Can Dogs Eat Coconut Oil?

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Can Dogs Eat Coconut Oil?

Between coconut milk, coconut water, coconut flakes, and coconut oil,  we are under going a collective coco-loco renaissance - and in no way is that a bad thing!
As a dog owner, you are in the business of keeping your best friend as healthy as possible for as long as possible. To do so, it is imperative to stay on top of what food items you bring into your household. Sometimes your lil guy prefers to ask for forgiveness rather than permission when snatching up a tasty morsel inches from his snout.
Is coconut oil good for dogs?

There are a great number of human foods that dogs cannot eat, although they can safely eat coconut oil! Dogs love the smell and flavor of coconut oil, and will come frolicking for it.

Dogs can safely ingest coconut oil and will feel no ill effects from the fruity and fragrant milky-white goop that seems heaven-sent. Coconut oil is not only safe for dogs and humans, but birds, hamsters, cats, and more!

What Is Coconut Oil?

In short, coconut oil is a flavorful and mostly saturated fat derived from the coconut used for the skin, hair, digestion, and in cooking.

DYK that a coconut can be classified as a fruit, seed, AND a nut? That's pretty wild for all you botanists out there! 

Over 90% of coconut oil is saturated fat, those saturated fats are made of triglycerides - building blocks of fats. The specific type of triglycerides that make up coconut oil are called medium chain triglycerides. 

Getting even more incisive - those medium chain triglycerides contain about 50% lauric acid and a collection of caprylic acid, palmitic acid, myristic acid, and capric acid.
 
The lauric acid mentioned above is what gives coconut oil so many of its amazing properties, most notably its purported antiviral and anti-fungal properties. T
he lauric acid may also help maintain healthy thyroid function - which can help dogs better regulate a healthy metabolism. 

Is Coconut Oil Good For Dogs?

Coconut oil and dogs

There are a growing number of pup-parents who are investing in coconut oil for their raw-fed Fidos - and for good reason. Coconut oil is not only be safe for canine consumption, but nourishing and beneficial for their well-being. Coconut oil has a myriad of benefits and is starting to be used by dog supplement companies to improve pet health.

Coconut oil's benefits include maintaining digestion, oral health, the skin and coat, and the immune system. 

An old and storied adage goes something like:

"If your skin is out of whack, you may want to check down below - perhaps the digestive tract!"

Well, maybe that's not a storied adage.. but it rings true, nonetheless!  

Choosing The Right Coconut Oil For My Dog

The shelves of your local supermarket are likely stocked with variations upon variations of this goopy delight. While there are many different marketing tag lines for coconut oil, there is really two descriptors to focus on: Refined and unrefined. 

Refined Coconut Oil

Refined coconut oil is made through a processing of dry milling. Coconuts that have been "dry milled" have been roasted or baked before the extraction of the oil. Similarly to how we know that temperature can kill the good bacteria we know as probiotics, heat too will kill bad bacteria found on coconuts.

After being heated, the coconut oil is bleached, killing off any micro-organisms, bugs, or dirt left in the oil. Before you freak out, there is not a factory worker dumping gallon after gallon of Clorox in the nutrient rich fat. Bleaching is the process where the oil is passed through a special kind of clay for filtration. This 'sanitation' process is the main reason why coconuts get dry milled.

The process of dry-milling does strip coconut oil of its richest flavors and dense nutrients, however it is still has fantastic skin and coat applications for your canine.

Be sure to look at the ingredient label when buying refined coconut oil, there should only be one ingredient, coconut oil. Manufacturers will occasionally cut the refined coconut oil with less expensive fats, cheapening the experience and health benefits for your puppy.

Unrefined Coconut Oil 

Unrefined coconut oil is better known as virgin or cold-pressed coconut oil. This cold-pressing method is also known as wet milling and is the method with the least amount of processing available.

As a rule of thumb, you want to give your pet foods that have not been highly processed. This is one of the reasons why raw-fed diets are gaining so much momentum.

The method of cold-pressing involves the shredding of the white meat from the coconut. After the coconut has been grated, it goes through the process of dehydration at low temperatures. Next they will literally press the coconut shavings to extract the valuable oil. Finally it is 'filtered' through a centrifuge to remove any unwanted particles.

Giving your dog virgin coconut oil is the best way to ensure Fido is getting all of the nutrients available within the coconut.

The Skin

Besides cooking, most people purchase coconut oil for skin health, whether it be in the form of a deodorant, a skin butter, hair conditioner, or plain old coconut oil. People have been proactive with this skin solution because it has been purported to put their troubles in the past, whether it be chapped lips, dry and damaged hair, skin sores, or dry skin.

Many canines deal with skin maladies on a regular basis, especially if they are active and exposed to the elements or getting older. They can suffer from cracked paws, hot spots, bacterial borne yeast infections, hives, and more.

Giving your dog the same level of epidermal attention you give yourself can do wonders for him feeling comfortable in his skin and suffering less.

While many people apply the healthy fat topically, it has much of the same skin and fur benefits when ingested. Committing to coconut oil could be committing to a shiny coat and healthy skin for your little guy-not a bad deal!

A Special Treat For Fido | The Coconut Oil Mutt Massage

Coconut oil bath for dogs

You and your dog have always been thick as thieves, as such, he has brought the human adventurer out of you and you have brought the adventure dog out of him. Through your scrambles up dusty mountains and down muddy embankments he is more of a dirty dog than anything.

Ideally, only fun memories are retained from your time outdoors, although often times your dog can get hot spots, dandruff, and other dry skin related issues. Abrasions from your times spent together are natural, but it doesn't mean the itch from skin issues has to be part of his daily life. 

