Managing Dry Skin Naturally with Coconut Oil

Managing Dry Skin Naturally with Coconut Oil

by Elsebeth DeBiase,
Coastal Creations Pet Salon, Owner

Winter days invite romps with your canine companions in the fresh snow and long snuggles by the fire. The chilly winter months are great fun for many dogs but can foster grooming challenges. Low humidity levels and higher indoor temperatures promote dry, flaky skin, sometimes resulting in excessive scratching and skin damage. As a result, regular inspection of your dog's skin and promptly addressing minor skin disturbances will go a long way in ensuring skin health. If dry skin and dandruff are noticed, coconut oil is a viable home option for moisturizing and alleviating these conditions. Coconut oil is an effective and safe natural solution that is easy for dog owners to use.
Coconut oil is one of the oldest recorded holistic remedies dating back to Ayurvedic medical documents from 1500 B. C. Its healing properties are attributed to its high fatty acid content. Fatty acids are the building blocks of fats and oils, and several play a vital role in maintaining essential body functions. Fatty acids, including lauric, caprylic, and capric acids found in coconut oil, have been scientifically studied. Research indicates they possess antibacterial, antifungal, or anti-inflammatory properties, even when applied topically. When applied to the skin, coconut oil acts as an emollient, smoothing the skin's top layer, preventing cracks, and reducing moisture loss. Adding a natural soothing emollient helps protect the skin barrier, allowing it to heal. Dr. Karen Becker, DVM states in her video "Why Use Coconut Oil for Skin Treatment" that coconut oil improves skin flakiness, skin integrity and helps skin resist opportunistic pathogens like yeast and bacteria. When purchasing coconut oil, virgin organic cold-pressed coconut oil is the best choice due to its high nutrient content, purity, and preservation of natural properties. As outlined below, virgin coconut oil can be added to a conditioner following a bath, used as a mask, or applied as a spot treatment.

Coconut Oil Conditioning Bath

•    Cleanse the dog’s skin with a species-appropriate gentle shampoo formula, lather, and rinse well.

•    Mix 3 to 4 drops of coconut oil into a pet-safe commercial rinse-off conditioning product.

•    Apply coconut oil and conditioner solution to damp coat and leave on for 5 to 10 minutes.

•    Rinse the solution from the skin and coat thoroughly with warm water. 

•    This method is best for long- coated dogs and dogs with greasy skin and coat.

Coconut Oil Mask

•    Cleanse the dog's skin with a species-appropriate gentle shampoo formula, lather, and rinse well.

•    Apply generous amounts of virgin organic cold-pressed coconut oil to the dog’s skin and coat.
•    Let the oil sit for 5 to 10 minutes.

•    Rinse with abundant water and lightly shampoo if needed to remove any greasiness.

•    This method is most suitable for dogs with very short, sparse, or no coat.

Coconut Oil Spot treatment

•    Apply coconut oil to localized areas of irritation or dry skin.

•    Apply coconut oil to dry nails, paw pads, or crusty ear tips.
Although rare, coconut allergy can affect both pets and people. Testing a small amount of coconut oil on a specific area is crucial to avoid any possible allergic reactions. It is safe for dogs to lick coconut oil, but avoid allowing them to ingest too much, especially if they have dietary sensitivities. For information on coconut oil for dogs, visit, and always consult a veterinarian if your pet is experiencing skin and coat

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