Coconut oil has become hugely popular recently.
People rave about all the amazing health benefits for humans.
And most of those apply to dogs, too.
However, much more study is needed. Few of the benefits have been proven.
And there are some major drawbacks, too. Especially for a tiny dog like the Yorkie.
So what does that mean? Is coconut oil for Yorkies a good idea?
Or is it better to avoid it?
Keep reading for a rundown of all the potential benefits, the risks, and the best way to give the oil to your Yorkshire terrier, if you choose to do so.
- 1 Is Coconut Oil Safe For Yorkies?
- 2 Benefits Of Coconut Oil For Yorkies
- 3 Disadvantages Of Coconut Oil
- 4 How To Use Coconut Oil For Yorkies
- 5 Coconut Oil For Yorkies: Conclusion
Is Coconut Oil Safe For Yorkies?
Coconut oil is safe for most Yorkies. Virtually every health benefit associated with coconut oil in humans is also applicable to Yorkies. However, more studies are needed to ascertain them.
Coconut oil is a food, not a drug, so there aren’t any side effects in most cases. You can apply coconut oil topically or administer it orally to your dog.
Let’s take a look at the main benefits of coconut oil for Yorkies. As mentioned, few of these benefits have been proven definitively for humans, and none have been proven for dogs.
Benefits Of Coconut Oil For Yorkies
As mentioned, dogs enjoy the same benefits from coconut oil as we do, although few of these benefits have been proven definitively. Here are some of the most important potential benefits of coconut oil for dogs.
The Richest Source Of MCFAs
MCFAs are Medium Chain Fatty Acids. They are the magic behind coconut oil. The only other source of MCFA is a mother’s milk. All mammals produce MCFAs in their mammary glands.
MCFAs are necessary for an infant’s overall health, growth, and development. According to Brian Fife, the author of Coconut Therapy for Pets, the MCFAs in coconut oil can boost your pet’s immunity.
Feeding coconut oil regularly to your Yorkie could help prevent infections and boost overall health.
Good For Skin And Coat
A few anecdotal reports have shown that pets that are fed coconut oil regularly have shinier and healthier coats.
Coconut oil has antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral effects thanks to its lauric acid content. This helps prevent skin infections, soothes itchy and irritated skin, and even expels or kills parasites like ticks, fleas, lice, and mange.
When applied topically, coconut oil can heal cuts, insect bites, and stings, and clear up rashes and eczema.
Coconut oil has been known to relieve hot spots, dandruff, flaky, itchy skin, and contact dermatitis, and also treat abnormal skin lesions and growths in some dogs.
Regular application of coconut oil helps condition and deodorize your Yorkie’s coat. It can also soothe and heal dry noses and cracked paws.
Lubricates The Joints
More studies are needed on this but some pet owners have reported enhanced mobility in their dogs with arthritis and joint issues, thanks to regular consumption of coconut oil.
This may be due to coconut oil’s anti-inflammatory properties that ease pain and inflammation. There is a theory that coconut oil might build strong bones and could ease and prevent ligament problems.
May Prevent Many Canine Diseases
Coconut oil may promote good nerve and brain function and prevent dementia. It also balances blood sugar and alleviates symptoms associated with canine diabetes.
It may protect your pet against digestive disorders like ulcers and colitis. A recent study has shown that supplementing diets with MCTs (medium chain triglycerides) found in coconut oil could prevent canine epilepsy.
There is a theory that coconut oil may also prevent cancer, although more studies are needed to ascertain this.
Deodorizes And Freshens
Coconut oil has natural deodorizing properties. By applying it topically, it could reduce ‘doggy odor’. You can also use it to clean your pet’s teeth and gums and prevent bad breath. The antibacterial properties of the oil could may cavities, to which small dogs like Yorkies are susceptible.
Disadvantages Of Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is generally safe and well-tolerated by most dogs. However, a small percentage of dogs are known to have an allergic reaction to it.
A few dogs have suffered from loose stool or diarrhea after ingesting the oil. In fact, the ASPCA states that coconut oil is inflammatory and could cause leaky gut in dogs.
Some veterinarians are of the opinion that coconut oil, in excess, could increase bad cholesterol in dogs and may even result in fatty plaques on their liver. For the same reason, it is deemed unsafe to feed coconut oil to dogs having pancreatitis.
It is important to note that a single tablespoon of coconut oil contains almost 120 calories. The daily calorie intake of small-breed dogs like Yorkies should not exceed 150 calories. So, if you feed 1 to 2 teaspoons of coconut oil per day to your small Yorkie, you could end up with an overweight pet.
Moreover, coconut oil does not provide the necessary healthy fats to your Yorkie. After all, it does not contain omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids that dogs need. You still need to ensure that your Yorkie gets these healthy fats through other means.
How To Use Coconut Oil For Yorkies
As we can see, coconut oil is safe for most dogs, albeit in small quantities. Still, it is best to consult with your veterinarian about the safety of feeding coconut oil to your Yorkie.
If your pet has a tendency to gain weight, metabolizes fats differently, or suffers from pancreatitis, it is best not to feed it coconut oil. In general, there are two ways to administer coconut oil to dogs.
Start with a small dose, about half a teaspoon daily. You can feed it directly, or mix it up with your Yorkie’s food. It tastes great with dry as well as wet dog food. In fact, coconut oil is known to enhance the taste of bland dog food and many picky dogs lick their bowls clean!
Keep an eye out for loose stool or diarrhea. If they occur, reduce the dose, or discontinue the use of the oil. Most Yorkies are known to tolerate coconut oil well.
To use coconut oil topically, apply it to your dog’s coat once a month. Leave the oil on for a few hours and then rinse off. Coconut oil can be very greasy so you will need to shampoo it off your dog.
If you do not like your pet to have a greasy coat, you can also just use a shampoo containing coconut oil instead.
It is a great ingredient to use in a homemade dog conditioner, for example. Our article on DIY conditioners has a 8 great recipes, including a homemade dog coat conditioner with coconut oil.
Which Coconut Oil Should You Use?
If you opt to feed coconut oil to your Yorkie, only choose organic, virgin coconut oil. It is best to select cold-pressed oil, instead of refined oil. Cold-pressed oils retain the beneficial ingredients of coconuts.
Note that coconut oil from different brands can have different flavors and scents. Some are very bold while others are bland. A few picky Yorkies are known to refuse certain flavors, so you might need to experiment with different brands.
Coconut Oil For Yorkies: Conclusion
Overall, coconut oil has its fair share of anecdotal success, but we need more research on using coconut oil for dogs. That said, using coconut oil on your Yorkie is generally safe, so it shouldn’t hurt to try.
It has a lot of potential benefits, that’s for sure. But you also need to be aware of the risks. If you decide to give your Yorkshire terrier coconut oil, make sure to monitor its overall health in the hours and days afterward.
It is also always a good idea ask your vet about any new product you give your dog.
Many owners also use other types of oil. “Can I put baby oil on my dog?” is a common question, since many people already have baby oil at home.
The short answer is that it is not a good idea. Coconut oil is the better option.