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Coconut oil has become one of the most popular natural products in the last few years. People buy it for a wide variety of uses, either as a healthy addition to their diet and skin care regimen, or as a natural alternative to household products.

It is becoming apparent that coconut oil is not only great for humans, but for our furry friends as well! Here’s what you need to know about the benefits of coconut oil for dogs.

Why Is It Beneficial?

The fatty acids and nutrients in coconut oil offer clear health benefits. The oil contains medium chain triglycerides (MCFAs), which are also found in the breast milk of mammals like humans and are often used in baby formula.

One of the main MCFAs found in coconut oil is lauric acid, which is known for its role in fighting viruses, fungi, and bacteria. Others include caprylic acid, capric acid, myristic acid, palmic acid, linoleic acid, and oleic acid.

Each of these offers its own array of benefits, such as an immediate source of energy for dogs and the ability to balance their thyroid.

Now that you know how coconut oil works, here are the top 8 ways to start using it on your dog.

1. Relieves itching or irritated skin

Coconut oil applied to itchy or irritated areas of your dog’s skin can offer relief. Rubbing coconut oil on your dog’s skin can heal hot spots, dermal yeast infections, eczema, and cracked footpads. The biggest issue you may encounter is your dog’s desire to lick it off the irritated area due to its enticing smell and taste.

2. Controls digestive imbalances and intestinal parasites

From time to time your dog may develop digestive problems, and even (gasp!) parasites. Incorporating coconut oil into their food or feeding them bits of solid coconut can help settle these issues and expel parasites.

It also aids in nutrient absorption, ensuring your dog gets all the benefits of their healthy diet. Note that too much coconut oil in their food can cause loose stools, so it’s recommended to start with a small amount and determine what is right for your dog depending on their breed and size.

3. Speeds up healing of minor scrapes

The antibacterial properties of coconut oil can help promote healing of minor cuts and scrapes on your dog’s skin. Internally, it can speed up the healing of colitis and inflammatory bowel disease.

4. Supports cognitive function

Coconut oil can increase cognitive function in dogs with Alzheimer’s, dementia, and other diseases affecting brain function.

5. Balances thyroid

The medium chain fatty acids in coconut oil can help balance your dog’s thyroid and regulate insulin levels, keeping energy levels steady at all times.

6. Provides relief from fleas, and other bugs

Coconut oil repels fleas and other bugs. It can also offer relief if your dog is bitten by these pests.

7. Helps with joint health

The other benefits listed will cause your dog to be more active and lose weight thus, putting less stress on their joints. This will help increase mobility and increase energy.

Coconut oil also reduces inflammation, which will help your dog feel younger and more vibrant.

8. Shiny, healthy coat

You will love how shiny and healthy your dog’s coat will become after incorporating half a tablespoon of coconut oil into their diet. Applying it topically can also help reduce shedding and condition dry patches of fur.

While the benefits of coconut oil can be amazing, vets caution that it is not a miracle cure and some dogs should not be fed or use coconut oil.

A few words of caution

If your dog shows signs of being allergic to the oil or has a history of pancreatitis, they should not be given coconut oil. Also note that overweight dogs should be fed smaller amounts due to the high fat content.

It is always best to consult your veterinarian because adding any new ingredients to your dog’s daily life.

If you do begin using coconut oil, vets recommend organic and cold pressed brands. Start with small doses, perhaps using an eyedropper to measure the amount included in your dog’s food or treats.

If all the proper precautions are taken, you will soon see your canine buddy’s health improve in front of your eyes!

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