Coconuts, coconut water, and coconut oil have become very popular in recent years due to their health benefits to humans. But can dogs eat coconut? And if so, how much coconut can a dog eat?
Coconut is a sweeping trend among health enthusiasts, and many dog owners are sharing their coconut with their dogs. In the United States, fresh whole coconut is considered an exotic food. However, it is getting easier to find whole coconuts or coconut pieces in local markets with its rise in popularity.
In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about feeding your dog coconut. Keep read on!
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. They are not toxic for your pup to consume, in fact, sometimes they can provide healthy benefits to your pooch’s diet.
Coconut can be incredibly beneficial for your pups for a lot of reasons, but overall, it benefits because it can increase their energy levels, improve their skin, coat, breath, and odor, improve their digestion when given correctly, and can reduce their allergic reactions.
The meat of the fruit is very hydrating, packed with healthy fats, carbs, and proteins that build strong muscles and generate energy to fuel our furry friends.
Lauric acid is also found in coconut, which is known to combat viruses, treat yeast infections, and decrease inflammation, which is the leading cause of arthritis. So, many pet parents often feed dogs coconut as a natural home remedy for joint pain relief.
It’s generally safe for dogs to eat coconut but there are some exceptions you should know before serving this sweet fruit to your four-legged friend.
Coconut is relatively high in calories, so it can lead to unwanted weight gain. It’s also got a high fat content which can lead to stomach upsets and also increase the risk of pancreatitis, a serious condition.
Feed your dog small amounts of coconut because it is high-calorie, and you don’t want to exceed the recommended 10% of daily caloric intake for supplements and treats.
For your information, here are the nutrition facts for 1 cup (100 grams) of raw and dried coconut meat.
|Raw coconut meat||Dried coconut meat|
|Protein||3 grams||7.5 grams|
|Carbs||15 grams||25 grams|
|Fiber||9 grams||18 grams|
|Fat||33 grams||65 grams|
Much of the fat in coconut is in the form of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs). MCTs found in coconut oil are responsible for many of its health benefits, and these enhanced botanical oils do provide some benefits for senior dogs.
In other words, they promote alertness and mental sharpness in dogs 7 years or older.
Can Dogs Eat Coconut Oil?
Coconut oil is extracted from the meat. It is generally safe for dogs to eat in small amounts. When it comes to selecting a brand, virgin coconut oil is best, as most of coconut oil’s benefits have been observed with this type.
If you do decide to feed your dog coconut oil, you’ll want to make sure it is non-hydrogenated. Hydrogenated coconut oil has harmful trans-fats that aren’t good for your dog and can raise your dog’s cholesterol levels.
Many animal nutritionists and holistic veterinarians tout the positive effects of coconut oil when added to a dog’s diet. Rich in fatty acids and healthy saturated fats, coconut oil may have the following benefits for dogs:
- Makes a dog’s coat extra shiny
- Can relieve allergies and itchy skin
- Kicks bad breath
- Boosts the immune system
- Increases energy levels
- Improves digestion
- Improves cognitive function
- Helps eliminate fleas and ticks
- Treats arthritis and ligament issues
When it comes to coconut oil, a good rule of thumb is:
- 1 teaspoon for every 10 pounds of body weight
- 1 tablespoon per 30 pounds
But you don’t want to start with these amounts. When you begin to add coconut oil to your dog’s diet, you will want to do it slowly and increase the amount of coconut oil gradually.
Remember that it is best to give your dog coconut oil along with food. Start with a quarter teaspoon for small dogs and one teaspoon for larger dogs. As your dog shows tolerance for coconut, you can increase the amount.
When a large amount of coconut oil is fed to a dog, it can cause greasy stools or diarrhea as his body starts to adjust to the diet change.
Can Dogs Have Coconut Milk?
Dogs can have coconut milk but only in small amounts. Too much coconut milk or coconut milk-based foods might cause diarrhea or loose stools in your dog.
In addition, coconut milk is often overly processed and can contain additives that your pet doesn’t need. If possible, feed your pet organic coconut milk as non-organic varieties can contain harmful additives and pesticides.
Can Dogs Have Coconut Water?
Coconut water is the clear liquid found inside the coconut. Compared to the flesh of the fruit, coconut water is lower in sugar, salt, and calories – so it’s perfect for boosting your pup’s energy levels while helping them stay hydrated at the same time. In addition, it is loaded with electrolytes and will also hydrate a hound.
Young coconuts contain water that is relatively low in calories. This exotic beverage is 100 percent pure and natural making it safe for your dog. However, make sure the coconut water you’re giving your dog is natural without additives like sugar.
With that said, it should only be consumed in moderation. Coconut water contains approximately 60 calories per cup, which is obviously a lot more than is in water and will have a bearing on your dog’s daily calorie allowance.
Coconut water should be introduced gradually into your dog’s diet to see how their system reacts to it. A few ounces a day as a treat or to help keep your dog hydrated on hot days is all you need.
You can use coconut water to make ice cubes. Use them in your dog’s water bottle to keep the water cool on hot days.
How Do I Feed My Dog Coconut?
First, never give a dog coconut that is still in a shell since this can be dangerous for the dog in the event that he eats parts of the coconut shell causing intestinal obstruction.
Because the shell is tough and jagged, it should never be ingested. Always remove the husk and shell before giving your dog coconut meat.
Coconut flakes, shredded coconut, and desiccated coconut are essentially the same product, but cut into different shapes and have different textures.
So, there are two main ways to give your dog coconut. We suggest either giving your dog their helping of coconut in the form of an oil, or by tossing them a slice of coconut meat. Just remember not to give him too much.
Keep in mind, that coconut chips are basically large sliced pieces of coconut flesh, or coconut flakes, which are baked, like chips. They almost always have added ingredients, such as oil, salt, and sugar, so it’s best to avoid feeding these to your dog.
In case you’re wondering, dogs love coconut so it shouldn’t be any problem to get them to eat it. Coconut is a healthy and delicious snack that most dogs will willingly eat.
It’s just another yummy human food you can safely share with your best friend.
Remember that any sweetened coconut should never be given to a dog. Always look for an unsweetened form of coconut and only feed it to your dog in moderation.
In addition, do not feed your dog baked goods with coconut in them since they can contain Xylitol, which is an ingredient that can be fatal to a dog.
Last but not least, it’s important to talk to your veterinarian before introducing anything new to your dog’s diet. They’ll know if your dog needs coconut and recommend the right amount to feed them.