How Much Coconut Oil for Dogs? Science-Based Daily Dosages

how much coconut oil for dogs daily dosage

This guide will discuss the correct amount of coconut oil that your dog should have.

Science shows coconut oil in a dog’s diet is great for energy, mental clarity and brain health, but how much coconut oil is the best amount for dogs?

As dog owners, it’s important to know which fats are considered good for your dog and how much to use. This helps us maximize their longevity. That’s why it’s not just important to make sure your pup is eating coconut oil, but to know how much coconut oil is optimal as well.

All fats are not created equal — some are great for dogs, while others contribute to heart disease and increased overall disease risk. Lucky, coconut oil falls in the first category and is completely safe for dogs. When eaten in the right amounts daily, the benefits of coconut oil can promote your dog’s long-term health.

Coconut Oil and MCT: The Breakdown

In order to understand how much coconut oil for dogs is the correct amount, let’s look at its properties.

Coconut oil is made up of about 90% saturated fats and 9% unsaturated fats. The fact is, dogs need saturated fats like those in coconut oil in order to maintain healthy skin and long-term brain health, and we’ll get back to that later.

In this era of growing chicken allergy in dogs, very few dogs are allergic to coconut oil—making it easy to fit into their diet!

While dogs need some fat from animal sources, none of those can reach the specific benefits of coconut oil because they lack medium chain triglycerides (MCTs).

Over 50% of the fats in coconut oil are MCTs. Although sometimes it may seem like a buzzword, medium chain triglycerides actually play such an important overall role in a dog’s good health.

Here are some quick facts about MCTs: 

  • MCTs have antibacterial and antiviral properties[*]
  • MCTs are converted into ketones which improve brain function in dogs[*]
  • MCTs from coconut oil can help dogs manage epilepsy[*]
  • MCTs from coconut oil could help manage blood sugar levels[*]
  • MCTs from coconut oil could potentially promote weight loss[*]

With all of coconut oil’s unique properties, we start to get a better picture of why this superfood has become so supported by the pet nutrition community, and why it should be included it in a dog’s diet.

How Coconut Oil Impacts a Dog’s Body

Now let’s start to talk about dosages.

Since coconut oil is 100% fat, each gram of coconut oil has 9 calories, while carbohydrates and proteins have less than half that amount per gram, coming in at 4 calories each.

Normally when looking at how much coconut oil for dogs is necessary, caloric value would be an important consideration. However, while coconut oil has many benefits and is more calorie dense, a study by the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association suggests that coconut oil mixed into a dog’s food helped them actually lose more weight than dogs on regular dog food [*].

But how could this be?

Interestingly, the medium chain triglycerides contained in coconut oil are digested differently than long chain triglycerides.

An MCT molecule has 6 to 12 total carbon atoms, while a long chain triglyceride molecule has over 12.  Some long chain triglycerides, such as omega-6, have inflammatory properties and are often stored as fat cells in your dog’s body. They are not easily digested. Although they are not considered harmful in small amounts, we have plenty more reasons to stick to MCTs instead.

Once MCTs are broken down, they can freely cross into blood circulation through the cells of the intestinal lining. Next, they travel directly into the blood and go straight to the liver. The liver then quickly converts them to ketones. And as you may have guessed, ketones are used as a very efficient fuel for dogs.

A Safe Coconut Oil Dosage

Now that we understand how coconut oil is efficiently digested by dogs, let’s look into smart dosages.

In a study by the National Institutes of Health, dogs were given various amounts of coconut oil and their vitals were tested[*].

The dogs were fed coconut oil in the amounts of 0%, 5%, 10% and 15% of their food over a 90 day period. They were monitored for signs of toxicity by clinical observations, body weight measurements, food consumption level, physical examinations, hematology and serum chemistry, ophthalmic examinations and urinalysis.

At the end of the study, there were no signs of toxic effects observed in any of the dogs related to their food, and the animal viability was 100% by the study’s conclusion.

However, there were some differences seen at the various coconut oil levels. With coconut oil at 15% of their diet, many dogs would not eat their food based on palatability issues, so you may want to keep this in mind. However, the scientists noted that no safety concerns were noted at any dosage level.

Recommended Daily Dosage Chart

You should consult your veterinarian to understand whether there are any breed or age-specific issues that may impact your dog specifically. However, these are the generally recommended daily dosages of coconut oil for dogs.

Dog's Weight

Starting Dosage

Daily Dosage

10 lbs or less

¼ tsp

1 tsp

11-20 lbs

½ tsp

2 tsp

21-30 lbs

¾ tsp

1 Tbsp

31-40 lbs

1 tsp

1 ⅓ Tbsp

41-50 lbs

1 ¼ tsp

1 ⅔ Tbsp

51-60 lbs

1 ½ tsp

2 Tbsp

61-70 lbs

1 ¾ tsp

2 ⅓ Tbsp

71-80 lbs

2 tsp

2 ⅔ Tbsp

81-90 lbs.

2 ¼ tsp

3 Tbsp

91 lbs or more

2 ½ tsp

3 ⅓ Tbsp

As always, your dog may need a bit more than necessary if they’re active, or a little less if they are naturally less energetic.

The benefit of already having the optimal level of coconut oil in your dog’s food is that it leaves out all of the guesswork. Here’s a dog food with coconut oil that we recommend.

At the end of the day, our pup’s health is paramount to everything else. By making sure that our furry friends get the appropriate amount of coconut oil, we can help them obtain the benefits of coconut oil found in recent research.

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