Coconut Oil for Dogs | Smart Dog

Organic, Cold-Pressed, Extra Virgin, Non-GMO

eatingcoconutCoconut Oil: The “Good” Saturated Fat
by Dr. Jean Dobbs.

The “Good Saturated Fat” that supports healthy coat and skin, and brain health for the seniors! If it’s saturated, isn’t it bad?  The oil pressed from the meat of the coconut contains numerous health benefits. Below are reasons to add coconut oil to your pet’s diet.

The chemical structure in coconut oil saturated fat is quite different from the fat found in animal sources. That difference has huge implications for our pets’ health. While 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 (MCT). Our bodies metabolize (break down) and recognize medium chain fatty acids differently than long chain fatty acids, producing a very different effect.

Benefits of Coconut Oil

There are many reasons to let your pet indulge in some coconut oil every day. For example, we now know that, unlike animal-based saturated fats that contribute to heart disease, coconut oil is actually heart healthy! Coconut oil contains lauric acid, a saturated fatty acid that converts in the body to monolaurin, a monoglyceride compound with numerous beneficial properties, including:

*Provide a rapid form of non-carbohydrate energy
*Benefit the skin and coat
*Anti: viral/bacterial/microbial/fungal/protozoal
*Help with weight loss (MCTs increase metabolism, send signals of satiety and cannot be stored as fat)
*Improve digestion and absorption of fat-soluble vitamins

Coconut: The New “Brain Food”

Coconut oil is scientifically proven to improve brain function in older dogs – findings that have important implications for people and animals. In one study, 24 senior Beagles fed a diet supplemented with 5.5% MCTs showed significant improvement in cognitive ability within just one month. The study’s authors concluded that the MCTs (as contained in coconut oil) provided an alternative source of brain energy for the senior dogs.

As the body’s “supercomputer”, the brain requires a lot of energy, most of which is satisfied when our bodies metabolize glucose from the foods we eat. However, as we age, we metabolize glucose less efficiently, leaving a “gap” in the brain’s energy requirement. When this occurs, alternative sources of fuel become important to fill this gap and provide much-needed energy to the brain. This is where MCTs such as those contained in coconut oil can help save the day:

*Unlike regular fats (which the body metabolizes slowly), MCTs break down and absorb rapidly into the bloodstream, providing a quick source of non-carbohydrate energy.

*MCTs readily cross the blood-brain barrier, supplying up to 20% of a normal brain’s energy requirement.

*MCTs are important for ketone production, which serve as an additional source of “brain food”.

*MCTs help the body use omega-3 fatty acids more efficiently and increase omega-3 fatty acid concentrations in the brain (a good reason to give your dog both omega-3s and coconut oil)

What to Look For:

When purchasing coconut oil, opt for unrefined, cold-pressed varieties. If possible, choose organic brands to avoid potential contamination from pesticides. Studies show that coconut oil fed as 10% or less of your dog’s diet poses no digestive or other health issues. However, since too much coconut oil can cause diarrhea, common sense is to introduce it to your pet slowly.

Resources:
1. http://drjeandoddspethealthresource.tumblr.com/post/47127324583/coconut-for-pet s#.VSbpcrDn_4Y ? Aldrich, G, 2009, ‘MCTs an overlooked tool in dog nutrition’. Feedstuffs, 81(35) :10.
2. Laflamme, DP, 2012, ‘Nutritional care for aging cats and dogs’. Vet Clin N Am: Sm An Pract, 42(4): 769-791.
3. Pan, Y, Larson, B, Araujo, JA, Lau, W et al, 2010, ‘Dietary supplementation with medium-chain TAG has long-lasting cognition-enhancing effects in aged dogs’.
3. Brit J Nutr, 103 (12): 1746-1754.