Coconut Oil for Dogs, Cats and Other Pets – The Ultimate Guide

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The Health Benefits Of Coconut Oil For Dogs and Cats
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We all love to pamper our pets and sometimes they also need a little extra TLC. But did you know there’s an amazing natural ingredient you can use to indulge your dog or cat? You actually may already have it in your kitchen. It’s coconut oil!

The health benefits of coconut oil for humans have been well documented. However, not everyone knows about the health benefits of coconut oil for dogs and cats.

In fact, coconut oil is not only good just for dogs and cats, but it can be used on any animal. So, how can you spoil your pet with this amazing natural product?

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Why is Coconut Oil Beneficial for Dogs and Cats?

The main reason why coconut oil is good for humans and pets alike is that it contains healthy saturated fats.

Usually, when we hear about saturated fats we start worrying. However, the saturated fats in coconut oil are from medium chain fatty acids MCFA  (also called MCT – medium chain triglycerides), and I’ve already written about it in my articles about coconut oil and its many health benefits and in my article about the 60 amazing uses for coconut oil.

Coconut oil is a rich source of lauric acid which has antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties. The great thing about coconut oil is that it can be used internally (and many dogs and cats love its taste) or it can be used topically.

The health benefits have also been backed up by vets. Dr. Cindy Lizotte, who works in the accredited Elmwood Veterinary Hospital1, wrote that these fatty acids help to balance thyroid activity. This is an important factor in helping dogs to have more energy and it assists with weight loss in overweight dogs.

These MCFAs can also help aging dogs as they are a good source of energy for the brain (and I’ve also written about it in my article on how coconut oil can rescue the brain from Alzheimer’s).

Dr. Cindy Lizotte also quoted from an article published in the Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow & Metabolism, which showed how an important vitamin E compound found in coconut oil can help reduce stroke damage in dogs.

So, now that we know just why coconut oil is beneficial for dogs and cats, how can you use it on your pets?

Practical Uses of Coconut Oil For Dogs, Cats and other Pets

The practical uses of coconut oil for pets are numerous. There are many conditions and ailments that coconut oil can be used for, and the good news is that you can safely use it both topically and internally. It can be used to give pets a glossy coat, treat skin abrasions, help digestion, improve dental care, soothe flea bites, and so much more.

It should be noted that coconut oil comes in many forms. I always recommend using only virgin coconut oil which is 100% organic and is unrefined. It should look like a white mass in the glass jar.

Here are some great ways that you can use coconut oil on your pet:

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Coconut Oil for your Dog’s and Cat’s Skin

As I mentioned before, coconut oil contains antibacterial and antifungal properties. You can safely apply coconut oil topically to relieve itchy or dry skin or to soothe flea bites.

One thing to remember is that your dog will probably love the taste of coconut oil and could start licking the area. While coconut oil is 100% safe to ingest, your dog won’t get all the great antibacterial benefits from it if licking it off, so try to discourage licking affected areas.

Some dog breeds like bulldogs or pugs have skin folds where irritation and infections can occur. You can use coconut oil to clean and moisturize the folds. This will not only kill any bacteria lurking there, but it will also reduce or eliminate odor.

You can use coconut oil to moisturize any dry and cracked paws that your dog may have.

So for any kind of skin irritation that your beloved pet may have, rub in a little coconut oil and your pet will love you for it!

Coconut Oil for a Glossy Coat

If you want to give your dog a glossy coat to rival show dogs, then coconut oil is your answer. Many people say that when coconut oil is introduced to their dog’s diet, they notice that the coat becomes glossier and shines.

You can also use coconut oil while bathing your dog. Bathe your dog first, then apply coconut oil and massage it deep into the skin. This can help also get rid of any fleas and odors from your dog’s coat. After bathing, you can then apply a thin layer of coconut oil and that can repel fleas and keep allergens away.

Coconut Oil to Fight Bacterial Infections

Coconut oil is high in lauric acid, a fatty acid known for its antimicrobial properties.  Applying coconut oil to minor abrasions such as cuts and wounds can help prevent infection. As mentioned before, the oil is edible, so it is safe to use if your dog or cat licks the area where the oil has been applied.

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Coconut Oil to Relieve Constipation

If your pet is suffering from constipation then organic extra-virgin coconut oil can work wonders! (it’s also good for people who suffer from constipation and is one of the natural remedies for constipation).

You should use 1/2 teaspoon of coconut oil for every 10 pounds of body weight. Don’t give your dog too much because then your pet could have the opposite problem – diarrhea! If you notice that the stools are becoming too greasy, reduce the dose or stop it.

Coconut Oil as a Natural Hairball Remedy for Cats

Coconut oil is a much better hairball remedy for cats than traditional hairball remedies, which usually contain unhealthy mineral oil. You can add a small amount to your cat’s food. But, we all know how picky cats can be with their food. So if that doesn’t work, try dabbing some on your cat’s paw and they will probably lick it off.

