Coconut oil is becoming widely popular because of it's many health benefits. Studies find that coconut oil helps blast away belly fat, curbs appetite, strengthens the immune system, prevents heart disease, and starves off dementia and Alzheimer’s disease for humans. But what about the benefits of coconut oil for dogs?
What are the benefits of coconut oil for dogs?
1. Coconut Oil Improves Your Dog's Skin & Coat
Coconut oil is one of those essential items for those pesky skin conditions that may arise. If your dog has patches of dry and itchy skin, coconut oil can be used topically on your dog's skin & coat and is actually an ingredient in many paw balms, hot spot treatments and dog shampoos.
Studies found that using virgin coconut oil on dry and itchy skin, will hydrate your dog's skin and improve dandruff when used topically as a moisturizer. Plus, adding coconut oil to your dog's diet will give you similar results as adding fish oil to their food, it helps keep your dog's coat shiny and soft!
2. Coconut oil helps Disinfect and Soothe Wounds
Studies found that a combination of lauric acid and capric acid, both of which are present in coconut oil, are extremely effective at killing specific bacteria that causes skin issues. Since coconut oil naturally contains antiviral, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antifungal properties, it can be used topically on your pup to help heal cuts, wounds, and will help moisturize dry, cracked and sore paw pads.
Unlike chemical-based products, coconut oil is completely safe for dogs if ingested! Dogs are known to lick themselves, their paws and their open wounds. So when using coconut oil on dogs that likes to lick themselves, you won't have to worry if what their ingesting is harmful.
3. Coconut Oil Helps to Repel Ticks, Fleas & Parasites
This study found that the fatty acids in coconut oil provided protection against several parasites for up to 7 days, and brown dog ticks had repellency from 84% up to 88%. In addition to that, coconut oil was found to be an effective repellent against stable flies and other blood-sucking insects such as horn flies, bed bugs, and lone star ticks.
Coconut oil can successfully be used a natural and non-toxic alternative to chemical repellents. The fat in the oil coats the exoskeleton of parasites which essentially limits their mobility and suffocates them. When taking your dog camping or going for a hike in the woods, consider rubbing coconut oil on their coat to help repel fleas, mites, and ticks. Simply rub the oil between your hands and apply it throughout their coat, working it down to the skin.
If your dog is infested with fleas, coconut oil can be used as a natural flea dip. Put your dog into the bath and apply the coconut oil throughout your dogs entire coat. The coconut oil will naturally melt with the heat of your hands and your dogs skin (DO NOT melt the coconut oil in the microwave, it will strip out all of the good beneficial nutrients). Once you have applied the coconut oil, those pesky fleas will die within minutes. You can then use a flea comb to comb out the dead fleas and flea eggs, rinse your dog off with warm water and then dry with a towel. The coconut oil that's left over on your dogs skin & coat will help soothe and heal the flea bites on your dogs skin, plus help repel other fleas.
4. Coconut Oil Helps Treat Various Skin Conditions in Dogs
Many studies have found that coconut oil fights the negative effects of eczema, a skin condition that causes itchiness, rashes and scaly skin in dogs. Because of of it's anti-bacterial properties, coconut oil is able to reduce inflammation and reduces the chance of developing skin conditions like eczema, crusty scabs, atopic dermatitis, acne and other skin conditions. Again, most of this is because of the lauric acid content in coconut oil.
5. Coconut Oil Helps Improves Brain Function
A study published in 2010, found that coconut oil's medium-chain triglycerides have long-lasting improved cognition effects on aging dogs. Coconut oil was shown to boost brain function in aging dogs by providing energy in the form of ketones. As your dog gets older, this natural source of energy promotes a healthy and active mind to help keep their brain functions young and even prevent dementia.
6. Coconut Oil Boosts the Immune System and Digestive Health
Coconut oil's antiviral and antibacterial properties can help prevent infection and disease as well as help promote good thyroid function. When fed orally, coconut oil helps improve digestion, helps relieve the symptoms of colitis and other inflammatory bowel disorders, plus it aids in overall nutrient absorption.
7. Coconut Oil Promotes Good Dental Health
Did you know that coconut oil can also be used as a natural toothpaste for your dog? That's right! Brushing your dog's teeth with coconut oil helps maintain your dog's dental health, combat gum disease, and diminish bad breath. The lauric acid in coconut oil kills the bacteria that causes tooth decay and stinky breath in your dog’s mouth.
6. Coconut Oil Reduces Skin Inflammation
There are a number of skin conditions in dogs that cause skin inflammation. Since coconut oil contains anti-inflammatory properties, it can help relieve pain associated with skin conditions. In a study using different oils (coconut, sunflower, olive oil), scientists found that coconut oil was the only one that effectively improved levels of antioxidants, prevented oxidative stress, and eased inflammation.
How to Use Coconut Oil for Dogs
Coconut oil can be given to your dogs orally or applied topically. Including coconut oil in your dog’s diet can improve their health in general but for the best results regarding skin and coat health, coconut oil should also be used topically.
The amount of coconut oil to give a dog depends on their size, but if you're just starting out, begin with a very small amount. Small dogs and puppies should start out with 1/4 teaspoon while larger dogs should start out with 1 teaspoon, per day with their dog food.
After the initial introduction of coconut oil into their diet, the general rule of thumb is to give them 1 teaspoon per 10 pounds of body weight. Though coconut oil helps with many aspects of your dog's health, too much can be dangerous for overweight dogs, due to its high-fat content. So make sure to consult with your dog's veterinarian before adding anything new to your dogs diet.
What's the best kind of coconut oil to give dogs?
Organic, extra-virgin coconut oil or cold-pressed coconut oil is best. Try to avoid using refined coconut oil. During the manufacturing process of refined coconut oil, it strips and removes all of the therapeutic & nutritional values that are naturally found coconuts.
The component in coconut oil that makes it so beneficial for dogs is its medium chain fatty acids (MCFAs). These MCFAs contain 48% lauric acid, 8% caprylic acid, and 7% capric acid, as well as myristic and palmitic acids. All of these acids work hard to naturally tackle issues like bad breath, weight gain, infection, dry skin, cuts, digestive issues and so much more! If you've never looked at the ingredients in products before, you'd be surprised to find out how many natural products for dogs and humans contain coconut oil as an ingredient!
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