You may already be familiar with the incredible ways coconut oil can benefit YOU and your human family, but did you know that many of the same benefits also apply to dogs and other pets?
Read on to discover the top 10 ways to use this incredibly versatile natural ingredient to improve the health of your dogs, your cats and many of your other cherished pets!
1. Healthy Source of Nutritious Fats
Carnivorous pets like cats and dogs naturally require a good amount of saturated fat in their diets. In the wild, they would obtain these calories by hunting healthy and “well-marbled” prey animals. While most commercial pet foods do contain some fat, mixing in a small amount of coconut oil provides a healthy boost of nutritious essential fatty acids with a lot of other auxiliary health benefits.
2. Weight Loss & Weight Control
Whether your dog is already at a healthy weight, or if he or she needs to lose a pound or two, coconut oil can help. Just like with humans, adding coconut oil to your dog's diet can help to stabilize their appetite, improve metabolism, and reduce over-eating.
The recommended daily dose is approximately 1 teaspoon per 10 lbs (4.5 kg) of your pet’s current weight. If you have a picky eater, however, you may need to start out with less and work your way up to the target amount.
3. Digestive Health Benefits
Not only can coconut oil stabilize your cat’s and dog’s appetite and metabolism, it also has several health benefits which directly affect digestive health. The fatty acids naturally present in coconut oil increase the body’s ability to absorb nutrients from food. Also, if your pet spends any amount of time outdoors, a daily dose of coconut oil can go a long way toward preventing harmful parasites such as giardia from infecting their gastrointestinal tract.
4. Anti-Microbial Protection
Protozoa like giardia aren’t the only microbes which literally disintegrate in the presence of coconut oil. The medium-chain triglyceride Lauric acid which makes up over 40% of the overall composition of coconut oil dissolves the cellular walls of many harmful bacteria, fungi, and other microscopic organisms, effectively destroying these parasites before they can damage their host.
5. Heal Wounds & Prevent Infection
Because coconut oil is anti-microbial, applying it to wounds is a great way to prevent infection and speed the healing process. Use it to treat bites, stings, minor scrapes and scratches, cracked paws, and other wounds. Just be sure to keep an eye on the affected area and consult with your veterinarian if you don’t see improvement or if the wound seems to get worse.
6. For A Happy, Healthy Mouth
Also due to its anti-microbial properties, a daily dose of coconut oil mixed with your dog or cat food can help to prevent or treat oral infections such as overgrowth of odor-producing bacteria, yeast infections, and gum disease.
While coconut oil can certainly help, if your furry friend has a mouth malady, you’ll definitely want to investigate the cause, and remember, if there is any chance that your pet’s health may be in jeopardy, no amount of coconut oil in the world can replace professional veterinary care!
7. Strong Skin, Shiny Coat
Whether your pet only has occasional dandruff or is prone to frequent hot spots, coconut oil can soothe the irritation. Applying a small amount of oil to your pet’s skin and fur can also help to deodorize a smelly coat, prevent parasitic infections, improve overall skin health, and add strength and luster to fur – just as it can to human hair.
8. Soothe Achy Joints
If your pet is older or overweight and has joint problems, there are several healing properties of coconut oil that can help to reduce the discomfort she or he lives with from day to day. Not only is coconut oil a natural anti-inflammatory. It also provides the body with a good supply of healthy fats and nutrients which work to lubricate joints from the inside.
Furthermore, because coconut oil regulates appetite and metabolism, there is a good chance that overweight pets may shed a pound or two. Just as it is for people, pets who carry less weight on their legs tend to experience less pain in the joints.
9. Balanced Hormones, Better Moods
If your pet seems to be chronically cranky or experience erratic mood swings, it may be that his or her hormones are out of balance. Of course, there are a great number of possible underlying causes for such problems (veterinary advice is a must!) However, once you begin feeding your pet coconut oil, you may notice an improvement. This is because the healthy fats in coconut oil are perfect fuel for the synthesis of many hormones in both people and pets – hormones which might otherwise be malformed or mutated by the absence of the right fatty acids.
10. Antioxidant Power For Your Pet
While most natural health enthusiasts take care to include plenty of antioxidants in their people-diets, it may not occur to them that pets can benefit from them as well! After all, our pets are exposed to many of the same environmental toxins that we are, which means that their cells are subject to damage just like ours. Add a daily dose of coconut oil to your pet’s diet to offer them better protection against potentially dangerous oxidative damage to cells and help them live a longer happier life!
Coconut Oil Precautions
While many veterinarians will recommend the use of coconut oil for its health benefits, it is always a good idea to consult with your pet’s person-doctor before you start. Also be aware that – while not common – it is possible for pets to be allergic to coconut. If your furry friend already has food allergies, or if he or she seems to have a negative reaction to the oil, definitely consult with a veterinarian regarding the use of coconut oil for your pet.