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The Benefits of Coconut Oil

People everywhere are discovering the wonders that coconut oil can create. From hair and skincare to digestive and immune health, coconut oil’s popularity is continuing to grow. You may be wondering – if coconut oil is good for me, is it just as good for my pet? Holistic Veterinarian Dr. Karen Becker explains the benefits coconut oil can have for your animal.

The Benefits of Coconut Oil for Dogs

Coconut oil is a concentrated source of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), which may have positive effects on your pet’s cognitive function. This oil is also a rich source of lauric acid, which is a powerful antimicrobial agent. Coconut oil has antifungal and antibacterial properties as well.

Dogster provides a list of reasons why coconut oil benefits your dogs, which include:

  1. Coconut oil improves overall skin health, and clears up skin conditions such as eczema, flea allergies, contact dermatitis, and itchy skin.
  2. Coconut oil helps moisturize the driest skin and makes a dog’s coat gleam with health, whether you add it to her diet, shampoo, or both!
  3. Applied topically to the skin, coconut oil promotes the healing of cuts, wounds, hot spots, bites, and stings.
  4. The antibacterial and antifungal properties of coconut oil help reduce doggy odor and doggy breath.
  5. It helps prevent yeast infections, particularly candida.
  6. Dogs suffering from kennel cough may recover faster with coconut oil.
  7. It improves nutrient absorption and digestion (but may case loose stools, so moderation is crucial).
  8. It can help reduce your dog’s risk of diabetes by regulating your pet’s insulin levels. It may also moderate thyroid function and keep infections and heart disease at bay.
  9. Coconut oil promotes motility in arthritic dogs and those with joint issues.
  10. It can benefit brain health and may be helpful for senior dogs whose minds are starting to become “cloudy.”

Dr. Karen Becker recommends feeding one-quarter teaspoon for of 100% organic, cold-pressed, human-grade coconut oil for every 10 pounds of body weight twice daily for dogs (and cats). This can be added at meal time. It can also be applied topically for animals with flaky and itchy skin.

Raw Diets for Dogs: Are They Better?

The idea of feeding raw food to your pet tends to divide us into two groups – either it makes sense to you to feed a biologically appropriate diet, or it may strike you as completely unsanitary and borderline barbaric.

Regardless of your point of view, raw is the fastest growing sector of the pet food market. If you were to feed a raw diet to your pet, the first change observed would be improved stools. This is due to its superior digestibility. Raw food is also extremely palatable and pets tend to like it. In addition, feeding raw has the following benefits:

  • No preservatives
  • No wheat, gluten, or fillers
  • Clean teeth
  • Fresh breath
  • Shiny and healthy coats
  • Less shedding
  • Fewer allergy symptoms
  • Firm, hard stools
  • 70% less poop

These are only a few of the benefits feeding raw can give you. Pet owners have been taught for many years that kibble is an acceptable diet for dogs, but processing kibble takes away many nutrients your dog actually needs.

The vast majority of pet food is cooked, primarily by the method of extrusion. This process produces a kibble and depends on a food containing 25 to 45 percent starch. Though digestible, this starch is of low nutritional utility for a carnivore. This Dogs Naturally article answers a few questions pet owners may have about the nutritional differences between kibble and raw.

Processing Away the Nutrients

Aside from excess carbohydrate (starch), there is the matter of what happens to an ingredient once it’s been cooked. Heat addition of any kind initiates the process of protein denaturation. It alters the nutrients and not necessarily for the better. Extreme heat destroys harmful bacteria, but today it is possible to assemble ingredients with a very low risk of pathogenic bacterial contamination.

The advantage of raw food is more than avoiding the diminished digestibility due to cooking. There are subtle but critical additional benefits. Natural enzymes and numerous beneficial bacteria are found in raw pet foods, undamaged by any heat application.

The Freeze-Dried Raw Option

A valid subheading of raw food is freeze-dried raw food. The freeze drying process removes moisture from the food without the damage of heat application. This process is widely appreciated as the most effective method of food preservation, because it allows a longer shelf life and least nutrient damage.

If you’re thinking about feeding raw, consider these advantages:

  1. Nutrient digestibility is superior to products that have been heated by extrusion (kibble) or boiling (canned).
  2. Natural enzyme activity is preserved, and vitamins remain undamaged.
  3. Friendly bacteria are allowed to thrive.

Understandably, raw food may not be an affordable option for a pet owner with more than one large dog. And compared to frozen, kibble is convenient and economical on a day to day basis. However, dry kibble simply isn’t the best nutrition for your pet. To the extent your budget permits, consider including raw or freeze-dried food in your pet’s diet. Your pet’s vitality will be louder and longer, and he’ll be happier and healthier.

Remember, feeding your dog a nutritious diet is the best health insurance money can buy. Ask a Barkery nutrition specialist about the RAW difference today.