As the world becomes wealthier and more comfortable financially (or at least in most countries), there seems to be a continuous search for natural products that may improve our well-being and more stressed lifestyle. The latest craze I have come across this year is coconut oil – my step daughter got us a tub of paste, with some information leaflet swearing to its benefits for skin and guts alike. Well, that got me curious about what are the benefits of coconut oil in humans, and whether they can be transferred to the canine world. In other words, is coconut oil good for dogs? What I found out is short of the astonishing, and I am going to share it with you today!
What are the benefits of using coconut oil
First of all, I’d like to talk you through the benefits of using coconut oil in humans.
Cocunut oil is deemd to be reach in fat – albeit saturated fat. It has been found that the fat from coconut oil has been proven beneficial to skin condition of some skin allergy sufferers. And it has equally helped in scalp conditions and for good and shiny appearance of hair.
There have been concerns expressed about the validity of all the benefit effects of coconut oil when it comes to the fact that it contains those saturated fats, which have for so many years been blamed for increasing heart and coronary related conditions.
The general view in the medical world wants that the really damaging fats are the trans fats, or the fats which are chemically produced by the way we process food, i.e. by frying it. It is trans fats that increase your cholesterol.
Saturated fats are found in red or fatty meat or butter, and can contribute to an increase in heart disease, and the general medical opinion used to advise that so long as your food intake did never exceed an overall 6% of trans and saturated fats, these fats may not constitute a risk to your health.
More recent studies however have found that, particularly when it comes to saturated fats, it is not so much the grams of fat that we consume as part of our diet, but rather how we process that food containing such fats – the concern once again focuses on the chemil process through cooking methods.
I must credit WebMD.com/HeartDisease for the above information, without which I myself would not be any the wiser, and would have possibly followed in the recent trend to substitute the use of margarine
Do benefits of coconut oil outnumber risks?
When it comes to the effects of coconut oil, it has been found that if coconut oil contains saturated fats, it is also true that it stimulates human metabolism in processing and burning those fats faster without allowing them to deposit in our arteries and causing further damage.
It has been recognised that cocunut oil does have positive medical uses, such as:
- Fights inflammation
- Boosts immunity
- Sleep aid
- Kills candida
- Balances hormones
- Supports digestion
- Constipation relief
- Fat burning supplement
- Cancer protection and defence
- Prevents bone density and osteoporosis risks
- Alzheimer’s stabiliser and diabetes preventative
- Eczema and psoriasis curative treatment
- Balances cholesterol levels
There seems that the list of benefits is quite extensive and evidence based. Nonetheless the jury is still out as to whether all the numerous benefits are worth taking the risk of increased saturated fats added to your daily diet habits.
Is coconut oil good for dogs?
Going back to my original question, I am still unclear as to whether coconut oil is good for dogs. Again, as dog owners we should be aware that the same risk caused by the use of coconut oil in humans are equally standing when we feed coconut oil to our dogs.
I have recently learned (credit to KeepTheTailWagging.com) that, no matter how beneficial the use of coconut oil may be, it is also true and scientifically proven that dogs’ metabolism can only cope with animal fat, and not vegetable fat.
Particularly Keep The Tail Wagging website is a convinced promoter of raw food diet for dogs – which in passing, is the recommended diet to manage the condition of Cecs, also more popularly known as Spike’s Disease. And that is why the author Kimberley Gauthier looks extensively to the risks associated with generous use of coconut oil in your dog’s diet.
As a general rule of thumb, it is deemed safe, or safer, to apply coconut oil on your dog to alleviate skin conditions or to condition their coat to a shinier look.
It is also deemed that coconut oil may be used in small and not frequent portions when added to your dog’s meals, or as part of their raw diet. Nevertheless coconut oil should not be seen as a replacement or alternative to the omega fats naturally found in fish oil and its derivatives.
Potential benefits of coconut oil for dogs
As mentioned, the potential benefits of coconut oil in dogs are seen more specifically when related to its external use. Through Authority Nutrition, I have learned that, in dogs particularly, coconut oil may improve:
- Skin condition
- Fur condition
- Pest reduction
When it comes to skin conditions, the antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties of coconut oil have been evidences in humans with skin conditions causing dryness and itchiness, such as eczema. Such beneficial properties have not been confirmed in dogs. Nevertheless, some dog owners swear to the relieving and curative effect of coconut oil when applied to their dog’s skin.
