There has been some recent controversy about coconut oil and dogs. When I first researched this in 2017, my immediate answer is YES, coconut oil is good for dogs.
Updated May 2020
Coconut oil is a great health supplement for your dog, for his coat, paws, teeth and ears. It’s been said to help control fleas and help with constipation.
But some warn that the high amounts of saturated fats in coconut oil pose more health risks than benefits. When I read “Coconut Oil For Dogs: New Research Says Stay Away” by Dogs Naturally Magazine, my eyes glazed over with too many medical terms I don’t understand.
I am not a vet or nutritionist, so I recommend talking with your vet, do some research of your own and then make you decision based on your dogs individual health needs.
My summary is that coconut oil is still good for more most dogs. And I will continue to feed it to my dogs as treats, but not on a daily basis.
I first learned about how coconut oil is good for dogs in my search for ways to help our dog, Ginger, with her allergies.
As soon as summer came along, she was itching like crazy. I wasn’t sure if it was the season or her food making her itch, but it was obvious she was allergic to something. I found that coconut oil was a great way to help her stop itching. And I tell you, my dogs LOVE coconut oil. They go nuts over the stuff!
The coconut oil does help Ginger with the itching, it didn’t cure her allergies. I still needed to figure out what she was allergic to.
Topical application of coconut oil can help sooth dry and itchy skin for you and your dog! Simply take a small amount in your hands and run into your dogs skin and fur.
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Coconut oil a great natural option for repelling fleas and ticks on your dog. They do not kill the fleas but prevent them from wanting to be on your dogs body. Apply a small amount by running your hands into your dogs skin and fur.
The natural anti-fungal, antibiotic, antiviral properties make coconut oil a great option for brushing your dogs teeth. Simply apply a small amount to your dogs toothbrush and brush away.
It’s important to note that it works great as maintenance but is unlikely it will remove any existing plaque buildup.
Coconut oil could help sooth irritated infected ears. But should not be used as the sole solution to get rid of ear infections. For that, I recommend you first see your vet. Also read my article: The Secret to Getting Rid of Ear Infections in Your Dog at Home.
You may thoroughly rub coconut oil on your dog’s paws to help sooth dry or cracked paws. Coconut oil is naturally antibacterial and can help heal minor paw injuries.
I personally prefer Musher’s Secret for our dogs paws. It seams to work better than plain coconut oil.
Yes, it can be useful as a stool softener or laxative. Hence the reason to never feed your dog too much coconut oil! But if he is constipated, then feed him a little extra until it helps him release the stool. Be very careful as too much can make things worse!
Although unlikely, it’s possible your dog be allergic to coconut oil. If you notice a reaction such as a rash or itching after giving your dog coconut oil, discontinue using it and see if she is still having a reaction.
There are other supplement oils you can use that may be better for your dog, such as fish oils and omega-3 fatty acids.
It’s always a good idea to talk to your vet if you have any concerns about adding something new to your dog’s diet.
It’s important to note, that not all coconut oil is created equal. You want to buy unrefined, organic, virgin coconut oil.
Start slow. Do not start giving your dog the full dosage right away. Your dog’s belly could get upset and end up with diarrhea. You also want to make sure your dog doesn’t have any bad reactions to the coconut oil.
The recommended dosage is 1 teaspoon per 10 pounds of dog. I personally only give our dogs 1 tablespoon each per day. Ginger is about 50 lbs and Bear is 95 lbs.
Dog Weight – Daily Dosage
10 lbs – 1 teaspoon
20 lbs – 2 teaspoons
30-40 lbs – 1 tablespoon
50-60 lbs – 2 tablespoons
70-80 lbs – 2-1/2 tablespoons
90-100+ lbs – 3 tablespoons
Start out small for the first few days with a 1/4 teaspoon each day for a small dog, 1/2 teaspoon for a medium dog and 1 teaspoon large dogs. Slowly increase to the full dose over the next few days.
I have collected some great recipes for dog treats that use coconut oil on my Pinterest board, so check it out!
You can buy coconut oil in almost any grocery store or if you prefer, Chewy has some great dog coconut oil options to choose from. Make sure it is unrefined, ORGANIC, virgin coconut oil.
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I’d love to hear from you… leave a comment below and let me know if you decide to use coconut oil on your dog. Does he eat it, or do you use it topically? Your opinion matters, it could help others trying to decide and make the right decision with their dog and coconut oil.
Debi McKee is a mom of three kids, three dogs and the creator of Rescue Dogs 101... where she guides you in your journey of adopting and raising a rescue dog every step of the way. She also volunteers for a local dog rescue and Humane Society.