I think we can all agree Starbucks has cornered the coffee market. There are many of us who enjoy a $5 caramel frappucino with 64 grams of sugar every now and then…even if we are a little embarrassed to admit it.
Now it seems Starbucks is entering the canine market too.
This is good news for those of us who love to bring our doggies to Starbucks, but wished they had some special treats for them too. Well, I guess enough dog owners spoke and Starbucks listened.
Five Starbarks Cafes are opening as a test on May 1, 2016 in Manhattan, San Francisco, Hollywood, Bellevue (Washington), and Boca Raton (Florida).
These test locations will have the traditional human fare like macchiatos and cappuccinos. But they’ll also be featuring food for your pet—things like chicken soup and grain free treats with MCT oil.
MCT oil…what is that?
I hadn’t heard of MCT oil until I read The Dogington Post’s press release about the opening of these new cafes. They touted MCT oil as brain oil.
This made me suspicious. I’m a devoted and pretty educated dog owner, and I never heard of it. But I suspect we’ll all be hearing a lot more about it if these Starbarks Cafés take off.
Then everyone will want MCT oil-fortified treats for their dogs. And pet food manufacturers will be happy to meet the need.
So I set out to get the MCT oil lowdown and here’s what I’ve learned. It’s another one of those things you really need to understand in order to not be misled.
What is MCT oil?
Before you can understand what MCT oil is, you have to understand what MCT oil is not.
MCT stands for medium chain triglycerides. Triglycerides are fatty acids.
Fatty acids are made up of carbon atoms. It’s the way those atoms are arranged in chains that give MCT its name. There are short, medium and long chain triglycerides.
MCTs are medium chains. They are more easily absorbed by the body than long chain triglycerides.
The carbon chains that make up MCTs have lots of health benefits. The most notable chains are caproic acid, caprylic acid, capric acid and lauric acid.
These 4 carbon chains are found in coconut oil…another trendy product that packs a healthful punch.
The predominant MCT found in coconut oil, and the one that offers the greatest health value, is lauric acid. In fact coconut oil is 50% lauric acid, making it a very rich source of this beneficial MCT.
Lauric acid is an antimicrobial that’s used in a lot of drugs and nutraceuticals. It kills bacteria, viruses and fungus.
But coconut oil doesn’t only have medium chain triglycerides. It also has long chain triglycerides. They’re not so healthy. Because of this, someone decided they’d make MCT oil to get the benefits of coconut oil without the negative effects of long chains.
MCT oil is not natural like coconut oil is. It’s made by processing coconut and palm kernel oils in a lab. It’s manufactured to consist only of the medium chain triglycerides found in these oils.
On the surface, this seems like a good thing because it leaves out the long chains that aren’t absorbed so well.
The bad news is that MCT oil doesn’t only leave out the long chains—it also leaves out the lauric acid, the ingredient that gives coconut oil most of its healthful punch.
Does MCT oil offer any health benefits?
In the research that I’ve done, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of information about the benefits of MCT oil.
There are lots of websites, however, promoting the benefits of coconut oil for you and your pet; increased energy, weight loss, healthy skin (and coat in dogs), improved digestion, and fewer allergies.
There was one small mention on a website that it may improve brain function. I wouldn’t be hanging my hat on that.
I was surprised to find that there is so little information about the benefits of MCT oil itself. Could that be because there aren’t too many benefits?
I couldn’t find even one well-regarded source online that expressed the opinion that it had value for dogs. No veterinarians—no pet food manufacturers.
Maybe it’s just too soon.
So if you happen to live near a Starbarks and you’re wondering if your dog should try a grain-free treat laced with MCT oil, it probably won’t hurt them. But I wouldn’t count on the brain oil promise they’ll be pushing to justify the price.
And with the price I’m certain they’ll be charging, maybe it should come with the promise of immortality too.
Do you give your pet MCT oil? Share your experience in the comment section above.