The humble coconut certainly has its uses: in fact, virgin coconut oil is said to be beneficial for dogs that suffer from digestive upset, poor thyroid function and a lacklustre coat. What’s truly impressive is that this oil is useful ingested and applied externally. So if Fido has yeast infections, hot spots, or even cracked paws, administering coconut oil can soothe and heal your dog’s body. 

In a (Coco)nutshell

Coconut oil consists of more than 90 percent saturated fats, with traces of unsaturated fatty acids, such as monosaturated fatty acids and polyunsaturated acids. Most of these fats are classified as Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs) and this is where all its goodness comes from.

MCTs contain lauric acid, capric acid and caprylic acid among other types of acids. It is from lauric acid that it has its antibacterial, antiviral and anti-fungal properties. Capric and caprylic acid have similer properties but are better known for their anti-fungal effects. In dogs, these MCTs balance the thyroid, helping overweight dogs lose weight and sedentary canines feel energetic. 

No more skin problems

While it provides remedies for many skin problems and is also able to disinfect cuts and improve your dog’s general skin and coat condition, wounds also heal faster with an application of coconut oil. Some pet owners admit to using it to deodorise their dogs’ skin and that it clears up rashes in a jiffy. Funnily enough, coconut oil is also something that these canines enjoy licking off their bodies. To prevent that from happening, simply wrap a towel around the affected area after you have applied the oil for a few minutes to let it soak in before Fido gets a chance to lick it off.

No more fussy eaters

Indeed, if your dog takes a liking to coconut oil and happens to be a picky eater, it might be wise to try adding a bit of coconut oil to its meals. The recommended dose is one teaspoon of coconut oil per 4.5kg of dog. Start with a quarter of the recommended dosage and taper up the dose to the recommended level within three to four weeks. It is important to note that the consumption of too much coconut oil can cause digestive problems, hence owners may want to consider dividing the dose throughout the day. Adverse clinical signs to look out for include lethargy, flu-like symptoms, weakness and diarrhoea.

Apparently, cats love the taste of coconut oil and will eat it without issue. If your finicky feline doesn’t like taking supplements or medication, a dab of coconut oil to coat it might get her to eat it. Or you could simply let her lick the oil off her paws as it works as a great natural supplement on its own. 

Not a miracle worker

Despite all the wonders coconut oil is said to be capable of, vets and dieticians alike maintain that it is still just another supplement. While the Internet is rife with pet parents lauding the benefits of the superfood, there haven’t been many reports on its side effects besides digestive upsets. A balanced diet and a proper lifestyle for your pets are also important for the benefits of coconut oil to really show.