Keeping your dog, cat or other pet healthy and can be a bit confusing and challenging. There are so many pet products on the market today making so many claims that it can be hard to know what’s true.
Luckily, you may already have an excellent, affordable pet treatment and supplement in your kitchen cupboard.
Coconut oil is becoming more and more popular as a support for personal care, health and well-being.
It may not surprise you to know that, just like you, your pet can gain an array of benefits from the addition of coconut oil to his or her grooming routine and daily diet. You can always consult a vet In this article, we will discuss the pros and cons of coconut oil for dogs and cats. Read on to learn more about the health benefits of coconut oil for cats and dogs.
What Is Coconut Oil?
This nourishing, stable, useful, edible oil is derived from coconut meat. It is available as an organic virgin, cold-pressed oil, as a fractionated oil and in a hydrogenated form.
You should know right from the get-go that hydrogenated oils should be avoided. All nourishment and goodness has been stripped from hydrogenated oils, and they are actually detrimental to your health.
Fractionated coconut oil is a fraction of the original, virgin oil. It consists entirely of medium chain fatty acids and is more stable than the virgin oil. It has a place as a stable cooking oil, an addition to personal care products and as a carrier oil for other oils.
In this article, we will discuss the use of cold-pressed coconut oil. The extra-virgin coconut oil is the complete oil containing both long-chain and medium-chain fatty acids. It is more nourishing than fractionated oil and has more uses in skin care and healing.
What Are The Benefits Of Coconut Oil?
As with any popular dietary and personal care product, the claims of the benefits of coconut oil are many and varied. Some of them are rather wild and unsubstantiated like acting as a natural remedy to many diseases; however, many have powerful anecdotal and clinical evidence to back them up.
For example, both as a dietary supplement and applied topically coconut oil has proven itself as an anti-fungal, anti-viral and anti-inflammatory agent. It is deeply nourishing and moisturizing to the skin and has been used with good effect on people suffering from atopic dermatitis and yeast infections.
When used as a moisturizer, organic virgin coconut oil can increase the natural lipid production of the skin.
While we are often cautioned not to use products designed for humans on pets, this is not a concern with organic coconut oil. This all natural oil can safely be used topically for skin and coat and as a supplement for dogs and cats.
Naturally, some caution should be exercised and you should confer with your veterinarian before adding this oil to your pet’s care routine.
Coconut Oil Delivers Proven, Measurable Benefits
As a skin moisturizer, coconut oil can be very helpful for treating chapped feet, dry noses and general skin irritation. It not only creates a protective barrier over irritated skin, it also soaks in deeply and promotes lipid production.
Just as with people, coconut oil can have good effects when used to combat the symptoms of atopic skin allergy. Atopic symptoms are those that may occur in areas of the body that are not necessarily in contact with an allergen.
For example, overall itching in response to a flea allergy or hot spots, or a rash on your dogs and cats skin and coat, that is the result of an ingested allergen.
The anti-inflammatory properties of coconut oil can be beneficial internally as well as externally. If your pet suffers from inflammatory bowel disease, the addition of coconut oil to the diet may help soothe and heal the intestines.
In humans and animals, organic virgin coconut oil (and other healthful oils) in the diet help coat the myelin sheath of the central nervous system and can help support healthy brain activity while calming cognitive dysfunction.
Treating the skin topically and/or adding coconut oil to cat and dog food may help lubricate your pet’s skin, reduce inflammation and quell itching.
Be aware, however, that coconut oil is high in calories and may cause problems as a dietary supplement for pets with weight problems, abnormal fat metabolism, hyperlipidemia or pancreatic problems. Be sure to consult your vet before adding coconut oil to your pet’s diet.
Is Coconut Oil A Miracle Cure?
All in all, coconut oil is a healthy addition to a person’s or pet’s health and wellness plan; however, you may wish to take some claims with a grain of salt.
For example, claims that coconut oil act as one of the great natural remedies that can prevent cancer, promote weight loss or cure thyroid dysfunction may have no more basis than the fact that maintaining a healthy overall lifestyle (which may very well include coconut oil) will help in these pursuits.
