Coconut Oil for Dogs – Health Benefits and Usage

Written by: Bojana Radulovic
Start using coconut oil for dogs, and you’ll be able to treat, and prevent many diseases. Health benefits are numerous, and both puppies and older dogs should consume it.

You might have heard of coconut oil and how important its usage is. However, what you probably didn’t know is that it can be used for dogs to treat various diseases and health issues.

Coconut oil can be added to a diet or applied topically depending on the issue. Don’t start using it on your own, but advice with your vet to find the best way to take the most of it.

This guideline introduces you with the health benefits of coconut oil for dogs and how it should be used. Also, you will find out which diseases and illnesses can be treated, as well as how much your dog should consume.

Table of Contents

What is coconut oil and why is it good?

Let’s start with basics, so coconut oil is extracted from the meat of mature coconuts and is edible.

Therefore, it is completely safe to use and cannot harm your bundle of joy. You may have been adding it to your diet or using it as a replacement for some cosmetic products, but now you can be sure that it can also help your dog.

Firstly, 90% of coconut oil is saturated fat, because of which is considered to be a huge health benefit for both people and dogs. The saturated fat strengthens the immune system, improves digestion and makes bones stronger. 50% of fatty acids in coconut oil is lauric acid, which can kill bacteria and viruses.

Because of being a fatty oil, it’s not advised to eat it regularly, as it can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. Therefore, when using it in treating your dog, you must follow proper guidelines in order not to cause some other health problems.

Also, if your dog is getting some shots or they need to take some medications, don’t include coconut oil in the treatment before advising with your vet.

Health benefits of coconut oil for dogs

One of the heathiest oils, coconut oil provides your dog with numerous health benefits. Not only it can prevent some diseases and keep your dog healthy, but it can help in treating some infections and diseases.

Using coconut oil for dogs can make their skin healthy, improve their digestion, and strengthen their immune system.

1. Healthy skin and coat

Because of its properties, coconut oil is perfect for treating wounds, irritations and allergies, as well as moisturizing your dog’s dry skin and coat.

Treat canine eczema – Canine eczema is the inflammation of the skin, and it’s called epidermis. It isn’t illness, but just irritation caused by dust, heat, humidity, dryness, insect bites, parasites and many other. It is usually seasonal, and depending on the environmental factors, you will be able to easily determine the cause.

You shouldn’t do that on your own, but always consult with your vet. Coconut oil can make clear up eczema and make your dog’s skin healthy again. As your vet will suggest some treatments, ask them how to include coconut oil in the treatment and if there are some products which include it.

Helps with contact dermatitis and itchy skin – There are two types of contact dermatitis: allergic and irritant. Allergic dermatitis is rare and is caused by wool, some metals, and chemicals.

Irritant dermatitis is often caused by various chemicals and poison from some plants. This usually happens to puppies, as they like to sniff around. On the other hand, allergic needs time to develop, so your dog needs to be one to two years old in order to become allergic to some material.

Coconut oil can help prevent and treat allergies, itchy skin and you can treat irritated skin.

Helps with dry skin, bites and stings – Coconut oil will help wound healing, and make your dog’s skin hydrated and moisturized. If your dog has dry skin, which is usually very sensitive, then make sure to apply the oil topically.

However, when it comes to bites and stings, consult with your vet when you can start applying the oil, because it is not recommended to apply it in combination with some medications.

Makes the coat of your dog soft and glossy – Every dog owner wants their dog’s coat to be soft and glossy, however, because of jumping in the mud all the time and not consuming enough vitamins, your dog’s coat might become rough and not so shiny.

So, when bathing your dog add a bit of coconut oil, and in no time their coat will be soft.

This is especially important for dog owners, who take them to shows or if you have a dog with long hair, which is usually matted or tangled. When you apply coconut oil, you will be able to easily comb out tangles.

2. Improves digestion

If you add coconut oil to your dog’s diet, it can improve their digestion significantly. Many dogs, especially puppies can suffer from inflammatory bowel syndrome, and one of the cures is definitely this oil.

Also, coconut oil contains medium-chain triglycerides, because of which coconut oil is advised for dogs with pancreas problems.

Many dogs experience poor digestion, and the most usual causes are imbalanced diet, fungal infections and food allergies. Therefore, if your dog has diarrhea, bloated stomach and lack of appetite, it may suggest that your dog has poor digestion.

If you notice some of these symptoms, firstly take the dog to your vet, because it can be more serious. Except for given medications, you should add coconut oil to your dog’s diet and it will certainly improve their digestion.

3. Get rid of bad breath

Many dogs have bad breath or halitosis, so you shouldn’t be worried. People who keep their dogs indoors will notice the bad breath immediately. What actually stinks are bacteria in your dog’s mouth and lungs.

If your dog’s breath is unbearable, you should definitely take your dog for a checkup, as it can be the sign that something is wrong with their liver or kidneys.

In most cases, the causes are poor dental care, and gum disease. There are many supplements for dogs, which prevent gum diseases, but if you want to opt for some natural cure, then coconut oil is perfect. Brush your dog’s teeth with coconut oil, and they won’t even refuse, because they love the taste of the oil.

4. Reduce weight and increase energy

Obese dog is not a healthy one, and that’s why you should make sure that their weight is optimal. Some breeds get overweight easily, so you should be more careful how much you are feeding them.

