For those who haven’t heard of the many benefits of coconut oil, perhaps the first thought that comes to mind is its use in suntan lotion. However, coconut oil is so much more than that. The truth is that the popularity of coconut oil when taken as a food is growing like wildfire, and for good reason. That’s right, coconut oil is good for people and dogs alike. Let’s take a look at the many ways that coconut oil can be an asset to your dog’s health.

Benefits When Taken Internally

According to the American Kennel Club, coconut oil contains natural anti-inflammatory, antifungal and antibacterial properties. The lauric acid it contains has the ability to naturally fight off viruses.

Coconut oil contains medium chain triglycerides, which in addition to assisting in digestion have the ability to improve mental function in senior dogs.

Coconut oil works to boost your dog’s metabolism and balances the thyroid, assisting in weight loss.

Canine arthritis and bone health can both be improved through regularly ingesting coconut oil.

The Science Behind Its Success

The main reason that coconut oil is so beneficial is that it is derived from more than 90% saturated fat, and is classified as a “superfood.” It is the particular type of saturated fat that is so special. It is made from MCT’s or medium chain triglycerides, as mentioned. These “good fats” support your immune system, metabolism, thyroid and skin health. In addition to this, the MCTs in coconut oil give an immediate source of energy.

Feeding Coconut Oil to Your Dog

If you have decided to give coconut oil to your dog internally, here is what you need to do. Begin by giving your dog small amounts, and gradually build up the dosage. In the beginning, you will want to start with ¼ of a teaspoon for small dogs and puppies. For larger dogs, you can start out with a teaspoon. Any more than this and your canine is likely to have greasy stools or diarrhea. It is always a good idea to consult your veterinarian for recommendations.

Applying Coconut Oil Topically

Coconut oil can also be applied to your dog’s skin and coat to make it healthier. Giving your dog a coconut oil treatment about once a week will make your canine’s coat incredibly soft and lustrously shiny. As a bonus, coconut oil will remove that unwanted “doggy smell” from your furry friend.

To do this, simply apply the coconut oil to your dog’s skin and let the oil soak in for about 5 minutes. After the time is up, you can lightly rinse off your dog. If you still feel that there is too much oil there, you can shampoo it off and the results will still be present afterward.

When applied topically, coconut oil has also been known to assist in healing skin conditions such as hot spots, stings, bites, and dry and itchy skin.

If your dog suffers from sore, cracked paws, massaging a bit of coconut oil into his or her paws at bedtime, and before you head outdoors will remedy this problem.

Choosing the Right Coconut Oil for Your Dog

When it comes to choosing the right coconut oil, you need to go with unrefined coconut oil, also known as virgin coconut oil. Even better, choose cold-pressed virgin coconut oil. This is because during this process, the oil is quickly captured after the coconuts are harvested, in order to preserve the nutrients contained within. Some types of coconut oil will have a strong flavor, while others don’t. Some are nice and creamy, and others may taste nutty. You may need to try out a few different brands until you have found one that your dog approves of.

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