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Is Coconut Oil Good for a Dog’s Itchy Skin? Vet-Verified Health Facts

Written by: Jessica Kim

Last Updated on July 11, 2024 by Dogster Team

Coconut oil

Is Coconut Oil Good for a Dog’s Itchy Skin? Vet-Verified Health Facts


Dr. Lauren Demos  Photo


Dr. Lauren Demos

DVM (Veterinarian)

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

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Coconut oil is known for its health benefits, and many people either cook with it or use it topically. Some of the benefits that people experience from coconut oil are potentially transferable to dogs, though supporting data is sparse in this species. Some people use it believing that it can help alleviate itchiness from certain types of minor skin irritation. However, before you decide to apply coconut oil to your dog’s skin, it’s essential to be aware of both the benefits and the risks that come with using coconut oil. Here’s what you need to know about coconut oil.

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Coconut Oil and Itchy Skin

Coconut oil is commonly used as a natural remedy for dry skin in humans, though comparative data is lacking in canines. In man, it helps the skin retain moisture and has omega-6 fatty acids that help soothe the skin. It may also have benefits for very mild wounds, like light scratches and razor burns, as it contains antimicrobial properties.

Overall, coconut oil can be an effective natural remedy for mildly itchy skin in people, though this remains to be proven effective in dogs. Therefore, it’s best to schedule a visit to your veterinarian first. This is because itchy skin can be a sign of another underlying medical condition, such as allergies. Your veterinarian can diagnose the cause of your dog’s itchy skin and let you know if applying coconut oil will be effective in helping the itchiness.

Coconut oil for dogs.
Image Credit: Highwaystarz, Getty Images

Potential Risks of Using Coconut Oil on Dogs

While coconut oil doesn’t contain any properties that are toxic to dogs, it can still make dogs sick if they eat too much of it. The fattiness can cause dogs to experience gastrointestinal upset and end up getting diarrhea. Potentially, in some rare cases, dogs may have an allergic reaction to coconut oil. So, only use when directed by your veterinarian.

Types of Coconut Oil

Not all coconut oils are of the same quality. Make sure to purchase virgin coconut oil or cold-pressed oil, as these types of coconut oils have higher preservations of nutrients. Lower-quality coconut oils usually don’t have many nutritional benefits and won’t be as effective in alleviating skin itchiness.

Make sure to monitor the condition of your dog’s skin and look for improvements. If your dog’s itchiness doesn’t go away within 1 week or the condition gets worse, make sure to stop using it on your dog and revisit your vet for further guidance.

brown dog scratching
Image Credit: Peggy_Marco, Pixabay

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Coconut oil may be an effective natural remedy for mild cases of itchy skin in humans, though this remains to be proven helpful in research-backed science for dogs. If you want to try using coconut oil on your dog, make sure to have a conversation with your veterinarian first to determine if it would work for your dog’s specific skin condition. When shopping for coconut oil, opt for either cold-pressed or virgin coconut oil. If your dog’s skin continues to remain itchy after several days, it’s best to stop using coconut oil and speak with your veterinarian about other options.

Featured Image Credit: Africa Studio, Shutterstock

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