Coconut oil is known by many as a super food. In people, research has shown that the fatty acids specific to coconut oil, called medium chain triglycerides (MCTs), are processed through our bodies differently than the fatty acids you find in other high-fat foods, like cheese. This remarkable compound doesn’t require energy for absorption, usage, or retention, and has proven to be helpful for people who have issues absorbing nutrients through digestion.
So, how does this fact relate to our cats and dogs? As it turns out, these very same MCTs that benefit us also help treat your pet’s digestive issues and will increase their metabolism. As a result, this can help address issues such as obesity and malnutrition in animals. There are also a variety of benefits relating to your pet’s coat and skin.
The Benefits of Coconut Oil
Feeding your cat or dog coconut oil can truly help improve their quality of life. It can serve many antimicrobial, antibacterial, and anti-fungal purposes. As a topical therapy, applying coconut oil to cuts and rashes may help to speed up the healing process. One huge benefit of using this oil for external use is that your pet can safely lick this oil off their skin without the risks of toxicity that come along with some other topical treatments.
As a dietary supplement, research has shown that coconut oil provides a defense against common intestinal parasites found in dogs and cats. In fact, it is suggested that giving coconut oil to your pets daily can destroy these parasites before they can even begin to affect the host (your pet). When given orally, coconut oil also improves the barrier function of your pet’s skin, thereby increasing his own natural defenses.
Adding Coconut Oil to Your Pet’s Regimen
As with any new supplement, there are a number of things to consider when introducing coconut oil into your dog or cat’s diet. You will need to start very slowly and gradually increase the amount until your pet is used to it. Exact doses are not available, but a typical dose is approximately 1 teaspoon of coconut oil for every 10 pounds of body weight, up to a maximum of two tablespoons daily.
However, you will need to start with a much smaller dose. Giving your pet too much coconut oil too quickly can cause adverse effects. Some signs you should look out for are lethargy, flu-like symptoms, diarrhea, and fatigue. These are all signs that you should reduce the amount of coconut oil that you are giving. However, as long as you start with a very small amount and work your way up to the proper dose, you should start to see slow gradual progress. We typically recommend starting with one quarter of the intended final dose the first week, and increasing the dose by one quarter dose per week for four weeks, until you are finally giving the intended full dose.
Some animals will love the taste of coconut oil, while others will not. The easiest way to give it to your pet is by mixing it with their food. Most will see this as a tasty treat, and there will be no trouble convincing them to eat it. Cats tend to be a bit more finicky, so you may need to be a little creative in your approach. If your cat won’t eat it with her food, try dabbing it on her paws or your hand for him or her to lick.
Pets, just like their human counterparts, have health problems from time to time. Coconut oil is an inexpensive, effective, and simple remedy to many of the external and internal issues your dog or cat may face. It is also a great way to take a proactive approach to the lifelong health of your pet.
Researchers are constantly finding new benefits from the use of coconut oil, and it is becoming a more common component of veterinary diets. The benefits are tremendous, and there are little or no side effects.