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Coconut Oil for Dogs, Hot or Hype?

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Coconut Oil for Dogs. Hot or Hype?

It seems every time you turn around there is a new discovery. What’s old is new, what’s new is old. Currently Coconut based products are all the rage. What are the benefits and downsides and how does this apply to your pets?? Coconut Oil for Dogs, Hot or Hype?

Coconut Oil is a Tropical Treat! Considered a “Superfood” Coconut Oil provides many benefits to pets (and people). From improving

Skin & Coat  (when applied topically)

  •     Helps with eczema
  •     Minimizes red, itchy and dry skin
  •     Reduces skin allergies
  •     Prevents yeast infections
  •     Clears up contact dermatitis
  •     Prevents fungal infections
  •     Aids in the healing of wounds and puncture
  •     Powerful antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal agents
  •     Immune builder
  •     Moisturizes fur and makes coat shiny

Gut and Digestion (when taken internally)

  •     Helps improve digestion
  •     Reduces or eliminates body odor and bad breath
  •     Reduces symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome
  •     Increases nutrient absorption

Overall Health (when taken internally)

  • Diabetes-balances insulin
  • Helps normalize thyroid function
  • Reduces arthritis symptoms
  • Reduces symptoms of kennel cough
  • Increased energy
  • Helps with weight loss

The key ingredients for most of the benefits of this superfood are MCTs or Medium Chain Triglycerides. Coconut oil is made up of more than 90% saturated fats. Most of the saturated fats in coconut oil are MCTs. More than 40% of the MCTs is lauric acid. MCTs are efficiently metabolized to provide an immediate source of energy, enhancing athletic performance and aiding in weight loss and management. MCTs help balance the thyroid, helping overweight dogs lose weight and sedentary dogs feel energetic.

So what are the risks, downsides or side effects? Unfortunately, feeding coconut oil regularly will also increase the overall fat in your pet’s diet, which may not be ideal for some pets. Coconut oil can also worsen pancreatitis and hyperlipidemia (elevated levels of lipids or fats in the blood), so its oral use can be controversial.  If your pet is prone to weight gain you may want to cut back on treats as you add coconut oil to their diet. Additionally if too much is given to quickly it can cause diarrhea. Check with your veterinarian to see if the benefits outweigh the risks for your pet.

Coconut oil is readily available in almost any grocery store or fresh food market and it doesn’t take much for your dog to reap the benefits. You will want to start with a very small amount daily and GRADUALLY increase to the recommended daily amount for your dog’s weight. If you increase the amount too quickly you risk having your dog experience diarrhea or greasy stools.

So how much to start with? Taken orally for small dogs or puppies start with ¼ teaspoon (or less) daily and for large dogs 1 teaspoon or less if your dog has a sensitive stomach.  Gradually increase as your dog’s system adjusts to the optimal daily amount (give or take depending on your dog’s system and size) to 1 teaspoon per ten pounds of body weight or 1 tablespoon per 30 pounds of body weight. Remember – TAKE IT SLOW or you risk giving your dog diarrhea. As always if you are not sure if coconut oil is right for your dog remember to check with your veterinarian for their advice.

When applied to your pet’s fur, coconut oil will reward your pet with a shiny, moisturized coat. For best results, apply to their skin and fur letting the oil absorb for 4-5 minutes. After which you can rinse lightly. If your dog feels greasy give them a light shampoo and rinse again. A once a week treatment should be just enough.

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