I’m now dabbling with extra virgin coconut oil. Zeph’s skin condition has flared up again. English Pointers are prone to skin problems, which the vet will normally treat with cortisone injections or cream. No thanks: not for my dog. Why? Read this for a start. Seems Zeph is affected by hot weather and the flare ups also seem to be seasonal, like hayfever.

So I began researching dog forums specifically for English Pointers and came across a few ideas for stopping the itching and inflammation – Bepanthen; Calamine lotion; apple cider vinegar mixed with Colloidal Silver and calendula tincture; sorbolene cream. Then I hit on the Coconut Research Center homepage talking about the benefits of coconut oil and more research revealed that it has been successful in clearing up allergic reactions and skin problems.

But it has to be unrefined and as pure as possible. Great. So more searching and I came across The Coconut Shop, which is a Kiwi online shop. I checked out all the products and thought the actual business would be in the North Island. But no…it’s in the South Island and not that far from where we live. Yippee! So El Hubs rang and told them about Zeph’s skin issues. The owner of the business hotfooted it out to see us later that day and we bought a 1 litre jar of Ancient Wisdom Organic Extra Virgin Raw Coconut Oil, which is produced from certified organic coconuts in Samoa.

To cut a long story short, Zeph is now a coconut oil addict and it cleared up his red raw bits within about four days. I applied it topically as well as starting him off on one teaspoon twice daily (in his food and licking it from a teaspoon). When he sees the jar now, he simply sits and waits for his dose of heaven. Zsa Zsa is now also an addict. Their coats are super glossy and there are a ton of health benefits.

We then ordered a 3.25 litre pail of Ancient Wisdom and I ordered the same oil for the skin. It took me a couple of days to use it on my face as I thought I was sort of slapping cooking oil on the chops. But once I tackled that mental block and slapped it on, I was converted. Next morning, I had soft skin and I swear my usual high colouring on the cheeks and nose was far less. Even El Hubs mentioned it and he didn’t know I had used the coconut oil on my face (unless the fact I smelt like a coconut gave it away).

Really goes to show you that there’s a natural solution out there. You just have to take the time to research things. I’ve also tried an assortment of lotions on Zeph – aloe vera gel, Calamine lotion and calendula cream being the ones that seem to work very well in alleviating itching and healing the skin. I use these as a supplement to the coconut oil regime, which Zeph and Zsa Zsa will be on for the rest of their lives. I am also taking a tablespoon per day – I read that super-model, Miranda Kerr, scoffs up to four tablespoons daily. I might work up to that but for the moment, one tablespoon is my daily dose.

You can use coconut oil as a leave-in hair conditioner; eye-makeup remover; hand lotion; body and face moisturiser.