Coconut oil is a popular foodstuff, which is thought to have some health benefits for humans, as well as being a healthier alternative to other oils.
However, did you know that coconut oil can also be used to keep your four-legged friend looking and feeling their best?
Here is how you can safely use coconut oil on your dog.
How to use coconut oil on your dog
You can use coconut oil to condition both your dog’s skin and coat.
Apply to your dog’s skin no more than once a week and leave it to absorb for a few minutes before rinsing your dog off.If your dog is still oily, you can follow this up with a dog shampoo.1
Alternatively, you can use an organic shampoo containing coconut oil in place of your dog’s usual shampoo, next time you give them a bath.
You can also use coconut oil to soften and condition your dog’s paws.
During winter, a dog’s paws can become dry and cracked.Rubbing coconut into their paw pads can help to moisturise and improve the condition of their paws2 - guaranteed to get tails wagging!
The benefits of using coconut oil on your dog
Just like with humans, there are a number of ways in which using coconut oil can benefit your dog.
Helping to relieve skin conditions
Although there is not much research available on the effects of coconut oil on dogs’ skin, it is well known that coconut oil is good for human’s skin and many people have found that it has the same effects on dogs.
Using coconut oil for your dog’s skin may help to relieve dry or itchy skin.
Improving the appearance of your dog’s fur
Coconut oil can also help to improve the appearance of your dog’s fur.Coconut oil contains lauric acid which easily penetrates the hair shaft and so can make dog hairs shinier and less prone to damage.3
Helping with itchy ears
You might have noticed your dog taking a swipe at their ears recently with their paw. This may mean that their ears are feeling itchy or irritating.
Add a few drops of coconut oil to your dog’s ear and then massage around the area.This will help to clean out excess wax leaving your pup with clean ears.4
Now there is no excuse for them not to come back when you call!
Is coconut oil good for dogs?
There is little doubt that coconut oil is good for your dog’s skin when applied externally but can you also feed it to your dog?
There is a lot of conflicting information around whether coconut oil should be fed to your dog.Some research says that because coconut oil is high in saturated fat, it can irritate a dog’s gut lining, which can cause a stomach upset, loose stool or diarrhoea.5 Other information says that feeding dogs a small amount of coconut oil each day can help with a number of issues including weight management and supporting brain function and gut health.6
To ensure your dog’s wellbeing, the safest advice is to stick to using coconut oil on your dog’s skin, fur and paws and avoid letting them eat it.
What sort of coconut oil is best to use?
There are lots of different types of coconut oil available to buy so it can be tricky to know which one is best for your pooch.Choose unrefined, or extra virgin, coconut oils as these are cold pressed from organic coconuts and are usually pure and so less likely to irritate your dog’s skin.7
Can you use coconut oil for cats?
There is also conflicting research about coconut oil for cats.The increased fat contained in coconut oil may mean that it is not a good addition to a cat’s diet and can lead to weight gain and digestive issues.8
Just as with dogs, it is best to stick to using coconut oil topically on your cat, rather than giving it orally.Coconut oil can help to keep your cat’s coat looking healthy and shiny, as well as helping to prevent skin irritation.8 Coconut oil should not be used on your dog in place of medical treatment. If your dog has a skin condition or another health issue, please seek advice from your vet in the first instance.
Looking for more ways to use up that jar of coconut oil? Here are the top 10 uses for coconut oil.
Last updated: 28 January 2021