Can Dogs Eat Coconut? Is Coconut Safe For Dogs To Eat?


can dogs eat coconut

You’ll never have to look too far to find coconut-infused treats as well as grooming products, and this is a sign that coconut is as trendy in the pet world as it is in ours. You’ve likely also come across suggestions to feed your dog coconut oil or rub it into his paws in the winter. So the question remains, can dogs eat coconut?

So is coconut safe for dogs to eat? Well, the answer is, you bet. There are some considerations and precautions as with anything that you feed your dog; however, the good news is that coconut is non-toxic to dogs and offers quite a few health benefits in the process.

coconuts

Is Coconut Safe for Dogs to Eat?

Dogs can digest a wide variety of foods since they are omnivores. So anything from fiber-rich veggies to protein-packed red meats is safe in your diet. However, simply because they can digest certain types of foods does not mean that they should be eating it. 

Some seemingly harmless foods can tend to be toxic to dogs, while others may not be outright lethal; however, they can damage their health in the long run. So how do you decide what to feed your pet?

High-quality, dry dog food that is well balanced is usually the best option for most dogs. So you get to decide the brand of kibble that is specifically designed to meet your dog’s breed requirements and suit his individual nutritive needs as well as calorie intake. In this way, you won’t need to supplement his diet with anything else. 

However, your pooch will crave treats occasionally in the form of human foods. And this is okay because you can cook up some tasty homemade treats and meals from time to time that is safe for your dog. However, it’s imperative that you know exactly what type of food is safe for dogs and which aren’t.

When it comes to plant-based foods for dogs, you’ll be surprised to know that they’re just as many unhealthy options as there are healthy ones. So is coconut safe for dogs? Can dogs eat coconut, or is this tropical fruit something that you should steer clear of. Coconuts are available in many shapes and forms, so the answer may not be as clear-cut as you may assume.

So coconuts can certainly be served to dogs provided it is done correctly and in moderation. So ultimately, what does this mean? Well, you should never serve the coconut to your dog in the shell. The coconut shell can be very dangerous to dogs and may lead to a blockage or obstruction. So why, while you might think that the hard shell is a good dental treat for your pooch, it is one part of the coconut that you should never serve to Fido.

However, when it comes to coconut meat, you will be relieved to know that it is safe in moderation. 

So coconut meat is completely safe for dogs. However, as always, with human foods served to dogs, there is a big difference between serving a spoonful occasionally as a treat and feeding them large amounts of coconut every day. 

Coconut meat contains medium-chain triglycerides, which may not be poisonous to dogs; however, it can irritate the G.I. tract especially in dogs who are sensitive. Some of the symptoms include stomach ache and bloating. 

Benefits of Coconuts for Dogs

Reduces Inflammation

One of the acids that coconut oil is rich in is Lauric acid. Coconut meat is as naturally rich in this medium-chain fatty acid. Not only is lauric acid a great source of energy for dogs, but it does contain anti-microbial properties, which is especially helpful in reducing the severity and intensity of inflammation. 

So if you have a dog that’s suffering from reduced mobility due to painful joints, serving him a feeding or two of coconut may help his condition. While it may not be a definitive treatment, it is an asymptomatic one. So it may not cure your dog of actual arthritis but will allow your dog to move around with ease.

Immune System Health

Lauric acid is not just an anti-inflammatory, but it also has anti-microbial properties. Studies have shown that it is especially effective in managing ringworm infections caused by other yeast and fungal species. It is also effective in managing the effects of Giardia Lamblia parasitic infections. 

Many studies confirm that it is beneficial in mitigating the effects of Influenza virus infections. The fact that coconut is available in snack-size portions means that it won’t be hard to use these treats to serve your dog good. 

One of the more obvious benefits of the coconut is its oil that is said to improve the appearance of your dog’s skin and coat. So it is effective as a tonic application. However, this benefit can only be derived when the oil is applied topically and not through the digestive tract. However, simply knowing that the coconut meat in itself contains anti-microbial protection and boosts immunity while reducing inflammation in your porch is a good enough reason to serve it as an occasional snack. 

coconuts and oil

Is Coconut Oil Good for Dogs?

