Coconut oil has become a health trend among humans in the last few years. Now, this product is getting into the pet industry as well, thanks to the many health benefits it has for pets, and particularly for the help that coconut oil provides for dog skin problems. Let’s take a closer look at this product and how you can use it for your dog’s skin issues.
What Is Coconut Oil?
Coconut oil is extracted from mature coconuts. It is edible and it’s very likely that you’ve eaten it before, even if you are not aware of it. This product is a regular part of many cuisines, especially in Asia.
In addition to the food industry, coconut oil is often used in beauty products. It can be found in different forms, like any other oil. There is unrefined, virgin and extra-virgin coconut oil. You can also find refined coconut oil on the market, which has a neutral taste.
Before we focus on skin health and how to use coconut oil to deal with dog skin problems, let’s take a look at some of the other health benefits of coconut oil.
Better immune system
Coconut oil is rich in saturated fatty acids, especially medium-chain triglycerides. These triglycerides metabolize faster than other fatty acids and provide your dog with an immediate boost of energy.
Thanks to its strong antibacterial, antiviral and anti-fungal properties, coconut oil can dramatically improve your dog’s immune system. Some studies show that coconut oil may even reduce the risk of cancer.
Helping the digestive system
Coconut oil can improve the digestion and absorption of nutrient but it can also expel and even kill parasites and reduce bad breath in dogs.
Thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties, coconut oil can help alleviate symptoms of digestive disorders like colitis and inflammatory bowel syndrome.
Improves brain health
Medium-chain triglycerides can help your dog’s cognitive function. They can be used as an energy source for your dog’s brain and promote alertness and mental sharpness in adult dogs.
Coconut oil also promotes good nerve function and some experts believe that it can even help in preventing dementia and other brain conditions.
Other health benefits
The list of health benefits of coconut oil doesn’t end here; coconut oil can also improve dogs' oral health, prevent and control diabetes, improve thyroid function, help with weight loss, improve bone strength, clear up eye and ear infections and alleviate symptoms of arthritis.
ALSO READ: 12 Health Benefits of Coconut Oil for Dogs
Coconut Oil and Skin Health
Coconut oil has many effects on skin and coat health. It can help with skin conditions like eczema, contact dermatitis, itchy skin and generally improve skin health. It can reduce allergic reactions, especially when it comes to flea allergies.
This oil can also make your dog’s coat sleek and shiny and help you get rid of the unpleasant doggy odor. It can help with the prevention and treatment of yeast and fungal infections, even candida.
Skin cuts and wounds can also be treated with coconut oil. It can disinfect cuts and promote their healing. It can also help with the treatment of dry skin, hot spots, bites and stings.
How to Use Coconut Oil for Dog's Skin Problems
Coconut oil can be given to dogs orally or applied topically. Including coconut oil in your dog’s diet can improve their health in general but for the best results regarding skin and coat health, coconut oil should also be used topically.
How to feed your dog coconut oil?
Coconut oil can be given to dogs daily with meals, one or two times per day. The amount of oil in your dog’s meals depends on his size. For example, many vets recommend that you introduce coconut oil slowly to your dog’s diet, like 1/4 of a teaspoon for small dogs on a daily basis. For large breeds, start with one teaspoon with every meal.
Overweight and obese dogs should not be given coconut oil more than once a day because it has high-fat content. Pay attention to your dog’s weight if you give him coconut oil on a regular basis and consult your vet if you notice any weight gain.
How to use coconut oil topically?
Using coconut oil topically is rather simple. It is important to start with small amounts because your dog’s fur can get greasy if you apply too much. Just rub a bit of oil between your hands and put in on your dog’s fur, like you are giving him a gentle massage. Use your fingertips to rub the oil on his skin as well. It is best to apply coconut oil once or twice a week. If you are trying to deal with specific skin problem, apply the oil to the affected area.
Your dog may lick some of the oil but that’s not a problem because, as we already said, coconut oil is edible and healthy. However, it is best to let the oil get absorbed for about five minutes and then rinse your dog off to get the excess oil off.
Alternatively, you can make a DIY dog shampoo from organic coconut oil and use it to bathe your dog once a month, or more frequently if needed due to some skin issues.
Keep in mind that some dogs can be allergic to coconut oil. If you notice any signs of an allergic reaction, like itchiness, hives, red or inflamed skin, swelling, vomiting and diarrhea, take your dog to the vet to rule out or confirm a coconut oil allergy.