If your dog’s coat is looking a little sparse, coconut oil offers a safe and natural way to reduce shedding. Read on to learn more about how to use coconut oil for dog shedding to help your pup grow thick and healthy-looking fur.
Why Do Dogs Shed?
Shedding is a healthy and natural process for dogs of all breeds, especially when the warm summer months roll around. In most cases, it shouldn’t be a cause for concern. However, if you notice signs of excessive shedding, there may be underlying health issues you need to address.
Often, excessive shedding happens due to dry or irritated skin. Inflamed follicles and weak hair strands result in sparse fur that sheds easily. In extreme cases, excessive shedding may lead to bald patches. Scratching around the area will also exacerbate the issue.
There are several reasons dogs might have dry, itchy skin. A poor grooming or bathing routine can lead to hair loss, matting, and skin problems that manifest as shedding. Improper diet can also lead to weak, lifeless fur, and skin irritation.
If your dog has allergies or other sensitivities, they may suffer from rashes, inflammation, and contact dermatitis. Fungal or bacterial infections may also lead to excessive shedding due to dry, itchy skin.
How Does Coconut Oil Help With Dog Shedding?
Many people use coconut oil as a primary component of their beauty regimen, thanks to its moisturizing properties. Coconut oil is also safe to use with pets. It offers many of the same benefits for skin, hair, and overall health, leaving many people to ask: does coconut oil really help with shedding?
Coconut oil helps to reduce shedding by keeping your dog feeling soft and moisturized. Medium-chain triglycerides, or MCTs, can deeply condition the hair and skin to repair damage and lock in hydration.
Coconut oil also has anti-inflammatory properties that keep follicles healthy, allowing for thick, glossy hair growth. Its antifungal and antibacterial properties ward off infections that might cause more serious symptoms, such as contact dermatitis.
Using coconut oil topically can help to maintain your dog’s skin and coat health, preventing excessive shedding. Ingesting coconut oil can also be beneficial for your dog’s fur. It helps to boost immunity, improve digestion, and support skin and hair with healthy fats.
Coconut oil can also provide flea bite prevention and treatment. So using it to help control shedding may offer additional benefits.
How To Use Coconut Oil for Dog Shedding
There are two ways that you can use coconut oil for dog shedding. You can try each method independently or use them in tandem for faster results.
Applying Coconut Oil
Applying coconut oil to your pet like an ointment or a conditioner allows you to target problem areas for deep moisture treatment. You can spot-treat dry patches of skin or massage coconut oil into your dog’s skin from nose to tail.
You should be able to warm the coconut oil to a soft, creamy consistency by rubbing it in your hands. Gently work the oil into your dog’s fur and down to the skin, taking care to leave a thin, even coating. If the oil is too thick, try warming it in the microwave or stovetop to a skin-safe heat. Be careful when applying oil not to work any into your dog’s ears, eyes, or nose.
If you have a safe space to leave your dog, you can allow the coconut oil to sit for several hours or overnight for a deep conditioning treatment. However, if you’re worried about oils making their way into your carpets or upholstery, you may want to wash off excess coconut oil after treatment.
Feeding Coconut Oil
Feeding your dog a small amount of coconut oil can offer benefits beyond soft skin and a silky coat. You stand to see improvements in areas ranging from easier digestion to a healthier immune system. Eating coconut oil may even fight odor in dogs with overactive glands.
The easiest way to add coconut oil to your dog’s diet is to mix it with their food. Even picky dogs are unlikely to notice a small spoonful added to a can of their favorite wet food. Some dogs may like the taste of coconut oil enough to eat it straight from the spoon.
Try to limit how much coconut oil you feed your dog each day, especially for overweight or obese pets. It’s best to offer just a quarter teaspoon of oil to small dogs, while larger dogs may be able to handle as much as one tablespoon daily.
Is Coconut Oil Safe for Dogs?
Coconut oil is generally safe for healthy dogs. However, as with any dietary changes, it’s important to note that some dogs may react adversely to coconut oil in their food. Coconut oil can cause digestive upset and diarrhea due to its high-fat content.
Are There Any Risks of Using Coconut Oil?
The biggest risk of giving coconut oil to your dog is an allergic reaction. Dogs sensitive to nuts and similar compounds may not be able to tolerate coconut oil in their food or on their skin. If you notice rashes, irritation, or difficulty breathing, seek veterinary assistance immediately.
What’s the Best Coconut Oil to Use for Dog Shedding?
Much of the coconut oil you can find on grocery store shelves is refined. It undergoes processing with high heat, pressures, and even chemical solvents to remove contaminants and purify the remaining oil.
Virgin coconut oil, on the other hand, is unrefined. It retains many natural compounds that give it anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antifungal properties. Virgin coconut oil is typically the best choice for improving your dog’s coat, thanks to the presence of these healthy compounds.
Coconut Oil Alternatives for Dogs
If you don’t have access to coconut oil for dog shedding, there are other healthy, natural fats that can improve the appearance of your dog’s coat. Safe and all-natural alternatives that can help combat shedding include oils such as:
- Fish oil
- Flaxseed oil
- Olive oil
- Hemp oil
- Sunflower seed oil
Applying these oils topically or adding them to your pet’s diet can help your dog grow a healthy coat of fur.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I have to rinse coconut oil off of my dog?
There is no need to rinse coconut oil off of your dog after applying it. The only reasons to do so would be:
- Coconut oil can make your dog’s fur oily (shocking, huh?), which can attract dirt more easily. This can make your dog’s coat get dirty quicker.
- Your dog may lick the coconut oil off their fur and upset their stomach. As outlined above, ingesting coconut oil can be beneficial for many dogs, but some react negatively when digesting it.
If either of these situations arise but you want to continue applying coconut oil to your dog, you can wait anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour (or more, if you like) and then rinse your dog with lukewarm water to get rid of the excess coconut oil. Your dog will still derive the benefits of coconut oil without the negative effects they may be experiencing.