I love learning about foods that we never would have thought to try giving our pets, and having it turn out to be something that has many good qualities for them! One that comes to mind is Coconut Oil. Yes, you read that right, folks – coconut oil for your pets!
Hear me out… people have been using it for years. I’ve had friends who put it in their hair, you use it on your baking sheets, and as a face moisturizer. This oil has so many uses… why not for pets?
Let’s start with all the miracle effects it has on your pets. If given orally (by mouth) it improves the health and appearance of the skin and coat, promotes healthy thyroid function, eases inflammation, helps with allergy symptoms, reduces risk of cancer, and the list goes on. For topical use (on skin/fur), it can speed healing from cuts, burns, insect bites, clear skin infections, ect.
Now, this all sounds too good to be true, but there have been studies on the matter. One of my favorite books on the topic is Coconut Therapy for Pets written by Bruce Fife, ND who dedicated years of research on this subject and spoke to many veterinarians. It’s worth a read!
What is in coconut oil? Why not just regular oil such as olive? Well, coconut oil is different from other dietary fats. It is mainly made of a specific group of fat molecules (fatty acids) called medium chain fatty acids. Most of the fats we eat consist of long chain fatty acids. This makes coconut oil unique and gives it the medicinal properties it has.
You read the word “fat” and think – this must not be good for my pet! Let me tell you, this couldn’t be farther from the truth. Fat makes up the primary structural component of every cell in your body. How amazing is that? Your brain alone is composed of 60% fat and cholesterol! Remember, dietary fats are not all alike and the coconut oil is one you should not steer clear from! But, that’s for another topic. ☺
Are there any negative effects to coconut oil? Hardly. Some experts warn against giving it to pets with pancreatitis due to its “high fat” content (even though it is a “GOOD” fat). Some animals, as with anything, could be allergic to it so start small and if there are any negative side effects, just stop its use.
Now, how do you give your dog or cat this oil? Well, you can either put it in Fido’s food (my Shih-Tzu loves it mixed with his dinner) or on their coat.
If you choose to put it on their fur, put a small amount in your hands then pat it on their coat, and run it through their hair. Another positive is that since it’s healthy for them to eat, it’s okay if they lick it off! You don’t have to worry about them ingesting a toxin.
For eating purposes, it’s a little different with dogs and cats. For dogs, it’s recommended to give 1-2 times a day with their food. Amount varies on size of dog, but it’s not easy to “overdose”. It’s recommended about 1 teaspoon per 10 pounds of body weight.
For cats, start small. It’s recommended about ¼-1/2 tsp a day in food. Another plus for cats – this helps with hairballs! Woot woot!
And for all our bird readers out there – you are not forgotten! Birds have been known to love the taste of coconut oil and it improves dull feathers and pigment, dry beak and claws, and itchy skin. As stated in Bruce Fife’s book, Dr. Karen Becker (a vet who runs an avian hospital) found that most of her patients were lacking fat in their diets. Once starting coconut oil, their feathers and skin significantly improved! For aviaries it is recommended to mix 1/8th tsp per day for every pound of body weight.
CocoTherapy has formatted coconut oil for your pets that is 100% pure and natural, from organic coconuts so you know where its coming from! Their products are Non GMO and they even make coconut treats, which are a great low calorie snack.
So, go ahead! Try coconut oil in your pets’ food today. It might just be a miracle!
(c)Photo credit to CocoTherapy