Using virgin coconut oil topically (on the body’s surface) provides many benefits that are well known and accepted by pet parents, veterinarians, and other pet professionals. However, you may be confused about adding it to your pet’s diet. Is it beneficial? Or even necessary? The answer is… “It depends.”
Virgin coconut oil is not a supplement that will add nutritionally to “round out” your pet’s diet. Why? Because coconut oil isn’t particularly rich in any micronutrients. It does contain trace amounts of iron, vitamin K, vitamin E, and phytosterols (see nutritional information), but it will not supply your pet with any unique vitamins or minerals that a diet may be lacking. Nor will it “balance” their diet.
So why add it to your pet’s diet at all? Is it beneficial when taken orally? There are many benefits of coconut oil for dogs, but before we answer these questions, let’s look at some commonly known topical uses of coconut oil for pets.
Topical Uses for Virgin Coconut Oil
Most people are familiar with coconut oil’s topical applications, as either a grooming aid or a “first-aid kit in a jar”. These include:
- Cleaning ears, including soothing/healing ear infections.
- Brushing teeth, for oral health, or inflamed gums.
- Healing cuts, scrapes, hotspots, burns, etc.
- Moisturizing dry, flaky skin and dry fur.
- Healing/soothing cracked, dry paws and noses.
- Healing/moisturizing skin folds in flat faced breeds.
- Killing bacteria, candida, and other yeast infections on the skin.
- Repelling and killing fleas and ticks.
When it comes to virgin coconut oil for dogs, cats, and birds as an oral therapeutic supplement or remedy, the science behind the health benefits is very compelling. Proven to address various chronic and acute health conditions in both humans and animals, the support for taking virgin coconut oil orally is validated by scientific research.
Feeding Virgin Coconut Oil as a Dietary Supplement for Healthy Animals
Much like mother’s milk, virgin coconut oil contains medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs). MCFAs are preferred as they are absorbed into the system more efficiently than long-chain fatty acids. This has positive implications for metabolism and energy expenditure.
Due to its high MCFA content, virgin coconut oil is considered a functional fat, and animals can benefit from taking it orally on a regular basis.
As reported in the Journal of Animal Science and Biotechnology, MCFAs offer immune boosting and anti-inflammatory effects by combating viral and bacterial pathogens and infections. They’re also known to promote better health in vital organs of the body such as the brain, liver, kidneys, gallbladder, pancreas, and gut.
As a daily supplement, virgin coconut oil for dogs, cats, and birds can:
- Provide anti-inflammatory support, specifically for healthy joints and skeletal issues.
- Support the immune system, helping the body get rid of disease-causing germs thereby relieving stress on the immune system.
- Help with the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins.
- Support the body by providing energy at a cellular level.
- Supply fatty acids that are easily and quickly converted to ketones that feed the brain, easing issues of cognitive dysfunction.
- Protect animals against oxidative stress, providing protection against harmful free radicals.
Adding virgin coconut oil to the diet of healthy animals helps to support and protect pets against the daily stressors of everyday life.
Using Virgin Coconut Oil as a Therapeutic Supplement for Health Issues
For animals with health issues, including acute or chronic conditions, many holistic veterinarians recommend using CocoTherapy Virgin Coconut Oil for dogs, cats,, and birds. Virgin coconut oil can be used as adjunctive therapy in addition to other treatment plans for many health issues and concerns.
It is easily metabolized by the liver, without causing undue stress on the animal’s digestive system. It’s also beneficial for animals with lipid disorders, those that cannot tolerate or metabolize fat (pancreatitis EPI, PLE, IBD), animals with acute or chronic conditions such as allergies, autoimmune disorders, cancer, and senior pets with cognitive dysfunction.
Because of the unique properties of MCFAs, virgin coconut oil can be used as a therapeutic remedy. The unique chemical composition and the way it’s processed in the body makes it an excellent therapeutic aid for supporting acute and chronic health conditions.
Virgin coconut oil provides significant therapeutic support which has been documented in numerous research studies. These findings conclude that virgin coconut oil:
- Provides lipid energy for animals that can’t tolerate fats, or animals with digestive disorders(1), including pancreatitis(2) and PLE(3).
- Provides digestible fat to aid in the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins and minerals for animals with malabsorption and lipid disorders(4).
- Supports brain health(5) and mitigates seizures(6) and cognitive disorders in senior pets.
- Benefits pets with cancer(7), as it has been shown to inhibit the growth of cancer cells.
- Benefits pets with endocrine disorders (thyroid(8), diabetes(9), Cushing’s(10)) and metabolic disorders, aiding those who are either too thin or overweight(11).
- Benefits pets with autoimmune disorders, as it provides additional immune support.
- Supports healthy organ function for animals with cardiac(12), liver(13) and kidney issues.
- Provides anti-inflammatory support for arthritic(14) pets.
- Benefits pets with systemic yeast issues(15) and allergies.
- Benefits pets with any bacterial, fungal, or viral infections, as the lauric, caprylic and capric acids kill bacteria, fungi, viruses and are also antimicrobial.(16)
- Aids sick and rehabilitating pets by providing much-needed usable energy.
Adding virgin coconut oil to your pet’s diet is a personal choice and one that should involve consultation with a trusted integrative vet. However, as you can see, there are many reasons to consider it. Whether your pet is healthy or has a medical condition, all animals, both young and old may benefit from this unique and powerful functional fat.
When choosing a virgin coconut oil to give to your pets, make sure it contains high levels of medium-chain fatty acids. Options such as therapeutic-grade CocoTherapy Virgin Coconut Oil are excellent for this.
Note that there are different types of coconut oil, and it’s important to choose the best coconut oil for therapeutic purposes. The type of coconuts used, harvest times of the coconuts, and the method of producing the coconut oil (how it’s made) all affect the quality. So, be sure to go with a brand you trust that has a transparent production process.
Interested in adding coconut oil to your pet’s routine? Check out our online store to browse our full range of products. CocoTherapy Virgin Coconut Oil is available in 8 oz and 16 oz jars, as well as an eco-friendly 24 oz refill pouch.
It’s never been easier to purchase high-quality coconut oil, and for your pet to start experiencing the many health benefits it provides!
References(1) Coconut Oil and Gastrointestinal Disorders
(2) Can Coconut Oil Cause Pancreatitis in Pets?
(3) Protein Losing Enteropathy
(4) 4 Ways Coconut Oil Supports Your Pet’s Digestive System
(5) Coconut Oil and Brain Health
(6) Supporting Dogs with Seizures with Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCT) Oil
(7) Coconut Oil and Cancer
(8) Can Coconut Oil Help with Thyroid Health?
(9) Coconut Oil and Diabetes
(10) Can Dogs with Cushing’s Disease Take Coconut Oil?
(11) Does Coconut Oil Cause Weight Gain?
(12) Coconut Oil and Heart Heath
(13) A Guide to Liver Disease in Dogs
(14) Protecting Your Pet’s Bones and Joints
(15) Caprylic Acid and Yeast Infections
(16) Coconut Oil – A Natural Way to Fight Infections