Is Coconut Oil Good or Bad for Dogs? The Surprising Truth
Studies show that it has several impressive health benefits for humans.
Interestingly, many people also give coconut oil to their dogs or apply it to their dogs' fur.
While most studies on coconut oil have been conducted on humans, the results may be applicable to dogs as well.
This article explores the benefits and risks of using coconut oil on dogs.
Coconut Oil May Help Your Dog's Skin Issues
Using coconut oil to treat skin conditions is a common practice with well-known benefits. The positive effects are likely due to its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.
One study found that coconut oil effectively hydrates the skin of people with xerosis, a condition characterized by dry and itchy skin.
This study was conducted on humans — not dogs. However, many dog owners and veterinarians claim that coconut oil can help treat dry skin and eczema in dogs when applied topically.
Coconut oil may help treat skin conditions in humans, and some people claim that it's also helpful for the skin of dogs.
It Can Improve the Appearance of Your Dog's Fur
Coconut oil may improve the appearance of your dog's fur.
When applied to the skin, it can make hair shinier and less prone to damage.
This is because lauric acid, the main fatty acid in coconut oil, has a unique chemical makeup that allows it to easily penetrate hair shafts.
Other types of fat don't have this same ability, so using coconut oil may help keep your dog's coat healthy and beautiful.
The lauric acid in coconut oil has been shown to keep hair healthier than other fatty acids. It can be used to improve the health and appearance of your dog's fur.
It May Help Fight Off Pests
The antimicrobial effects of coconut oil may prevent dogs from being infected by ectoparasites, such as ticks, fleas, and mange mites.
It has also been shown to help eliminate these pests in dogs that have already been infected.
These effects were confirmed by two studies in which dogs were treated with a shampoo made with coconut oil.
Moreover, coconut oil has also been shown to kill bacteria, viruses, and fungi in lab studies.
Coconut oil may be beneficial for preventing pest infections and treating bites.
Risks Associated With Using Coconut Oil on Dogs
Although adverse effects are rare, there are a few things to consider before using coconut oil on your dog.
There's always the risk for an allergic reaction when introducing something new to your dog's diet or grooming regimen. If a reaction occurs, stop using it.
Also, some studies have shown that coconut oil can cause high cholesterol in dogs. In extreme cases, this can cause fatty plaques to develop in the arteries.
Furthermore, due to its high calorie content, using coconut oil in excess may lead to weight gain.
Lastly, one study concluded that a diet high in saturated fat reduces dogs' scent-detecting abilities. More research is needed to better understand this finding, but you may want to use caution with coconut oil if you have a working dog.
Coconut oil may cause high cholesterol, hardening of the arteries, and weight gain in some dogs. If your dog is prone to any of these conditions, talk with a veterinarian before use.
How to Use Coconut Oil on Dogs
Coconut oil is generally safe for dogs to eat in small amounts or have applied to their skin or fur.
When it comes to selecting a brand, virgin coconut oil is best, as most of coconut oil's benefits have been observed with this type.
According to some sources, coconut oil can generally be given to dogs one to two times a day with meals.
The amount you give your dog will depend on its size. If your dog is overweight or has obesity, don't give it coconut oil more than once a day.
Veterinarians stress the importance of starting slowly with coconut oil. This will allow you to monitor how your dog reacts to it.
Start by giving 1/4 teaspoon daily to small dogs or 1 tablespoon daily to big dogs and gradually increase the amount. If your dog tolerates it well after 2 weeks, increase the dose to 1 teaspoon per 10 pounds (4.5 kg) of body weight.
Due to a lack of research, these recommendations are not established.
Don't feed your dog coconut oil alone. Instead, mix it in with your dog's regular food. This will keep its diet varied and nutrient dense.
All dogs being fed coconut oil should be monitored for weight gain, diarrhea, and other symptoms that may signify intolerance.
Keep in mind that studies haven't revealed any benefits of using coconut oil in dog feed. On the other hand, using it on your dog's skin may improve certain skin conditions.
If you're applying the coconut oil topically, rub a small amount onto your hands and then gently pat its coat, running your fingers through the fur and massaging a little into its skin.
Coconut oil can be fed to dogs or applied to their skin. Start slowly and increase the amount you give your dog gradually.
Research on using coconut oil for pets is lacking. The benefits are mainly anecdotal, as well as based on findings in humans, rodents, and test-tube studies.
Despite the lack of research, giving it to your dog in small doses is relatively safe.
Ultimately, it's a personal choice. Using coconut oil on your dog has a few potential benefits and might be worth trying.
The risks are unlikely but worth keeping in mind. It's important to monitor your dog's health after adding anything to its regimen.
Talk to a veterinarian if you have further questions or concerns about giving your dog coconut oil.
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Trans Canada Trail and AccessNow partnership for AccessOutdoors / Trails for All project. Mapping day at Stanley Park Seawall in Vancouver, British Columbia with Richard Peter. Alexa Fernando<p>This partnership also comes at a time when access to outdoor recreation is more important to Canadian citizens than ever. <a href="https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/daily-quotidien/200527/dq200527b-eng.htm" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Studies from the spring of 2020</a> indicate that Canadian's <a href="https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/moneytalk-mental-health-during-covid-19-1.1567633" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">mental health has worsened</a> since the onset of social distancing protocols due to COVID-19. </p><p>The <a href="https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/coronavirus/in-depth/safe-activities-during-covid19/art-20489385" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Mayo Clinic</a> lists hiking, biking, and skiing as safe activities during COVID-19. Their website explains, "When you're outside, fresh air is constantly moving, dispersing these droplets. So you're less likely to breathe in enough of the respiratory droplets containing the virus that causes COVID-19 to become infected."</p><p>TCT leadership took this into consideration when embarking on the accessibility project. McMahon explains that there has never been a more important time to bring accessibility to the great outdoors: "Canadians have told us that during these difficult times, they value access to natural spaces to stay active, take care of their mental health, and socially connect with others while respecting physical distancing and public health directives. This partnership is incredibly important especially now as trails have become a lifeline for Canadians."</p><p>Together, these organizations are paving the way for better physical and mental health among all Canadians. To learn more about the TCT's mission and initiatives, check out their <a href="https://thegreattrail.ca/stories/" target="_blank">trail stories</a> and <a href="https://thegreattrail.ca/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/TCT_2020-Donor-Impact-Report_EN_8.5x14-web.pdf" target="_blank">2020 Impact Report</a>.</p>
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