Because dogs are omnivores, they are able to digest a wide range of foods, from protein-packed red meats to fiber-rich vegetables. But just because they are capable of digesting these foods doesn’t necessarily mean they should be eating them. Some foods can be toxic to dogs, while others can cause unnecessary damage to their health in the long term.
Is It Safe for My Dog to Eat Coconut?
For most dogs, all they require is a well-balanced diet of good quality dry food, but that doesn’t mean your dog is not going to want an occasional human-food treat, especially if you’re having one in front of him. For this reason, it’s very important that you learn which foods are safe for your dog and which are a danger to his health.
Coconut for Dogs – Yes, or No?
Plant-based foods for dogs can be tricky because there are some that make healthy treats and others that can give your pet an upset stomach, or even worse. In this post we’re going to discuss coconut and whether it can safely be offered to your dog, or should it be avoided at all costs? Most of us have seen coconut grooming products and coconut-infused treats for dogs; we’ve even seen advertisements for feeding our pets coconut oil or rubbing coconut oil into our dog’s paws during the colder months. But what’s the story about plain coconut itself – can we offer it to our pets?
The news is good! Your dog can have coconut, provided it’s served in moderation. Coconut offers a lot of health benefits to your dog, and it’s not toxic.
Benefits of Giving My Dog Coconut
Now that we know it’s safe to give our pet coconut, we need to know if there are actual health benefits in doing so. We know coconut has a lovely flavor, but is that all there is to it?
It seems that no studies have been carried out as to the benefits of giving dogs coconut, but we do know that the vitamins and antioxidants it contains can support your pet’s overall good health.
Even the American Kennel Club believes that coconut is a lot more than just a delicious treat for dogs. It’s their belief that coconut contains anti-inflammatory properties that make it an excellent supplement for dogs affected by flea allergies, hotspots, and even arthritis. They also state that it improves a dog’s immune system and helps to fight off infections and influenza. Whether you go along with these claims, or not, the fact still remains that it’s perfectly safe for your dog to consume coconut in moderate amounts, and it’s certainly a healthy treat for your dog.
How Do I Feed Coconut to My Dog?
We need to point out here that your dog does not need coconut in his diet, but it is a safe treat to offer him and it’s a treat he’ll really enjoy. Coconut is rich in carbohydrates and protein, both of which your pet needs to stay active and build muscle. As a pet parent, it’s your responsibility to make sure you’re feeding your dog safe foods in a safe manner, so follow these simple guidelines –
You may have heard of dogs having coconut oil, and some owners say they have been encouraged to add coconut oil to their pet’s diet, but does that mean he can have the meat as well?
Can My Dog Have Pieces of Coconut?
The answer is yes, he can. Coconut meat is possibly healthier for your pet than coconut oil, but they do share similar properties. However, while coconut is not toxic to your dog, the medium chain triglycerides contained within the coconut can cause bloating and gastrointestinal upset. Our suggestion always is to contact your veterinarian before offering your pet any new human foods, especially fruits, to ensure he won’t be adversely affected by the new addition.
Coconut meat can be purchased dried or raw; it typically comes in flakes or as shredded coconut. We don’t encourage feeding your dog sweetened coconut because it contains added sugars that are dangerous to your dog’s overall health. Stick to unsweetened types of coconut and remember that moderation is key. Coconut is high in calories, so just give your pet small amounts and keep an eye open for any type of gastrointestinal distress.
The outer shell of the coconut, and the husk, should be kept right away from your pet. Both of these parts of the coconut are very rough and could cause serious damage to your dog if swallowed.
Benefits for Dogs Eating Coconut
Coconut oils are extremely beneficial for your dog’s coat and skin. His skin condition could well improve just by consuming the coconut meat. Yeast infections can be reduced by the anti-inflammatory properties of coconut, and these include flea allergies, hot spots, and itchy and dry skin. In addition, the fatty acids from the coconut promote a lovely, soft, and healthy coat. When used topically, coconut oil acts as a moisturizer and can be applied to wounds to promote healing and soothe inflammation.
