Pets are family, and we believe they deserve to be treated as such and given the best love and care possible. But, when they get older and approach senior status, it’s hard not to want to give them even more love than you did before. We won’t stop you. Instead, we want to explain why you should give your senior dog coconut oil as another means of spoiling him!
When is a dog considered “senior”?
Naturally, as they progress in age, dogs are more likely to develop illnesses or injuries. To make sure your dog is receiving the best care possible when and how he deserves it, it’s important to understand his age and how that impacts his health. These are the guidelines for understanding when your dog is considered a senior.
Is 7 the magic number?
Past guidelines used to classify dogs as seniors once they hit the age of eight. Some may still believe that, and others may not know that veterinary guidelines have changed. You may want start paying special attention to your dog’s health when he reaches this age simply because it means he is getting up there in age, but it is not the magic number for age classification.
According to Dr. Heidi Lobprise, DVM, DACDC and spokesperson for the International Veterinary Senior Care Society, the old guidelines are more effective for dogs between the weight range of 20 and 40 pounds. She also noted, however, that it’s not uncommon to see a Great Dane present as geriatric when he hits age seven versus a Chihuahua who might not be geriatric until his twenties.
The fact of the matter is that smaller dogs tend to have longer life expectancies, and as such, they might not be considered to be seniors until considerably later in life than larger dogs. For that reason, a good rule of thumb is that most dogs are considered seniors between the ages of five and ten. (That being said, your personal vet will be able to better help identify where your dog is in his lifespan.)
Why you should spoil your senior dog with coconut oil
In past blogs, we’ve highlighted some of the ways dogs can benefit from coconut oil. They range from helping with itchy and dry skin to relieving hot spots to even protecting their paws from all sorts of irritants. The best part about all of these benefits is that they apply to dogs of all ages, including your senior pup. But, there are a couple of ways that coconut oil can more specifically help seniors.
While dogs of any age can suffer from arthritis, the fact of the matter is that older dogs are at the disadvantage of suffering from this ailment more frequently or more severely. The medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) present in coconut oil include include caprylic, lauric, decanoic, palmitic, myristic, and oleic acids--some of which may help reverse joint and ligament damage that causes arthritis. As a result, your pup may feel more inclined to be mobile after ingesting coconut oil!
As they age, senior dogs tend to lose cognition skills. The good news, however, is that studies have been done on this subject, so it’s possible to do things to help your pup retain his cognitive abilities. One such study saw 24 older Beagles consume a diet supplemented with 5.5 percent MCTs. In just a month, the Beagles showed improvement in their cognition when performing certain tasks. As we mentioned in the above section, coconut oil contains MCTs, which makes it ideal to add to your senior dog’s diet if you’re trying to help him retain his cognitive abilities.
How to give senior dogs Skinny Coconut Oil
While external or topical use of coconut oil (or Skinny Paw shampoo!) can help with skin and coat issues, the issues we’ve discussed in this blog are best treated when coconut oil is ingested by your pup. You can give your dog pure coconut oil, but why not make it even more enjoyable for him by giving him extra tasty, homemade, coconut oil treats?