The Savvy VetTech

Benefits of Coconut Oil in our Pet Patients

by Lori Hehn - September 4, 2015 at 2:55 PM
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I have been using coconut oil for quite some time after reading the long list of benefits it offers humans. I cook with it, I use it on my kids' skin after baths, and I use it on my face. I had read a post about a 50-year old woman who looked to be in her 30's. Her secret? Sunscreen and coconut oil she claims. Well, probably great genetics too. But I figured if it is natural, isn't harmful, and is potentially beneficial, why not use it? And if it is so good for me, what about my dog or our pet patients?

Coconut oil is mostly saturated fats (about 90%), with a few unsaturated fatty acids. Most saturated fats in coconut oil are Medium Chain Triglycerides, of which the main component is lauric acid. The health benefits of coconut oil mostly come from the MCTs because lauric acid has antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-fungal properties.

 I started looking into benefits of coconut oil in pets. It turns out that coconut oil has the following health benefits in dogs:

  • Helps with arthritis as it is a natural anti-inflammatory
  • Helps with itchy skin and dermatitis
  • Can make the haircoat more shiny or sleek
  • Good to use on bites or stings and hotspots
  • Helps with digestion
  • May increase energy and help with weight loss
  • It helps with insulin and thyroid regulation in humans, and benefits are suspected in dogs as well

I buy the organic version and it can be found at any grocery store. I give it to our older lab daily in her food. Actually, she really just prefers to lick it off the spoon. I do believe that it is helping her with arthritis. She also has primary hypothyroidism, and even though she is regulated her haircoat seems to be really dry. The coconut oil also seems to help with her haircoat.

I typically recommend 1 teaspoon for dogs under 20 pounds, 2 teaspoons for dogs 20-40 pounds, and 1 tablespoon daily for larger dogs (over 40 pounds).  I always have the owner start gradually and build up to this amount to prevent GI upset or diarrhea. Most dogs tolerate it very well.

Ten Reasons to Add Coconut Oil To Your Dog's Diet

About Lori Hehn

Lori Hehn is a practicing veterinarian and a contributor and content manager with XPrep Learning Solutions. She has a drive for continual learning and enjoys interacting with veterinary and vet tech students. She also writes veterinary learning books for children.

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