If your dog's skin is ruff for wear, it is certainly not a bad idea to give him a quick coconut overhaul. This will leave him feeling soft, down to cuddle, and put him in proper position to receive coconut oil on a daily basis.

Start your dog off with a nice warm bath. Lather a soap-free canine shampoo created for maintaining a healthy coat. Rinse thoroughly.

  1. Take virgin coconut oil and massage the fur with a healthy amount. Be sure to focus on the areas that seem to be giving your dog the most discomfort.
  2. Leave the coconut oil in his fur for 10-15 minutes - allowing the nutrients to be absorbed into the skin.
  3. After 10-15 minutes, use warm water to rinse Fido's coat thoroughly.
  4. If you find his coat still feels oily, take a small amount of shampoo and work to rid him of the oily finish - much of the beneficial properties will have already been absorbed. Rinse thoroughly.
  5. Dry your dog off and watch him strut his new and improved coat! 

DYK: You can apply the tropical topical to your dogs teeth as toothpaste, it will help support his oral health!

The Immune System and Digestion

Coconut oil is purported to have anti-fungal and antiviral properties, because of this, it may have an effect on maintaining a healthy immune system.

About 70% of your dog's immune fighting forces are stationed within his gastrointestinal tract. If your companion animal's gut is out of whack, how can his immune system hope to keep his tail wagging? It is imperative to give him healthy foods and supplements to keep him going from adventure to adventure - coconut oil is a great way to do so.

The Risks of Giving Your Dog Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is great, there are no two ways around it. There is, however, something to be said for too much of a good thing. There are some out there who have noted negative effects of their canines consuming raw coconut oil, we would be remiss if we did not include that as well.

As dogs grow old, age related issues can spike, including issues centered around the metabolism and his ability to keep the a necessary amount of fat on his bones. If Fido does indeed have a problem keeping the fat off, it may be best to monitor how much oil he is ingesting - an over-abundance can keep him pudgy!

It may sound silly, as coconut oil is regarded by many as a great and healthy fat, but it is still a fat. If your dog's metabolism is taking a snooze, it doesn't matter how good of a fuel you're giving him - it's going to turn into cellulite.

Beyond weight gain, there are other factors that may make you uneasy with giving your pup scoop after scoop of the stuff. 

The Pancreas

The pancreas is a vital organ in every woofer walking the block or snoozing at home. It sits behind the stomach and is near the GI tract. The pancreas is responsible for releasing digestive enzymes into the small intestine. This aids your pup's ability to digest and properly absorb food. Additionally, the pancreas secretes two hormones to help regulate blood sugar and help dictate how best the body will use the digested food for energy.

When your dog suffers inflammation of the pancreas, it may have become inflamed by digestive enzymes mistakenly attacking and attempting to digest the pancreas itself.

If your dog has an inflamed pancreas, he may suffer from either chronic or acute. 

Inflammation of the pancreas may be marked by a short burst of inflammation, something that typically goes away before long.

If your vet has identified your dog as having inflammation associated with the pancreas, do your best to limit the fats in his diet. 

Knowing both the benefits and risks, the question must be changed from "Can dogs eat coconut oil?" to "Is coconut oil good for dogs?" and to answer both questions: Yes! You may just need to stay away from feeding him jars of the stuff at a time!

If your dog's coconut oil dosage needs to be heavily restricted, consider giving him a supplement that contains coconut oil. Coconut oil supplements for dogs take into account healthy dosing factors. Going the supplement route helps to ensure he will be getting all of the benefits of the oil distilled into a serving size small enough where he will not be negatively affected by eating too much. 

Probiotics Combined With Coconut Oil 

Good Guts for Big Mutts

Dogs have incredibly sensitive digestive systems. Even the most subtle of shifts in diet can turn your dog's normally healthy bowel movement to a splattering mess. While that mess is a mild inconvenience for you, it underlies GI chaos happening within his upset tummy.

If you find yourself up dog-poop creek without a plastic bag, don't be left stranded!

Probiotics help maintain proper gut health by colonizing the gut with good bacteria that work to properly digest food and fend off bad bacteria. This proper digestion of food supports healthy nutrient absorption.

The ability to absorb those medium-chain fatty acids, namely lauric acid, is huge, as it is nutrient your fluffy mess of fur should be wagging his tail about. When your dog can absorb this acid purported to support a healthy brain, healthy digestion, and healthy skin, he is bound to be a happy dog, inside and out!

It is important to remember that everything your dog does is linked. When his gut is backed up, his nutrient absorption isn't working at full capacity, when he is not getting the proper nutrients, his gut may be more likely to have a misstep. This is why it is so crucial to monitor what your dog eats and be intentional with the supplements and diet you have him on. Be sure to include either coconut oil or a fish oil in a developing puppy's diet, they both are known for promoting healthy brain function - something a puppy needs as he gets big and strong!

When thinking about giving your dog these healthy fats to aid improper digestion, remember that probiotics combined with coconut oil, digestive enzymes, and prebiotics are the best way to maintain healthy digestion, and keep those doggo poops firm and easy to pick up! 

We already know how fantastic coconut oil is for your dog and how probiotics for dogs are among the best supplements you can give your pup. What if there was a 2 in 1 product that combined human grade probiotic powder for dogs with coconut oil? Well, there is!  So the next time you are looking for something to make Fido's skin as healthy as ever or his digestion running like a dream, remember while dog may be man's best friend - coconut oil and probiotics are a dog's best friend.
We have covered a great deal about all things coconut, but that doesn't mean we have the whole picture! Has your dog had an exciting or harrowing experience with coconut oil? Do you give Fido probiotic supplements combined with coconut oil?
Tell us your story, we would love to hear all about it!

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