A Boost to Your Dog’s Immune System
Because of the antioxidants contained within the coconut, your dog’s immune system will be supported. Coconut will also assist your pet’s body form a healthy response to foreign microbes, resulting in an additional defense against parasites, fungi, viruses, and bad bacteria. It’s true that coconut consumption has not been proven to cure any diseases, but studies have supported its anti-viral properties. In addition to coconut’s ability to reduce inflammation, it’s certainly a tasty and healthy snack for a dog that may be healing from injury or illness, or who’s just feeling a bit under the weather.
A Decrease in Inflammation
Coconut meat contains lauric acid, which is a medium-chain fatty acid that gives the body the ability to absorb whole molecules and use them as a source of energy. Lauric acid is especially effective in fighting off viruses like influenza, in addition to assisting with the treatment of giardia, ringworm, and yeast infections. Its anti-inflammatory properties can speed up the healing of wounds, hot spots, and cuts. We also know that inflammations are the No. 1 cause of arthritis, so giving your dog coconut could well ease his painful joints.
Can My Dog Have Coconut Oil?
Coconut oil has been gaining in popularity for a number of years now and has been advertised as being a cure-all for almost everything, from bacterial and fungal infections to bad skin and hair. While most people believe that coconut oil is a healthy product for humans, what do we know about coconut oil for our pets?
Good quality coconut oil is a healthy way of improving your dog’s current diet; it’s typically purchase by the jar, and we suggest only using non-hydrogenated coconut oil. Start with a very small amount by drizzling it onto your dog’s food or simply feed it to your pet off a spoon. It’s suggested that you offer your dog a maximum daily feeding amount of one tablespoon per thirty pounds of body weight. As mentioned before, keep an eye open for any signs of an upset stomach.
And don’t forget that coconut oil has other great uses; it can be used topically on your pet’s fur or skin, focusing on dry areas such as his paw pads.
We now know that coconut oil is, in fact, a healthy product for your pet; they can safely consume it provided they don’t have too much. Remember that coconut oil is still an oil, and oil is fattening regardless how healthy it may be or the healthy substances it might contain.
That being said, no scientific studies have been carried out to confirm or deny that coconut oil has health benefits for dogs. Of course, this is not surprising given that few, if any, studies have been undertaken on the benefits of coconut oil for humans. In any case, animal nutritionists and holistic veterinarians both claim that including coconut oil in your dog’s diet can be beneficial to your pet, especially for their coat and skin.
What Does the ASPCA Say About Coconut Oil?
We’ve also heard that pet-owners should be cautious about giving their dog coconut oil. The ASPCA suggests that giving coconut oil to your dog can cause irritation to the lining of his stomach, causing cramping, loose stools, diarrhea, and even more health problems. They believe that coconut oil increases the toxicity and amount of lipopolysaccharide (LPS), which is an endotoxin that may promote an immune response and inflammation in your pet.
So, it seems we have two opinions, one saying coconut helps prevent inflammation, the other saying that the oil can increase inflammation. We urge you to speak to your local veterinarian regarding giving coconut oil to your dog.
How Do I Give My Dog Coconut Milk?
Ideally, the coconut milk you give your dog will be organic because the pesticides used in non-organic coconut milk can be dangerous to your pet. You should always be looking to give your dog the most natural products you can lay your hands on. Ideally, you’ll be able to purchase a whole, organic coconut; this would be an excellent choice for your dog because the coconut milk would not have been processed in any way.
Related: Can Dogs Have Pineapple?
What About Coconut Water for my Puppy?
There are some points to consider before allowing your dog access to coconut water. The 100% natural, pure coconut water is safe for your dog, but be very cautious about giving your pet store-bought coconut water. Check carefully for added ingredients, especially sugar and additives, before offering this drink to your dog because it could well contain ingredients that are harmful to your dog’s health.
We must stress again that coconut milk, coconut water, or any human foods or fruits, should be given in moderation, and only after consulting with your veterinarian. Too much of anything at all can only be harmful to your dog, and keep in mind that both coconut milk and coconut itself are both quite high in fat. If your pet consumes too much fat in his diet it will lead to weight gain and possible pancreatitis, plus coconut oil can irritate the lining of the gut and increase the chances of your pet suffering from leaky gut.
Get your pet checked out immediately for pancreatitis if you feel you may have given him too much coconut meat or other coconut products.