We talk about the potential benefits, potential risks, and how it might be used.
We also look at what might be some alternatives to coconut oil.
Let’s take a closer look!
(NOTE: this is a general information guide only, and is not professional advice, or a substitute for professional advice. A qualified vet or animal expert is the only person qualified to give you expert advice in regards to your pet/s)
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Coconut Oil For A Dog: Dry Skin, Paws, Nose, Elbow Calluses, Coat, & Digestion
Before we get into the guide, you might like to look at a few of the top rated coconut oil products on the market at the moment made specifically for dogs:
- Zesty Paws Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil for Dogs (on Chewy)
- Petpost Coconut Oil For Dogs (on Amazon)
Another popular coconut oil you might consider is Alpha Pet Zone Coconut Oil For Dogs (on Amazon).
Onto the guide …
General Information About Coconut Oil & It’s Use For Dogs
What Is Coconut Oil?
Coconut oil is an oil derived or extracted from coconuts.
Coconut oil also usually contains good saturated fats, vitamin E, vitamin K, MCTs and lauric acid.
What Can Coconut Oil Be Used For With Dogs, & What Are The Potential Benefits?
Potential uses and benefits might include:
It helps with dry, rough, chapped, cracked and crusty skin – restoring moisture and elasticity. It’s important to note though, coconut oil would only be for non serious cases of dry or cracked skin. Take your dog to see a vet if they show sings of severe dryness, cracking etc., or any other signs that something else might be going on that basic coconut oil can’t help with.
Can help with things like chafing, hot spots, and more
Moisturise and add shine to the coat when applied to the coat
Improve digestion when fed to a dog (because it is directly absorbed in the GI tract and goes directly to the liver)
Increase energy levels when fed to a dog
Can be used as a coating on a pill to help dogs swallow them
Coconut oil might contain good saturated fats, vitamin E, vitamin K, MCTs and lauric acid. In particular, the good saturated fats and lauric acid improve the health of the skin and it’s softness, and the other minerals also aid with the health of the skin – essentially helping restore moisture in it. Lauric acid is mentioned by some sources as a good immune builder, when coconut oil is used on the skin
What Are The Potential Risks Or Problems With Using Coconut Oil On Dogs?
Potential risks may include:
Some dogs may be allergic to it (especially if for example some dogs are allergic to nuts)
Eating too much coconut oil can result in diarrhea, and other issues
Coconut oil can be high in calories, so, eating too much can result in weight gain
In addition to the points listed above, when rubbing coconut oil into the skin, some owners find that their dog can smell or taste the coconut scent or taste, and will lick the coconut oil.
To avoid this problem, some owners might choose to use a flavorless or scentless oil or skin product.
A Few Things To Be Aware Of With Feeding Your Dog Coconut Oil
Again, when feeding your dog coconut oil – you’ll want to get your dog’s vet’s approval first, and follow the instructions on the coconut oil label.
The coconut oil product should be formulated to be digested by a dog – some products aren’t, and are only made for topical use. So, check this before buying.
When feeding a dog coconut oil …
Monitor weight gain or any negative side effects closely.
Some vets may also suggest mixing turmeric and vitamin D in with coconut oil with snacks and treats.
Turmeric works as an anti-inflammatory, while vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin.
Be careful that you don’t give too much vitamin D to your dog, however.
Over-supplementation can cause kidney problems
Should You Use Coconut Oil With Your Dog?
Always check with your dog’s vet before using coconut oil on your dog (and ask them for product suggestions if they say it is ok to use).
In addition to that, read any instructions or health warnings that the coconut oil label comes with.
How To Apply Or Use Coconut Oil
Read the instructions of use on the coconut oil product you buy.
Types Of Coconut Oil
There’s different types of coconut oil on the market.
Some may be specifically labelled as ‘for dogs’.
Some people may also prefer organic, virgin, and cold-pressed coconut oils.
Coconut Oil Products Made For Dogs
Taking a closer look at the two products we listed at the top of this guide:
This is a 100% certified organic coconut oil.
The label says it provides ‘topical support for hot spots, cracked paws, chafing, and coat health … [while also promoting wellness as a tasty treat]’
So, some of the benefits might be that is can moisturize the skin, and also is a ‘Clean source of vitamins and medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) fatty acids [that] promotes healthy skin and coat; also works as an effective digestive aid and immune booster’
There are directions for use on the label for both consumption, and topical use.
