Coconuts are indeed a superfood! Not only because it is very healthy but also because almost every part of it is useful from its palm to the coconut water, coconut meat, husk and even the extracted oils! Who also wouldn’t say yes to some goodness of the virgin coconut oil?
If you are a fan of this fantastic fruit, you might have wondered if it is good to share some with your dogs? Before you feed that spoon of the oil or some meat, check out thoroughly first if there’s no risk in feeding coconut to your furry best friend.
Can Dogs Safely Eat Coconut?
If you chanced upon the article “People Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Pets” by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals or ASPCA, coconut and coconut oil are included in the list.
Reading that portion, it explains that “when ingested in small amounts, coconut and coconut-based products are not likely to cause serious harm to your pet.”
If you need further reassurance, the American Kennel Club or AKC says “yes” to coconut meat and its oil. It even furthers that coconut is non-toxic for dogs.
Then why is it included in the list of foods to avoid by ASPCA? It is because it contains medium-chain triglycerides that may cause stomach upset and bloating in your dogs.
The keyword here is small amounts. Yes, you can feed your Fido some coconut but not too much. To ease your mind also, better raise it up to your vet.
Have you heard the song that says “the coconut is a giant nut?” Is there some truth to that song? Here are some coconut trivia for you that you can definitely share with your dogs:
Technically, coconut is a fibrous one-seeded drupe or simply a dry drupe. However, it is also loosely called a fruit, a nut and even a seed. So yes, sing the song again and apparently, it is not wrong.
Again, if you continue on the song, it also says that “when you eat too much, you get very fat.” That’s the next keyword because coconuts are made up of three fats: saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. When combined, these 3 fats contain an impressive list of fatty acids that are in chunk Medium Chain Fatty Acids (MCFAs). It’s the MCFAs that make coconut a powerful and healthy nut as it contains lauric acid and some amounts of caprylic acid, capric acid, myristic and palmitic acids.
Benefits of Eating Coconut for Dogs
Coconut is very healthy for your dog especially when given the right amount. With all the nutrients it brings the most notable is lauric acid, a triglyceride component that provides loads of benefits.
Decreases inflammation naturally
Yes, that’s thanks to the medium-chain fatty acid, the lauric acid. Apart from allowing the body to absorb molecules as a whole and use it as a direct source of energy, it also wards off viruses such as influenza.
Coconut’s anti-inflammatory properties also help treat yeast infections such as ringworm, hot spots, flea allergies and Giardia. In fact, when applied topically, it can also repel insects like fleas and ticks.
If your dog also has arthritis, it will benefit from coconut as a supplement.
Immune system booster
Because of the rich amount of antioxidants in a coconut, it serves as an immune system booster. It helps fight foreign microbes and defends against bad bacteria, viruses, parasites and fungi.
Boosts brain function
In the form of ketones, coconut provides energy to your dog’s brain improving its cognitive function. It also helps prevent dementia in canines!
Healthy and Shiny Coat
Coconut is also not just a great snack but a good to be applied topically. But both ways, some coconut for your furry best friend will hydrate its skin. If your dog suffers from itchy skin or dandruff, coconut oil will also help.
Since coconut also has antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties, it can disinfect cuts, wounds and soothe cracked pads. Plus, if your dog licks it off, it is perfectly safe.
Natural Dog Toothpaste
You got that right! Coconut makes perfect natural teeth cleaner because of its antimicrobial properties! What’s more, it can eliminate harmful bacteria living in your dog’s teeth and also prevents plaque.
Giving coconut as toothpaste also takes away the chore in brushing plus your dog may like its taste!
Are There Risks Eating Coconut for Dogs?
Feed coconut in small amounts only to avoid these risks:
- Gastrointestinal upset and bloating caused by the medium chain triglycerides
- Especially coconut water, it is quite high in levels of potassium
Avoid also giving mature coconut meat as your dog may not be able to digest it properly.
Can Dogs Eat Coconut Meat?
