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Coconut Oil for Dogs and Cats – Health Benefits

Coconut oil for dogs and cats offers numerous health benefits. Although saturated fat has received a very bad rap it is well worth taking a second look at coconut oil as a nutritional supplement for your dog’s diet. While virgin coconut oil is 90% saturated fat, when added to a dog’s diet in small quantities, on a daily basis virgin coconut oil has many beneficial qualities.
Most of the saturated fats in coconut oil come from Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs). The MCTs are the source of most of the benefits of coconut oil. One of the MCTs is lauric acid – lauric acid has antibacterial, antiviral and anti-fungal properties. As a dog’s and cat’s digestive system metabolizes MCTs with great efficiency coconut oil is used as an immediate source of energy and it gently raises the metabolism – there by aiding physical performance and weight loss – for overweight dogs and for dogs suffering from thyroid problems. Coconut oil also improves a dog’s skin and coat, aids digestion and reduces the severity of allergic reactions.
The following provides a more detailed list of the benefits of coconut oil.

Aids Digestion

Digestion/absorption of nutrients
Healing of digestive problems (i.e. inflammation of the bowls);
Reduces and may completely eliminate bad breath;
Helps eliminate hair balls and related coughing.

Bones, Immune System, Metabolism

  • Anti-bacterial,
  • Anti-fungal,
  • Anti-viral,
    …three important attributes in the fight against infection, cancer and other diseases;
  • Antioxidant;
  • Balances, regulates insulin,
  • Helps reduce weight,
    …diabetes prevention and control;
  • Increases energy;
  • Aids in health of ligaments;
  • Helps with arthritis relief;
  • Improves brain energy metabolism;
  • Reduces risk of brain lesions in older dogs.

Skin and Fur Conditions

Helps to clear-up…
  • Eczema,
  • Flea allergies,
  • Dermatitus,
  • Itchy Skin;
  • Ring worm (a fungal infection)
 Improves health and appearance of…
  • Skin,
  • Fur,
  • and deodorizes;
  • Prevents and treats topical yeast and fungal infections;
  • Disinfects cuts and supports healing of wounds;

Oral/Dental Health

  • Coconut Oil can be used to support oral health – you can read how here.

As a Topical Application

Supports the healing of:
  • Cuts;
  • Dry skin;
  • Hot spots;
  • Insect bites;
  • Insect stings;
  • Wounds.
What Kind of Coconut Oil Should You Buy

It is important that you give your dog only Virgin Coconut Oil (VCO)or Extra Virgin Coconut Oil (EVCO) both are also called unrefined-oil. Cold-pressed VCO is best. Organic and non-GMO coconut oil is even better. Despite what manufacturers and people may say the difference between VCO and EVCO is simply a marketing campaign borrowed from the olive oil manufacturing community – there is no real difference between the two (EVO and EVCO).
Different brands of coconut oil will have different tastes – some faint, very subtle coconut taste to others that will have a much stronger taste of coconut. Remember the one sense we humans have that is stronger than our dog’s senses is taste. Your dog has about 1700 taste buds, while we have about 9000. Don’t worry about the taste – concentrate instead on the quality of the product…that it is VCO or EVCO. 

Daily Dosage

It is best to give coconut oil with food. You can drizzle the coconut oil on top of your dog’s and cat’s kibble or other food. The recommended maximum dosage is:
  •  ¼ teaspoon for every 10lbs of body weight twice daily, or 
  • ½ teaspoon for every 10lbs of body weight once daily.
When first introducing coconut oil to your dog’s and cat’s diet it is best to use a lesser amount that the maximum dosage indicated above. The dosages above represent a typical maintenance dosage. Introductory dosages should be in the range of ¼ tsp per day for small dogs, cats, puppies and kittens and 1 tsp per day for large dogs. If you know that your dog has a sensitive digestive system then start off with a few drops of coconut oil a day. You can then gradually increase the amount of coconut oil over several weeks
.
Large amounts of coconut oil given to a dog or cat can cause diarrhea or greasy stools while his/her body adjusts to the change in diet. Start with small amounts, such as ¼ teaspoon per day for small dogs or puppies and 1 teaspoon for large dogs, or even just a dab if your dog’s or cat’s constitution is sensitive. If your dog seems tired or uncomfortable or has diarrhea, just cut back the amount temporarily. Gradually increase the amount every few days.
The reason for this phased-in approach is because coconut oil kills bacteria, viruses, parasites, yeasts, and fungi, your dog or cat may respond negatively to the detox aspect of coconut oil. Signs of detoxing too rapidly may include lethargy, headaches, flu-like symptoms, fatigue, and diarrhea. If your dog does have any such reaction, just temporarily cut the daily amount back to allow your dog’s and cat’s system to gently adjust.

