Does Coconut Oil Actually Work For Dog Cataracts?

dog with cataracts

There is little to no evidence, anecdotal or otherwise, that proves coconut can treat dog cataracts. However, it has been shown to delay the progression. The best thing you can do for your dog is to get prescription eye drops from the vet. Vitamin C, A, and E have also been proven effective at treating cataracts.

Many dogs suffer from eye problems, especially as they age. Some problems are easier for your dog to deal with than others. Many issues with the eye are more gradual, while others come on quickly.

One common issue in many dogs is cataracts. Cataracts are more common in certain breeds and can usually be traced genetically. There are, however, many causes.

While there is no easy-fix for cataracts, there are treatments, including natural ones. Here, we focus on whether or not coconut oil will help with cataracts.

Cataracts in Dogs

Before we get started, it’s good to know exactly what you are dealing with. Cataracts are relatively common, especially in breeds like Boston Terriers, Cocker Spaniels, Havanese, and Miniature Schnauzers. Just because a breed is more likely to have cataracts does not mean they will develop them.

Cataracts, depending on how developed they are, will likely affect your dog’s vision. If your dog has severe cataracts, they may be nearly blind. However, many dogs with mild cataracts can still see relatively well, with only some vision impairment.

So what exactly are cataracts? And how can you identify them?

How to Identify Cataracts

Cataracts will look different depending on several factors. This includes what stage of development the cataract is in, how far along it is, and the age of your dogs.

Another factor affecting how they look is if your dog has any other eye problems that can worsen or cause cataracts.

Cataracts usually look like a cloudy mass on your dog’s eye. Early on, it might just look like a change in the pupil size or a hint of cloudiness.

You can also observe your dog’s behaviors due to a change in vision. If your dog is showing reluctance to jump or walk up and down the stairs, this could be due to a change in vision. They may also be extra clumsy or scratch at their eyes.

Note, however, that dogs naturally develop cloudier pupils as they age. In older dogs, it’s harder to tell if cataracts are forming.

Common Causes of Cataracts

There are lots of different reasons a dog may develop cataracts. In most cases, there is nothing you could have done to avoid it. Lifestyle changes likely wouldn’t have made a difference.

With that said, there are a few things that might make the chance of your dog developing cataracts more likely.

Genetics

This is the most common cause of cataracts. If your dog’s parents had cataracts, your dog is likely to develop cataracts. This can happen to dogs of any age. Even younger dogs can develop cataracts if genetically predisposed to it, although cataracts are more common in older dogs.

Eye Infections

Eye infections can also cause cataracts. If your dog has constant eye infections, this could lead to further issues in the eye. Long term, it may cause blindness or other vision impairments. It’s important to visit the veterinarian and check your dog’s eyes regularly.

Diabetes

If your dog suffers from diabetes, there is an increased risk of developing cataracts. Just like in humans, diabetes comes with many health issues.

To prevent diabetes and the health issues associated with it, make sure your dog is eating a healthy diet. Keep your dog at a healthy weight by making sure they get proper exercise.

Deficiencies in Diet

In some cases, if your dog has nutrient deficiencies, it may develop cataracts. This is usually seen mostly in puppies, and the issues will likely be resolved as the dog ages. This usually happens when the puppy is fed artificial milk instead of milk from its mother.

Coconut Oil for Cataracts

For more traditional treatments, you can consult your veterinarian. They are likely to prescribe medicated eye drops that will prevent cataracts from worsening. If the cataracts are severe, they may suggest surgery.

A less traditional treatment for cataracts in dogs is coconut oil. As usual, it is best to consult your veterinarian before giving your dog anything new. If your vet gives you the okay, coconut oil may actually be beneficial. However, it won’t be a cure.

Benefits of Coconut Oil

  • Cheap: Coconut oil is a very affordable alternative. It can be found in most places for less than ten dollars a jar.
  • Natural: There are no common allergens besides the coconut in coconut oil, making it a relatively neutral option. It is likely suitable for most dogs.
  • Easy to Use: Using coconut oil is straightforward. It’s also a versatile product that is used for many ailments.
  • Accessible: Coconut oil is available in almost every supermarket these days, which means it’s simple to find.

Risks

  • Allergies: If your dog is allergic or sensitive to coconut oil, long-term use could be a problem.
  • Digestive Issues: If your dog has a sensitive stomach and you introduce coconut oil to your dog’s diet, they have digestive issues. This is likely to go away as your dog gets used to it. Start with a small amount to make sure your dog can handle it.
  • High Fat Content: Coconut oil contains a lot of fat. These fats are safe for dogs but should still be administered in moderation. If your dog gains weight, reduce the amount of coconut oil you’re feeding them.

How to Use Coconut Oil

You can use coconut oil topically or orally. Both will benefit your dog’s eyes. You can add about a teaspoon to your dog’s food per 10 lbs of body weight, introduced gradually. If you start with the full amount, however, your dog might have digestive issues while adjusting.

To use coconut oil topically, put the oil in a small dropper and put one or two drops in each eye.

Upon ingestion of coconut oil, the healthy fats will work to improve your dog’s vision and eye health. But remember, IT WILL NOT reverse the damage caused by cataracts. It MAY slow the speed of development.

What Coconut Oil to Use

If you’re going to use coconut oil on your dog, it’s best to go organic. You should get virgin coconut oil, preferably cold-pressed. You may have to experiment with different types to find one which has a flavor your dog likes.

Other Uses for Coconut Oil in Dogs

Coconut oil is great for plenty of other things as well. You can use it for anything from general cleanliness to skin irritations to bad breath.

Cleaning Teeth

You can use coconut oil to clean your dog’s teeth. If added to their diet in a small amount, your dog’s breath is likely to improve. You can also use coconut oil on your dog’s toothbrush to brush your dog’s teeth. It will clean their teeth without any harm!

Skin

Coconut oil is also great for your dog’s skin and fur, both when ingested and put on topically. If your dog has a rash or dry skin, coconut oil can relieve the pain. It may also help keep a wound or cut free of bacteria.

Digestion

Given in moderation, coconut oil can help your dog’s digestive system by contributing healthy fats.

Coconut Oil Can Delay The Process of Cataracts

Coconut oil is a great product to have on hand for your dog. If your dog has issues with cataracts, coconut oil can help delay the progression of vision impairment.

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