Dogs are like coconuts- tough guys on the outside and soft lil’ pups on the inside. Why are we saying this? Because we are assuming that your coco drove you nuts after coconuts! So before you feed them, read about “can dogs eat coconuts?”
To cut it short, dogs can eat coconuts safely, in moderation. There is nothing wrong about coconuts, from their texture and flavor to variety and benefits. But can dogs eat all coconut products? Are there any risks? Don’t worry- we have answered it all!
Benefits of Serving Your Dog Coconuts
Let’s begin our coconutty road! Coconuts are one of the human foods that are beneficial to dogs. So, without wasting any time, here you go with the benefits of coconut to dogs:
1. Anti-inflammatory and antioxidants
Coconut is packed with antioxidants, giving your pup the power to fight diseases. It strengthens the immunity and improves overall functioning. Whereas coconut’s anti-inflammatory properties can help reduce inflammation in a dog’s body.
If there is any swelling or bruise, it helps to reduce the pain and relieve the dog.
2. It fixes bad mouth odor
You would be surprised to know that chewing on coconut can eliminate the foul mouth odor. It has antibacterial properties that help to keep your dog’s oral health good. Especially if coconut oil is consumed in moderation, it can help to reduce your dog’s bad breath and promote better dental health.
3. Shiny fur coat
Coconut oil can be cooked for dogs and applied to their body. If you feed them oil, they might show adverse effects later in life. Using coconut oil can smoothen their skin. It promotes coat health as it makes the fur more shiny.
A good coconut oil massage can help your dog eliminate skin infections. However, if they are allergic to coconuts, oil may lead to skin reactions like itchiness or redness.
4. Vitamins and minerals
Coconuts are rich in Vitamins C and K. These vitamins help the dog’s body function. Vitamin C helps to improve immunity as it is rich in antioxidants, while Vitamin K is for healthy blood clotting and bone health. Coconut also has minerals like zinc and magnesium.
Are There Any Risks?
While coconuts are a great treat and has multiple benefits beyond just food, it’s always a good option to know the downside as well, if there are any. Here’s all you need to know:
1. High calories
If not direct coconut, then at least coconut oil and coconut milk are rich in calories. If your dog is on a weight management plan, you should avoid serving them coconut. The calorie intake can lead to obesity. Hence, you should only feed your dog any coconut product in moderation.
2. Fat content
Even though coconuts are known for their healthy fats, they should not be overfed. End of the day- Coconut oil is an oil full of fat, which can lead to health risks in dogs. The most prevalent disease a high-fat diet can cause in dogs is pancreatitis (article).
It leads to the destruction of digestion and can be highly discomforting to dogs.
3. Choking hazard
Another risk factor with giving your dog coconut is choking hazards. Coconuts can be hard to chew on for smaller dogs, seniors, or dogs with no teeth. In such cases, you should always shred the coconut or serve it in liquid form.
They might eagerly swallow the coconut chunks and cause a hazard if not. In such a case, please contact your veterinarian immediately.
4. Electrolyte imbalance
Coconut water is an excellent source of electrolytes. If fed in moderation, it can help to keep your dog hydrated. But to give your dog coconut water all day? It can be risky. Overdrinking it can create electrolyte imbalances, leading to dehydration and vomiting. So, to avoid this, do not use coconut water as a substitute for regular water.
Can Dogs Have All Types of Coconut Products?
Imagine that your dog says, “Woof woof woof” (we translate it to “Can I have a coconut?”), and you serve them a whole variety of coconuts. What a delightful treat that would be! But for that to happen, you must know the types of coconut products a dog can and cannot have. So here you go:
1. Coconut water
If your dog looks at water and goes, “eh,” they are probably bored of the same old bland water. In such case, you can serve them coconut water. It is rich in nutrients, like vitamins and minerals, than regular water. Also, coconut water is an excellent source of electrolytes and energy.
One of the best parts about coconut water is that the sweetness is not harmful to diabetic dogs. However, you should not substitute regular water with coconut water.
