Coconut oil has a multitude of uses for humans and their pets. You can cook your pet’s food with it, feed it directly to your dog, use it as toothpaste, and it can even help reduce itchy skin and shedding. It’s also one of the safest, natural, and effective solutions for this common pet owner problem.
This article explains why dogs shed, how coconut oil helps, what type of oil to use, and how to use it to treat dog shedding.
Why Do Dogs Shed?
To understand how coconut oil is effective in treating shedding, it’s helpful to know the root cause of dog shedding. Dry and irritated skin, no matter the cause, is almost always the source of dog shedding. There are exceptions to this rule, like dogs who suffer from alopecia, a disorder that causes hair loss (although coconut can even help treat alopecia).
Dry skin on dogs is caused by a number of reasons, such as being bathed too frequently, using harsh soaps or chemicals, dietary problems, allergies, and more. Of course, it’s important to treat the root cause of your dog’s dry skin, while also treating the symptom of shedding.
See a vet to determine what’s causing your dog’s excessively dry skin. You may need to switch foods, shampoos, or make some other simple lifestyle change that will make a world of difference in your dog’s quality of life.
In the meantime, know that dry skin causes shedding. It also causes scratching, which just increases the irritation and shedding and can even cause bald patches on your dog’s coat.
How Does Coconut Oil Help with Dog Shedding?
Coconut oil works to treat shedding by deeply moisturizing and disinfecting dry, irritated skin and fur. It contains MCT (medium chain triglycerides), a healthy fat that’s highly nutritious and helpful not only for shedding, but also for many other issues with dogs as well.
Consuming coconut oil can boost metabolism, aid digestion, eliminate bad breath, and increase immunity. It also works as a sunscreen, flea and tick prevention, insect bite ointment, and dermatitis treatment.
Coconut oil truly is a superfood! Sure, it’s great for dog shedding, but you should always keep a jar around for its multiple amazing uses.
What’s the Best Coconut Oil for Dog Shedding?
With coconut oil increasing in popularity, there are a number of types and brands available on the market for purchase. So how do you know which coconut oil you should buy to treat dog shedding?
For shedding, and for most other purposes, the best type of coconut oil is virgin coconut oil. Virgin coconut oil is different from other oils in its method of extraction and source. For example, it’s extracted from the fresh milk of coconuts and hasn’t been exposed to heat or sunlight that can compromise the oil’s health benefits. It also has a higher MCT content, which is what helps moisturize your dog’s skin and coat to treat shedding.
Virgin coconut oil even has higher mineral and nutrient content and is typically higher quality than other forms of coconut oil, which is important especially when consuming it.
Higher quality typically comes with a higher price tag, but refined coconut oil just doesn’t have the same benefits (nor any smell or taste) as virgin coconut oil and so may not be nearly as effective. Yet, a jar of coconut oil can go a long way, and again, has a variety of uses, so you probably won’t regret this small investment.
How to Properly Use Coconut Oil for Dog Shedding?
There are two ways to treat dog shedding with coconut oil and you cam pick your preferred method. However, using both at the same time increases the benefits and makes healing time faster, so it’s worth it to at least try them to see what works best for you and your dog.
You can either use coconut oil topically (on your dog’s skin and fur) or orally (by feeding it to him).
1. Applying Coconut Oil
This method is quick, simple, and might be better if your dog’s stomach is sensitive to coconut oil or cannot ingest it for any reason. Simply scoop some coconut oil out of the jar with your fingers and spread it all over your dog’s fur and skin (there’s no right or wrong amount as you’ll be rinsing it off anyway, but you want enough to completely coat your dog).
Be careful not to get any in his eyes or nose. The oil should spread easily in its raw form, but you can also make it more of a liquid by warming it between your palms or for a few seconds in the microwave. Make sure the oil is massaged into your dog’s skin and not just sitting on the top of his coat.
Let the oil work its magic for about ten minutes, then gently rinse off any excess oil with water (it’s perfectly okay to leave some residue, although you might want to keep your dog away from furniture and linens). Don’t use soap as this will strip away the oil and can contribute to your dog’s dry skin problem.
Repeat this every week for improvement, but don’t over-wash your dog in any way when trying to heal dry skin.
2. Feeding Coconut Oil
This method gives your dog the most health benefits, as coconut oil naturally treats a variety of health problems and is a great dietary supplement. Besides, most dogs love the taste of coconut oil, so you shouldn’t have much trouble getting them to eat it – they think it’s a treat!
Remember that coconut oil is essentially fat, so giving too much to your dog too fast can result in tummy troubles. To avoid this, mix half a teaspoon of oil in with your dog’s food per day, then gradually work your way up to a tablespoon per day.
Coconut oil can definitely help treat and prevent dog shedding and has a variety of other uses and health benefits for dogs as well. Always keep a jar of virgin coconut oil handy, you may be surprised at all the ways you can use it!
Li-ran is the Founder and Executive Editor at PuppyTip. He is a holistic pet parent and believes that dogs can teach us more than we could ever teach them. He also loves cooking, especially for his dog, Richie!