If you're a regular reader of the blog, you'll know that we've written a lot about the health benefits of coconut oil for dogs, cats, and even birds. In today's post, we'll take a look at why coconut oil is beneficial for small animals such as rabbits, mice, and guinea pigs.
According to recent statistics, around 14 million small animals are kept as pets in the US. This statistic does not include reptiles, of which there are an estimated 9.4 million. Some of the most popular small pets include rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, mice, gerbils, ferrets, snakes, and lizards. If you're the owner of a small animal, this post is for you! Keep reading to find out why coconut oil is beneficial for small animals, and how to use it with your pets.
Health Benefits of Coconut Oil for Small Animals
According to world-renowned lipids expert and author of Coconut Therapy for Pets, Dr. Bruce Fife, ND, CN, "Dogs, cats, guinea pigs, gerbils, mice, rabbits, birds, and even farm animals such as chickens, horses, cows, pigs, and goats will readily eat coconut if given the opportunity. They recognize it as a nourishing food. It is not only a nutritious food but a superfood with special health-promoting properties."
Coconut oil contains medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs), namely lauric acid, caprylic acid, and capric acid. These fatty acids are very beneficial to the health of all animals. Lauric acid is often considered the most beneficial of the MCFAs. It is predominantly found in mother’s milk in both humans and other mammals. Lauric acid is antibacterial, antimicrobial, and antiviral. It also gives coconut oil its immune-supporting properties and promotes overall health. Capric and caprylic acid are known to have powerful antifungal properties and support a range of healthy bodily functions.
The MCFAs in coconut oil have been proven to benefit your pet's health in a wide variety of ways. They possess potent antimicrobial properties capable of fighting off disease-causing bacteria, viruses, fungi, yeast, and parasites. They can also help balance blood sugar levels and ease symptoms of diabetes. In addition, MCFAs provide a rapid source of energy which can boost metabolism and aid in weight management. MCFAs even have powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects that help protect against serious diseases such as cancer.
How to Use Coconut Oil With Small Animals
Feeding just a small amount of coconut oil daily is enough to meet your small animal's fatty acid requirements and support their overall health. We recommend feeding 1/8 teaspoon (0.6g) per pound (450g) of your pet's body weight. It’s important to note that virgin coconut oil is considered a natural food and not a supplement. Because of this, a specific “dose” is not necessary. We often advise pet owners to give their pets the maximum oral tolerance, where they can see beneficial results.
Most pets love the taste of coconut oil, so you shouldn't have much trouble getting them to eat it! In fact, according to Dr. Bruce Fife, "Pretty much all forms of wildlife love the taste of coconut. In coconut growing areas of the world, wild hogs, dogs, birds, reptiles, and insects feast on coconut whenever they can get it." If your pet enjoys the taste of coconut oil, allow them to eat it whole – directly from your fingers or on a spoon. If your pet is one of the few that doesn't like the taste of the oil, it can be easily mixed in with their regular food.
Coconut oil can also be used topically to protect your small pet's skin. The MCFAs in the oil help speed up cellular repair processes and prevent skin infections from developing. If your pet has a minor cut or scrape, apply a small amount of coconut oil to the injured area to help it heal. Coconut oil is also a fantastic natural moisturizer. It can help alleviate itchy dry skin in all kinds of small animals, from rodents to reptiles.
You can even use coconut oil to protect your small pet against fleas and ticks! When applied to the skin and coat, coconut oil coats the exoskeleton of any existing parasites, suffocating them and limiting their mobility. Thanks to its antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties, the oil also prevents bites from becoming infected and helps heal inflamed skin. If you suspect that your pet has fleas, massage a generous amount of coconut oil onto the skin and hair of the animal, making sure to coat the skin well. Leave the oil on for at least 8 hours, then wash your pet with a natural, gentle shampoo.
To enjoy the fantastic health benefits of coconut oil, always remember to choose a high quality, therapeutic-grade oil such as CocoTherapy coconut oil. Our oil is sourced from our USDA-certified organic family farm in the Philippines, and carefully manufactured in our own facility. In addition, be sure to always feed your pet coconut oil in moderation as part of a balanced, species-appropriate diet.
Many of our customers have had great success using CocoTherapy coconut oil with their small pets. Here's a message we received from Lisa, who uses coconut oil with all her pets:
"I love giving CocoTherapy treats to all my family — dog, parrot, and rabbit too! Simple ingredients with no extra preservatives or fillers make me feel safe giving it to them. My rabbit, Scooter especially loves the Coconut Chips and Pure Hearts! She comes running when she hears the pouch! Her fur is so soft and shiny too!" - Lisa S., CocoTherapy Customer.
Integrative veterinarian & Naturopathic Medical Doctor, Dr. Karen Becker, DVM, NMD, also recommends using CocoTherapy coconut oil with small animals. Here's what she has to say: "We love this line of products because they are hypoallergenic and universally accepted by dogs, cats, birds, and small mammals, not to mention exceptionally beneficial for the body."
We hope you enjoyed today's post about the benefits of coconut oil for small animals. Do you use coconut oil with your small pet? Let us know in the comments section below!