Fats are an important part of a dog’s diet. A dog’s body is well suited to ingest and process fats and, in fact, dogs will look to fats as the first source of energy. In recognition of the importance of fats in a dog’s diet, most dog foods contain added fats and oils, and many dog owners will add additional oils, (e.g. olive oil) to their pet’s food as well. One of the oils that is gaining in popularity is coconut oil.
Coconut oil contains medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) like lauric acid, which can provide many benefits. Besides being anti-bacterial, MCTs are efficiently metabolized and can provide a dog with an immediate source of fuel and energy. Needless to say, sporting and athletic dogs would benefit from such readily available energy!
Benefits of Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is thought to provide many benefits to a dog, and including it in your dog’s diet might make sense. Besides being an efficient source of energy, some of the key benefits include:
- Helps with digestive issues like irritable bowel disease (IBD) because it does not require bile or lipase (from the pancreas) to breakdown and digest.
- Improves overall digestion and nutrient absorption.
- Helps with allergies and with many skin and coat issues.
- Can help with cognitive (brain) function.
- Might increase metabolism.
With all of these benefits, coconut oil seems like a no brainer, great addition to a dog’s diet. However, as always, you should check with your vet to make sure that your pet doesn’t have any conditions that might not react well to coconut oil.
Coconut oil is a fat, and by definition, it is high in calories. Dog owners who wish to add coconut oil to their pet’s meals should adjust their food portions accordingly, or else run the risk of providing too many calories and causing weight gain.
Coconut Oil for Dogs – Dosage.
Dr. Karen Becker recommends using about 1 teaspoon of coconut oil per 10-20 lbs. body weight, per day, as a maintenance amount. If it is used to treat a specific condition, more can be used until the condition is resolved. Just remember that the more coconut oil you add, the less food and treats you should feed your dog to keep calories in balance.