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Why Coconut Oil is the Best for Healing Dog Wounds

A dog's paw eing wrapped in gauze

By now, dog parents have heard the hype about coconut oil and its many benefits for your dog's health. But how much of that is true? The answer is quite a lot; coconut oil can do some pretty extraordinary things to aid in keeping our canine companions healthy. Plus every year more scientific research goes into learning about the different medical benefits of coconut oil.

For those of us who keep a first aid kit for our furry buddies, we should all be storing a jar of coconut oil in our kits. For those active pup parents and pups that enjoy hiking — or other similar strenuous activities — in rough terrain with your pup, it is a good idea to pack a small container of coconut oil before you go. Mild abrasions, pad injuries, and cuts are all real risks when you are trekking over difficult ground.

Coconut oil has proven to work as both a topical and oral treatment in eliminating things like flea infestations, ear infections, and reducing symptoms of dermatitis. Also, coconut oil used regularly has theoretical benefits of aiding to reduce dry skin, improve brain function, and promote healthy GI systems.  

However, one of the most beneficial ways of using coconut oil is to heal minor wounds and skin infections.  

Is Coconut Oil Safe to Use on Dogs?

Not all home remedies are as safe as they may appear. As loving dog parents, it is our responsibility to ensure the home remedies we use not only work but are also safe for our dogs.  

The good news is that coconut oil is one of the safest home remedies for administering first aid to our dogs. Not only does it have several benefits, but coconut oil is equally safe, whether used topically or ingested.

Though rare, some dogs may experience an allergic reaction to coconut oil, which is why it is essential to monitor your dog after administering it to them the first couple of times.

Additionally, some dogs who suffer from gastrointestinal issues such as pancreatitis or suffer from chronic diarrhea may have difficulties with oral doses of coconut oil since it is fat, which can be hard on a sensitive digestive system.

Overall, it is a safe home remedy, but like with all things it is prudent to exercise caution until you know if your dog will experience any adverse reactions.

How Coconut Oil Helps to Heal Wounds

Studies have proven that the use of coconut oil on wounds can aid in faster healing and reduce the risk of infection. There are three main reasons coconut oil works so well for injuries.

First, coconut oil contains a variety of antiseptic properties that fight bacterial, yeast, and fungal infections, as well as prevent these infections from developing in the first place.  

One of those properties is called lauric acid, commonly used as an anti-parasitic, anti-viral, and antifungal. And coconut oil contains a significant amount, 45-53%, of lauric acid, which is why it is so effective.

Second, coconut oil also acts as an anti-inflammatory which can reduce discomfort and swelling, allowing the wound to better and faster heal.  

And third, coconut oil increases collagen production, helping the wound to heal quicker. Collagen is a significant building block found in skin, muscles, and blood vessels5, to name a few. Collagen is essential for wound healing as it promotes the growth of new healthy skin and aids in clotting blood.

These three primary factors are why coconut oil is one of the best home remedies for minor wounds.

How to Choose Coconut Oil for Healing Minor Wounds

There are several coconut oil options on the market with a wide range of prices. However, the studies published by certified research centers like the National Center for Biotechnology Information use virgin coconut oil in their testing. 

But going one step further it is best to choose an oil listed as cold-pressed, since the extraction process in temperature-controlled environments aids in preserving the integrity of the coconut oil.  

And if you choose an organic variety of virgin cold-pressed oil it will ensure you are purchasing one of the purest types. 

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When to Use Coconut Oil

If your dog has a minor injury that does not require veterinary care, like:

  • Skin abrasions
  • Cuts and scrapes
  • Cracked pads 
  • Small sores
  • Open sebaceous cysts
  • Minor skin infections
  • Inflamed or irritated bug bites

Coconut Oil is the Perfect Remedy

It is vital to monitor the injury to ensure that closely it does not worsen and require professional medical care.

Additionally, coconut oil is an excellent preventative treatment for your dog's pads, since it can assist in keeping their pads well-nourished and supple, reducing the risk of cracks or abrasions.

Also, if your dog suffers from dermatitis and is prone to skin infections, coconut oil can help moisturize the skin. Additionally, reducing the risk of yeast and fungal infections, as well as eliminating blisters and scaly skin. 

Do not use coconut oil if:

  • Bleeding cannot be controlled
  • The wound shows signs of severe infection such as discolored or smelly discharge
  • It is a puncture or other deep wound
  • It requires sutures

If in the event of a more severe injury and you are far from a vet, it is best to contact your vet to see how to treat the wound before administering first aid.

Why You Should Use Coconut Oil for Minor Wounds

In addition to the various healing benefits, coconut oil is a very innocuous product. It is a natural home remedy that, if ingested, will likely not cause any harmful side-effects. 

Additionally, because coconut oil has a high content of medium-chain triglycerides, it is more stable and has an extended shelf life, ideal for any home first aid kit.  

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How to Apply Coconut Oil

First, you will want to rinse and clean the wound of any debris inside the affected area.

You should only use clean cold water to rinse the wound, do not use rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide.  

According to Davis Regional Medical Center, both rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide can destroy healthy skin cells and impede the healing process. And since you are using coconut oil, there is no need to use an additional antiseptic.

After thoroughly rinsing the area, gently pat the wound dry with a clean, dry towel. Avoid wiping or rubbing the area with the towel as it may cause irritation or fibers to get into the recently cleaned wound.

Next, you will want to use a gloved hand to apply a thin layer of coconut oil to the area. It would be best if you did not use a cotton ball as it may leave fibers behind.

Depending on the location, you may need to distract your dog after applying it so that they do not lick the oil off. If your pup licks the wound, it will not only remove the coconut oil but also aggravate the injury.

Using Coconut Oil for Dog Wounds

If you are unsure if your pooch needs medical attention, please consult your vet before attempting any home remedies. However, if your dog has a minor cut or scrape, then using coconut oil is a proven and safe treatment option!

Meet The Author 

Jessica Mabie author of Dog Paw Pad Injuries for dogs: What you need to know

Jessica Mabie

Canine Specialist & Writer

Jessica Mabie is a Freelance Writer residing in the Twin Cities. She specializes in writing about pets, travel, and food. Jessica graduated with a BA in English Literature from the University of Minnesota, TC.

Jessica has always loved dogs, and, at the age of 14, she started volunteering at a neighborhood vet clinic. While at the U of M, she continued her work with dogs as an obedience trainer and vet tech. Although she no longer works with dogs professionally, she does use her experience as a volunteer with American Brittany Rescue as well as aiding in her writing.

When not working, Jessica and her family spend a lot of time camping and hiking from spring to fall. So, if you happen to see her out and about with her family don’t hesitate to say “Hi!”, (You’ll know it’s her since few are so daring as to have 4 Britts).

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