Coconut oil is becoming increasingly popular as a dietary supplement and skin and hair treatment for us humans. But what about dogs? If you’re wondering about the health benefits of coconut oil for dogs, here’s some of the latest advice from vets and pet nutrition experts about coconut oil and dogs. As with any treatment or supplement, it never hurts to check with your vet before giving something new to your dog.
Topical uses of coconut oil
Coconut oil is a safe and effective treatment for many canine skin problems. Apply coconut oil to your dog’s dry, itchy, or irritated skin. You can also use it on the nose and paw pads if they are dry and cracked. Certain conditions like atopic dermatitis can be helped by the application of coconut oil. There is also some evidence that coconut oil aids in the healing of wounds. Try applying some coconut oil if your dog suffers from hot spots. You can also use it to help condition and deodorize your dog’s coat. Some dog owners report good results using coconut oil as a flea and tick repellant.
Adding coconut oil to the diet
The most important thing to remember about feeding your dog coconut oil is that it will add fat to your dog’s diet. Talk to your vet if your dog is overweight and you’re thinking about starting her on coconut oil.
Feeding your dog coconut oil can improve his digestion, particularly the absorption of nutrients, and it is beneficial in the treatment of colitis and inflammatory bowel disease. There is some evidence that coconut oil also improves cognitive function in dogs. Certain claims about the health benefits of coconut oil are less grounded in fact than others. The evidence is still inconclusive about whether or not it helps to prevent cancer, improve thyroid function, and ease joint pain.
How to feed your dog coconut oil
It’s important to start your dog off on small amounts and increase the dose gradually. Too much coconut oil can give your dog loose stools or diarrhea. A generally recommended starting dose is ¼ to ½ teaspoon a day for small dogs and puppies. Start with one teaspoon for large dogs. After monitoring your dog to make sure she is adapting to coconut oil in her diet, increase the dose to around 1 teaspoon per 10 pounds of body weight. Always remember to start with the smallest amount to be safe.
Coconut oil image: Meal Makeover Moms on Flickr
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