Yes, dogs can eat moderate amounts of coconut meat to enjoy the benefits mentioned above.
Go for fresh coconut meat, preferably the freshly cracked! Avoid that store-bought that are dried, shredded or in flakes. Especially when you read its label, it may contain ghastly ingredients bad for your dogs like sugar and preservatives.
Can Dogs Drink Coconut Water?
Oh, yes! Go for 100% pure coconut water! If you have also seen the coconut being opened in front of you, much better!
Coconut water is rich in magnesium, zinc, manganese, calcium, potassium and iron. It is also loaded with electrolytes that will hydrate your energetic pooch.
Avoid store bought versions as hey, they are not fresh anymore! Just imagine the preservatives being added to those to ensure that they won’t get spoiled easily.
Can Dogs Eat Coconut Oil?
Did you know that most of the health benefits of coconut come from its oil and that is mostly due to its medium-chain fatty acids? Your dog is able to digest it easily means that it can tap into its well of energy fast!
Go for non-hydrogenated coconut oil and add some drizzle to perk up your dog’s food.
Just a warning though: no matter how healthy coconut oil is, do not go overboard. It is still oil that can be fattening.
Can Dogs Drink Coconut Milk?
Yes, dogs can drink coconut milk in moderation. And the coconut milk that has a green light should preferably be organic and unsweetened. Read labels too and avoid those with stabilizers like carrageenan and xanthan gum that can cause irritation to both you and your dog. Watch out also for coconut milk with additives and preservatives, especially those bought at the grocery store already.
If you cannot find a freshly squeezed coconut milk, it may be easier to find fresh coconut water.
Can Dogs Eat Coconut Flour?
Originally, the minimally processed coconut flour is used by farmers as a fertilizer because it is loaded with nutrients.
Did you know that swapping wheat flour to coconut flour for your dog’s homemade treats is a great idea? Why, because coconut flour has the following advantages:
- Hypoallergenic and gluten-free
- Rich in dietary fiber
- Low in carbs and sweet sugar
- High in healthy fats and protein
Can Dogs Eat Coconut Flakes?
Be wary; go only for coconut flakes that are all natural. If it is processed, with preservatives, with additives and whatnot, better not risk the potential dangers.
Especially watch out for coconut flakes with sweeteners also especially those with the sugar substitute, xylitol, as this is toxic for dogs.
Can Dogs Eat Coconut Ice Cream?
Coconut ice cream may seem to really be quite a unique flavor. But if you like it, better just keep it to yourself. Sugar is no good for dogs. Enjoy it alone, then!
How Can I Feed My Dog Coconut?
For first-time coconut eaters, feed in very small amounts and see how your dog will react to it. If there’s no violent reaction, in the form of vomiting or diarrhea, then proceed to feed with recommended serving.
When feeding coconut, apart from the reminder to only feed the freshest available there is, never also give the coconut husk as it can cause intestinal obstruction.
Now, if you want to use the coconut husk as a dental treatment for your dog to chew on, it’s not a great idea. Steer clear of the coconut husk.
There are also some great ways to feed coconut to your dog:
- Pupsicles with a drizzle of coconut oil
- Homemade treats made with coconut flour or some coconut meat
- Smoothie with coconut meat, water or even oil!
How Many Coconuts Can Dogs Eat?
Strictly limit the coconut consumption of your dog. Again, apart from possible GI upset, it is basically fat and contains lots of calories.
So for your furry best friend of 30 pounds, the maximum allowable serving is one (1) tablespoon.
Always remember the 10% rule, too. Ninety percent (90%) of your dog’s nutrition should come from its main food such as its high-quality kibble. Supplements such as fruit or veggies should be left at 10%, or lesser.
Conclusion: Should I Give My Dogs Coconut?
Yes, coconut meat, coconut oil, coconut milk and coconut flour are all great supplements for your dog. Feed it to your dog in moderate amounts to get optimal results.
So next time you have some coconut around, go and share some with your furry best friend.