Benefits of Coconut Oil for Arthritis Treatment in Dogs

Many pet owners prefer not to treat a dog arthritis pain with prescription drugs for fear of common side effects or worsening symptoms. Instead, there are a number of natural or holistic treatments available, with one being coconut oil. In recent years, coconut oil has had a surge in popularity for multiple reasons. Not only are there numerous health benefits when added to food, but coconut oil has hundreds of uses around the house, as well. In particular, coconut oil has been found to help relieve joint pain among canine arthritis sufferers, which is welcome news for many pet owners.

What is coconut oil?
Coconut oil is produced from fresh coconut meat that has been dried and expeller pressed. Unlike other dietary oils, such as olive or canola, coconut oil is approximately 90% saturated fat. Although saturated fat typically is considered “bad,” the saturated fat in coconut oil has a different makeup than most other bad fats. Coconut oil consists mostly of medium-chain triglycerides, which have been touted recently for their important health benefits. In comparison to long chain fatty acids, medium chain triglycerides have been suggested to improve metabolism, support the immune system, and boost collagen production.

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What are the benefits of coconut oil for arthritis in dogs?
Feeding your arthritic dog coconut oil daily can improve his or her mobility and lessen pain. The medium chain fatty acids found in coconut oil include caprylic, decanoic, lauric, myristic, palmitic, and oleic acids. Some of these acids have been suggested to help reverse the ligament damage that aggravates arthritis symptoms.

What are the additional benefits to my dog?
Besides providing relief to bones and joints, coconut oil can also help your pet lose weight and regulate thyroid function. If your pet has skin allergies, the acids in coconut oil can help soothe red, itchy skin, and can also aid digestion. Dogs will dull coats will get a boost from the medium chain triglycerides found in the oil, leading to a stronger, shinier fur.

How much coconut oil should I give my dog?
When first administering coconut oil to your dog, you should start with a small amount until he or she adapts. Initially, provide ¼ teaspoon to small dogs, and up to one teaspoon for large dogs daily. Gradually increase the amount to one tablespoon coconut oil per 30 lbs of weight. Also beware that there are a number of types of coconut oil on the market. Extra virigin coconut oil (i.e. unrefined) provides maximal health benefits.

Are there any side effects of coconut oil?
In general, few side effects exist when giving your dog coconut oil. For dogs with sensitive stomachs, they may experience loose or greasy stools if too much oil is given at once. In this case, decrease the amount given. Otherwise, dogs may gain weight from the addition of the oil to their diet. If this happens, decrease the amount of food or treats that are provided, or add an extra 5 – 10 minutes to your dog’s daily walk.

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