Our canine companions love to eat and will gladly wolf down anything in their path. Coconut is a raving trend among health and wellness enthusiasts. It is tasty, satisfying, and satiating, plus rich in healthy fats that are good for immunity, digestion, and cardiovascular health.
Not to mention the high mineral, protein, and fiber content. Another critical nutrient in coconut is manganese which promotes bone health and metabolic functions.
But can dogs eat coconut? Yes, they can eat coconut but in moderation. We know vets approve of coconut oil for our dog’s diet, but what about coconut water, milk, and meat? We take a look at what’s safe or not for Fido.
Benefits Of Coconut To Dogs
Coconut is a perfect supplement to your pup’s diet but in moderation. It offers plenty of health benefits apart from its rich tropical taste. These include:
1. Reduced Inflammation
Coconut flesh is high in a medium-chain fatty acid known as lauric acid, a good source of quick energy. It also has anti-inflammatory properties to fight off infections and viruses such as influenza, giardia, and ringworm and prevents cognitive decline. Reduced inflammation helps speed up wound healing and promotes healthy joints.
Coconut oil can be a great supplement, especially for senior dogs.
2. Boosts Immune System
Coconut is loaded with antioxidants (phenolic compounds) to enhance immune health. The antioxidants support the immune system in repairing damaged cells and building an extra defense against foreign microbes, including bacteria, parasites, viruses, and fungi. So, you can confidently give coconut to your furry friend if he’s ailing or healing from injury or illness.
3, Healthy, Soft, And Silky Coat
Does Chewy have dry, flaky skin? Coconut can help give them a shinier coat. It contains phytonutrients and antioxidants, including Vitamin E, which is good for healthy skin and fur. The anti-inflammatory properties of coconut help reduce flea allergies, yeast infections, dry, itchy skin, and hotspots.
Drizzle a small portion of coconut oil in your Fido’s kibble and watch his coat regain its luster. You can use the oil as a topical moisturizer on dry, cracked paws, bites, stings, and wounds to promote healing and soothe inflammation.
Can Dogs Drink Coconut Milk?
You get coconut milk when you grate the coconut flesh, soak it in water, and squeeze it through a strainer or cheesecloth. Alternatively, you can blend the coconut meat with water.
The benefits of coconut milk are similar to those of coconut oil. It is also vegan and dairy-free, making it suitable for lactose intolerant dogs.
Moreover, it is a good source of calories for malnourished dogs or those with megaesophagus. It also improves their immune system and freshens their breath.
Can Dogs Drink Coconut Water?
Coconut water is obtained from baby coconuts as these contain more water than mature coconuts.
It is a natural source of electrolytes, including sodium, potassium, magnesium, and enzymes that maintain the normal pH of your dog’s body. Studies show it has antibacterial properties, and animal research shows promise in managing diabetes and Alzheimer’s.
Coconut water is also low in salt, sugar, and calories, so it is excellent for boosting Fido’s energy levels while hydrating them simultaneously.
Ensure you buy natural coconut water and double-check for added sugars and preservatives which can harm your dog.
Nonetheless, coconut water is high in potassium which can cause hyperkalemia in your dog, impairing proper heart function. You are better off hydrating Fido using pure H2O.
Can Dogs Have Coconut Flakes?
Coconut flakes are desiccated or shredded coconut meat that is dried. You can find both sweetened and unsweetened versions in a variety of sizes. Opt for the unsweetened version, sprinkle some on your dog’s kibble, or incorporate it in their baked treats or smoothie.
Is Coconut Flour Safe For Dogs?
Coconut flour is a dog-safe alternative for baked treats compared to wheat flour. It is gluten-free and grain-free, with double the amount of fiber as wheat. This makes it suitable for several healing diets that eliminate grains such as wheat.
What About Coconut Sugar?
Dogs don’t necessarily need added sugar in any form. Still, coconut sugar has a low glycemic index making it a healthier alternative in your dog treats than cane or beet sugar.
A Note On Coconut Oil
Although coconut oil is a healthy source of fat for humans, it doesn’t fulfill dogs’ fat dietary requirements. Coconut oil lacks essential fatty acids (Omega 3 and Omega 6) and contains only about two percent of linoleic acid. So you can only offer it as a supplement to their diet.
