One of the newest health foods for pets and people is “coconut oil. " Coconut oil is a saturated-fat vegetable oil. Coconuts have always been a staple of tropical cuisines and people following a coconut-based diet. These people rarely suffered from heart disease, cancer, diabetes or other illnesses that haunt modern America.
According to the people who use coconut oil regularly it can reduce the risk of cancer and other degenerative conditions, improves cholesterol levels and helps to fight heart disease, improves digestion and nutrient absorption, contains antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal agents that prevent infection an disease. . . . . . . . some even use it to brush their and for underarm deodorant. I do believe I have seen the ingredient “coconut oil" in several of my favorite deodrants.
This is good news for people and their dogs since most of coconut oil's human benefits are the same for canines. Try giving your shih tzu some coconut oil to see if he/she likes the taste. It has been reported that most dogs do love the taste of coconut oil, which makes feeding it to your shih tzu more pleasant. I really don't like giving my shih tzu anything that is unpleasant even if it is for their own good.
You will need to get the right type. Most health food stores carry at least one brand and you can probably find it online. There are two main types of coconut oil. One is refined coconut oil (might be labeled RBD for Refined, Bleached, and Deordorized). It is made from copra, or dried coconut meat, then treated to remove impurities. Most RBD coconut oil is relatively inexpensive. It does not contain all the nutrients found in unrefined coconut oil and in most cases the coconuts used are lof low quality and chemicals like chorine and hexane are used in the refining process. The other type is Unrefined or “virgin" coconut oil and is made from fresh coconuts. hmmmm, sounds like the kind I would like best. I truly like coconut of anything. I want it to taste good and taste good to my dogs. I would go for the more expensive type.
Of course the better of the two is going to cost you more. Good-quality oil is colorless when liquid and pure white when solid, never yellow or pink and it should not contain residue or have an “off" or rancid odor. If you get hold of some coconut oil that gives you a scratchy throat or like a “catch" in the throat, this is probably a sign of poor quality. A smokey flavor or aroma is another indication of poor quality.
There are also hydrogenated and fractionated coconut oils. Hydrogenated coconut oil is not recommend for your dog because it contains harmful trans-fats. Fractionated coconut oil is a message oil and aromatherapy ingredient and is sold as a cosmetic ingredient.
For your shih tzu, you would need to start out with small amounts and increase gradually to about 1 tablespoon per 30 lbs. body weight daily (no shih tzu weighs this much), so you would need to adjust that dosage and ask your vet for help on that. You need to watch for changes in your dog's energy, skin, coat, breath and body odor.
You can also apply coconut oil topically to cuts, wounds, infected ears, bites and stings for both you and your pets.
Connie Limon publishes a FREE weekly newsletter. A professional newsletter with a focus upon health and wellness for you and your pets. Discounts on shih tzu puppies are offered to subscribers. Sign up at: http://www.stainglassshihtzus.com