If your dog has dry skin, coconut oil may be the answer!
Have you heard a lot about coconut oil lately? It seems to have appeared out of the blue and now everyone is talking about it and cooking with it.
I have eczema and allergies, so I’ve been using it on my skin and eating it for years.
Not only is coconut beneficial for humans, it’s also great for our fur babies!
What is Coconut Oil?
Coconut oil is extracted from mature coconuts. It’s high in saturated fat (no longer considered a bad thing).
It has medium chain fatty acids which stimulate your body’s metabolism and are thought to have multiple health benefits. There's a great article here on Mercola’s website if you’re interested.
Coconut oil is also rich in lauric and capric acids, which have antiviral, antibacterial, antiprotozoal and antimicrobial properties. That's a lot of "antis" in one little oil!
Coconut Oil is great for Dogs
Coconut oil is a quick and safe remedy for dry, flaky or itchy skin.
According to Pet MD, coconut oil fed to dogs can increase energy, improve coat and digestion, reduce allergies, and possibly even slow cognitive dysfunction. Their article is here.
How to use Coconut Oil
I put coconut oil on Finny’s skin whenever it looks dry to me. I’ve also been guilty of smearing some of it on his fur in order to distract him while I’m trimming his nails...works like a charm, highly recommended!
You can feed coconut oil daily to your dog with meals, or put it on their skin like I do and simply let them enjoy licking off the extra! You’ll want to size the portion accordingly, based on your pup’s size, and start slow, with a small amount.
PetMD recommends ¼ teaspoon to start, up to 1 teaspoon for small dogs, and for large breed dogs, up to one tablespoon a day.
A little goes a long way, too much of a good thing could cause stomach upset and diarrhea.
Because coconut oil is high in fat and calories, too much could lead to weight gain, and it’s a good idea to discuss its use with your veterinarian first if your dog is prone to pancreatitis.
Besides the oil Finny gets on his skin, I don't feed him any additional oil but I do use it to cook meat I feed him.
I also use coconut flour and milk when I bake his doggie treats. Coconut flour is terrific for baking, I wrote an earlier blog about it here.
Beware of Coconut Allergy
Coconut oil is safe for most dogs, but like anything, some dogs can be allergic to it.
As mentioned above, start with a small dose, or by using on their skin only to introduce it and watch for any reaction.
Understanding the different types of coconut oil
There are a ton of different types of coconut oil at the grocery store. Understanding the differences, and hence the price differences will help you chose the best option.
Organic vs. Non-Organic
Certified organic means that the coconuts were grown without pesticides.
Refined vs. Virgin oil
Refined coconut oil is more processed, which usually removes a lot of the coconut flavor. Because of the processing, it has a higher smoke point and is better for cooking at a higher temperature.
How it’s processed is important too
Coconut oil can be processed many ways.
Heat, centrifugal, friction, chemical… personally, I think chemical free is better. I also prefer oil that’s not been exposed to high heat, thinking more of the beneficial compounds are intact. Virgin oil is cold-pressed.
Virgin vs. Extra Virgin
Surprise, there is no difference between the two!
According to livestrong.com, there are no regulations governing the purity of coconut oil so it’s purely marketing!
What I buy
I buy cold pressed virgin (unrefined) oil for cooking and putting on our skin, but then I don’t fry on a super high heat and I like the coconut taste. It's more expensive, but I think I'm getting more benefit per volume than with the more processed stuff.
If you like to cook at high temps and aren’t a big fan of the coconut taste, then refined oil is still an excellent choice. I'm sure either will make your skin and your pup's feel like butter (pardon the pun) and provide health benefits. Finny would happily eat either I’m sure!