Coconut oil has become a popular natural health product for humans and dogs, considered to treat everything from halitosis to dry skin to immune health to thyroid health, and even preventing cancer. So, what's the truth? Is coconut oil good for dogs? What should you know before giving it to your dog? Read on to learn more about coconut oil for dogs as well as how you might combine it with CBD oil for additional benefits.
What is Coconut Oil?
Well, coconut oil is an oil extracted from the "meat" inside mature coconuts, you know the creamy white stuff. Straight virgin coconut oil will come in a jar and look very similar to what's inside a coconut but more liquid. It is raved about for its high fatty acid content, other healthy fats, anti-bacterial properties, anti-viral properties, anti-fungal properties, triglycerides, and nutritional benefits. Science and consumer testimonies are showing great promise for coconut oil to treat a wide range of health concerns, enough that licensed veterinarians actually take it seriously as an alternate treatment option.
Benefits of Coconut Oil for Dogs
InfectionsBecause of its lauric acid content, coconut oil is touted as a means to prevent and treat bacterial, viral, and fungal infections. A dog with an overgrowth of Malassezia yeast or who has wounds or sores that you'd like to protect from a bacterial infection may benefit from the slathering of coconut oil. Scientists have proven that coconut oil can indeed kill bacteria, viruses, and fungus in lab tests, in fact, scientists are recommending coconut oil as a way to combat drug-resistant candida. But it hasn't been tried and proven like traditional methods, so it may or may not always protect or treat infections, so discuss potential risks with your doctor and be ready and prepared to go to more aggressive means should coconut oil not cut it.
Ingesting coconut oil can also help boost the immune system because of medium-chain triglycerides, antioxidants, and lauric acid. This is great for dogs with weakened immune systems, chronic stress, or any dog who just needs a boost. Coconut oil might prevent disease and shorten the life of already developed diseases.
Medium-chain triglycerides also provide a bit of subtle, healthy energy. If your dog is feeling under the weather, suffering a lack of energy as a medication side effect, or is simply slowing down from age, they may benefit from coconut oil. This won't be like a doggy energy drink that will be unhealthy or cause a crash.
Because of coconut oil's boost of energy, its impact on the thyroid, and the healthy way it metabolizes in the body, it can be used as a way to manage obesity in dogs. It's also filling, making dogs feel less hungry. Depending on your dog's reason for obesity, coconut oil may or may not be answer. If your dog is severely overweight or does not quickly respond to coconut oil, you should consult your vet for more personalized advice.
There is also significant evidence that medium-chain triglycerides improve brain health and can help prevent and manage dementia in dogs.
Dogs with epilepsy may find relief in coconut oil because it boosts ketones, and ketones have been scientifically proven to lessen and prevent seizures.
Try coconut oil if your dog is suffering from digestive issues, because it improves digestion, helps the body absorb nutrients, kills harmful bacteria in the stomach, fights inflammation in the digestive system, and soothes the digestive system. Just don't overdo it, because then they might get greasy or loose stools.
Coconut oil can help eliminate parasites from the dog's digestive system and skin as well. So, if your dog has tapeworms, fleas, lice, or any other parasite, coconut oil may be the answer. Lauric acid kills many parasites, and even if it can't kill them, many parasites, like lice, hate oil.
Lauric acid is also an anti-inflammatory, bringing down and decreasing discomfort from inflammation, which helps dogs with arthritis or acute conditions involving inflammation.
Inflammation causes pain and discomfort and can actually lead to many diseases. Theories suggest that most diseases have inflammation of some kind at their source. This means it is always important to address and manage inflammation for the overall health and wellbeing of your dog.
Coconut oil is commonly used as a way to treat bad breath because bad breath is caused by bacteria. If tooth brushing isn't for you and your doggie, coconut oil dental treats or a coconut oil snack may be just the ticket.
Coconut oil is also beneficial for irritated and dry skin allergies and conditions. The high-fat content of coconut oil soothes and moisturizes the skin. But using coconut oil for dog dry skin doesn't just moisturize, it also tackles other problems that cause or go with skin conditions such as yeasts, inflammation, and a weak immune system. It works for lesions from flea allergies, eczema, insect bites and stings, pressure sores, and more.