If you’re looking for natural remedies like many others, then any natural substance containing antifungal, antiviral, and antibacterial properties is likely to become very popular. In fact, one of the hypes surrounding coconut oil makes it sound almost like a miracle food. However, the reality is that none of these claims is actually backed up by science. The majority of studies have been largely inconclusive, and this pertains to those performed on both humans and animals.

Lots of people believe that some compounds in coconut oil can help aid digestion, reduce inflammation, and cure digestive disorders. It is, however, imperative that you are aware of the potential risks as well. As always, consult with your vet to gain the knowledge needed for your dog’s health. 

Is Coconut Oil Safe for Dogs?

Coconut oil might not be good for your dog despite the health benefits. Even though it’s not poisonous, it does contain a lot of fat and may cause complications in dogs that have existing health conditions. Additionally, dogs may gain weight due to this tropical fruit that is high in fat.

So before following advice dispensed by people who are ever ready to do so, always consult with your friends as their stories are not a substitute for scientific research and your vet will always know what’s best for Fido. 

Can I use Coconut Oil on My Dog?

 As always, when in doubt, consult your vet. Your vet has the records of your dog’s medical history and physical condition so he’ll be able to dispense advice that is specific to your dog. Although topical use of coconut oil is easily administered, your dog may just lick it off his skin. 

So proceed with the use of coconut with instruction from your vet and with the specific amount recommended by him. Too much coconut oil can possibly lead to diarrhea, vomiting, and other unpleasant symptoms. 

So precaution should be considered above all else. This is especially if your dog has a history of pancreatitis or gains weight easily. When using coconut oil on your pet, go for virgin coconut oil or unrefined coconut oil. 

You should also be aware that not all coconut oil tastes the same. Some have a stronger flavor than others, so experiment with the different kinds to see which one Fido prefers.

What’s the Catch with Coconut Oil and Dogs?

Like with all human foods served to Fido, there are certain things that should be kept in mind when giving your pet coconut meat. So let’s take a closer look at them:

 It’s considered acceptable to give mature coconuts to dogs; however, certain breeds may not be able to digest these appropriately, and it could lead to an upset stomach. Rather than risking it, you should serve fresher and younger coconuts to dogs. 

Coconut meat should also be given in moderation at all times. It may be rich in medium-chain triglycerides; however, it can lead to bloating, which is extremely uncomfortable for Fido. Known cases of over-eating coconut meat show dogs displayed symptoms of an upset stomach, so be very cautious about the amount you are giving your furry friend.

The shell of the coconut should never be given to Fido there is a high likelihood that it will cause an obstruction. So while lots of pet owners view it and have even served it to their pets as some kind of chewy treat, it’s dangerous, and you should not attempt it at all. 

chihuahua eating coconut

How to Safely Feed Coconut to your Dog?

Coconuts are unnecessary in the dog’s diet. It does, however, make a delicious treat for them to enjoy. However, as the pet owner, it is your job to be the responsible one and ensure that you’re feeding it safely to your pet. So you need to follow a couple of guidelines. 

When feeding coconut meat, you need to be aware that it can be purchased dried, raw, in shredded form, and even flakes. The sweetened coconut should never be given to Fido under any circumstances. 

Baked goods containing coconut is also a no-no as it may contain an ingredient called Xylitol which is fatal to dogs. Dried coconut also contains added sugar and preservatives, which may affect your pet negatively. So stick to unsweetened forms of coconut and feed your pet in moderation. Although it is non-toxic, it may still lead to an upset stomach and bloating, which is definitely going to be uncomfortable for your furry friend, to say the least. 

Additionally, when serving coconuts, so occasionally and in small amounts as opposed to serving larger amounts, regularly. Also, when feeding coconut to your dog, be on the lookout for gastrointestinal distress. If you see no signs after a couple of hours, there is nothing to be worried about. 

Another note of caution is that when purchasing coconut, get rid of the husk or hard outer shell. It is harmful when swallowed and could possibly be fatal. So avoid this at all costs. Even when it comes to disposing of the outer shell, do so in a place that your dog will never be able to get into. 

