Coconut oil is an excellent remedy for dogs that suffer from dry and irritated skin. This oil has been praised for centuries by many tropical cultures. Coconut oil has been referred to as a miracle oil because it offers a range of health benefits and treatments for a variety of ailments. The oil has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, anti-fungal and immune boosting properties. Coconut oil will naturally relieve a dog's dry and itchy skin.
The use of coconut oil has been documented dating back to 1500 B.C. Many tropical regions such as Polynesia, Africa, Asia and South and Central America have relied heavily on coconut oil. The coconut fruit offered many culinary uses with its meat, water, milk and oil. Natives also used coconut oil as a natural antibiotic. The coconut palm has been referred to as the "tree which gives all that is necessary for living."
How it Works
Coconut oil is a saturated fat, made up of a medium chain of fatty acids. These fatty acids moisturize the skin and provide it with a barrier of protection. Coconut oil contains lauric acid, capric acid and caprylic acid. The lauric acid is responsible for many of the oil's health benefits. The only other natural source of lauric acid is human breast milk. The lauric acid provides coconut oil with its healing, antiviral and antibacterial properties.
Coconut Oil as a Dietary Supplement for Dogs
Adding coconut oil to a dog's diet provides an adequate source of healthy saturated fat. The recommended dosage for small dogs that weigh 10 lbs. or less is 1/4 tsp. per day for two weeks. The amount may be increased to up to 1 tsp. per day, once your dog's stomach has adjusted to the oil. Larger dogs weighing 30 lbs. or more may be administered 1 tbsp. per day for two weeks. The dosage may then be gradually increased. Coconut oil will work from the inside out to improve dry skin.
Coconut Oil Applied Topically
Coconut oil works wonders as a healing salve for a dog's dry skin. When applied directly to the skin, it penetrates into the deeper layers to strengthen and protect the underlying tissues. The oil will reduce skin inflammation, as well as fight infection. To apply topically, start with a handful of the oil and massage it directly into the dry areas of the skin. The rich oil is absorbed quickly. Coconut oil will leave skin soft, healthy and smelling tropical.
Tips and Concerns
The highest quality coconut oil is organic extra virgin coconut oil, which has been cold pressed. The cold-pressed method is the best because the oil does not undergo any additional heating. This ensures that all of the vital nutrients and antioxidants are preserved. Coconut oil can be purchased at many vitamin and health food stores. The cost of a 16 oz. bottle ranges from $5 to $8.
When introducing coconut oil into a dog's diet, it is important to monitor the dog for any signs of discomfort and loose stools.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.