Coconut Oil Can Improve your Pet’s General Health

Coconut oil is also great for all round general health of dogs and cats. If used regularly in the diet, the anti-inflammation and antioxidant properties of coconut oil can have these benefits:

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  • Fight disease and infections
  • Prevent blood sugar spikes2
  • Promote normal thyroid function3
  • Ease arthritis pain4

Coconut Oil to Improve Gum Health

Gingivitis is inflammation of the gum tissue that can lead to receding gums. I’ve already written on why you should use coconut oil as a toothpaste, and why you should do oil pulling. And indeed coconut oil is one of the natural remedies for gingivitis.

Gingivitis is common not just among people, but among cats and dogs as well.  Rubbing coconut oil on the gums of your pet daily can help reduce inflammation and pain.

Coconut Oil Dosage for Dogs and Cats

Because there are a lot of calories in coconut oil you should only use it in moderation. It is also a good idea to start with smaller doses and then gradually increase them.

Dr. Cindy Lizotte, mentioned earlier in the article, recommends starting with about 1/8 teaspoon for every 20 pounds of body weight. This can then be increased gradually. The maximum dose should be no more than 1/2 teaspoon per 20 pounds of body weight.

Some people use 1 teaspoon per 10 pounds of body weight daily or about 1 tablespoon per 30 pounds, but don’t start with these amounts at the beginning. Always start from a low quantity and gradually increase the amount.

If you notice that your dog or cat starts having diarrhea, then you should lower the dose. If they show any signs of abdominal discomfort or start vomiting, then it is best to stop the coconut oil and consult with a vet.

What are the Precautions of using Coconut Oil for Pets?

Generally, coconut oil is very safe for all animals, not just dogs and cats. There are, however, a few things that are good to remember.

There are a lot of calories in coconut oil, about 117 per tablespoon. So, you may want to reduce other treats if you regularly give your dog or cat coconut oil. Also, if your pet is on a calorie-controlled diet, remember and count the calories of coconut oil.

Some animals can be allergic to coconuts, and if your pets show signs of an allergic reaction, then stop using coconut oil.

Read my other related articles:
1. How to use coconut oil to lose weight
2. 10 reasons to keep coconut oil in your bathroom
3. 8 ingenious ways to use coconut oil on your hair

Resources:
(1) . 2012; 7(11): e49510.
(2) . 2017; 12(7): e0179542.
(3)  1990 Nov;120(11):1297-304.
(4)  2014 May;20(1):124-30. doi: 10.1016/j.intimp.2014.02.026. Epub 2014 Mar 6.
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3 Responses to Coconut Oil for Dogs, Cats and Other Pets – The Ultimate Guide

  1. Terry Bowles says:

    Hi Dr Lizotte,
    I have a 10 year old russian blu male cat that is a mess. He is chewing and licking all his fur off. I’ve had him to the vet twice. They both said they think allergies but with the cost being so much I havn’t had it done plus I’ve read it isn’t always accurate. So the first vet put him on prednisone which helped a little but wanted to keep him on it and that was his answer. My poor cat was starting to wobble with one leg. I took him off completely. Next vet said other than the skin issue he is extremely healthy so didn’t find doing BW necessary. She said to put him on 1 dry food for a few months and wet food only fish or turkey which I’ve been doing. He’s on Purina one select forsensative sin turkey and i also give him 1/2 tsp of the missing link, skin and coat to his dry food daily. He is on Advantage which stops the fleas for about 3 weeks then they are all over him and he has cuts all around his neck. I wasn’t aware there are many breeds of fleas and we have moved 2 years ago to Ocala Fl and I’m wondering where the food isn’t making a difference maybe he’s allergic to the fleas? Where we lived before he would get them but Advantage would work and he never chewed himself up. Is there anything I an buy to help alleviate the sores stop the itching, (i also bought a spray months ago with zylacaine no luck), I was thinking of this cocobut oil white kind as you mentioned, is there something to ward offf the fleas other tha Advantage type meds? Please let me no what you think I’m in a rural area and the vets arn’t taking this serious He’s 70 chewed up, no mange, but I gotta get a handle on this heis the sweetest cat ever too. Has had all shots too. Thank you so much, Terry

    • Jenny says:

      Hi Terry, the article was not written by Dr. Lizotte. I was just quoting her. I’m not a vet so unfortunately cannot help you, though I have an article about fleas you may want to have a look at – How to Naturally Get Rid of Fleas From Your Home, Garden and Pets

    • Kimberly J. says:

      Hi Terry,
      We also had a problem w/fleas and nothing was working (flea fups, advantage, flea collars, flea powder’s) I read an article one day and found our answer Organic Apple Cider Vinegar added to drinking water (make sure that your OACV has Mother in it) – Do not use a metal bowl – Glass or ceramic works the best, 1 Tbsp per gallon of water is what’s recommended. Myself – I use 1 TSP per quart of water for our two doggies, change out water everyday sometimes every other day (inside doggies).
      It has worked wonderful for us, NO FLEAS for 2 yrs now, great healthy coats, also helps get rid of stinky breath.
      I hope that this info is helpful for you. Good Luck Terry

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