Additional Assistance

If you require additional support and guidance I would be pleased to assist you via my In-Person or On-Line Services…

Dog Obedience Training and Behavior Modification Services:

Diet, Nutrition Wellness Services:

  • Unbiased Diet, Nutrition, Product Advice is available via this service
  • Holistic Diet, Nutrition Wellness Plans are available via this service

About Karen

Dogs are my life, my work, my passion… I am a Dog Whisperer, Dog Behaviorist and Holistic Canine Wellness Adviser with a wealth of real-time, real-life experience living and working with dogs. For two and a half decades I have worked with and shared my life with dogs. My own dog pack is comprised of eleven dogs, various breeds and ages. I provide a full range of services including Obedience Training for puppies and dogs; canine Behavior Modification; canine Psychological Rehabilitation, specializing in assisting dogs that are experiencing extreme states of insecurity, anxiety and aggressive-reactive behavior; Diet, Nutrition and Wellness Advice and Plans for canines and felines…natural wisdom for you and your companion animal.

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27 comments

  1. My 6 year old Pomeranian 13 pounds has a heart murmur What can I give him

  2. I am trying to create a healthy diet for a dog with auto-immune disease (IMHA and glomerulonephritis secondary to the IMHA). All the diets I have found, including those promoted by some university vet schools contain high amounts of starches (grains or potato), and since I have also been reading about paleo type diets recommended for humans with auto-immune conditions, I’ve become increasingly leery of feeding my dog anything with almost certain antigenic potential or with the likelihood of causing insulin spikes. I’ve been concocting meals with good organic muscle meats and organ meats, low phosphorus vegetables, and added lard or coconut oil just to get started, but as I refine my understanding and improve my recipes (discovering which vitamin/mineral supplements and probiotics are safely formulated for kidney and immune patients), I am most concerned about how to add calorie dense nutrients that are safe. Can you comment on some of the trends in diets for auto-immune conditions and point me in the right direction to tweak recipes such as the one(s) you provide for dogs and cats who do not have immune mediated diseases?

  3. If I normally give my dog 1 tsp/day of coconut oil and I start giving him 1 tsp/day of Turmeric paste (turmeric, coconut oil, black pepper), do I still need to give him coconut oil separately?

  4. I put my St Bernard on the coconut oil and changed his food due to hot spots and ear problems. I think he is detoxing? he started with chewing his paws and now he stopped that and is chewing on his tail till its raw. if this is detoxing what can I do and how long will this last?

    • Chewing on his tail is not because he is detoxing. He is chewing his tail becasue you still have not removed all of the items from his diet that he is allergic to and/or he has acquired an anxious habit as fall-out from the stress you have gone through dealing with his allergies.

  5. I have a female wolfdog and have got lost in google hell trying to find a good diet for her, she locked up on her first season and I am wanting the very best diet for her.. Thank you for this info and will defiantly try it..

