Coconut Oil for Dog Shedding
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It may seem like every health and wellness blog or article you read these days is about coconut oil, but you may not know that this wonder food is not only good for you but also for your furry companion. Dogs can benefit from coconut oil in many ways, including their coats. If you are looking to decrease your dog’s shedding and improve the health of their skin and fur, then coconut oil could be the answer to your wishes.
Understanding Why Dogs Shed
To know how coconut oil works to help your dogs, let’s first explore the reasons why your dog may be excessively shedding. Losing fur is a natural process that should occur in a healthy animal, but excessive shedding is a sign of a problem. Dogs who shed a lot may have dry, irritated, or even infected skin. While this is not always the case, most shedding is due to simple poor skin health.
Your dog’s dry skin can happen because they have allergies, the environmental conditions where you live are very dry or harsh, you use harsh soaps for bathing them, or because they are getting sunburned while playing outside. For many dogs, dry skin is a sign of a lack of certain essential nutrients in their diet, as well.
If your dog has allergies, a medical condition, or some other problem that may be contributing to their dry, itchy skin, you may need to consult with your veterinarian to determine the exact source of the problem. In most cases, though, simply using coconut oil at home can relieve dry skin and promote a healthy coat that does not shed excessively.
How to Use Coconut Oil to Reduce Shedding
Coconut oil is rich in essential fatty acids that animals (and humans) need for healthy skin, hair, and nails. The fats found in coconut oil are suitable for internal nutrition as well as for application on the skin to promote healthy and moisturized skin from the inside as well as from outside. You can use coconut oil in a variety of ways to treat your dogs’ skin and coat.
The first way you can use coconut oil is to add it to your dog’s food. Like people, dogs need a certain amount of fat in their diet, and when your dog eats mainly kibble or dry food, they often do not get all the fat they need. Adding a little coconut oil to your dog’s food can provide them with the essential fatty acids they need to improve their skin health and promote a shiny, healthy coat. By boosting your dog’s digestive and immune system health, too, coconut oil can promote better overall health and improve your dog’s ability to fight infections that could be leading to skin problems.
Coconut Oil and Your Dog's Skin
You can also use coconut oil as a moisturizer for your dog’s skin. Coconut oil is not only emollient and soothing, but it also acts as a protective barrier for UV rays, providing some sunscreen protection. Rub a small amount of coconut oil into your hand and then gently pat your dog’s coat or massage the oil into the skin. If your dog later licks his fur, you do not have to worry about him or her ingesting the oil, since it is safe for them to eat.
By treating your dog’s skin from the inside and externally using coconut oil, you can eliminate the most common causes of excessive shedding and help your dog’s skin and coat remain healthy and strong.
Nevin, K. G., & Rajamohan, T. (2010). Effect of topical application of virgin coconut oil on skin components and antioxidant status during dermal wound healing in young rats. Skin Pharmacology and Physiology. 23(6):290-7.