The antioxidants and collagen in coconut oil speed up wound healing, improving recovery time so dogs have less risk of infection.
You might choose coconut oil for dogs with allergies because coconut oil can boost the immune system, reduce itching, soothe skin, heal sores and wounds that have developed from complications from allergies, increase energy, and improve digestive functions. Whether the dog has an allergy from pollen, dust mites, or food, coconut oil will likely provide relief for its symptoms.
There are also some claims that coconut oil could prevent cancer because of its boost to the immune system and can prevent and manage diabetes because of its impact on obesity.
Using Coconut Oil for Dogs
Coconut oil may make a good replacement or supplemental treatment. Traditional medications can have terrible side effects that make the dog miserable and may even be life-threatening.
There are two primary ways to use coconut oil. Depending on the ailment you want to address, you might give it orally or topically.
Coconut oil for dogs can be bought in:
- a jar of just virgin coconut oil
- dental treats
- anytime treats
- ear cleaners
- wrinkle wipes
- and more
Can dogs eat it?
Do be aware that coconut oil products may or may not be edible. Depending on their intended use, they may be processed in a way that is not safe for consumption or are combined with inedible ingredients, so do not assume that any coconut oil is automatically edible just because the oil itself is.
Dosing Coconut Oil for Dogs
Follow directions on the product packaging for amounts of coconut oil to give your dog and how frequently to use it. The amount they end up needing may vary, particularly for oral applications, so don't be surprised if you have to tweak the dose to find what works best for your pet.
If you're going the straight coconut oil route, give the dog 1 teaspoon per 10 lbs of doggie orally. This will probably be about 1/4 teaspoon for small dogs and puppies. Or apply it to their bodies where needed, let sit for five minutes, and then bathe them.
It is wise to consult a licensed veterinarian for exact dosing. They may also need to know you are giving the dog coconut oil when prescribing medications for them.
Be aware that too much coconut oil can cause loose stools, greasy stools, or diarrhea.
Before Buying or Using Coconut Oil
Use caution when giving coconut oil to dogs with pancreatitis or issues metabolizing fat.
Do not apply human coconut oil products on your dog unless you are sure it doesn't have any ingredients in it that would bother them. If all the ingredients are safe, then it's fine to use coconut oil products intended for human use, though dosages would need to be changed, if there are dosages.
There is no reason why you can't just buy a jar of coconut oil from the baking section of your grocery store to feed or use on your dog unless it has something else added to it. And it shouldn't. Avoid those on general principle.
Things to Know When Purchasing Coconut Oil for Dogs
If you intend to feed your dog coconut oil, ensure you are buying a coconut oil that is edible.
Only buy unrefined, or virgin, coconut oil, or products made with it. If you are buying a jar of it alone, it should be white and creamy.
Also, make sure you choose cold-pressed coconut oil as it retains more of its soothing and nutritious qualities this way. Prioritize products made with coconut oil that say the coconut oil they used was extracted using the cold-pressed method.
Follow storage instructions. Pure coconut oil can change consistency in different temperatures, and this is okay as long as it hasn't gone rancid. If it becomes rancid, it will have a disagreeable texture and smell off.
Coconut Oil combined with CBD Oil
Coconut oil and CBD or cannabidiol oil have similar and complementary properties.
CBD oil is extracted from the hemp plant to give all the health benefits people associate with marijuana without the THC. THC is the chemical that causes marijuana's characteristic high and impacts cannabidiol's ability to provide long-term health benefits. To put it simply, the THC and cannabidiol mixture found in marijuana does provide health benefits, but they give you powerful effects that wear off too quickly and can leave the user with a crash. There's that high too. And the fact that it's not legal in most states. Cannabidiol is legal everywhere in the US, doesn't cause a crash, and doesn't so much hit your dog's body with the feel healthy hammer, but rather helps their body regulate its own healthy functions.