Obesity can damage their bones and joints, lead to digestion disorders, negatively affect skin and coat, and decrease immune function.

Therefore, with the help professional you will be able to put up a diet, and don’t forget to ask them to include coconut oil, which can assist the weight loss, according to this study. It will also increase their energy, which will increase their mobility.

5. Prevents diseases and infections

The power of the coconut oil regarding the people has been no secret, however, studies on properties of coconut oil have shown that it should be used to prevent diseases in dogs too. As your skin can get easily damaged during the winter, so can your dog’s. Especially if you keep them outdoors.

Therefore, coconut oil can prevent:

Infections – Because of antifungal, antiviral and antibacterial properties it can prevent skin infections, and if applied orally other infections and inflammatory diseases.

Diabetes – Just like people, many dogs can suffer from diabetes, which can harm their health and damage their sight, as well as circulation. Coconut oil is known to balance the levels of insulin and promote thyroid function.

Coconut oil can prevent many disease, as it strengthens the immune system, so your puppy or dog will become stronger, which will make them immune to some illnesses.

6. Picky eaters

Your dog might be a picky eater, and if you have tried many suggested methods on making them eat some healthy food and you haven’t succeeded, then you definitely need to try coconut oil. Almost all dogs love the taste of coconut oil, so just add some oil in their food, mix it and they will eat the whole bowl.

Don’t put too much, but stick to the guidelines. As you need to start with small amounts there is a chance your dog won’t immediately start eating, but when you start giving them the normal amount, they will no longer be picky eaters.

How to apply it?

Coconut oil can be given to your dog both orally and topically. For skin and coat issues you should apply the oil topically. On the other hand, for strengthening their immune system and improving digestion your dog should take the oil orally.

The coconut oil cannot harm your dog if you stick to the guideline and don’t exaggerate with amounts of the oil.

If you want to get rid of dog’s bad breath, you just need to brush their teeth with coconut oil, and you’ll quickly see the results.

Giving your dog coconut oil for the first time

When you are trying some new product, you firstly take the small amount to see if you are allergic and how your skin will react to it. The same goes for dogs.

Give them a ¼ teaspoon of coconut oil, and supervise them to see if there are any side-effects. The only thing that can happen is diarrhea, but that usually happens when your dog eats more than recommended.

Also, if you have never applied coconut oil to your dog’s skin and haven’t used any dog products that contain this oil, then you have to test it.

Apply topically small amount and wait to see if there will be redness. You have to be with your dog for 15 – 20 minutes, as they can lick the oil, and you won’t be able to see how their skin reacted to it.

How much should your dog take?

As this is probably the first time you are using coconut oil, you should definitely start with small amounts. If you give your dog too much of the oil, it can cause some health issues such as diarrhea. It is recommended for puppies and smaller dogs ¼ teaspoon per day, and for bigger dogs 1 teaspoon.

Depending on your dog’s medical history, consult how long it should take your dog to get used to coconut oil and how often they should consume it. When they get used to you should give your dog 1 teaspoon per 10 pounds of your dog’s body weight.

However, if your dog is suffering from bad digestion, or obesity, depending on the treatment your vet advised, you will be able to determine how much they should take orally.

If you want to make your dog’s coat glossy and skin healthier, then just apply the coconut oil topically, leave it for 5 minutes and then rinse. You can do this every time you bath your dog, and it can do no harm.

But, if your dog has canine eczema or a wound, you are probably applying some cream. Don’t apply coconut oil shortly after the cream, and vice versa. Don’t exclude this powerful oil from the treatment, because it will heal your dog’s skin, make it healthier and is a great moisturizer.

What coconut oil to choose?

There are a few types of coconut oil, but recommended one is definitely the virgin coconut oil. The difference between refined coconut oil and virgin one, is that unrefined is the oil that is extracted from coconut meat of fresh coconut.

All coconut oils are refined, as you cannot just get them from nature and put it in a jar, but the oil that has been the least refined is called the virgin one. The refined oil comes from inedible dry coconut, while virgin comes from a fresh coconut.

The recommended coconut oil is the virgin one, and in order not to be fooled by some brands, carefully read the label and if it is copra-based, it means it is refined.

Virgin coconut oil might have mild taste, but its health benefits are numerous. Therefore, when picking the oil for your dog or even you, look for virgin ones. They might be more expensive, but they are worth it.

When you visit a pet shop, you will notice there are many products with coconut oil. Consult the professionals and see if they are really using virgin coconut oil, and how much. It is always the best choice to use the virgin coconut oil, but if there are some supplements known for their health benefits, then try them out.

After discovering that coconut oil might be quite beneficial to dogs, a logical question would arise: “Can my dog eat coconut?”. So, let’s give you the answer you need.

Can Dogs Eat Coconut?

If the coconut oil is so healthy for canines, you should be able to feed your dog with coconut meal as well, right?

Yes! Coconut meat is completely safe to feed for dogs and is also considered to be healthy. Eating small amounts of coconut occasionally will bring some incredible benefits to your pup too. Some of them include decreased inflammation, boosted immune system as well as healthier skin!


Many studies have shown that regular use of coconut oil can keep your dog healthy, and is especially recommended for puppies who need to keep their immune system strong. Start with small amounts, and continue giving your dog coconut oil regularly, which will provide your dog with nutrients, prevent and cure many diseases.

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