Oils for Dogs: 4 Options for Canine Wellness
If you’re interested in natural solutions for boosting health, you’ve probably already considered adding more olive oil, coconut oil, and fish oil to your life. But could your dog’s wellness routine benefit from certain oils as well?
There are a variety of supplements, shampoos, creams, and lotions containing health-promoting oils on the market for pet parents and dogs alike. Whether or not they’ll benefit your pup depends on a variety of factors including the product type and dosage as well as your dog’s age, personal health profile, dietary needs, and more.
To sort out which oils are worth investing in, we asked two holistic veterinarians to share their insight and provide some recommendations. Here, learn everything you need to know about oils for dogs and peruse a list of veterinarian-approved products to consider adding to your cart.
Oils for Dogs: Ones to Consider
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While more research is needed on the potential health benefits of some oils for dogs, these ones get the stamp of approval from canine health pros.
Some mild side effects and interactions with medications and supplements are possible. For these reasons, always consult with your veterinarian for the best dosage and form of application for your dog’s needs before you give any oils for dogs a try.
Coconut oil is safe for dogs when eaten in small amounts or applied to the skin. “It may help improve digestion, reduce inflammation, help control certain parasites, increase cognitive function, support skin health, and more,” says Dr. Trina Hazzah, a Los Angeles-based veterinarian specializing in oncology and complementary and alternative medicine.
How, exactly? Coconut oil contains “good” saturated fats known as medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) which have anti-inflammatory, antifungal, and antibacterial properties.
While few studies have been done on dogs specifically, research shows coconut oil can help hydrate itchy, dry skin and may improve hair health. For your pup, that could mean relief from common skin woes like hot spots and a shinier coat.
Give your dog a bath with coconut oil shampoo and you can also help ward off pests like fleas, ticks, and mites and support healing from parasite bites (though parasite preventative medications are still a must), per a 2013 study.
Look for products that contain unrefined coconut oil, a.k.a. virgin coconut oil. Our favorites are:
When ingested, side effects like greasy diarrhea are possible, and if your dog is overweight, has pancreatitis, or metabolizes fat poorly, it’s best to only apply coconut oil to his skin or in very small doses.
Like coconut oil, MCT oil for dogs may help support their overall health thanks to the presence of healthy fats which boost cognitive performance.
In particular, emerging studies suggest MCT oil for dogs could help decrease symptoms of epilepsy, making it a potential alternative treatment for pups with drug-resistant seizures, notes Dr. Judy Morgan, a holistic veterinarian based in New Jersey.
MCT oil also shows promise in dialing down symptoms of canine cognitive dysfunction, possibly because it serves as an alternative fuel source for the aging brain.
Some of our other favorite MCT oil products for dogs include:
Make sure to store it in a cool, dry place according to the label instructions.
With the legalization of cannabis in many states, the CBD craze is in full swing. “Hemp oil with CBD for dogs is great,” says Dr. Morgan. Because it contains CBD (a.k.a. cannabidiol, a compound found in hemp and cannabis), it could help ease your dog’s pain and anxiety, fight seizures, and more, according to anecdotal reports.
While there’s no conclusive data on the possible pros and cons of hemp oil for dogs, early studies are promising and your veterinarian might suggest giving it a try for a natural anxiety supplement.
For your dog’s safety, look for products that are organic and come with a certificate of analysis (which indicates that the product has been evaluated by a laboratory for potency, ingredients, and the presence of contaminants).
Our favorite hemp oil for dogs is hands-down Organic Hemp Oil from The Anxious Pet for its vet-approved formula, high-quality ingredients, and active mgs of CBD.
Other hemp oil products to consider include:
Fish oil—like salmon oil, sardine oil, and cod liver oil—is one of the most beneficial oils for dogs because it is rich in “good” fats known as omega-3 fatty acids. These include eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).
“These act as anti-inflammatory agents and therefore may be beneficial in a variety of different inflammatory conditions in dogs such as skin allergies, inflammatory bowel disease, arthritis, heart disease, kidney disease, and more,” says Dr. Hazzah. Since DHA is key for brain health, fish oil for dogs may also help support puppies’ developing brains or reduce symptoms of canine cognitive dysfunction in senior dogs.
Keep in mind that fish oil can interact with drugs such as anticoagulants, doxorubicin, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). It’s best to talk with your veterinarian before considering use in dogs with diarrhea, diabetes, or pancreatitis.
Since fish oil can become rancid when exposed to air or light, shop for capsules or oil stored in glass bottles and follow the label’s storage instructions, suggests Dr. Morgan.
Our favorite fish oil for dogs is Vetrinex Labs Omega 3 Fish Oil Formula for its megadose of omega-3 fatty acids. The vet-recommended formula includes a blend of oils from 5 wild-caught, Icelandic species of fish and has nearly 1.5 times the EPA & DHA of leading competitors.
