The Many Benefits of Coconut Oil for Dogs
Today, it seems like there isn't a single problem you can research without receiving “coconut oil” as a possible solution. Everyone is using it on, well – everything.
Maybe you yourself have tried rubbing it on your skin as a lotion, or cooking it up with your tasty stir-fry.
If you are a dog-owner, perhaps it has crossed your mind that this wonder oil might be beneficial for your canine friend as well. Good news: it can be!
But, as with any change in your dog's diet or supplements, you should discuss it with a vet before experimenting.
Be aware that while most dogs have no difficulties with coconut oil, some could have an allergy or sensitivity to it. Even dogs with no vulnerabilities to the oil can run into trouble if they are given too much too soon.
When you start offering coconut oil to your pal, start off small. You can always add more later, but exercising caution in the beginning will protect your dog from a sudden bout of diarrhea, weight gain, or other issues.
How much oil you should give depends on the individual animal, as well as the reason you're providing it. A general rule of thumb for dosing is to use one teaspoon per ten pounds of body weight.
It's best to consult a veterinarian for a personalized recommended dosage for your dog, and remember to work your way up to the regular amount gradually.
Improved Skin and Coat
One of the most obvious benefits of coconut oil is improved skin and coat. This is an area where coconut oil really shines (no pun intended) because there are so many ways it can help your dog.
On the surface, coconut oil helps to provide a sleek and shiny coat, while also cutting down on unpleasant dog odor caused by skin conditions. By also adding the oil to food, you give it the opportunity to work from the inside out. You'll notice your dog's coat appear glossier and healthier after regular doses.
It can be applied topically for targeted use, including to moisturize dry, flaky skin or itchy spots. Allergic reactions can be soothed with application. Even uncomfortable skin problems such as eczema, yeast and fungal infections will be calmed after treatment.
Little scrapes or cuts your dog has suffered may also heal up faster with a light layer of oil on top, as coconut oil promotes the healing of wounds.
Mild Skin Pest Repellent
Some people have had success in preventing fleas or other skin pests with coconut oil. To capitalize on this perk, look for a shampoo that has coconut oil listed as an ingredient. While it does work as a mild repellent, this is meant to be used in addition to, and not in place of, your regular flea protection.
If your dog has flea bites, dabbing some on the affected areas will ease some of that discomfort.
Improved Oral Health
If your pooch does suffer from body odor issues, coconut oil might be exactly the remedy you need.
If those odor issues are specifically in the mouth area, you can even brush your dog's teeth with the oil to lower levels of bacteria in the mouth and help give your dog a healthier teeth and gums, not to mention fresher breath.
Grab a soft toothbrush, put a small amount of oil on the bristles, and brush away. In addition to bettering bad breath, coconut oil can be a very effective plaque remover.
Acts as an Anti-Inflammatory
This handy oil can even ease inflammation and promote stronger bones, which is particularly great for arthritic dogs. The antibacterial, anti-fungal and antiviral properties within coconut oil provides protection against inflammation, a common and painful condition that often affects older dogs.
By reducing the chances of inflammation your dog might be spared the painful and crippling effects of digestive disorders and arthritis, most notably hip dysplasia.
Increased Energy and Brain Functions
Older dogs may also experience improved energy and brain function after having this enriching supplement added to their diet. Coconut oil supplies the brain with ketones, a type of energy that supports cognitive, nerve and overall brain function and helps protect the brain from dementia.
Other Notable Benefits
Coconut oil also strengthens ligaments and joints, as well as balances insulin levels. Dogs with thyroid issues can find a better balance while taking this supplement, whether they need to lose weight or increase energy.
Again, if a dog reacts poorly to coconut oil, he may actually gain unwanted weight. Make sure to monitor your dog's weight and general demeanor as he adapts to the supplement.
A dog's overall digestion can be enhanced with a light dose of this metabolism-boosting oil. If your pup suffers from digestive disorders such as colitis and inflammatory bowel syndrome, adding this to his health regime will help alleviate some of that distress.
Since the oil assists in the absorption of nutrients found in your dogs food, it can lay a solid foundation for a quality diet to build upon.
Anyone who has watched a dog suffer from a nasty cough will be glad to hear that coconut oil can take the edge off of that torment as well. While not necessarily a cure for something like kennel cough, it can go a long way in providing relief and aiding healing.
Are you convinced of the benefits and ready to buy yourself a jar?
Be sure to get virgin/extra virgin coconut oil, and choose one without any added ingredients. Picking a cold-pressed version will ensure you are getting an unrefined oil, as well as one that has been pressed at a lower temperature to retain its nutrients.
Never buy brands of coconut oil that are labeled “refined” or “RBD” which stands for “refined, bleached and deodorized”. This means that most of the nutrients have been stripped away, the oil has been made using coconuts of lower quality and chemicals have been added during the refining process.
Also, you want brands that are sold in glass jars since plastic containers can leech out the chemicals of the plastic into the oil.
If you've never had coconut oil before, here's a heads-up – the consistency of it will fluctuate depending on the temperature. Don't be surprised if, on a warm summer day, that previously white and solid texture is replaced with a clear liquid.
All of the anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-fungal properties of this oil make it a powerful weapon against countless afflictions. While it is a terrific healer, it can also be used preventatively.
If your vet has given your pup the all clear to use coconut oil, give it a try. A calming moisturizer, this nutty oil is also delicious to smell. For this reason, you may find that when you rub it on your dog, you experience some of the benefits yourself!
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