Coconut oil is also high in calories and fat and can cause weight gain and obesity. There’s the risk of allergic reaction from introducing your canine companion to new foods. So watch out for any reaction out of the ordinary.
If you have to feed your dog coconut oil, ensure it’s non-hydrogenated. Avoid hydrogenated fat because it has trans fats that can rapidly raise your pup’s cholesterol levels.
Start with ¼ a teaspoon a day of non-hydrogenated coconut oil and increase the amount to one tablespoon if your pup can tolerate it.
Related: Is Coconut Oil Good for Dog Constipation?
Can Coconut Make Dogs Sick?
How does the saying go? Moderation for everything. A tablespoon of coconut oil has about 117 calories and 14 grams of fat. Although it is a healthy fat, you shouldn’t go overboard when serving it to your dog.
Too much coconut oil can upset the gastrointestinal tract of your pup, especially those with sensitive tummies. The medium-chain triglycerides can cause stomach upset, bloating, diarrhea, and greasy and loose stools. You’ll need to consult your vet before introducing coconut to your canine’s diet.
Too much coconut oil can also increase the risk of weight gain and pancreatitis, a life-threatening inflammation of the pancreas from even as little as a tablespoon twice a day.
Also, ensure you dice the coconut pieces into small chunks and remove the shell before feeding it to your pup. Whole coconut or large amounts can choke your dog. The husks and shells are also indigestible and can get stuck on the esophagus and cause blockage and gastrointestinal irritation.
Related: What Essential Oils are Bad for Dogs?
What Quantity Of Coconut Can I Feed My Dog?
Coconut is a high-calorie food, so you should be cautious when feeding your dog this tropical fruit. Supplements, snacks, and treats should account for your dog’s 10% caloric intake. Offer your pup at least a teaspoon per day of coconut milk and monitor it for any adverse effects before upping the amount to at most one tablespoon for 30lbs weight.
How To Safely Feed Your Dog Coconut?
You can safely feed your pup coconut as long as you follow these guidelines:
- Avoid feeding your dog sweetened coconut because the added sugar can harm your pup.
- Stick to a teaspoon of coconut oil or coconut milk for small dogs (30 to 40 pounds) and a tablespoon for large dogs (90 pounds). Only increase the amount if your dog shows good tolerance.
- Ensure you remove the shell and husk before feeding your dog coconut to prevent choking. Only feed your dog homemade or organic coconut milk because store-bought non-organic milk may contain pesticides that can harm your dog.
Mouthwatering Vet-Approved Ways To Add Coconut To Your Dog’s Diet
Does your dog love the taste of coconuts? If yes, he’ll love these coconut treats:
- Mix a handful of your pup’s favorite frozen fruit with a ¼ cup of coconut oil.
- Portion out in ice cube trays and freeze.
- Offer your dog this refreshing treat no more than once per day to avoid the harmful effects of consuming too much coconut oil.
Blueberry Coconut Smoothie
- Blend 1 cup of blueberries, one banana, and one tablespoon of peanut butter.
- Add 1 cup of ice and one tablespoon of coconut oil.
- Portion into ten ice cubes for a 30-pound canine and feed them one or two daily.
Coconut, Honey, And Peanut Butter Biscuits
- Mix ½ cup of coconut flour, ½ cup of water, and ½ cup of melted coconut oil in a large bowl.
- Add one egg, ½ cup of peanut butter, one tablespoon of organic honey or coconut sugar, and ½ teaspoon of baking powder.
- Knead the dough and roll out into fancy shapes and bake for 20 minutes at 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Coconut is tasty, reduces inflammation, and fortifies the immune system. The white-fleshed fruit also rejuvenates the skin and coat of your dog. But you don’t want to heap coconut in your furry friend’s food bowl. The oil can disrupt your pooch’s digestion and cause tummy pain and poop problems.
If you want to diversify Chewy’s palate or get them excited about mealtime, you can add coconut to their diet. But, we recommend seeking your vet’s guidance on serving suggestions and frequency. Remember, coconut is not a meal replacement but a supplement to enhance your pup’s life.