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MCT oil may provide several health benefits to dogs. MCT is tasteless and can be used in various food preparations such as baked goods, coffee, dressings, smoothies, and directly on dog food.
This article examines MCT oil for dogs, the difference between it and coconut oil, its benefits, its effect on seizures, dosage, and how to choose a good MCT oil for your dog.
WHAT IS MCT OIL?
MCTs (medium chain triglycerides) are found in coconuts and palm kernels. At room temperature, they stay in liquid form as an oil. Like most naturally occurring oils that stay liquid at room temperature, they are “good” fats. “Bad” fats are oils that turn to solids at room temperature, like butter or bacon grease (unfortunately the ones that taste best!).
MCTs are absorbed by the body faster than LCTs, or long-chain triglycerides. They’re easier to digest, and are absorbed through the gut and sent straight to the liver where they can be broken down for energy.
Many supplements, prescription drugs, foods, beauty products, and cooking oils are based on MCTs. They are well-studied and as an extract of foods that have been eaten for centuries (coconuts, palm kernels), they are known to be quite safe and a source of healthy energy. Studies show that MCT oil may have health benefits, and it is used to treat a number of diseases.
IS MCT OIL THE SAME AS COCONUT OIL
MCT oil is part of coconut oil. Coconut oil contains long-chain triglycerides and medium-chain triglycerides. LCTs are solid at room temperature.
MCT oil is used in applications where an oil is needed, not a solid fat, so stripping out the LCTs to ensure it stays liquid at room temperature makes sense.
BENEFITS OF MCT OIL
There are numerous benefits MCT oil may offer. Here is a list of a few key advantages:
- Brain – MCT helps dogs make ketones, an energy source for the brain, and may contribute to a ketogenic state in keto-based diets. It is a calorie source compatible with keto-based diets.
- Obesity – A study showed that MCT taken with breakfast decreased the amount of calories eaten at lunch, which may help encourage weight loss.
- Skin Health – MCT oil is favored by manufacturers who want to formulate a natural, safe, good-smelling and well-textured beauty product. Relievet’s CBD Soothing Skin, Paw, and Nose Balm for Dogs uses fractionated coconut oil (the part containing MCTs) as a main ingredient for this exact reason!
- Improve Digestion - MCTs are very easy for your body to digest. They are taken directly from the gut to the liver and converted into a usable cellular fuel, giving you immediate energy. Sugar also gives you immediate energy, but unlike MCT, it can be laid down as fat. MCTs cannot.
- Seizures – Discussed in next section.
- Lower blood sugar levels - Replacing carbohydrates with MCTs in a daily diet will decrease blood sugar, potentially helping with fat loss and controlling blood glucose levels.
- Reduce chronic inflammation – MCTs have been observed to decrease inflammation in published studies.
- Gut Health — MCTs are being studied and shown to help with gut biota (the microorganisms that live in you gut and help you digest food), which may help with gut diease.
MCT OIL FOR DOGS WITH SEIZURES
A dog seizure is a traumatic event for the dog and the owner. There are different types of attacks, including Focal, Psychomotor, Idiopathic Epilepsy, and Grand Mal seizures in dogs.
Seizures need to be managed by a veterinarian. It’s unwise and dangerous to try and manage canine seizures alone as an owner. Many seizure presentations will require prescription drugs to control properly.
That said, MCT oil is remarkably safe. It has been studied to be safe all the way up to replacing 15% of dietary calories and doses of more than 1 gram per kilogram of weight a day. If you want to try giving your dog MCT oil to help control their seizures, talk to your vet — but have confidence that as long as your source of oil is high quality, the chances of hurting your dog are low.
MCTs are thought to (and shown) to help dogs with seizures because they provide a healthier fuel for the brain than carbohydrates. Carbohydrates, or sugars, are thought to cause over-firing and misfiring of neurons in the brain, which leads to increased seizure activity. By providing a ketone based fuel instead of a sugar based fuel, MCTs protect the brain from glucose-based seizure activity, potentially reducing seizure activity by over 30%.
HOW MUCH MCT OIL DO I GIVE MY DOG?
MCT has been studied to help seizures at a dose of 6.5% of the dog’s daily food.
How do we find 6.5% of your dog’s daily food? Let’s look at how:
First, we know that 1 cup is 8 ounces. 6.5% of 8 ounces is about 0.5 ounces — one-half of one ounce.
So for every cup of food you feed your dog, you’d give them 0.5 oz of MCT oil, or around 15mL of MCT oil, directly added to their food.
If you look at Purina’s dog feeding chart, you can how much to feed dogs by weight and calculate how many ounces of MCT oil to use from there.
HOW DO I CHOOSE AN MCT OIL FOR MY DOG
Consult with your veterinarian for professional advice before adding MCT oil to your dog’s diet. If you decide to add MCT oil, then here are some guidelines you can follow:
- Read labels for product quality & ingredient list
- Buy research backed brands
- Ask your veterinarian if they have suggestions on products
If you want to add the powerful combination of CBD and MCT to your dog’s diet, we offer a CBD oil for dogs made with fractionated coconut oil (MCT). MCT oil rapidly carries the CBD to the bloodstream, supplying a greater concentration for absorption. CBD is fat-soluble compound, which is best absorbed when taken with a medium-chain triglycerides. MCT allows CBD to circumvent the first pass metabolism process, meaning your dog’s liver doesn’t metabolize it and more of it makes it to your dog’s bloodstream to work.