  6. I recently came across this dog food healthy extension. I was curious how it stacked up based on your expertise. The ingredients are: Organic Chicken, Chicken Meal, Deboned Turkey, Turkey Meal, Potatoes, Chickpeas, Chicken Fat (Naturally Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Fresh Whole Sweet Potatoes, Alfalfa Sprouts, Pumpkin, Pea Fiber, Fresh Whole Carrots, Dulse, Sea Salt, Whole Blueberries, Whole Cranberries, Potassium Chloride, Spinach, Tomato, Beets, Parsley, Chicory Root Extract, Sage, Basil, Apple Cider Vinegar, Green Tea Extract, DHA, Ginger, Primrose Oil, Glucosamine, Chondroitin, Colostrum, Blue Green Algae, Dl Methionine, Vitamin A Acetate, Vitamin E Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin B-12 Supplement, Coral Calcium, Vitamin D, Magnesium, Niacin Supplement, Choline chloride, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Thiamine Mononitrate, Folic Acid, Vitamin C, Biotin, Inositol, Omega 3 / Omega 6 Oils, Polysaccharide Complexes of Zinc, Iron, Manganese, Copper and Cobalt, Calcium lodate, Sodium Selenite, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Pectin, Lactobacillus Acidophilus Fermentation Product Dehydrated, Lactobacillus Casei, Enterococcus Faecium Fermentation Product Dehydrated, B. Subtillus, Bacillus Lichenformis, Bacillus Coagulins, Aspergillus Oryzae and Aspergillus Niger
    Im just starting to look at and understand dog food labels.
    Thank you for your amazing site
    Cheers
    Sarah

    • Hi Sarah,

      Although the food contains some nice ingredients – most of those ingredients have lost their value due to the processing required to make the food. At $30.00/10 pounds it is a waste of $.

      The add Dl Methionine, a sure sign that there was not enough meat in the recipe in the first place and that the amino acids in the meat have been severely degraded during processing. Colostrum and the bacterial strains (last 3 lines of ingredients) are non-viable. Same is true for the apple cider vinegar – which was not organic and not unpasturized so even fresh would have been useless. The Omega 3 content is very low.

      This food gets a thumbs down for being an over-priced, underachieving and misleading product.

      Cheers, K

  7. Hi Karen,
    Thank you for all of the information you post here. I have a 3-year-old mini schnauzer, and he has been dealing with an array of food and seasonal allergies for as long as I’ve had him. I began seeing a holistic vet earlier this year, and he believes in many of the same diet principles you’ve posted here.

    Anyway, my schnauzer is allergic to fish, so I have not been able to supplement him with fish oil. I also think there is some possibility he may be allergic to flax. I am trying to meet his omega needs, so I began supplementing with coconut oil (and plan to try chia). I ended up giving him more oil than I should have on the first night, and his anal glands were then leaky. He tends to have leaky glands when something he eats doesn’t agree with his stomach. Do you think the coconut oil may have caused this as part of the detox process? Or, do you think he may have an issue with the oil? Thanks!

    • Hi :>)

      Coconut oil – yes it could be his system detoxing and it might also be that he is allergic to the coconut oil.

      Have you ever given him any kind of detoxer before – such as milk thistle or licorice root – and if you did did has anal glades leak? If he did not have leakage in the past from detoxing then yes he might be sensitive to coconut oil.

      For a sensitive doggie such as your schnauzer I would recommend introducing coconut oil at about 1/8 of the full dosage – wait a few days and then re-introduce coconut oil at 1/8 dosage.

      Meat, eggs and dairy obtained from grass fed, truly organic animals is high in Omega-3. Try to fed him organic to increase his intake of Omega-3.

      If he is allergic to flax seed he will probably be allergic to chia seeds.

