If you're up to speed on your "superfoods", you'll know by now that therapeutic coconut oil is one of the healthiest foods found in nature. The profound benefits of coconut oil on human health continue to be verified by science, and the veterinary world is waking up to the fact that it's great for the health of our pets, too.
In recent blog posts we've talked about the power of coconut oil to support your pet's digestive system, and as a natural protection against fleas and ticks. In today's post we're shining the spotlight on another of coconut oil's many health benefits – the amazing impact it has on skin and coat health.
Does your pet have a dull and brittle coat, shed excessively or suffer from painful skin conditions? Coconut oil can help! Read on for 6 ways coconut oil promotes skin and coat health.
1) It Prevents Excess Shedding and Makes Coats Shinier and More Lustrous
Did you know that a dull coat and excessive shedding are signs of poor health in pets? Applied topically, coconut oil nourishes your pet's coat making it smoother, shinier and less prone to shedding.
Added to your pet's diet, it boosts the immune system and provides digestible fats essential to skin and coat health. Coconut oil also aids in the absorption of minerals and fat soluble vitamins thereby improving overall health, and working wonders for your pet's vitality and appearance.
2) It Soothes Irritated Skin and Treats Skin Conditions
Skin conditions are one of the most common health complaints in pets. They're very uncomfortable, and can lead to incessant scratching and chewing of the irritated area. Skin problems are often caused by allergies; especially to the saliva of fleas, ingredients in food, and environmental allergens such as pollen.
Applying coconut oil to irritated skin can work wonders for skin conditions. Many pet owners have reported vast improvement of rashes, hot spots and sores. Coconut oil can even clear up bald spots caused by trauma to irritated skin. Coconut oil is rich in vitamin E which is essential for healthy skin growth and repair of skin damage.
If your pet is suffering from a skin condition, massage coconut oil directly on the affected area several times a day. It's also beneficial to put additional oil in your pet's food. Skin conditions respond more quickly when the coconut oil has a chance to attack the problem from both inside and outside the body.
3) It's Good for Dry, Flaky and Chapped Skin
Coconut oil is a fantastic moisturizer which soothes and heals areas of dry, flaky and chapped skin. Common conditions include scaliness of the skin, which can look like dandruff, thickening of the nose and footpads which can cause cracking and bleeding, and callouses on the elbow joints – especially in dogs.
Again, a small amount of coconut oil can be applied topically to the affected areas. Applying to the skin will help to reduce flaking and improve skin integrity. Coconut oil is an antioxidant, and protects the skin from free radicals that can cause severe oxidation in the cells of the body. Therapeutic coconut oil can be introduced to your pet's diet to improve overall health and leave them less susceptible to skin problems.
4) It Treats Bacterial, Viral and Fungal Infections
Many pets are particularly susceptible to infections of the skin and ears, particularly breeds of dog with excessive skin folds or creases.
The lauric acid in coconut oil has antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties. This makes it ideal for treating a range of infections. Use both topically and orally to fight common infections caused by viruses and overgrowth of yeast or bacteria on your pet's body.
Topically, coconut oil also supports the lipid barrier on the skin, making it more resistant to pathogens like yeast and bacteria. Taken orally, the body converts lauric acid to Monoglyceride Monolaurin which has potent antimicrobial properties.
5) It Helps Heal Other Skin Issues
Coconut oil is an anti-inflammatory that helps speed up the healing process of injuries like cuts, wounds, insect bites and burns. The antibacterial properties of the oil help damaged tissue to regenerate and heal while also preventing infection.
Coconut oil can also be used to smooth and treat skin irregularities such as warts and moles.
6) It Reduces Body Odor
Pet odor is another common problem that's often indicative of underlying health issues. Bad smells can be caused by a number of problems such as poor diet, toxic build-up, allergies and infections.
With so many products on the market claiming to remedy pet odor, most pet owners are confused about how to tackle the problem.
Instead of spending time and money searching for lotions, creams and shampoos to treat the symptoms of body odor, try using coconut oil to eliminate the underlying cause. The medium chain triglycerides in raw coconut oil are effective at destroying yeast (Candida) that often gives dogs the typical “yeasty” doggy odor.
Be careful when selecting coconut oils for skin and coat health, as some oils are refined or even partially refined through processes that use solvents, bleach, and chemicals. This can severely damage the final product.
Some oils are even hydrogenated, or partially hydrogenated. These lack some of the health benefits of pure, virgin (unrefined), and raw oils. Make sure the oils are TRUE-cold pressed and not expeller-pressed, as expeller-pressing exposes the oils to heat.
The medium-chain fatty acid profiles in coconut oils can differ greatly between the various brands, as the type of coconuts and processing methods used greatly affect the quality of the oils. Knowing where the coconuts come from and how they are processed will ensure that you’re using the most effective oil with the best therapeutic properties.
To find out more about the amazing benefits of coconut oil on pet health, please visit our health benefits page.