Should I Give My Pet Coconut Oil?
Coconut oil may be a staple in many human skin care routines but many pet parents are still skeptical about its use on their furry friends. After all, some pets are quite sensitive to the types of foods ingested or topical applications applied on them and we all know what pet messes can look like. Since our four legged-companions have the habit of licking their skins, noses, and paws off, we as pet parents must be aware of the potential impact of the products we put on them. Look no further though! We have done the research on coconut oil for you and it has got us coco-nuts on the positive benefits.
What is coconut oil?
First things first! How do you extract oil from these hairy things? Well, simply it is the delicious copra found in a coconut that is melted slowly at room temperature. The copra meat inside the shell of the coconut is separated and then dried using different sources like sun, fire, or kilns to melt down into coconut oil. The oil is used in various food recipes as well as for topical applications. And yes it is 100% edible for pets.
Using Coconut oil as a moisturizer for pets
Itchy and flakey paws, or in more serious cases interdigital dermatitis, is a dime a dozen problem for pets. Coconut oil can play a large part in moisturizing your partners paws to mend and nourish them. Coconut oil can also increase energy levels, improve skin and coat, improve digestion, and reduce allergic reactions.
Chemical-based lotions can contain dangerous ingredients like lipids, zinc oxide, and Sodium PCA, etc, that can be harmful to pets especially if ingested.
Creating a moisture barrier
They key to avoid dryness and cracks in paws and skin is to prevent moisture loss. Coconut oil plays a key role in trapping in the moisture to ensure your pet’s paws and skin stay hydrated.
For those of us in colder climates (shoutout to any fellow Canadians), this is that much more important to ensure the lower temperature does not dry out our pets paws and skin. Adding salt and snow to the mix, an extra barrier of protection becomes critical.
A dab on the nose can only helpPaws and the coat of your pet isn’t the only thing that can get dry. The habit of pets licking their snouts make them even drier in some cases because of the presence of enzymes and bacteria in saliva. Dab a little amount of coconut oil to moisturize the snout from drying out and to give it that slight shine
Always dreamed of your pet being the next Einstein
Dr. Katie Gryzb, a Brooklyn-based veterinarian, explains that coconut oil can potentially slow cognitive dysfunction in dogs. “Fatty acids are helpful in cognitive function, which has been medically proven”. Looks like your dream of getting your dog to fetch that bottle of wine from the cupboard could be sooner than you thought.
Want the safe benefits of coconut oil for your pet?
Ingestion: Coconut oil can generally be given to pets 1-2 times a day with meals. How much you should give your pet depends on their size. Many veterinarian recommend starting slow with the coconut oil. A good starting dose is ¼ teaspoon daily for small pets up 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon daily for big pets
Always make sure your coconut oil does not have any additional ingredients to it. It is recommended for pet parents to use organic, virgin, cold-pressed coconut oil.
Topical Application: To use it topically, rub a very small amount onto your hands and then gently pat the coat of your pet, run your fingers through the fur, and massage a little down onto the skin.
When targeting the paws make sure to rub through the toes of your pet, the webbing between the toes is where interdigital dermatitis begins so you want to make sure you are covering all those areas.
Since coconut oil can be given orally, you don’t have to worry if your pets lick themselves after it’s been applied.
Disclaimer: Speak to your veterinarian to first understand if your dog has any pre-determined allergies to coconut oil before any prolonged use.