Coconut and coconut oil are not only tasty treats but they are also said to have health benefits, especially for people. However, does that mean it’s okay to feed this treat to your dog?
Coconut is not toxic to dogs and can be an occasional healthy snack. However, even if the health benefits attributed to coconut are true for people, it doesn’t mean that they also extend to dogs. Currently, the health benefits of coconut and coconut oil to dogs have not been thoroughly researched.
Here we’ll discuss all you need to know about dogs, coconut, and whether it is okay for them to eat or not. Of course, as with any new addition to your dog’s diet, you should always check with your vet before giving coconut to your dog.
Can Dogs Eat Coconut?
Coconut is non-toxic to dogs, so if your dog eats a piece, you don’t have to rush them to the vet. In fact, it’s thought that some parts of the coconut, such as the meat and the oil, might have health benefits for your canine pal.
Unfortunately minimal research is available at this time specifically looking at the health benefits to dogs, so many of these reported benefits are anecdotal. Lauric acid, a medium chain triglyceride (MCT), is the main fatty acid in coconut and is responsible for many of its reported health effects. In people lauric acid has been shown to have topical and oral antimicrobial effects. There is also some evidence that MCTs may be of benefit in treating Alzheimer’s disease in people and experts believe that MCTs can provide some benefits for senior dogs.
It’s generally best to feed coconut occasionally as a special treat if they enjoy the taste. If you are considering supplementing your dog’s diet with coconut flesh or coconut oil regularly for its reported health benefits, be sure to consult with your vet first to make sure it is safe and not contraindicated for your pet. Dogs on specialized diets may also not be able to eat coconut.
Now that you know it’s usually okay to give your canine pal coconut, we’ll answer some of the most common questions you might have in the section below.
What Types of Coconut Products Can I Give My Dog?
While the coconut isn’t toxic to your pet, dogs can’t have every coconut product. Giving your dog fresh coconut meat, coconut oil, and coconut water is okay, but only in moderation. For commercial coconut water, make sure it doesn’t have any added harmful ingredients such as the artificial sweetener xylitol. You should avoid giving your dog coconut milk since it’s high in fat.
Ingesting too much oil and fat can cause digestive upset like vomiting and diarrhea, as well as pancreatitis. If dogs consume high-fat meals regularly, they will be prone to weight gain and obesity. Obesity is associated with many other health concerns such as joint disease. You should also avoid giving your dog the coconut husk, also known as the hard outer shell of the coconut. This could quickly become a choking hazard for your furry friend, as well as causing an intestinal blockage that could end in death if it’s not treated right away.
What’s The Best Way to Feed Your Dog Coconut?
You can feed your dog the coconut in a couple of ways. You can coat pills that your dog refuses to take in coconut oil, put one to two pieces of the fruit on top of your dog’s kibble, or even bake it into a dog-friendly recipe. As previously stated, however, you must consult your veterinarian before feeding coconut to your dog.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which Fruits Can I Feed My Dog?
There are quite a few fruits besides coconut that you can give your dog. However, they only need to be served as special treats as well due to their high sugar content. Check out our favorite fruits for dogs below.
Which Fruits Should I Avoid Feeding My Dog?
There are also quite a few fruits you should avoid feeding your dog. Some can cause problems over time, and others are toxic.
What Should I Do If My Dog Eats Toxic Fruit?
If your dog gets into one of the toxic fruits above, seek veterinary advice straight away. Ensure you know the type of fruit your dog has eaten, and how much so the vet can treat your pet appropriately.
Yes, your dog can eat coconut occasionally but only certain parts of the fruit. It’s best not to give your dog the husk or coconut milk; the husk could cause choking or become lodged in the intestinal tract, and coconut milk has too much fat. Although coconut meat may have some health benefits, it should not become a regular part of your dog’s diet. Your dog will benefit more from high-quality dog food and healthy treats than from eating coconuts.
Featured Image Credit: Santhosh Varghese, Shutterstock