. It has little to no coconut taste or aroma. Since it comes from dried coconut and not fresh coconuts, it lacks most of the nutrition found in unrefined coconuts.
Refined coconut oil lacks the smell and taste, and it is usually made from low-quality coconuts. Moreover, hexane and chlorine chemicals are used to refine and remove the impurities from the oil. During the manufacturing, it also undergoes deodorizing and bleaching process. Therefore, refined coconut oils are inexpensive and are labeled to use as hair and skincare products.
On the other hand, natural or unrefined coconut oil is made from fresh coconuts and is considered virgin oil. It is manufactured in state-of-the-art factories or produced by hand using traditional methods. It has a natural aroma and a distinct coconut taste and retains most of the nutrition found in fresh coconuts.
Unrefined coconut oil is more expensive than refined coconut oil because of the manufacturing process and natural nutrition. However, price, quality, flavor, freshness, and aroma depend on the kind of manufacturing process it undergoes.
Virgin or Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
Virgin coconut oil or extra virgin coconut oil is not substantially different; both fall under the unrefined coconut oil category. Virgin coconut oil is made from fresh coconut and doesn’t go under deodorizing and bleaching processes. It is pure coconut oil in its raw form.
The extra virgin coconut oil is also the same virgin oil with a slight difference in aroma and taste. However, regulatory agencies like USDA do not recognize both oils to be different.
Best Coconut Oil for Dogs - Top Choices in 2022
As coconut oil for dogs is becoming famous, many brands focus on manufacturing high-quality coconut oil for dogs. Here are some of the top choices for coconut oil for dogs in 2022.
- Viva Naturals Coconut Oil for Dogs
- Nutiva Organic Coconut Oil for Dogs
- Raw Paws Virgin Coconut Oil for Dogs
- Nature’s Way Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
- Sunbeams Brands Coconut Oil for Pets
- Alpha Pet Zone Coconut Oil for Dogs
- Zesty Paws Coconut Oil for Dogs
- PetPost Coconut Oil for Dogs
- CocoTherapy Virgin Coconut Oil for Pets
- Island Fresh Organic Virgin Coconut Oil
- Carrington Farms Coconut Oil for Dogs
- Wholistic Pet Organics Coconut Oil for Dogs
You can purchase these from the nearest pet supermarket.
Coconut Oil vs. Fish Oil vs. Olive Oil for Dogs - Which One is Better?
Having difficulty in deciding which oil is better for your dog?
Check out the comparison chart below and know the benefits of each oil.
Coconut Oil for Dogs Food
Coconut oil is a multipurpose supplement. You can add it to meals, apply directly on the skin, massage hair and fur or even use it for a bath. You can gently massage your dog’s coat after or before the shower to make it shiny and glossy. It not just makes the fur glow but helps the dog smell fresh, clean, and good, and it also prevents itchy skin and shedding.
Coconut oil can be applied on cracked paws, near the ears, and dry elbows. It also helps prevent dandruff, bald spots, and irritation due to dryness. It can also be used as a spot treatment on broken and irritated skin. It does not have any harsh chemicals, so it is completely safe if your dog licks on the applied oil.
Now you might be thinking, is coconut oil good for dogs to eat?
The simple answer to this question is yes, coconut is not just good but healthy for dogs to eat.
Moreover, the best part is you can add coconut oil to the dog dry or wet food. Adding coconut oil to your dog’s food helps facilitate the removal of intestinal worms from your dog’s gut. However, you need to make little adjustments to your dog’s caloric intake while giving them coconut oil.
Homemade Dog Treats and Recipes for Dogs
Need some ideas on how you can use coconut oil in your dog’s treat and regular food?
Here is a coconut oil food recipe list that you can easily make for your dog at home.
- Frozen Coconut Oil and Blueberry Dog Treats
- No-Bake Coconut Oil Dog Treats
- Ginger Apple Coconut Oil Dog Treats
- Sweet Potato Fries With Coconut Oil
- Frozen Banana and Coconut Delight
- Coconut and Chicken Dog Treats
These recipes are easy to make, and you can quickly make them at home. Treat your dog well with these delicious recipes and let him enjoy his mealtime.