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Dog has itching skin? Coconut oil is your solution

Golden Labrador scratching its ear advice
© Shutterstock

You’ve probably seen coconut oil based products fill the shelves of beauty stores and supermarkets, famed for their skin and health-boosting properties. But coconut oil is equally as beneficial when it comes to dog health - both inner and outer! So, let’s chat about the benefits of coconut oil and how to use coconut oil for itchy dog skin.

By Alice Lang

Updated on the 28/11/2019, 17:45

Coconut oil isn’t just another fad - the benefits it holds for both animals and humans are pretty much indisputable. If your dog is scratching like mad and keeping you up all night with their excessive itching, it may just be the cure you’ve been waiting for.

Coconut oil is extracted from mature coconuts into an edible oil. With its incredible benefits, there’s no surprise its become extremely popular in the beauty industry and on the health food market. More recently, pet owners have started to reap the benefits of coconut oil, too.

Why is coconut oil so good for itchy dog skin?

The reason that coconut oil is so good for itchy dog skin and other dog health problems is all down to the Medium Chain Fatty Acids which are present in the oil.

According to Dr Jean Dodd’s pet health resource blog, “Whereas most saturated fats are comprised of long chain fatty acids (LCFAs), coconut oil is comprised mainly of medium chain fatty acids (MCFAs), or medium chain triglycerides (MCTs). Our bodies metabolize (break down) and recognize medium chain fatty acids differently than long chain fatty acids, producing a very different effect.”

It’s these MCFA’s that give coconut oil such a powerful health punch and bring on most of the benefits, which we’ll discuss next.

Benefits of coconut oil for dogs

Skin and coat benefits

  • Relieves itches and soothes skin
  • Helps clear up eczema
  • Naturally repels fleas
  • Reduces allergies
  • Makes coat shiny and glossy
  • Treats and prevent fungal and yeast infections
  • Speeds up healing and disinfects cuts, sores and wounds

Internal benefits

  • Eases IBS and colitis
  • Helps reduce coughing
  • Aids digestion and nutrient absorption
  • Weight loss aid
  • Insulin balancing and prevents diabetes
  • Promotes normal function of the thyroid
  • Increases energy

Coconut oil for itchy dog skin methods

coconut oil for itchy dog skin
Coconut oil is incredible at soothing itchy dog skin  ©Pixabay

Coconut oil dog mask

One of our all-time coconut oil for itchy dog skin methods is a good ol’ coconut mask and bath! This method ensures your dog will really benefit from the soothing effects of coconut oil, all over their body.

Not only will a coconut oil mask help to soothe the itch, but it will also condition your dog’s skin and coat, prevent fleas and tackle infections. In fact, it’s so beneficial, that we’d recommend making it a part of your dog’s grooming routine, whether or not they’re itching!

First, your dog needs to be damp all over. Then, apply a thick layer of coconut oil all over, or just on the problem areas if you’d prefer. Focus on your pup’s neck, face, armpits, elbows and tummy, as well as any other areas he scratches. Let it soak in for around 5-10 minutes, rewarding them with a treat.

Then, get a cloth and use warm water to rinse off the coconut oil thoroughly. If you find that the oil is sticking, you can use a little bit of doggy shampoo to loosen it - soap-free is always best. Then, towel dry your dog and give them a gentle brush. Their itching skin should feel much better and will improve significantly, if not disappear, after a few masks.

We all know that coconut oil smells delicious, and your pup does too - hence why he might try to eat it when the mask is on. Don’t worry too much about that - it’s completely safe for dogs to consume coconut oil. In fact, it’s super healthy.

Topically applied coconut oil

If you wake up in the middle of the night to find your dog itching and scratching intensely, you won’t have the time or energy to do a full coconut oil mask. Instead, you can just apply a small amount of coconut oil to the affected area, using your fingers to massage it in gently.

Start with a small amount and add more if it’s needed - coconut oil can get quite greasy if over applied. This should be enough to soothe your pooch until the morning and send him soundly to sleep.

Feeding dogs coconut oil

Did you know that your pup can eat coconut oil? It’s one of the best ways for your dog to gain all of the impressive benefits listed above and can help prevent and soothe itching skin.

If you decide to feed your dog coconut oil, make sure to start with small amounts and build up. Diet changes can cause upset in a dog’s stomach, so they’ll need some time to adjust. A good starting point is a quarter of a teaspoon every day, though bigger breeds can start with up to one tablespoon.

After you’ve given your dog’s body some time to adjust, you can increase the dose. You should aim to give your pooch around one teaspoon of coconut oil per ten pounds of weight, every day. Make sure you don’t exceed this, as coconut oil is rather high in fat.

The easiest method is to simply drizzle the oil all over your pup’s food. However, if you enjoy cooking, you can also incorporate coconut oil into homemade dog treats.