Coconut is an extremely popular tropical fruit that can be found in many pet products. From dog shampoos to treats you can find coconut-infused products in almost every pet store, but what about fresh coconut – is it safe for dogs too?
So, can dogs eat coconut? Yes, coconut is safe for dogs to eat in moderation. Besides coconut meat, dogs can eat coconut oil or drink coconut milk, and coconut water. Although coconut is non-toxic, this tropical fruit contains medium-chain triglycerides, which may cause an upset stomach and bloat in dogs.
If you want to know all the benefits of coconut oil and how to serve coconut to your dog, read on! In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about feeding your dog coconut.
Is Coconut Good for Dogs?
Coconut is touted as extremely healthy and is often used in a variety of pet products. You don’t have to look far to find this tropical fruit in everything from coconut-infused dog shampoos to coconut treats and dog foods.
With that being said, it’s clear that coconut is safe for dogs, and may even offer certain health benefits if served properly and in moderation.
Coconut meat is particularly high in dietary fiber, which supports proper digestion and promotes nutrient absorption. This tropical fruit also contains a variety of vitamins and minerals, including magnesium, iron, copper, phosphorus, and vitamins C and B6.
The exceptionally high-fat content is what makes coconut a rather unique fruit. Coconut meat is particularly high in lauric acid, a medium-chain fatty acid that is absorbed intact in your dog’s small intestine and used as a direct source of energy.
Benefits of Coconut for Dogs
Adding coconut to your dog’s diet may benefit them in several different ways. Much of the research on the health benefits of coconut is focused on its fat content and its effect on people’s health.
When it comes to dogs, the jury is still out on how healthy and beneficial coconut meat and coconut oil are to our canine companions.
Keeping that in mind, the potential health benefits of feeding coconut to your dog are:
1. Coconut Has Anti-Inflammatory Properties
As mentioned above, coconut is particularly high in fats, most of which are medium-chain fatty acids that consist of a large amount of lauric acid. This fatty acid is very good at fighting off viruses and also helps treat ringworm and yeast infections.
Lauric acid has considerable anti-inflammatory properties that may help reduce the swelling and inflammation caused by arthritis. Reduced inflammation will help your dog feel better and may improve their mobility as the swelling in their joints settles down (source).
2. Coconut Supports Good Digestion
Coconut meat is particularly high in fiber – one cup of fresh, shredded coconut meat contains seven grams of fiber. The majority of this fiber is insoluble, which means that it doesn’t get digested.
Instead, insoluble fiber moves the food through your dog’s digestive system and helps regulate their bowel movement. If your pooch has digestive problems and suffers from diarrhea or constipation, eating fiber-rich foods such as coconut may help.
3. Coconut Boosts the Immune System
Coconut is chock full of antioxidants that support a strong immune system and lower the risk of your dog developing chronic diseases.
Although there is no scientific evidence that coconut cures any illnesses, research has shown that this tropical nut has anti-viral properties. This means that eating coconut can give your pooch an extra layer of protection and make them more resilient to parasites, bacteria, and viruses.
Risks of Feeding Coconut to Dogs
While it may seem like coconut has a lot to offer to your pooch, you should seek veterinary advice before feeding it to your dog.
In moderation, coconut is completely safe for dogs. But there are risks associated with feeding too much coconut meat or coconut oil to dogs.
The biggest downsides of coconut for dogs are:
1. Stomach Upset
The medium-chain triglycerides found in coconut promote skin and brain health, they can also cause digestive upset and bloating. If your dog isn’t used to eating fatty foods, eating coconut can lead to diarrhea and vomiting.
Dogs can get an upset stomach from eating both coconut meat or coconut oil, so don’t overdo it. If you decide to feed coconut, be careful about the amount you are giving to your pooch.
2. Choking Hazard
If you plan on buying whole coconuts, you’ll have to keep the shell and the husk away from your dog. The hard shell poses a choking hazard and can easily get lodged inside your dog’s esophagus.
Even if your dog manages to swallow a piece of coconut shell without choking, there is an additional risk of intestinal obstructions.
If you suspect that your dog swallowed a husk or a shell call your veterinarian and observe your pooch for signs of obstruction, including vomiting, abdominal pain, bloating, and more (source).
How Much Coconut Can I Give My Dog?
As always, consult your veterinarian before feeding coconut to your dog. Your vet will be able to tell you whether coconut is good for your dog based on their medical history and overall health.
When it comes to fruits and vegetables, always follow a 10% rule, meaning that treats can make only up to 10% of your dog’s daily calorie intake. If you decide to feed coconut to your pooch, feed it in moderation, as an occasional treat.
How to Feed Coconut to Your Dog?
When feeding coconut to dogs, make sure to remove the shell first as it can cause intestinal obstruction or lead to choking.
The great thing about coconut is that dogs can eat it in various forms – whether it’s coconut flour, meat, oil, flakes, or coconut water your pooch can have it all. Just make sure that there are no added ingredients, such as sugar, artificial flavors, or preservatives so your pooch can indulge in tropical goodness safely.
Popular ways to feed coconut to dogs are:
- Feed fresh or dry coconut meat as a treat
- Mix coconut oil with your dog’s food
- Make a frozen coconut treat using shredded coconut, coconut water, and pineapple
- Bake homemade treats using peanut butter, coconut, and a touch of honey
- Make refreshing pup-sickles using coconut oil and a handful of frozen berries
- Let your dog drink coconut water or coconut milk
- Make a smoothie using coconut oil, banana, peanut butter, and blueberries
Coconut is non-toxic and completely safe for dogs to eat in all its forms. Whether you want to feed raw or dried coconut meat, coconut oil, or coconut milk to your pooch, offer it as an occasional treat,
Eating coconut may have a positive effect on your dog’s overall health, as long as you don’t overdo it.