Try the following fish oil supplements for your pups:
Unsafe or Ineffective Oils for Dogs: Ones to Avoid
While natural, oils can be highly potent and some aren’t safe or effective for dogs. Here’s what you need to know about popular oils that aren’t so dog-friendly or may not be worth the cost.
Although krill oil contains healthy fats like omega-3 fatty acids, humans need twice as much of it compared to regular fish oil to reap the health benefits, and it’s not clear if these benefits extend to dogs. On top of this, some environmental groups say the krill fishing industry poses a serious threat to food chains in the Antarctic.
Also known as flax oil, flaxseed oil contains high levels of an omega-3 known as alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) which can help fight inflammation. However, dogs don’t metabolize it efficiently, so it’s not worth giving to them compared to other oils with similar effects like fish oil, says Dr. Hazzah.
While it’s used by traditional Ayurvedic medicine practitioners and may help repel certain intruders, neem oil isn’t strong enough to protect pets from parasites, has an unpleasant garlic-like scent, and may be unsafe for dogs if ingested.
Many Essential Oils
Essential oils such as oil of tea tree, cinnamon, citrus, pennyroyal, peppermint, pine, sweet birch, wintergreen, and ylang ylang are toxic to dogs when ingested or applied to the skin. You shouldn’t use essential oils on your dog without direct instructions for diluting them and applying them from your vet.
If your dog is exposed to them, avoid inducing vomiting and call the Pet Poison Helpline at 1-800-213-6680 for help.
5 Vegan and Cruelty-Free CBD Products to Keep Your Pets Chill
CBD is known to benefit humans, but can it help our cats and dogs? As more pet parents turn to CBD to help combat stress, anxiety, insomnia, PTSD, and nausea, many wonder if it’s safe to give to animals, too.
Does CBD Work for Pets?
According to PetMD, CBD oil can be effective in helping treat symptoms related to cancer, seizures, anxiety, arthritis, back pain, gastrointestinal issues, among other health issues. CBD is typically administered orally via oils, tinctures, and treats but there are also topical options, like balms.
It is also safe to give CBD oil to your cats – holistic vets have used it to treat arthritis, anxiety, and pain – but there has been little research regarding its effectiveness. Unlike dogs, cats should not be given topical CBD because they’ll lick it off.
Because CBD oil contains little to no THC, the psychotropic compound found in cannabis, it won’t get your pets high. While CBD is safe for cats and dogs, the cannabis plant itself is toxic.
Dr. Tim Shu, founder and CEO of the pet cannabis company, VETCBD, added that compared to other medications that may treat the aforementioned issues, CBD oil poses no threat to canine health with proper dosage. “It doesn’t damage the kidney, liver, or GI tract. The dogs aren’t high or sedated,” he said.
However, Graham Quigly, owner and acupuncturist at a holistic animal clinic in San Rafael, California, stressed that CBD is not a “cure-all” substitute for medication.
Research to determine the correct dosage for dogs has yet to be conducted. Veterinarian Dr. Jennifer Coates advises that anyone looking to give CBD to their pets should speak to a vet who has experience with treating pets with cannabis oil. As a best practice, always consult with your vet before introducing to your pets.
5 Vegan and Cruelty-Free CBD Products for Your Pets
1. Hemp Oil for Cats and Dogs
It may not be CBD but hemp oil has been shown to have many of the same benefits as CBD. Healthy Pets’ hemp oil can be used to treat anxiety, joint pain, and inflammation in cats and dogs. Plus, it’s way easier to just have it shipped right to your house.
View the product here.
2. Canna-Pet Vegan Dog Treats
Canna-Pet’s vegan dog treats are an easy way to help relieve your dog’s anxiety. The PB&A variety is made from organic barley flour, peanut butter, bananas, applesauce, peanuts, and flax seeds. Each treat contains 80mg of broad spectrum, hemp-derived oil.
View the product here.
3. Petacure Fur Relief Balm
Petacure makes hemp-derived CBD tinctures for cats, dogs, and rabbits as well as this topical Fur Relief Balm. Made from organic coconut oil, chamomile, spearmint, peppermint, and CBD oil, it’s made to help soothe joint or skin inflammations brought on by allergies, medical conditions, and bites. Because this product is topical, it is not suitable for cats.
View the product here.
4. HolistaPet CBD Capsules
These CBD capsules are safe for both cats and dogs! This natural dietary supplement provides your pet with omega fatty acid-rich hemp seed powder and 20 mg of full-spectrum CBD per capsule – plus, the capsules aren’t made from gelatin, so it’s vegan. It’s also free from corn, soy, and dairy
View the product here.
5. Petacure Fur Wellness Tincture
Another great gift from Petacure! The Fur Wellness Tincture is safe for dogs, cats, and rabbits. It features organic CBD oil, hemp oil, and vitamin B12 and was created specifically to aid in recovery from illnesses like autoimmune disorders. According to the company, its tincture contains 750 mg of hemp oil-derived CBD, which is one of the highest on the market today.