The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
By Brianna Elliott
Coconut oil has become quite trendy in recent years.
Studies show that it has several impressive health benefits for humans.
Many people also give coconut oil to their dogs or apply it to their dogs' fur.Pexels
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, their 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 (1).
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.
Bottom Line: Coconut oil may help treat skin conditions in humans and some people claim that it 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 (2).
Other types of fat don't have this same ability, so using coconut oil may help keep your dog's coat healthy and beautiful.
Bottom Line: 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.
In one of these studies, coconut oil also appeared to facilitate wound healing in dogs with ectoparasite bites. This is likely associated with coconut oil's ability to inhibit bacterial growth (4).
Bottom Line: 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 is always the risk of an allergic reaction when introducing something new to your dog's diet or grooming regimen. If a reaction occurs, stop using it.
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 take caution with coconut oil if you have a working dog (10).
Bottom Line: 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 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 PetMD, coconut oil can generally be given to dogs 1–2 times a day with meals.
The amount you give your dog will depend on its size. If your dog is overweight or obese, do not 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 two 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. It's often a matter of trial and error, and your dog may need more or less for benefits to occur.
Do not 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.
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.
Bottom Line: 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 proper 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, including coconut oil.
Seek advice from a veterinarian if you have further questions or concerns about giving your dog coconut oil.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Authority Nutrition.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Jennifer Molidor, PhD
Climate change, habitat loss and pollution are overwhelming our planet. Thankfully, these enormous threats are being met by a bold new wave of environmental activism.
Trump Makes Strange Claim About Water Efficient Toilets: 'People Are Flushing Toilets 10 Times, 15 Times'
President Donald Trump mocked water-efficiency standards in new constructions last week. Trump said, "People are flushing toilets 10 times, 15 times, as opposed to once. They end up using more water. So, EPA is looking at that very strongly, at my suggestion." Trump asked the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for a federal review of those standards since, he claimed with no evidence, that they are making bathrooms unusable and wasting water, as NBC News reported.
By Carey Gillam
Former Monsanto Chairman and CEO Hugh Grant will have to testify in person at a St. Louis-area trial set for January in litigation brought by a cancer-stricken woman who claims her disease was caused by exposure to the company's Roundup herbicide and that Monsanto covered up the risks instead of warning consumers.
A powerful volcano on Monday rocked an uninhabited island frequented by tourists about 30 miles off New Zealand's coast. Authorities have confirmed that five people died. They expect that number to rise as some are missing and police officials issued a statement that flights around the islands revealed "no signs of life had been seen at any point,", as The Guardian reported.
"Based on the information we have, we do not believe there are any survivors on the island," the police said in their official statement. "Police is working urgently to confirm the exact number of those who have died, further to the five confirmed deceased already."
The eruption happened on New Zealand's Whakaari/White Island, an islet jutting out of the Bay of Plenty, off the country's North Island. The island is privately owned and is typically visited for day-trips by thousands of tourists every year, according to The New York Times.
My god, White Island volcano in New Zealand erupted today for first time since 2001. My family and I had gotten off it 20 minutes before, were waiting at our boat about to leave when we saw it. Boat ride home tending to people our boat rescued was indescribable. #whiteisland pic.twitter.com/QJwWi12Tvt— Michael Schade (@sch) December 9, 2019
Michael Schade / Twitter
At the time of the eruption on Monday, about 50 passengers from the Ovation of Seas were on the island, including more than 30 who were part of a Royal Caribbean cruise trip, according to CNN. Twenty-three people, including the five dead, were evacuated from the island.
The eruption occurred at 2:11 pm local time on Monday, as footage from a crater camera owned and operated by GeoNet, New Zealand's geological hazards agency, shows. The camera also shows dozens of people walking near the rim as white smoke billows just before the eruption, according to Reuters.
Police were unable to reach the island because searing white ash posed imminent danger to rescue workers, said John Tims, New Zealand's deputy police commissioner, as he stood next to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in a press conference, as The New York Times reported. Tims said rescue workers would assess the safety of approaching the island on Tuesday morning. "We know the urgency to go back to the island," he told reporters.
"The physical environment is unsafe for us to return to the island," Tims added, as CNN reported. "It's important that we consider the health and safety of rescuers, so we're taking advice from experts going forward."
Authorities have had no communication with anyone on the island. They are frantically working to identify how many people remain and who they are, according to CNN.
Geologists said the eruption is not unexpected and some questioned why the island is open to tourism.
"The volcano has been restless for a few weeks, resulting in the raising of the alert level, so that this eruption is not really a surprise," said Bill McGuire, emeritus professor of geophysical and climate hazards at University College London, as The Guardian reported.
"White Island has been a disaster waiting to happen for many years," said Raymond Cas, emeritus professor at Monash University's school of earth, atmosphere and environment, as The Guardian reported. "Having visited it twice, I have always felt that it was too dangerous to allow the daily tour groups that visit the uninhabited island volcano by boat and helicopter."
The prime minister arrived Monday night in Whakatane, the town closest to the eruption, where day boats visiting the island are docked. Whakatane has a large Maori population.
Ardern met with local council leaders on Monday. She is scheduled to meet with search and rescue teams and will speak to the media at 7 a.m. local time (1 p.m. EST), after drones survey the island, as CNN reported.
- New Evidence Suggests Ancient Egypt Was Brought Down by ... ›
- Climate Change Could Set Off Volcanoes - EcoWatch ›
- U.S. Has 18 'Very High Threat' Volcanoes - EcoWatch ›
- Scientists Discover 91 Volcanoes Hidden Under Antarctic Ice Sheet ... ›