Top 7 Reasons To Use Coconut Oil For Dogs

Dog and images of parts of the body that benefit from coconut oil


 One of the most popular questions we get asked here at Dogs Naturally is if giving your dog coconut oil is a good idea or just a lot of fuss about nothing.
The truth is we used to love coconut oil for dogs …
But recently there’s been some new research. And it made us change our minds about recommending coconut oil for dogs.
So before you decide whether to use coconut oil for your dog, you may want to read the latest science about it.
We’re leaving this previous post up because it still has some good information. But read the new information too, so you can make an informed decision for your dog.
Here’s our earlier recommendation from a few years ago.

Wondering about coconut oil for your dog’s diet?

It all starts with the medium chain fatty acids …

Medium Chain Fatty Acids

There are a lot of different fats you can feed your dog. And those fats carry a variety of health benefits.

Coconut oil is a great way to add to your dog’s diet and take advantage of those benefits. Here’s why.

First of all, coconut oil is made up of a mixture of saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Together these 3 fats contain an impressive list of fatty acids. Many of these are Medium Chain Fatty Acids (MCFAs), including 48% lauric acid, 8% caprylic acid and 7% capric acid, plus myristic and palmitic acids.

Coconut oil also contains about 2% linoleic acid (polyunsaturated fatty acids) and about 6% oleic acid (monounsaturated fatty acids).

It’s the MCFAs in coconut oil, especially the lauric acid, that give it such a powerful punch when it comes to your dog’s health.

But that’s not all it can do …

7 Reasons To Use Coconut Oil For Dogs

Here are just a few of the reasons to feed your dog coconut oil:

#1 It helps with weight loss

Obesity in dogs is a common issue, one that can have some long term health effects. If your dog’s overweight, this puts stress on his body and can lead to:

  • High blood pressure
  • Joint problems or osteoarthritis
  • Diabetes or insulin resistance
  • Respiratory difficulties
  • Liver disease or dysfunction

Adding coconut oil to your dog’s diet can balance the thyroid and help with weight loss.

Studies show feeding a diet featuring MCFAs will help with weight gain and can potentially decrease the size of fat depots.

Your dog’s body can metabolize MCFAs to get an immediate boost of energy, enhancing athletic performance and helping with weight loss. The energy boost can also help with increased stamina.

#2 It can disinfect cuts and wounds and soothe cracked pads

Studies show that coconut oil has natural antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-fungal properties. This makes it ideal as a natural topical antibiotic and the perfect alternative to those chemical based products out there. Use it to help heal cuts and wounds.

If your dog scratches his ears or chews his paws because of allergies, it’s also really good for soothing and healing these sores too.

And since it’s safe to eat, you don’t have to worry about your dog licking it off.

#3 It’s great for the skin and coat

Studies show that coconut oil hydrates the skin and increases skin surface lipid levels. This makes it an effective moisturizer if your dog suffers from dry skin or has dandruff.

And, not only does it hydrate dry skin and help your dog beat the annoying itch that comes with it, it will make his coat sleek and glossy and help combat that ‘stinky dog’ smell.

#4 It helps improve brain function

As your dog gets older, his brain may need a little extra simulation to stay young.

Coconut oil is the answer. It can improve cognitive function in older dogs by providing the brain with energy in the form of ketones, promoting good nerve and brain function and preventing dementia.

#5 It may help improve gut health

Note: Since this original post, there’s new research suggesting coconut oil may not support your dog’s gut health. We’re now recommending MCT oil instead – without lauric acid. Please read this updated information on coconut oil and gut health.

If your dog has allergies, yeast may be a big concern, especially in the gut.

But you can use coconut oil MCT oil for dogs with allergies!

In a research study comparing several different oils, coconut oil showed the greatest impact on stopping the growth of yeast in the gut. (Again, see the new research here.)

It also helps the gut in other ways:

  • Improves digestion and nutrient absorption
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Helps heal digestive disorders like inflammatory bowel syndrome and colitis

#6 It can be used to clean teeth

Searching for a natural toothpaste?

Thanks to its antimicrobial properties, coconut oil makes the perfect natural teeth cleaner. It helps eliminate the harmful bacteria that live in your dog’s mouth. This can help prevent plaque from forming and avoid dental disease.

Best of all, most dogs love the taste so it makes this ‘chore’ less of a pain. Just open his mouth wide and scrub some on your dog’s teeth.

#7 It can repel fleas and ticks

One little known use of coconut oil is to repel insects like fleas and ticks. It smells pleasant and is completely non-toxic. Just rub it into your dog’s coat before going for a walk in the woods to help repel ticks.

Research shows that it can even help naturally eliminate mites that cause mange.

Unlike many over-the-counter products, coconut oil is safe, even if fed in larger amounts. It’s also much less likely to oxidize and become rancid than other fats (including fish oil).

Related: Fish Oil For Dogs: 5 Reasons You Should Dump It

Feeding Your Dog Coconut Oil

Because coconut oil has so many healthy benefits, there are a lot of great uses for it.

So how do you actually give it to your dog?

Just feed coconut oil as a daily supplement by adding it directly to your dog’s dinner.

Remember coconut oil is a Medium Chain Fatty Acid (MCFA) and your dog still needs other fatty acids in his diet. If you’re feeding your dog hemp oil or other supplements, add the coconut oil to the rotation, but don’t replace his regular oils or he may be missing important fatty acidsThe best approach is to just rotate the oils each day.

Quality counts, so don’t skimp on your coconut oil. Look for organic, extra-virgin coconut oil in glass jars. You also want to find cold-pressed coconut oil.

[Related] Want more recipes for great ways to use coconut oil for your dog? Find them here.

How Much Coconut Oil Can You Give Your Dog?

So what’s the ideal dosage of coconut oil for dogs?

If you’re giving your dog coconut oil daily or every few days, give him up to 1 tsp per 10 pounds of body weight.

You might want to start at just 1/4 of that amount and work your way up to avoid loose stools.

Most dogs don’t mind the taste of coconut oil and will eat it happily. If your dog is more picky, you can try adding coconut meat, coconut milk or coconut water to his meals.

Be careful it doesn’t contain sugar or preservatives. And 14 oz of coconut milk contains about 5 tbsp of coconut oil – that’s about a tsp per ounce of coconut milk. So a 14 oz container would last a small dog about two weeks.


Since this post was written, some new research has emerged about coconut oil. Please read this updated post so you can make an informed decision about coconut oil for your dog.

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