In the past few years there has been a trend with no basis in science and veterinary medicine to feed coconut oil to pets. Thankfully, most cats will not eat it, but it still does not stop some feline owners from smearing it on their skin and fur and even in their ears. Dogs, on the other hand, will often readily eat just about anything, so they receive coconut oil from all angles
I have no idea how coconut oil became the magical elixir of life for pets, but make no mistake, IT IS NOT! The main medicinal molecules present in certain oils are called omega-3-fatty acids that are naturally anti-inflammatory and protective to cells and tissues. Coconut oil has zero omega-3-fatty acids.
Here is what coconut oil does have: medium chain triglycerides. Medium chain triglycerides are fat molecules that are rapidly absorbed in the gut and are therefore quickly integrated into the patient metabolism. The result is a large dose of readily absorbed calories derived from fat. For pets that are genetically predisposed to an inflammatory disease of the pancreas called pancreatitis, this influx of dietary fat can trigger this serious and potentially life threatening disease. Regarding the former point of even a small amount of coconut oil representing a high consumption of calories, obesity is commonly a consequence of coconut oil administration.
Make no mistake, coconut oil is not your pet’s ticket to health and longevity. In addition to not having any medicinal properties whatsoever, coconut oil on the contrary can cause obesity and severe systemic disease.
Dr. Roger Welton is a practicing veterinarian, highly regarded media personality through a number of topics and platforms, and author of The Man In The White Coat: A Veterinarian’s Tail Of Love. In addition to being passionate about integrative veterinary medicine for which he is a globally recognized expert, Dr. Welton was also an accomplished college lacrosse player and remains to this day very involved in the sport. He is president of Maybeck Animal Hospital , general partner of Grant Animal Clinic, and runs the successful veterinary/animal health blogs Web-DVM and Dr. Roger’s Holistic Veterinary Care. Dr. Welton fulfills his passion for lacrosse through his lacrosse and sport blog, The Creator’s Game.