Is Coconut Oil a Miracle Worker?
Miracle, no. However, coconut has incredibly powerful health benefits for pet’s health. I have an obsession with coconut. Not the taste, which I can’t stand. That being said, the smell reminds me of summer, everything fresh and clean. I use coconut oil post-shower as moisturizer and also use it as a base for many of our aromatherapy products. It has a multitude of health benefits.
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Coconut contains 90% saturated fats, which most of you think are extremely unhealthy. Did you know that coconut is a little different from most saturated fats:
Whereas most saturated fats are comprised of long chain fatty acids (LCFAs), coconut oil is comprised mainly of medium chain fatty acids (MCFAs), or medium chain triglycerides (MCTs). Our bodies metabolize (break down) and recognize medium chain fatty acids differently than long chain fatty acids, producing a very different effect. ~ Dr. Jean Dodds’ Pet Health Resource Blog
The powerful health benefits of coconut are not specific to humans and may be used by cats, dogs, and horses as well.
Overview of Coconut Benefits
5 WAYS Coconut Can Increase Pet Health
Coconut aids liquid absorption in the digestive tract and results in firmer stool. But more, it aids absorption of fatty-soluble vitamins important for pet health.
The bland flavor of coconut oil lubricates kibble. As a result it is easier to digest and more palatable for those finicky eaters.
My rescue dog, Gonzo, is a very picky eater. And he is not afraid to say no. Just the other day, he picked out each green bean with his teeth and placed them outside of his bowl. Everything else was gone. But the green beans remained. A not so subtle message for his human?
Funnily enough, I added a tablespoon of coconut oil to his food today. I wanted to see if it made a difference. Indeed, the bowl was licked clean without a single green bean remaining. Now if only this would work with my children.
2. Skin and Coat
Saturated fats provide a wonderful moisturizing element to your animal’s skin and coat. Gonzo has seasonal allergies and dander, which is very noticeable on his black coat. There is no eye sore like white dander sticking to a black coat. After only a few days of giving him a spoonful of coconut oil with his meals the difference was astounding.Your pet's nutrition has a direct effect on their overall health. Click To Tweet
3. Wound Healing
With both antibacterial and anti-fungal properties, coconut oil makes a wonderful topical ointment for small wounds, scars, and hot spots. Coconut is long lasting, does not need to be refrigerated, and melts at high heat. Coconut provides a thin, breathable layer over wound sites allowing for air flow to stimulate healing. In fact, coconut oil is an essential ingredient in our popular Healing Salve.
4. Clean teeth
We all know how important dental health is to our pet’s overall well being. My dogs love using dental treats, such as the Natural Balance Dental Chews. But if your dog or cat is picky, try brushing their teeth with coconut oil instead.
Coconut oil eats away at the bacteria and plague in your dog’s mouth. As a result it reduces bad odors, plague, and prevents gum disease, which have a direct result on pet health.
5. Internal Health
Coconut oil can have a positive impact on your pet’s internal and behavioral health.
A healthy source of energy that increase your pet’s metabolism safely. Further, coconut fights germs from the inside out, keeping your pet healthy naturally.
How to Use Coconut on Animals
My dogs love the taste of coconut. They will eat it straight off the spoon, although I prefer to feed it mixed with their food or as a treat. Gonzo especially loves the K9 Granola Factory’s Coconut Chips.
At a recent appointment with our holistic veterinarian, I was tasked with keeping Gonzo still for the acupuncture needles. My vet’s snack of choice? All natural coconut flakes. Low in calories but loaded with a multitude of benefits. Veterinarian recommended!
*Do NOT use coconut internally if your pet has or is at risk for pancreatitis or has trouble metabolizing fat.
I recommend coconut oil to my massage clients for many reasons. Dander, hot spots, elbow rubs, bites, and small wounds can all benefit from the antibacterial properties. Because coconut oil acts as a wonderful base for essential oils and herbs, I use it in many of my Signature Aromatherapy Products.
Coconut oil is light, non greasy, and safe for ingestion when your dog inevitably licks it. Lastly, it acts like a lubricant when grooming your dog. Be careful, however, a little goes a long way.
Coconut Oil Hacks for Animals
1. Detangler. Fractionated coconut oil (FCO) is wonderful for detangling even the worst matted fur. Did your horse or dog run through the briars or have burrs and shavings in his coat or tail? FCO in a spray bottle does the trick and adds a beautiful sheen!
(Parents want to know a secret? I’ve also used FCO to get rid of gum in my daughter’s curly hair. No scissors necessary.)
2. Pest repellent. Now, on it’s own coconut oil is not very strong, but it does lend itself to being a mild insect repellent. Want something stronger but organic and good for the environment? Try an all natural insect repellent.
3. Moisturizer. Those paw pads a little rough? Does your dog have elbow rubs? Put a little coconut oil on them. If your pet licks the site? No big deal because it helps digestion.
4. Hot horse? I’m looking at all you OTTB lovers out there. Coconut oil is a wonderful supplement for grain that doesn’t make your horse “hot” like other oils do. It also aids digestion and helps keep your horse’s intestines moving the way they should, without contributing to ulcers.
Working with animals like I do every day, I see firsthand the impressive healthy benefits of coconut oil. Consult with your veterinarian for any internal use, and start slow and gradually increase according to your animal’s weight.