The ingredients are organic virgin coconut oil, and it contains nuts – coconut.
It’s made in the USA without the use of corn, wheat, artificial flavoring or preservatives
A ‘human grade, edible coconut oil and can be used topically on pups of all ages’.
Is made to ‘rejuvenate, nourish and soothe a dog’s skin and coat’.
It’s a ‘100% pure and natural coconut oil’.
It contains no parabens, animal cruelty, chemical additives, artificial preservatives, artificial flavoring, or grain, corn or soy.
Alternatives To Coconut Oil For Your Dog
There’s many alternatives to coconut oil.
For example, for noses, skin, elbows etc – there’s butters, waxes, balms, moisturizers, and more.
As mentioned above, for any alternative substances or products you use, get your dog’s vet’s approval for use.
A few specific examples of alternatives to coconut oil are:
For The Skin
There are lots of natural waxes, balms and butters to help moisturise dry, flaky and itchy dog skin. Some of the more popular options are:
- Musher’s Secret Pet Paw Protection Wax (on Amazon)
- 4 Legger Certified Organic Nose and Paw Pad Healing Balm (on Amazon) – USDA Organic Certified
- Pawstruck Ruff Relief Balm for Dogs (on Amazon) – USDA Organic Certified
For The Nose
- Blissful Dog Nose Butter (on Amazon) – Nose Butter
- ResQ Organics Pet Skin Treatment on Amazon – Nose Moisturiser/Cream
- Burt’s Bees Paw and Nose Lotion For Dogs with Rosemary and Olive Oil (on Amazon) – Nose Lotion
- 4 Legger Certified Organic Nose Balm (on Amazon) – Nose Balm/Wax
- Pawstruck Ruff Relief Balm for Dogs (on Amazon) – Nose Balm/Wax
- Natural Dog Snout Soother (on Amazon) — Nose Balm/Wax
- Nozzle Nectar Dog Nose Butter (on Amazon) – Balm/Wax
Read more about dog nose balms, butters, moisturizers and creams in this guide.
For The Elbows
There are also topical moisturisers/creams you can rub on your dog’s elbow.
Read more about some of the best dog elbow butters and creams in this guide.
Coconut oil usually has healthy fats in it.
Alternatives you might use to replace those healthy fats might include cold water fish oils, such as salmon oil, and to a lesser extent, flax seed oil, which are excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids.
Coconut Oil For A Dog’s Paws
What Can Coconut Oil Be Used For On A Dog’s Paws?
For dog paws and the pads on the bottom of the paws, it can be beneficial for:
Paws with hot spots
How To Apply Coconut Oil To Dog Paws?
It’s easiest to follow the instructions on the coconut oil that you buy for application directions (and get approval from your dog’s vet).
But, as a general rule, you can scoop a small amount out and lightly rub it on into a thinner oil on your hands first, and then lift up your dog’s paw and apply it evenly on the underside of the pads.
You can make sure to rub it into cracks in the paws unless the cracks are bleeding or something else is wrong, in which case take you dog to the vet to get them examined.
Coconut Oil For A Dog’s Nose
How To Apply Coconut Oil To A Dry Dog Nose?
Follow the instructions on the label of the coconut oil you buy.
But, generally, take a small amount and rub it on your fingers until it is an oil (instead of a paste/wax – which it can be if it is hard in the jar).
Rub the oil gently onto the bridge of the nose where the dry skin is, making sure it sinks into the skin – leaving it looking shiny.
Make sure not to get it on the wet part of the nose or up your dog’s nose.
Coconut Oil For A Dog’s Elbow Calluses
What Is Coconut Oil Used For on Dog Elbow Calluses?
In particular, the good saturated fats and lauric acid in coconut oil improve the health of the skin and it’s softness, and the other minerals also aid with the health of the skin – essentially helping restore moisture in it.
This might be good for calluses (as long as they aren’t broken or otherwise exposed or infected) as calluses can be dry, rough and scaly.
How To Apply Coconut Oil To Dog Elbow Calluses?
Coconut oil is usually rubbed over the callus evenly until it is absorbed by the skin (not leaving clumps of coconut oil on the skin)
Coconut oil can be quite oily once applied, so keep that in mind if you don’t want your dog rubbing it on floor surfaces or upholstery inside the house.
It’s also worth noting that coconut oil, compared to a butter or cream with no fragrance, is sometimes licked by dogs who can smell the coconut.
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