Other Ways of Adding Coconut to Fido’s Diet

For those who love getting busy in the kitchen, consider making some homemade coconut treats for your best friend. Here are some fun ideas to get you started:

Coconut oil pup-sicle. Start by mixing 1/2 a cup of solid coconut oil with a handful of your dog’s desired frozen fruit. Divide proportions into an ice cube tray and freeze. Remember to adhere to the coconut oil feeding guidelines when creating the portions. 

Coconut, honey, and peanut butter biscuits: You need to start by preheating the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Combine 1/2 a cup of coconut flour, 1 cup of water, 1 egg, 1 and 1/2 cup of peanut butter as well as 2 tablespoons of baking powder; 1/2 a cup melted coconut oil, 1 tablespoon of honey in a large bowl. Roll out the dough and cut them into shapes and bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until set.

Blueberry, banana and coconut smoothie: Blend 1 banana, 1 cup of ice, 1 cup of blueberries, 1 tablespoon of coconut oil, and 1 tablespoon of peanut butter together. If you’re serving a small dog, portion out the smoothie accordingly and keep the rest refrigerated. 

What about Coconut Water?

So we’ve established that coconut oil is safe for dogs, both topically and orally, however, should we even be asking if coconut water is safe? Well, it’s always better to be safe than sorry, and there are some things to consider before you let Fido gulp down on some exotic coconut drink. 

100%, natural coconut water is perfectly safe; however, when purchasing store-bought stuff, it’s always a good idea to read the ingredient list to find out what’s been added to the drink before offering it to your buddy. If it contains any type of added sugars, additives, and preservatives, you probably shouldn’t serve it to our dog. 

Facts about Coconuts and Dogs

Doggy Odor

The reality is that dogs couldn’t care less about how they smell or where they transfer their odors. However, although some pet odors are naturally easy to eliminate, others are more pungent and tend to linger. The antimicrobial properties of coconut oil are useful in fighting the organisms that cause odors in dogs. So it leaves your dog with a delightful aroma. 

Oral Health

Most vets deal with oral issues in dogs on a daily basis. Owners can prevent this by taking the pets to have professional teeth cleaning done regularly. You can use a solution of aloe vera and hydrogen oxide to remove the plaque. Once it has been removed, brush your dog’s teeth with coconut oil to keep his mouth clean and free of plaque. 

Treat wounds

Dogs are playful and generally happy. These happy moments sometimes lead to small cuts. A jar of coconut oil nearby is essential as it contains antifungal and antibacterial benefits that prevent infection. It also reduces red spots and although your dog may end up soon licking the coconut oil off the skin, covering it for a few minutes to allow absorption will be helpful. 

Senior Dogs

Your dog’s cognitive abilities will tend to dwindle as he ages. You’ll also notice that he is less playful and will prefer to keep his distance from people. Your dog may also start to have small accidents around the home. Thankfully coconut oil helps to minimize dementia in people and should have the same effect and dogs. 

Weight Loss

Coconut oil can actually assist your dog in losing weight. It does contain medium-chain fatty acids that are taken directly to the liver for breakdown. The result is instant energy as well as a boost in metabolism. So this leaves less time for weight gain.

Boosts Immunity

Coconut oil has two major fatty acids. The first is lauric acid and the second caprylic acid, which helps in boosting immunity. Both of these acids have antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties. So coconut has overall health protection for Fido. 

dog with coconut in the beach

Conclusion

Coconuts have various benefits for your dog. However, as we mentioned earlier, you should start with small amounts and serve it occasionally. Coconuts should be given as a treat or reward and not become a part of their daily diet. Large amounts of coconut may lead to uncomfortable symptoms in Fido such as vomiting, diarrhea, and an upset stomach. 

Additionally, coconuts should never be served with any sweeteners, seasonings, or additional additives and preservatives. So it’s best to give coconuts in their raw or natural form. The husk or shell of the coconut should be avoided at all costs as it may present a choking hazard and cause intestinal blockage.

Shawn Manaher

Shawn Manaher is the founder and CEO of The Content Authority. He's one part content manager, one part writing ninja organizer, and two parts leader of top content creators. You don't even want to know what he calls pancakes.

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