Cannabidiol helps people and dogs:
- manage pain
- decrease inflammation
- alleviate stress and anxiety
- prevent and lessen the severity of seizures
- increase mood
- go to sleep
- maintain a healthy sleep schedule
- get a subtle energy boost
- boost their immune system
- gain nutrients
- improve digestive functions
- treat nausea
- improve appetite for the better whether it has been too little or too much
- heal skin conditions
- treat ADHD
- improve brain health and potentially repair brain damage
- treating psychosis
- fighting cancer
- and more
You may have noticed that a lot of the things on this list are things that coconut oil treats. Because they share so many common benefits and do things the other can't do, they make a great pairing.
In fact, many manufacturers of CBD oil use coconut oil as the medium to deliver their CBD oil. Unless you buy CBD oil extract concentrate, the CBD will be mixed with something else to aid its use, added to another oil, put in a capsule, made into a treat, etc. Coconut oil is the perfect oil for delivering CBD oil because they boost each other's benefits.
You might look for products containing both coconut oil and CBD oil or use a coconut oil and a CBD oil product to meet your pet's needs.
Buying CBD oil or Coconut Oil and CBD products
Any product containing CBD will require certain considerations.
Check to ensure the product:
- contains no THC
- is third-party lab tested to ensure it is CBD oil, in the amount you're purchasing
- was extracted using the CO2 extraction method
- contains no unnecessary, synthetic, or unsafe ingredients
- was sourced from a country with responsible growing and harvesting laws
It's also important to know the difference between full-spectrum CBD oil and CBD isolate so you can select products wisely. CBD isolate is just cannabidiol, while full-spectrum CBD retains other cannabinoids and many important nutrients and terpenes that provide extra benefits. Both are great, for different people and different ailments. Most people choose full-spectrum for their pets. This is a particularly good choice if your pet needs additional nutrition. Should full-spectrum let you down, you should try a CBD isolate product before giving up on it.
Like coconut oil, CBD oil is safe, natural, and has virtually no side effects. If you give your dog too much CBD oil, they may become sedated, have diarrhea, or experience changes in appetite.
Dosing for CBD oil works similarly to coconut oil, finding the exact amount will probably take some time. Work from a smaller amount to a larger amount like 0.05 mg daily.1 mg daily is the upper oral dose for dogs, so don't give your dog more than that without consulting a licensed veterinarian. If there is justification to do so, the vet can tell you that and advise you on how to dose that high.
Important Take-aways About Coconut Oil for Dogs
Coconut oil is a safe and natural way to help dogs with hard-to-treat ailments without medications or to alleviate negative side effects from medications. It has virtually no side effects itself and can offer dogs relief from stomach ailments, pain, stress, inflammation, risk of infections, and more.
There aren't strict dosing guidelines. You basically start with a small amount and work up until you find what works for your doggie for their ailment. You will want to take their age, weight, and state of health into consideration when considering dosages. It is wise to speak your dog's licensed veterinarian for personal dosing advice.
You can combine coconut oil with CBD oil to boost the effects of both oils and to gain additional benefits. It's sort of like a Venn diagram, there's a lot of area where they overlap, boosting each other, and then some cool spaces where one helps with ailments the other doesn't. This combination can provide powerful relief for your pet without the side effects, risks, and chance of addiction associated with common medications.
If you research coconut oil on the internet, you'll find lots of articles talking about how wonderful coconut oil is and then many also talking about how it's overrated. It isn't really a miracle cure-all for everything, neither is CBD oil, although when they do help a dog who has found no help anywhere else, it feels like a miracle. Dogs may find relief from pain or skin conditions or have the energy or an appetite they haven't had in months or years. These natural substances are alternatives to try for pets who struggle with traditional treatments. They should not be blindly adhered to without advice from a veterinarian and without being watchful for the need for yet another treatment. Science recommends these substances, but they haven't been tested long enough to be guaranteed.
Innovations from Innovet
If you're excited about the possibilities of coconut oil and CBD oil and can't find a product that works for you and your dog, contact Innovet. We invent new products to help pets with hard-to-treat ailments and would love to find a solution for your dog.
Health Effects of Coconut Oil
Coconut Oil: What Do We Really Know About It So Far?
Pharmacokinetics of Cannabidiol in Dogs
Attenuation of Early Phase Inflammation by Cannabidiol