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Coconut oil - panacea or passing fad?

Coconut oil may be benefical for your pet.
Coconut oil may be benefical for your pet.
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Wherever you look for pet health info these days, the topic of coconut oil is sure to come up. But is this truly a wonder supplement or is it simply another passing fad?

Dogs Naturally Magazine feels that coconut oil is very good for your dog for a variety of reasons. Coconut oil is mostly saturated fats - don't look for Omega 3s here. The MCT (medium chain triglyceride) fats provide energy and may have antibacterial, antiviral and anti-fungal effects. Coconut oil ought to help with coat and skin conditions - adding moisture to the skin and helping to heal minor skin and coat conditions. It may help with brain metabolism and be useful for older dogs.

Some feel that even just adding coconut oil topically can help to heal wounds and improve skin and coat condition. Many of these benefits are attributed to lauric acid which is a main component of the MCTs in coconut oil. Coconut oil is one of the richest sources of lauric acid.

Recommended doses range from 1/4 tsp twice a day for every 10 lbs of body weight to a teaspoon (sort of one size fits all) with every meal. Feeding guidelines suggest starting with a low dose. Some dogs may develop diarrhea or loose stools from too much added oil at once. Up to 1 teaspoon for 30 lbs seems to be reasonable once a dog is adapted to it.

Horse and bird owners have also tried adding coconut oil to their pets' diets with some success. Before adding coconut oil to your pet's diet, be sure to consult your veterinarian. You don't want to unbalance a balanced diet or cause dietary upsets.