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The Incredible Benefits of Coconut Oil for Dogs

We’ve heard about the benefits of coconut oil for humans, but what about the benefits for a dog’s health? It turns out that nutrient-dense coconut oil can be a great addition to your dog’s diet in safe, small amounts, whether added to your dog’s food, as a supplement, or applied to the skin. Rich in fatty acids and healthy saturated fats, coconut oil may have the following benefits for dogs:

  • Makes a dog’s coat extra shiny

  • Can relieve allergies and itchy skin

  • Kicks bad breath

  • Improves digestion

  • Improves cognitive function

  • Boosts the immune system

  • Increases energy levels

  • Helps eliminate fleas and ticks

  • Possesses antifungal properties

  • Treats arthritis and ligament issues

  • Soothes dry skin, infections, hot spots, dry paw pads, and cracked noses when applied topically (and it’s ok if they lick it off!)

How Much Coconut Oil Should I Give My Dog?

Coconut oil is generally safe for dogs, but should be introduced gradually into their diet. Too much too fast can upset their digestive system, and may cause discomfort, lethargy, or diarrhea. Therefore, it’s best to start with small amounts, gradually working up to the optimal amount. A little bit goes a long way. Note that your dog’s weight will affect the proper dosage. Note that you should always check for signs of an allergic reaction when introducing a new food to your dog’s diet.

Experts suggest that coconut oil can be given to dogs once or twice a day. According to PetMD, start with ¼ teaspoon daily for small dogs and go up to 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon daily for bigger dogs. Keep in mind that because of its high fat content, you shouldn’t give coconut oil more than once a day to an obese or overweight dog. In general, any dog being fed coconut oil should be monitored for weight gain.

Why Is Coconut Oil Good for Dogs?

Coconut oil is just what it sounds like: it’s an edible oil extracted from mature coconuts. Being high in saturated fat and medium-chain triglycerides accounts for its probable health benefits. In particular, medium chain triglycerides are “good” fats that provide many benefits to the immune system, digestive system, skin, and even cognitive functions.

These kinds of dietary fats are easier to digest. The body uses them efficiently so that they become an immediate source of fuel and energy. Additionally, lauric acid, which forms part of the good fat in coconut oil, has known immune-boosting benefits.

What About Coconut Meat, Milk, or Coconut Water for Dogs?

Like coconut oil, sometimes coconut fruit, milk, and coconut water can cause digestive upset in dogs, especially if introduced quickly and in large quantities. It’s best to check with your vet before feeding any of these to your dog. In particular, coconut water contains high levels of potassium, and in rare cases dogs can develop a condition called hyperkalemia caused by too much potassium.


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