Coconut oil is rapidly growing in popularity. No longer found in health food stores only, large grocery store chains have begun to carry multiple brands in response to the increased demand. People have discovered the health benefits from cooking with it, baking with it and even using coconut oil as a hair conditioner. Now even our dogs can experience the health benefits inside and out from coconut oil.
The fat in virgin coconut oil is largely made up of medium-chain fatty acids (MCFA). This type of saturated fat is easily metabolized and turned into energy. There are two types of coconut oil, refined and unrefined. Refined usually is tasteless, because it is refined to the point that you are able to fry with it or bake with it without imparting any coconut flavor or taste into your food. However, the refining process may include harsh solvents and chemicals. If possible, look for a slightly more expensive brand that uses a chemical-free cleaning process. On the other hand, unrefined coconut oil is typically virgin and extra virgin, and similar to olive oil—the oil comes from the first pressing of fresh, raw coconut. There are pesticide-free organic brands as well. With so many choices and price points, reading the labels closely is highly recommended.
There are many healthful benefits to adding coconut oil to your dog’s diet. The unrefined type has a taste that most dogs immediately love. You can incorporate it directly into your dog’s meal by adding a 1/4 teaspoon to 1 teaspoon, depending on the size of your dog. As with any added fat to a diet, you will want to start slowly so your dog can properly absorb and process the oil and avoid diarrhea.
Why it’s Good for the Inside of a Dog:
- Virgin coconut oil contains fatty acids such as lauric acid, which is also found in breast milk. Lauric acid has natural antibacterial properties.
- The anti-fungal properties of coconut helps prevent and treat Candida and other yeast infections.
- It improves digestive system function and enables better absorption of nutrients from the foods your dog normally eats.
- Coconut oil is also known to stimulate the thyroid gland which in turns helps maintain a healthy weight and activity level.
How it Can Help the Outside of a Dog:
- Coconut oil is a great moisturizer when applied to your dog’s skin, healing hot spots and rough cracked foot pads.
- You will notice overall improvement in your dog’s coat
- Inflamed and itchy skin from flea bites or sores benefit from this oil applied directly.
- Add it to your dog’s shampoo or rinse water to add a nice smell, and take advantage of its antioxidant properties.
Coconut oil just may be the miracle we’ve all been looking for. From cooking benefits to health benefits for you and your dog, you’ll want to clear an entire shelf in your pantry for this magical elixir. Want to know more uses for coconut oil for you? Check out this article on 101 Uses for Coconut Oil.
This article was written by LIFE+DOG editor Sharon Castellanos.