Coconut oil contains a special fatty acid called lauric acid, which, unlike other types of acid, has the special ability to penetrate in the dog’s fur, hence helping making and retaining your dog’s coat healthier and shinier.
Finally, and possibly most importantly, the anti-bacterial properties of coconut oil have been accepted as trufull in relation to preventing the infestation of ticks, fleas and mange mites. This has been evidenced on dogs whose owners have used coconut oil based shampoos on them. The same studies have also shown how coconut oil facilitates wound healing as a result of such pest infestation thanks to its ability to inhibit bacterial growth. Such ability is more resoundingly useful as not only coconut oil prevents the spread of bacteria and fungi, but it also cures affected dogs by killing bacteria, fungi and viruses carried by the infesting mites.
My verdict on coconut oil use in dogs
It appears to me that, like with many other issues relating to our dogs’ well-being, it falls back on the owner to make a choice as to whether to include coconut oil in your dog’s diet or not.
Since my step daughter gave us the tub of coconut oil paste, I have not yet tried it spread on toast, or even on my hair. I do like to idea of eating or applying on my hair a greasy looking paste. And I know that the measure between what is good for humans is on many occasions completely different between humans and dogs. But on this occasion I feel I need to follow my instinct.
This said, I do feel that dog owners are not to ignore the benefiical properties of coconut oil when it comes to the positive effects on dogs’ skin – and more so, if our dogs suffer from skin conditions.
There are many coconut oil based shampoos and conditioners on the market for our dogs, and I shall concentrate on two suppliers, who I believe have the most cost effective and effective products for dogs available online.
Where to buy coconut oil for dogs
Once again, let me be honest: I do not give my Indy a bath. It is our regular groomer Michaela that washes Indy every twelve weeks religiously. We feel they know what they are doing far better than we could possibly do, and in doing so professionally, they also avoid our Indy getting distressed in the process.
However, I do ensure that the shampooing products Michaela uses eithe contain aloe vera or coconut oil, as both containing soothing and healing properties.
If however you prefer to bathe your dog from the comfort of your home, nothing should stop you from doing so at the expenses of using products that are, health speaking, good for your dog’s sking and coat. Having looked into the several products available both from pet shops and online, my recommendations today go with a couple of suppliers:
As per usual, Amazon is extremely competitve in price when it comes to dog supplies – this applies to dog grooming products, and especially the ones containing coconut oil or its extracts.
However, if Amazon appears to be more competitive than other online suppliers, you need to keep a comparing eye open as often the cheaper price reflects smaller size tubs, which in turns makes the product less competitive altogether.
Amazon offers a wide array of edible as well as grooming products for dogs containing coconut oil. As mentioned above, I feel the choice will remani the dog owner’s as to whether you want to include coconut oil as part of your dog’s diet. And again, given the painful conditions some allergies or neurological conditions may have on our dogs, including Spike’s, it may be wiser to adopt a trial and error approach when it comes to adding coconut oil to your dog’s meal. It is recommended that coconut oil is never given to your dog on its own, but always accompanied to other ingredients.
Pet and Country Store
This is a new store which I have come across recently and found well stocked when it came to dog apparel as well as, of course, to grooming products containing coconut oil.
Over some eleven bath and shampooing products, Pet and Country Store recommends six of them as containing coconut. Unlike with Amazon, where you have to pay delivery unless you are part of their Amazon Prime, at Pet and Country you get free delivery on orders over £60.
Pet and Country Store does actually have a store based in Ballymore, Northern Ireland, where if you leave nearby, not only you can have your order delivered to the shop equally for free, but you can enjoy a hot drink in their pet friendly coffee shop, where you meet other likely-minded dog owners in the spirit of Pet and Country pet friendly phylosophy.
I endeavour to unveil Pet and Store pet friendly culture in a separate review. To me, whenever I hear a company that embraces the idea of wellness for both dogs and their owners, and also creates spaces that are truly pet friendly, that is a place to be. If only UK had more places like that!