Coconut oil has become quite the craze. People eat it, use it to cook with, and even apply it topically, but is it safe for your dog? The short answer is YES. Coconut oil is not only safe for your dog to ingest and safe for you to apply topically for your dog, but it has also has some proven health benefits when used properly.
When applied topically, or on top of your dog’s fur or skin, coconut oil can be used for treatment of dog's dry skin, hot spots, dry paws, dry nose, and damaged skin. Other benefits include a decrease in offensive dog odor, shinier and healthier coat, as well as serving as antifungal cream. Coconut oil can not only be applied directly to your dog’s skin, fur, nose, or paws, but it can be used within a shampoo or conditioning treatment.
When considering the use of coconut oil for your dog, it is important to understand the uses, the frequency, the proper application and/or removal process, and the potential complications from coconut oil application or use. Here's what you must know.
Uses of Coconut Oil on a Dog's Fur
Coconut oil has the following uses when applied to a dog’s coat or skin:
- Clears up eczema
- Aids flea allergies, contact dermatitis and itchy skin
- Minimizes doggy odor
- Reduces allergic reactions
- Creates sleek and glossy coats
- Prevents and treats yeast and fungal infections
- When applied topically coconut oil promotes wound healing
- Also can help with hot spots, dry skin and hair, bites and stings
When applied to your dogs nose or paws, coconut oil can help repair damaged skin. Some dogs suffer from dry nose, a condition where their nose becomes dry and causes the skin to crack or peel. Paws may also become dry and cracked, especially in winter and summer; coconut oil helps moisturize the skin and help it return to its soft, natural feel.
Frequency of Coconut Oil Use in Dogs
Talk to your veterinarian about why you want to use coconut oil on your dog so that they can help you establish the best frequency of application and use. When using a product that contains coconut oil, follow the instructions for application and frequency of use.
It's generally recommended using coconut oil on your dog’s fur, skin or coat once a week, but depending on the reason why you are using the coconut oil you might want to increase or decrease the frequency of application. When treating dry spots it can be more beneficial to apply daily, or every other day; however, you may only need to use it when your dog has a flair up if you are using it for the treatment of hot spots.
Application and Removal
There are a few different ways to apply and remove coconut oil to your dog including:
- Apply the oil to your dog, then leave it on
- Apply the oil to your dog, then wipe it off
- Apply the oil to your dog, then rinse or shampoo it off
To properly apply coconut oil to your dog’s coat or skin, it's generally suggested to use it topically by simply rubbing a very small amount onto your hands and then gently pat the coat, run your fingers through the fur, and massage a little down onto the skin. Since coconut oil can be given orally, you don’t have to worry if dogs lick themselves after it’s been applied to their coats.
One suggested application and removal method includes applying the coconut oil to your dog and allowing the oil to stay on the area for a minimum of five minutes, then gently wipe the area clean with a cloth. This method would help reduce the chance that the coconut oil could transfer from your dog to areas that your dog comes in contact with, such as furniture or flooring.
Another suggested application and removal method is to apply the oil to your dog and allow it to stay on for a minimum of five minutes, followed by rinsing the area and shampooing if necessary. This method of application and removal would take the longest amount of time; however, it would ensure that the oil does not transfer from the dog to other areas of your home.
If you are applying coconut oil to your dog’s nose to help treat dry nose, make sure that you use just a small amount, like when you apply lip balm to your lips. Do not ever block your dog’s nasal passage. If their nasal passage becomes blocked they may have trouble breathing and could potentially inhale the oil.
In addition to using coconut oil straight from the jar, many dog products have coconut oil added to them. If you are weary of trying coconut oil, start with a dog product that contains coconut oil, such as dog shampoo, skin moisturizer, or nose and paw balm.
Some dogs may be allergic to coconut oil so it is important to monitor your dog after you have applied coconut oil to them. If their skin becomes inflamed, irritated, itchy, or red you should stop the use of coconut oil immediately. Usually this type of allergic reaction will clear up on its own once the coconut oil has been removed and usage has been stopped.
As previously mentioned, coconut oil is safe for your dog to ingest and many people find that it has great benefits when added to their dog’s food. If your dog ingests a small amount of coconut oil they should be ok; however, if larger amounts are consumed they may have diarrhea. If you are interested in the benefits of feeding coconut oil to your dog, check out this article.
All in all, coconut oil has a variety of uses, is easy to apply, and can be very beneficial to your dog’s overall health. You can try coconut oil in a variety of dog products as well as use it straight from the jar. If you have more questions on whether or not you should use of coconut oil you should consult your veterinarian so that they can better guide you.