On the other hand, both anecdotal and clinical evidence supports coconut oil’s effectiveness in the follow areas:
- Soothing inflammatory bowel disease and promoting healing
- Soothing the symptoms of atopic dermatitis
- Shields them from yeast infections and other fungal infections
- Supporting positive wound healing
- Improving poor bowel absorption
- Mitigating cognitive dysfunction
- Moisturizing dry skin
- Coconut oil can solve problems with ear mites, fleas and ticks
Clearly, working with your vet to add coconut oil to your pet’s daily routine could be a very good idea. Generally speaking, coconut oil is a positive and beneficial substance.
6 Ways To Use Coconut Oil For Pets
Adding coconut oil to your pet’s diet and care routine is easy and affordable. Here are some specific tips to help you get started.
1. Treat atopic dermatitis
If your pet is allergic to elements in the environment, such as pollen, he may experience generalized itching as a result.
You may be able to soothe this symptom by massaging a very small amount of coconut oil as a “leave-in-conditioner” into your dog’s coat and skin after bathing. The oil will create a barrier against skin exposure to allergens. You can also blend the coconut oil with other essential oils for healthier-looking and fragrant skin and coat such as lavender oil, chamomile oil, and more.
As a bonus, it will also act as an effective moisturizer to combat itchiness caused by dry skin.
2. Support healthy skin in loose-skinned dogs and cats
Dog breeds that tend to have folds and wrinkles (e.g. Sharpei, Pug, Bull-dog) may have problems with skin irritation between the folds. The anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal properties of coconut oil can help treat and prevent these problems. Using softened coconut oil to clean and moisturize between the skin folds can help reduce inflammation, infections and odor.
3. Protect your dog’s paws
Remember that your dog walks around barefoot all of the time. If you regularly go for walks on hot pavement or on ice and snow, his foot pads may be in need of some TLC. Applying a little coconut oil to the soles of your dog’s feet can help soothe and protect the pads against cold, heat, road salt and other potentially damaging circumstances. Of course, you should also exercise caution and take care to avoid exposing your pet to these negative elements.
4. Promote healing of minor wounds
Because coconut oil contains the anti-microbial fatty acid, lauric acid, it can be very helpful when applied as a topical ointment to minor wounds and abrasions. It helps fight bacteria that causes infection and promotes lipid production for faster healing. It is excellent for use on sore paw-pads after walking in challenging weather conditions.
5. Prevent and treat fur-balls
If your cat suffers from constipation caused by fur-balls, regular dosing with coconut oil can help. It is also a good treatment for constipation in general. Dose at a rate of half a teaspoonful per 10 pounds of body weight once or twice a day to resolve constipation. Talk with your vet about amounts and frequency for regular use as a supplement.
6. Support the central nervous system and reduce inflammation
The anti-inflammatory properties of coconut oil, along with its ability to stimulate the production of lipids that strengthen and maintain the myelin sheath of the central nervous system can help older pets stay sharp. The medium-chain fatty acids found in coconut oil help boost brain energy metabolism to improve cognitive function. As little as a quarter teaspoonful per 10 pounds of body weight given daily can have strong, positive effects.
You can also create a no-bake organic coconut oil treats for your pets. Different recipes of cat and dog treats are available online. This lets you add coconut oil into your dogs and cats diet apart from just mixing it in the cat or dog food.
Coconut Oil Is Beneficial & Safe
Adding virgin coconut oil to your pets diet and grooming plan is a healthy lifestyle step that can have some very positive results. Keep in mind that coconut oil is a high calorie food that is composed of over 90% saturated fat, so you shouldn’t overdo it as a dietary supplement. Be sure to consult with your vet before adding this or any supplement to your pet’s nutrition program.
Sources & References: bostonstreetvet.com | thedrakecenter.com | greenmedinfo.com | naturalmedicinejournal.com | PubMed | coconutoil.com