Fed regularly to pets, coconut oil can have many health benefits — for their skin, digestive and immune systems; metabolic function; and even their bone and brain health!
1. Coconut oil improves overall skin health, and clears up skin conditions such as eczema, flea allergies, contact dermatitis, and itchy skin.
2. Incredibly emollient, coconut oil helps moisturize the driest skin and makes a dog’s coat gleam with health — whether you add it to their diet, their shampoo, or both!
3. Applied topically to the skin, coconut oil promotes the healing of cuts, wounds, hot spots, bites, and stings.
4. The antibacterial and antifungal properties of coconut oil help reduce doggy odor, and its pleasantly tropical aroma imparts a delightful scent to a dog’s skin and coat.
5. Coconut oil prevents and treats yeast infections, including candida. Its antiviral agents also help dogs recover quickly from kennel cough.
6. Digestion and nutrient absorption are improved by the addition of coconut oil to a dog’s diet. It can, however, cause stool to loosen; if that happens, just add a few spoonfuls of canned pumpkin to your dog’s diet (go here for more stool-firming tips).
7. Coconut oil reduces — and sometimes eliminates — doggy breath. Some dog lovers even brush their pets’ teeth with the stuff! Which makes sense, as dogs love the taste of coconut oil, and that makes the chore less arduous for brusher and brushee.
8. Like cinnamon, coconut oil helps prevent diabetes by regulating and balancing insulin. It also promotes normal thyroid function, and helps prevent infection and heart disease.
9. Helping to reduce weight and increase energy, coconut oil also promotes mobility in dogs with arthritis and other joint issues.
10. Again like cinnamon, coconut oil is excellent for brain health; it’s being used to stave off dementia in humans, and it’s a must to keep senior dogs’ minds from becoming cloudy.
Start slow and increase gradually
When beginning to supplement your pet’s diet with coconut oil, start slow and increase gradually. Giving too much coconut oil too soon can cause digestive and detox issues.
Because coconut oil kills bacteria, viruses, parasites, yeasts, and fungi, your pet may respond negatively to the detox aspect of taking coconut oil. Signs of detoxing too rapidly may include lethargy, headaches, flu-like symptoms, fatigue, and diarrhea.
Large amounts of coconut oil given to a dog can cause diarrhea or greasy stools while his body adjusts to the change in diet. Start with small amounts, such as ¼ teaspoon per day for small dogs or puppies and 1 teaspoon for large dogs, or even just a dab if your dog’s constitution is sensitive. If your dog seems tired or uncomfortable or has diarrhea, just cut back the amount temporarily. Gradually increase the amount every few days. If your dog seems tired or uncomfortable or has diarrhea, reduce the amount temporarily. It may also be helpful to give the small amounts of coconut oil in divided doses throughout the day.
Coconut oil is best given with food. Solid or liquid coconut oil can be added to food at any meal. Solid coconut oil can easily be melted quickly in hot water.
A general guideline for the optimal dose for dogs is about 1 teaspoon per 10 pounds of body weight daily or about 1 tablespoon per 30 pounds, but don’t start with these amounts in the beginning!
Most cats also love the taste of coconut oil and will eat it without a problem. As with many similar supplements, if your cat won’t eat it in her food, just put a dab of coconut oil on her paw before or after meals. She’ll lick it off and get it that way.
We humans can benefit from coconut oil by using it for cooking in place of other oils. It is also taken orally by mouth as a diet supplement and used on skin. A good strategy for humans is to use coconut and palm oils for cooking, and olive (a heat-sensitive oil with a low smoke point) and flax oils for cold dressings. This trategy will help increase your levels of healthy Lauric Acid, Omega-3, and GLA fatty acids while lowering your intake of Omega-6 and junk oils. Some experts recommend that we consume a 3:1 ratio of Omega-6s to Omega-3s. The average American diet provides a ratio of 15:1 and often 30:1. Some oils, such as olive, create harmful substances as a result of overheating.
If you cook your own pet food, coconut oil would be an excellent addition to the recipe.
Most dogs like the taste of coconut oil so you won’t have trouble feeding it to them.
Coconut Oil for Pet Skin Problems
If you wish to apply topically to use coconut oil to treat a rash, wound or dry skin, but they try to lick it off, try wrapping the skin in a rag or towel for a few minutes to let the oil soak in before they get a chance to lick it off.
Different brands of coconut oil will have different tastes ranging from a bland taste, to a strong coconut taste, to a more buttery taste. You can experiment with the oil your pet finds most pleasing.
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