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There’s been a lot of interest in the many uses of coconut oil lately, so it’s no surprise that using it for your canine family members has become a popular topic of conversation among veterinarians and groomers. Scout has put together some answers for all you well-meaning dog parents out there that want to sort out the truth from the hype so you can take the best care of your dogs.
Your Coconut Oil Questions Answered
Can Dogs Eat Coconut Oil?
Dogs can eat coconut oil with no problems generally but you do want to make sure they don’t eat too much of it. Coconut oil is high in calories and while some are good, dogs often adore the taste of it and will consume more than they should if they get a chance.
What Type of Coconut Oil is Best for Dogs?
Organic and unrefined coconut oil is best because it retains all of the important fats and complexes that create the health benefits. Beware of too-good-to-be-true prices, though, and make sure you’re buying a quality brand like Nutiva. Buying larger containers is also more economical. 54-ounce sizes are usually the best bargain. Coconut oil has so many uses it’s easy to repurpose any surplus.
Can you put Coconut Oil on Dog’s Skin?
Coconut oil makes an excellent moisturizer for dry, flaky, and itchy dog skin. It’s amazing at soothing irritation and redness and forming a protective barrier. Coconut oil has antifungal and antibiotic properties that help skin heal.
How Much Coconut Oil can my Dog Eat?
1 tsp of coconut oil per 10 lbs is recommended. If your dog eats too much it won’t cause lasting harm but they may run to the bathroom a bit.
Good Brands for Dogs
Sorting through the different brands of coconut oil may leave you wondering which one is really the best. The best way to make sure you are getting something with all the health and nutritional benefits you want is to get a brand that is USDA Certified Organic, cold-pressed, and unrefined. Here are a few that are proven to be good.
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This brand is one of the top organic coconut oil sellers out there. Scout loves that you can get Nutiva in a variety of sizes. The flavor is mild and it can be used for many things around the house, not just for your pup.
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Nature’s Way is a popular vitamin and supplement company that also happens to offer high-quality USDA organic coconut oil. The only potential drawback is that it’s not sold in bulk. If you’re looking for a larger range of container sizes, another brand might be a better fit.
Most grocery stores have some type of coconut oil and all health food stores are carrying it now. Demand is high, so if you want to buy local then you probably can. Even major cooking oil brands like Crisco have added USDA organic coconut oil to their line of products.
Coconut Oil for Dog’s Skin
Coconut oil works well for a lot of the most common skin conditions that dogs suffer from. In fact, a lot of higher priced dog ointments and balms use coconut oil as a base. This means you can use coconut oil to mix up your own blends with essential oils and other ingredients. Just make sure that what you are adding is safe for use on dogs.
Here is a list of ways you can use coconut oil to keep your dog’s skin healthy:
Rub On Paws To Sooth Cracks, Fissures, and Raw Spots
Active dogs are prone to sore paws. While it may be out of the question to get your dog to wear shoes every time they are active, you can help out their paw pads by applying coconut oil to them. Not only will soreness and cracks heal, paws will become less prone to cracking with regular moisturizing. If your dog tries to lick it all off, you can put dog socks on to keep it where it needs to be and protect your furniture. Coconut oil absorbs fast though, so it shouldn’t leave visible marks on carpet or upholstery unless you are using too much.
Use as a Nose Balm
Some dogs literally like to stick their nose in things. This can lead to cracks and scratches on the nose or a sore spot if they like to dig and tunnel. Winter chapped noses are also soothed and comforted by coconut oil. Plus, even if they lick it off, they’re still reaping the benefits.
Healing scratches or areas like on the belly or right under a leg can be dry and flaky on some dogs. Those with very sensitive skin or allergies may also have calloused rough spots that flake. Rubbing coconut oil on your dog’s dry and flaky patches can provide them with both short and long-term relief from their skin ailments. With daily administration, redness and irritation will go away quickly and skin will be smooth.
One of the main ingredients in coconut oil is lauric acid. This is known to naturally repel fleas. While this might not be quite good enough to replace your other flea and tick medications, it can provide an extra layer of protection or you might even be able to use it in the colder months instead of a topical depending on how much of a problem fleas are for you. On the other hand, there are a lot of pet parents that say they only have to rub a teaspoon or less all over their dog once a day or sometimes less and they have no problems with fleas or ticks. You can always give it a try and see if it works for your dog.
