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Pet Pantry: Coconut Oil

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Pet parents have been warned for years that feeding pets table scraps is bad for their health and encourages bad behaviors. And while it’s true that only feeding your pet from his or her bowl helps encourage good manners, you can definitely get more creative with what you are putting in the dish. Veterinarians and nutrition experts agree that there are many “human” foods that can greatly benefit your furry family members.

The more we learn about pet food and what’s in our companion animals’ kibble, the more we know that introducing nutrient-dense, diverse ingredients into their diets can make a big difference in their health and increase their chances of living a long, happy, disease-free life. We look forward to exploring many unique foods you can add to encourage your pet’s healthiest diet in 2017. Below we dive right into how coconut oil can be a terrific addition to your pet’s healthy regimen.

Open coconut behind a bottle of coconut oil

What it is

Coconut oil is a “good” fat, containing numerous medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs). It is best to use the highest quality organic, extra-virgin coconut oil you can find, packaged in glass jars.

Health benefits

• Makes skin and coat shinier and softer
• Soothes and heals cracked paw pads
• Aids in digestion
• Reduces allergic reactions
• Slows cognitive dysfunction
• Helps regulate insulin and balance the thyroid
• Repels parasites
• Contains antifungal and antibacterial properties

How to feed it

For both cats and dogs, up to 1 teaspoon per 10 pounds of body weight per day. Make sure the oil is in its liquefied state, and drizzle over their meal. Most animals find it pretty tasty, so you can feed it right off the spoon, too. Introduce slowly to avoid loose stools.

Other uses

Apply topically to your pet’s skin or paw pads for its soothing properties. Coconut oil may also be applied to your pet’s teeth to keep breath smelling fresh and to keep everything clean between cleanings.

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