      Cheers, Karen

  8. Hi,
    I have read with great interest your recipes, mainly for yeast infections. I breed Persian cats who seemed to be plagued with skin issues. I have used medicated shampoos for months on end, very expensive prescription medications and nothing seems to cure the infection. I was so happy to fall on your site and pleased to see recipes that I can make.
    What would you recommend as a natural shampoo for yeast/fungus skin issues

  9. Don’t know where to post this re: effective, low cost, safe and natural treatment for demodectic (and sarcoptic) mange. I’ve helped two owners cure their demodectic dogs with diatomaceous earth. Both spent thousands of $ and the dogs got very ill and were never helped. They refused to kill their dogs. Rub d-earth (food grade)into animal as if they jumped into a vat of flour. if needed repeat. Just wait for the hair to regrow, and love your animal. The finely ground silca feels like a fine talc, but it scratches the exoskeleton of the mite (even follicular mites like demodectic) and they dehydrate. Totally non-toxic, and safe, no side effects or resistance. I have used it to control mites in my bird cages for years. Safe for cats and all animals, even to eliminate garden pests. EVERYONE, PLEASE STOP KILLING DEMODECTIC ANIMALS!

  10. I am excited to try this, My Coonhound has allergies which are creating little skin sores/bumps and itchiness and nothing has helped. My question is How does fish oil come in to play when using coconut oil? Do I stop or reduce both dosages? She still would need the Omega 3’s. Thank you for you help!!

  11. I’ve tried this with my dog, after reading this blog post, and he really likes it and it seems to be helping his allergies. I am very excited because I feel like we tried everything! Thank you!

  12. Hello

    I am looking for answers. My cat is excessively licking her belly causing 2 hot spots. We brought her to the vet 3 times and told her she has OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder which is licking) There’s not much we can do and they prescribe cream and it goes away for a bit but then comes back. I have been doing lots of research on this and started putting coconut oil on her hot spot. I noticed after 2 days that there’s a little blue spot on one of the hot spot that looks like a small tiny bruise. Is that normal?? Does that mean it’s starting to heal?? also what can I do to stop her from licking her hot spot while I take care of them.. I am assuming a cone?? lol… I would love to be able to help her stop licking herself. She seems to have a pretty good life here. Any help would be appreciate it.. thanks

    • Yes I am familiar with OCD licking :>) Mind you this type of licking can also occur if you have used a chemical based flea treatment on your cat which then creates an adverse reaction…hence the licking.

      #1
      Add 1/4 tsp of turmeric to her food twice a day http://ottawavalleydogwhisperer.blogspot.ca/2012/11/turmeric-and-curcumin-good-for-your.html

      #2 Make some chicken stock and add 1 to 2 tbs of that to her food as well twice a day – recipe is in this article http://ottawavalleydogwhisperer.blogspot.ca/2013/07/diy-smoothies-frozen-treats-for-dogs.html

      Make sure there are no grains in the cat food (wet or dry) that you are feeding your cat.

      #3 Add some real meat to his food every day – i.e. a bit of chicken or chicken liver, salmon.

      #4 Add 1/2 a capsule of cod liver oil to his food once a day;

      You can try applying a thin coat of raw unpasturized honey to the spots, if you can get organic it is better, but non-organic will be ok. Has to be raw unpasturized though!

      The little blue spot could be skin healing with a little dark pigment spot. It could be a small bruise – I would not be too concerned about it unless it changes in nature.

      It will take a while for the added food stuffs to help take effect (make those items part of his normal daily diet), so in between if you want to stop the licking you would have to use a cone.

      p.s. if you are using chemcial based insect preventatives on him stop! Read my series of articles on natural protection.

      Cheers, K

  13. I just now started my Chihuahua Pablo 6 pounds, on this virgin coconut oil. He has hot spots for over a year and initially the health food store helped a great deal suggesting making a tea from burdock and dandelion root (both dried and expensive), simmer five min. cool and use 1/2 teaspoon per day. The hot spots are TREMENDOUSLY bad this time and I think it may be the Privet hedge(the privet that does blossom)
    blossoms outside. It is bothering me badly too.

    • You could also add the other following items to help alleviate this (go to the index page to find the articles on benefits, dosage etc.:
      – Organic un-pasturized apple cider vinegar;
      – 100% aloe vera juice;
      – Local un-pasturized raw honey;
      – Rooibos tea;
      – Omega 3-fatty acids

  14. Thanks will give to my dog who suffers with skin allergies.
    Selena Brus

  15. nice opinion.. thanks for sharing...

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