Coconut Oil for Digestive Issues
Some dogs have more sensitive stomachs than others. Coconut oil helps dogs digest and absorb more nutrients so they get more out of their dog food. This creates an ideal environment for a faster metabolism. Dogs are far less likely to be overweight or suffer from irritable bowel syndrome if their weight is controlled. 1/2-1 tsp per 10 lbs is generally a safe dosage but monitor how your dog responds and adjust dosage accordingly. Coconut oil is very safe so if they eat too much, any stomach issues go away pretty quickly.
Coconut Oil Cures and Prevents Yeasty or Irritated Ears and Ear Canals
Using coconut oil to clean your dog’s ears can eliminate those itchy ears and yeast issues that occur so often. For an even higher level of homeopathic treatment, mix 1/2 a teaspoon coconut oil and a couple drops of tea tree essential oil and put 3-7 drops in each ear depending on the size of your dog. Use this mixture weekly for dogs that are prone to ear issues. A lot of dog parents have been able to eliminate costly ear medications and chemical treatments using this weekly remedy.
Dental Care for Dogs: Brushing with Coconut Oil
Dental care for dogs is commonly overlooked but it can have a big impact on the health of your dog. Oil pulling or using oil as a dental treatment for people has gained in popularity and plenty of people are swearing it has healed their teeth. Since coconut oil has antibacterial properties it is plausible that this would have a good impact on dental health.
While brushing your dog’s teeth very often might be too much to deal with or impossible if they fight it, you can dip or soak chews in warmed coconut oil. Now, these are oily so they might be best served in a designated area but they do offer your dog a tasty way to get the antibacterial mouth benefits of the coconut oil. If your dog’s teeth have been recently cleaned then now is a good time to get in better habits and keep the tarter and plaque away. Using coconut oil and a basic treat like a rawhide chew can be a much more cost-effective way to offer your dog a dental chew.
Fighting Pet Obesity With Coconut Oil
Coconut oil helps with metabolism, so it is a valuable thing to have around if you are trying to help your dog lose weight. Even if you consider coconut oil for no other reason than its weight loss benefits, it’s well worth it to give your pet some. Pet obesity is really common and it is hard for a lot of us to admit that our dog gets too many snacks or is just not active enough for a regular dog diet.
Pets that are a healthy weight live longer, have a better quality of life, mobility, and less chance of developing very serious conditions. For large breeds that are at high risk of hip and joint issues, it is very hard on them if they are heavy throughout life. Smaller dogs that beg a lot for treats or snuffle up things dropped on the floor can get some major joint issues as well. If you have a 20 lb Chihuahua then it is time to get them on a weight loss plan so they can have a long and healthy life.
Other Health Claims
While there is evidence that coconut helps with healing, digestive issues, and definitely skin issues. Plenty of coconut oil fans claim that it prevents cancer and protects cognitive abilities. The truth is that no one really knows the full extent of what coconut oil can do. Don’t think, however, that you can use it as an alternative to a lot of medications for your dog. While it might provide good support for other treatments, there is no one cure-all product. Unlike some products, though, coconut oil will (at the very least) not harm your dog and will provide some nutritional benefits that help the skin and coat.
Baking Treats With Coconut Oil
If you cook for your dog, there are a lot of great treats out there that can be made at home. Add up how much you are spending on dog treats and biscuits of good quality and you will probably find that you can create a better quality version at home for very little. If you are tired of paying $5 for 4 oz of treats then consider these coconut oil recipes.
These snacks are a great way to ensure that your dog is getting some coconut oil in there diet and you can avoid all the treats and biscuits that have a lot of grains in them like corn, wheat, and soy. Artificial colors and flavors are not something you have to worry about if you are making your own treats.
Changing Health Habits For Your Dog
Making the decision to use natural dog care products is commendable. However, make sure to gauge how your dog responds to something new like coconut oil. Most dogs love it and can eat it just fine, but if your dog already has a sensitive stomach or doesn’t respond well to any diet change, then you might want to introduce the oil to their diet slowly. Topically, coconut oil can be used by most any dog as often as needed.