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Can You Put Coconut Oil on a Dog’s Paws? Science-Based Facts & FAQ

Written by: Kristin Hitchcock

Last Updated on May 23, 2024 by Dogster Team

coconut oil in wooden board

Can You Put Coconut Oil on a Dog’s Paws? Science-Based Facts & FAQ

VET APPROVED

Dr. Paola Cuevas Photo

REVIEWED & FACT-CHECKED BY

Dr. Paola Cuevas

Veterinarian, MVZ

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Coconut oil is extracted from mature coconuts, including the flesh and the kernel. It has a high melting point, meaning it will solidify if you refrigerate it or put it in a cold place. Many people use coconut oil on their skin, and you may wonder if you could use it to soothe your dog’s paws.

The short answer is yes! Coconut oil is beneficial when used on dog paws.

What Are the Benefits?

There are many benefits when it comes to putting coconut oil on a dog’s paws. The first and primary benefit is that it helps soothe dry paws. Dry paws for dogs can be highly uncomfortable and even cause tears in the paw pads. They can become flakey and sore, causing your dog to bite at them, and irritating them further. Coconut oil, however, can help solve this. Coconut oil is very hydrating and can give your dog some relief.

Another benefit is that it helps with your dog’s health. It is a natural antiseptic with antibiotic and antifungal properties1. It can keep your dog safe by keeping any scratches or small wounds on your dog’s paw clean and healthy. When it comes to healing, it helps speed it up due to the vitamin E and medium-chain fatty acids packed inside coconut oil. Coconut oil can help restore and repair the skin barrier thanks to its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial properties2.

Overall, it’s very healthy for your dog to have coconut oil on their paws occasionally. Also, it’s perfectly safe for them to lick! As long as they don’t consume a large amount of coconut oil, they won’t get unwell at all.

How Long to Leave Coconut Oil on Dog Paws?

woman cleaning dog paw
Image By: ADVTP, Shutterstock

Coconut oil on your dog’s paws can be left there until it fully dries and soaks into your dog’s paws. Keeping it on there for long is desirable, as it’s perfectly healthy for your dog. Now, your dog may lick at it, but don’t fret. It’s entirely safe for your dog to do so. Although the goal is to rub it in the paw and let it stay there as long as possible, it’s nice to know it is safe if consumed.

You don’t need to wipe off excess oil or use it at specific intervals. Coconut oil is a safe alternative to lotions and other ointments or waxes made for paws, as your dog can lick it without any worries.

How Do I Apply Coconut Oil to My Dog’s Paws?

The application is straightforward. First, read the label to make sure you have plain virgin coconut oil without any other ingredients mixed in. Some coconut oils are more processed than others, and some even have other ingredients in the mix. Some refined coconut oils are even bleached, which is why we recommend virgin, unprocessed coconut oil.

The amount you will require is minimal, but it will depend on the size of your dog’s paw pads. The application is very simple. Just ensure your dog’s paw pads are clean and perfectly dry first. Take your dog’s paw and gently rub the coconut oil into the paw pad, making sure to get every nook and cranny.

When Should I Apply Coconut Oil to My Dog’s Paws?

person putting moisturizer on dog paw
Image By: Miriam Doerr Martin Frommherz, Shutterstock

Coconut oil can be applied to your dog’s paws at any time, but there are some moments when it will be extremely beneficial. The best time to apply coconut oil to your dog’s paws is right before bed, as it allows time for it to penetrate the dog’s paw pads. This will also help prevent your dog from walking around your home and leaving oily paw marks all over your floor.

Letting the oil have direct contact with the paw pad allows the soothing nature of the coconut oil to shine, letting it soak in fully and be used to its full effect.

 

Conclusion

Coconut oil is a very good oil to apply to your dog’s paw pads. It can help soothe and moisturize your dog’s paw pads. The antimicrobial properties of coconut oil can help prevent fungal or bacterial overgrowth and recurrent infections. It is also very safe for your dog as they can lick it off safely, unlike other topical ointments and medications that can cause your dog to get sick.

It is a go-to, safe solution to soothe your dog’s paws. It can’t replace medical advice and medications assigned to your dog, but it definitely can help.

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Featured Image Credit: etorres, Shutterstock

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