2. Coconut oil
One of the best ways to use coconut for dogs is to put it on your dog. No, it’s not like throwing coconuts at them! We are talking about applying coconut oil to their skin and fur. Coconut oil has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. This helps to keep the dog’s skin free from infections. While grooming sessions, you can massage your dog and slather them in coconut oil.
While also used in cooking, coconut oil is safe for dogs to consume in small amounts. End of the day, no matter how much benefits it brings, it is still fat. You can fry their favorite snacks like bacon, scallops, or roast cashews. But as it has a lot of calories, you should keep the consumption minimal.
Note: If your dog is allergic to coconut oil, you must not apply it to their skin.
3. Coconut milk
Coconut milk is safe for dogs in moderation. It offers many health benefits to dogs, such as giving your furry friend a shiny coat. Also, coconut milk does not have lactose in it. This means they can have coconut milk without worrying about allergies or upset stomachs. The only catch is to feed them this in moderation unless it can show adverse effects.
You must check the ingredients before purchasing packed coconut milk, which may include artificial flavors or sweeteners. Such additives and even xylitol can cause harm to dogs.
Xylitol is a general substitute for sugar in the candy world. This toxin can be extremely harmful to dogs (article). As we discussed about it for marshmallows, some brands may add xylitol for sweetness. If your dog ate or drank anything containing xylitol, seek veterinary attention immediately. Please do not wait for the poisoning symptoms to occur.
4. Coconut flesh
Yes, dogs can eat coconut flesh or coconut meat. It is referred to as the inner soft part of the coconut, a blend of crunchiness and creaminess. Coconut flesh only adds nutritional value to a dog’s diet if fed in moderation. It is hard to munch into, so it can also cause choking hazards. So, if your dog is an eager eater, you must avoid keeping a bowl full of coconut flesh before it.
Also, even though it is rich in healthy fat and vitamins, you should not serve it daily. You can serve them bite-sized pieces of coconut as training treats occasionally.
5. Coconut flour
If your dog cannot tolerate gluten, coconut flour is THE perfect alternative to regular flour. It has all the nutritional benefits that any other flour would provide. Additionally, it is rich in protein, fiber, and anti-inflammatory properties. You can also make several coconut flour dog treats at home for your dog. This flour is flavorful and adds a hint of taste to treats.
So, if your dog wants a change in their regular flour, coconut flour will not disappoint them!
6. Coconut sugar
When it comes to sugar- it is straight away a NO. It is still a BIG NO, whether you use regular sugar, coconut sugar, brown sugar, or sugar from an alien planet. Added sugar is never a good option for dogs, especially with diabetes. It can imbalance their blood sugar levels and cause problems.
If they get sweetness from the fruit itself, it is still safe. However, adding or extracting from coconuts is not advised.
Our final thoughts on “can dogs eat coconuts?” are YES. Dogs can and absolutely should eat coconuts. They are refreshing and can be a great addition to their diet. The only catch is to feed any coconut product in moderation.
So now, you can book Hawaii tickets for you & your dog, AND remember to carry coconuts along!
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes. Coconut oil is absolutely safe for dog’s skin unless they are allergic to it. It helps to smoothen the fur texture and makes their coat look shiny. Coconut oil also has antibacterial properties that help heal infections or irritated skin. They give your dog the snatched diva look by making them look like glazed donuts.
You should give your dog at most 10% coconut in their daily nutritional diet. It would be best to serve coconuts in small amounts as a treat. Even though they benefit dogs, they cannot substitute the main meals. It would be best to strictly keep the coconut consumption in moderation as an occasional treat.
Yes and No. Mostly store-bought coconut ice cream may include a chemical named xylitol. It is harmful to dogs, and the sugar content is unhealthy for dogs. However, you can make coconut ice cream at home. Please keep it purely coconut and do not add any flavors, colors, or sugar to it.
Dogs should avoid eating the coconut shell and the outer fiber. These parts are not edible and cannot be digested. If your dog accidentally ate them, they might puke it out or face a choking sensation. In such situations, please get in touch with your veterinarian immediately.