What is coconut oil?

Coconut oil is a healthy fat that contains 80-90% saturated fat. Coconut oil retains its solid form when it has a temperature below 78°F. Although saturated fats sound terrible, they are made up of fatty acids, the most important of which is lauric acid, which is very beneficial.

Coconut oil is extracted from the flesh of fresh coconut or from dried coconut, called copra. Virgin coconut oil is extracted from the fresh meat of the coconut, while refined oil is extracted from the copra. These are the important terms you may see on coconut oil labels:

  • Pressing – This is a mechanical process in which the oil is extracted from the meat of the coconut, often using heat during the process.
  • Cold Pressing – This method keeps temperatures below 120°F during the extraction process, which is said to help preserve the nutrients naturally present in the oil.
  • Refining – Dried coconut is mechanically heat-treated to extract the oil from the copra. Some extraction methods also use chemicals such as hexane.
  • The oil is then steamed or heated to remove odors and finally filtered through clays to remove impurities and bacteria. Refined coconut oil has a higher smoke point and is odorless.
  • Partially hydrogenated – This is an oil that has been processed to extend its shelf life, but contains trans fatty acids.

Coconut oils contain MCTs (medium-chain triglycerides) which are considered healthy fats.

However, it is critical to note that, according to the Harvard School of Public Health, commercial brands of coconut oil do not have as high a concentration of MCTs as specially formulated coconut oil. This does not mean that there are no MCTs, but rather that commercial coconut oil has less. In addition, coconut oil contains a large amount of lauric acid, which also has several benefits.

Coconut oil has long been used in alternative remedies to heal humans, but did you know it’s also beneficial for dogs?

Benefits of coconut oil for dogs

The benefits of coconut oil for dogs are numerous:

Antifungal properties – According to the NIH (National Institute of Health), they compared different products, including coconut oil and chlorhexidine, to see their effectiveness against fungal infections.

Although the study was conducted on children and not dogs, humans and dogs have the same fungal problems.

They found both products to be effective antifungals. Chlorhexidine is the main ingredient in many prescription shampoos for dogs with fungal infections.

I have a dog with terrible skin allergies; however, I have seen significant improvement after using coconut oil on some of his infections. Although there is nothing wrong with using chlorhexidine, I prefer to use coconut oil because it also moisturizes my dog’s skin.

Antibacterial – As a topical antimicrobial treatment, coconut oil is effective against several strains of bacteria, including Staphylococcus aureus. Unfortunately, not much research has been done on coconut oil. However, some recent studies show positive results when used for bacterial infections.

I have used coconut oil topically on my dogs and myself with excellent results. No antibiotic can kill all bacteria, so be sure to check with your veterinarian before using coconut oil on an infection.

Flea and tick remedy – Coconut oil shampoo was tested to see if it could get rid of fleas and ticks, and the answer was a resounding yes. The best part is that it is also effective against lice and mites. When a highly concentrated coconut shampoo was applied to dogs infested with fleas, ticks, mites or lice, the dogs were found to be free of these parasites within 24 hours.

In addition, parasite bites also improved, as the coconut oil acts as a topical antibiotic and anti-inflammatory treatment.

Minor Wound Care – Coconut oil not only has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that make it ideal for wound care, but it also helps the wound heal faster. One study showed an increase in fibroblast proliferation, which is essential for promoting tissue repair.

The same study also observed an increase in neovascularization, which is the natural growth of new blood vessels.

Note that this is not for serious injuries, but for minor scrapes, abrasions or cuts.

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