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Coconut Oil for Dog Constipation: Does It Work, and Is It Safe?

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Dr. Mark is a veterinarian. He has been working with dogs for more than 40 years.

Is coconut oil better than other oils for alleviating constipation in dogs? Yes. Here's why.

Is coconut oil better than other oils for alleviating constipation in dogs? Yes. Here's why.

Why Use Coconut Oil for Dog Constipation?

Coconut oil is an effective remedy in some cases of constipation in dogs. It lubricates the bowel to make the stool easier to pass, and lubrication is important if the dog has been doing things like crunching raw bones or eating kitty litter that can make the stool dry and rough.

But olive oil, mineral oil, and many other lubricating oils will help stool pass in the same way. What are the advantages of using coconut oil instead?

Coconut Oil Is Full of Antioxidants

Coconut oil has proven anti-inflammatory properties and it is probable that those also improve the health of your dog's colon and may make it work better. (1) There are several causes of constipation and one of them may be that the bowel is inflamed and not working as effectively.

Coconut oil contains antioxidants that may make the bowel function better, although this is still an active area of research and little data is available in this area.

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Is Coconut Safe for Dogs?

Even when fed large amounts of the medium-chain triglycerides from coconut oil, blood levels of fats did not go up in pigs or dogs. (2, 3) It is a safe food additive, but the best amount to give is not exact and is based on anecdotal information.

How Much Coconut Oil to Give Your Dog

It is fine to give your dog a tablespoon on top of their food and monitor their reaction. If the dog's stools are normal, that is a great sign and you can increase the amount each feeding. If they start having diarrhea—one of the problems with giving oils of any kind in the food—just back off and return to the lower dose used the day before when there was no diarrhea.

No long-term feeding studies have been done with humans or dogs to determine if there are health risks. Since coconut oil is a food, and only part of a complete diet, it is unlikely that there will ever be any type of long-term studies.

Sources

  1. Basson AR, Chen C, Sagl F, Trotter A, Bederman I, Gomez-Nguyen A, Sundrud MS, Ilic S, Cominelli F, Rodriguez-Palacios A. Regulation of Intestinal Inflammation by Dietary Fats. Front Immunol. 2021 Feb 2;11:604989. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2020.604989. PMID: 33603741; PMCID: PMC7884479. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33603741/
  2. Hall, J. A., & Jewell, D. E. (2012). Feeding healthy beagles medium-chain triglycerides, fish oil, and carnitine offsets age-related changes in serum fatty acids and carnitine metabolites. PloS one, 7(11), e49510. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3492282/
  3. Newell-Fugate, A. E., Lenz, K., Skenandore, C., Nowak, R. A., White, B. A., & Braundmeier-Fleming, A. (2017). Effects of coconut oil on glycemia, inflammation, and urogenital microbial parameters in female Ossabaw mini-pigs. PloS one, 12(7), e0179542. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5509134/

This article is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from your veterinarian. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

© 2022 Dr Mark

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