We, as pet owners, often go to great lengths to take care of our pets. Be it buying expensive grooming products, going to the vet frequently, or unfailingly following feeding guidelines for our pet, we do whatever it takes to keep our animal companions healthy. However, did you know that coconut oil, that is easily available and affordable, can contribute immensely in maintaining your pet’s health.
Coconut oil has long been popularly used by humans for its high medicinal value. Derived from fresh coconut meat, the virgin coconut oil (VCO), is often regarded as ‘mother of all oils’ as it is found to be a good source of essential nutrients. When incorporated in your pet’s lifestyle, coconut oil can offer the following health benefits for your furry friends.
How is Coconut Oil Beneficial to Your Pet?
A number of studies have shown that lauric acid―an important constituent of coconut oil―has antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties. Feeding coconut oil to your pet can strengthen its immune system, in turn protecting your pet against a wide range of infections.
Promotes Healthy Coat
Is your pet having irritated, itchy, flaky, dry skin? Fret not! Giving coconut oil internally or applying it externally can help improve your pet’s skin health. For a smoother, healthier skin and coat, many prefer to massage their pet with coconut oil. It also provides a great way to pamper your pet, but more importantly, it can leave the skin and coat clean, renewed, and shiny.
Work from head to toe, and massage it until the oil gets completely absorbed into the skin. Just 5-10 minutes of regular massage is an easy home remedy to keep your pet’s skin healthy.
After topical application of coconut oil, pet owners often give a quick bath to their pet. This may be necessary since pets tend to lick their skin continuously after a bath. Moreover, your pet, after a massage, is likely to create a mosaic of oil stains on the surfaces it comes in contact with. So, after a thorough massage, bathing your pet with a small amount of shampoo is recommended.
However, in case you feel that your pet is not comfortable with external application of coconut oil, just stick to internal usage only. This too can help in keeping the skin soft and maintaining a lustrous coat.
Looking for an easy way to protect your pet from unfriendly companions (read ticks and fleas)? Well, as simple as an external application of coconut oil on your furry friend’s coat can be helpful to prevent those insects from troubling your pet. This is because coconut oil acts as a natural repellent for these insects.
In fact, coconut oil application can actually pack these unwanted critters to hell. The high fat content in coconut oil is said to interfere with their breathing process and cause suffocation. So use of coconut oil may help to get rid of tick, fleas, and mange infestation in dogs.
Speeds Up Wound Healing
Lauric acid, the active ingredient in coconut oil, is well-known for its antimicrobial activity. So coconut oil acts like an antiseptic; hence, can be helpful to treat wounds in dogs. Its germ-fighting, disinfectant properties can help heal wounds in a short duration.
Good for Digestion
Coconut oil with its antimicrobial activity can be helpful to get rid of viruses, fungi, and even parasites that are often responsible for causing digestive problems in dogs. So feeding coconut oil can help keep your pet’s digestive tract functioning smoothly.
Improves Bone Health
Coconut oil helps facilitate absorption of calcium and magnesium, the minerals that play a major role in building strong bones. Coconut oil also displays antioxidant properties; hence, giving it may protect your pet’s bone health from oxidative stress.
Promotes Dental Health
Dental care with coconut oil can work wonders to keep your pet’s teeth and gums healthy. Also, you are unlikely to face any difficulty brushing its teeth with coconut oil, as pets love the taste of coconut oil. Its regular use can help remove stains, plaque, and clean the teeth thoroughly.
The dosage will vary between animals. Generally, puppies and small-sized dogs are given half a teaspoon daily, while medium- to large-sized dogs are given 1 to 2 teaspoon of coconut oil daily. For cats, usually a teaspoon is recommended on a daily basis. Just mix the required amount in any of your pet’s meals daily to reap its benefits.
Since coconut oil is high in saturated fats, avoid overfeeding as it can lead to pet obesity. Feeding more than prescribed can increase blood lipid (cholesterol, triglycerides) levels, thereby increasing the risk of heart ailments. So, its internal dosage should be given as instructed by your vet. Also, whenever buying coconut oil for your pet, make sure it certified organic, virgin oil as it is minimally processed.