‘Can dogs eat coconut?’ is a question every dog owner should ask themselves.
I mean, with all those recipes out there that use coconut oil as a starting ingredient, one must wonder:
Is this thing even safe for my dog to begin with?
Can Dogs Eat Coconut: Know What To Look For
But before we get into that, here are a few key things to remember.
- Not all parts of a coconut are similar
- While answering the question, ‘Can dogs eat coconut?’ be sure to differentiate between the following
- Coconut Oil
- Coconut Meat
- Coconut Water
Only feed your dog parts that are safe!
With these divisions in mind, we can now look at just what it is your buddy should and should not be having.
Can Dogs Eat Coconut: Coconut Oil
Let’s begin with the first thing, shall we?
Most dog blogs, and vlogs, are filled with dog food recipes that include adding at least a teaspoon of coconut oil before adding in any other ingredients.
We’ll be honest with you.
While this method of cooking is generally safe for dogs, you should not give your dog coconut oil if they have pancreatitis.
Dogs with pancreatitis are sensitive to increasing fat content in their diets and might end up needing a visit to the vet, especially if they’re given the oil in excess.
However, if you’re convinced by fellow pet owners that coconut oil is a must have- then we’d really recommend taking proper consultation from a veterinarian before giving it to your buddy.
After all, the whole point here is to keep them healthy and happy, right?
Can Dogs Eat Coconut: Coconut Meat
What’s coconut meat?
Simply put, it is the white fleshy part on the inside of a coconut which forms the bulk of a coconut’s mass.
People eat it either as part of sweet dishes or in its simple raw form. But the question is, can dogs eat coconut meat?
In one word, yes.
Coconut meat is perfectly safe for dogs to consume.
In fact, it is even healthier than coconut oil.
This is because it contains a substance known as lauric acid.
To understand why something like lauric acid– a saturated fatty acid is beneficial for your dogs, consider this.
A dog’s body needs certain healthy fats for them to have proper growth and development.
Yes. While we do heavily discourage the use of unnecessary fats and oils in your pet’s diet, the narrative changes when it comes to beneficial fats.
When it comes to lauric acid, in particular, we know it is a saturated fat. So why give it to your dog?
This is because even though lauric acid is saturated, it still tends to reduce cholesterol levels. And it does so by increasing the amount of good cholesterol relative to the amount bad cholesterols present inside the body.
To put it in even simpler words, bad cholesterols lead to things such as heart disease, pulmonary issues etc. whereas good cholesterols tend to help the body instead.
A good, saturated fat such as lauric acid thus, will be absorbed by the body much more easily than say, ghee*.
Can Dogs Eat Coconut: The Benefits of Coconut Meat
What’s more to the goodness of coconut is that not only does it help regulate your buddy’s blood pressure levels, but also helps in other areas such as
- Reducing inflammation
- Reducing Arthritis Symptoms
- Boosting the immune system
How does it do any of this?
Coconut tends to contain a thing known as antioxidants.
Antioxidants are normally needed by the body to neutralize the effect of radicals present within the body.
And they are especially needed at sites of inflammation.
This is because a lot of inflammations within the body simply arise due to an accumulation of certain, very reactive radicals which tend to undergo a reaction with the linings of the guts etc. and lead to unnecessary heat accumulation at that site. Which in turn, causes that burning sensation or, inflammation.
To put this in less ‘scientific’ terms, coconuts help soothe areas inside our dog’s bodies which might otherwise cause them a lot of pain.
In fact, in a recent study conducted in rats*, it was found that giving them coconut meat in small bits at regular intervals, helped reduce the inflammation present inside their body as well as decrease pain.
This brings us onto the second big benefit of coconut meats.
They help relieve pain and reduce arthritis symptoms.
What is arthritis in dogs?
Arthritis is a disease in which the joints of an organism are affected. It results in the weakening of bones, especially in certain key areas such as the hips, knees, back etc.
Unfortunately, arthritis tends to be one of the most common problems in dogs as they progress towards old age.
It’s interesting to know, however, that one of the main reasons dogs develop arthritis is due to inflammation at or near affected joints.
Since coconut meat contains antioxidants which reduce inflammation, it is therefore, also useful for pain relief due to arthritis.
Boosting Immune Response
In different scientific studies, it was found that coconut is useful in fighting against viruses such as influenza.
It is also effective while dealing with certain yeast infections such as ringworm or Giardia.
For certain dog owners, this bit might be a source of relief since dogs can get yeast infections frequently, along with some other diseases.
It’s important to know that so far, coconut has not been proven for use in medicinal treatments, however, studies have been conducted which highlight its anti-viral properties.
Can Dogs Eat Coconut: Coconut Water
Unfortunately, while coconut meat and oil are both wonderful for our dogs, the same does not hold true for coconut water.
The reason for this lies in the fact that coconut water possesses a high amount of potassium in it.
While a little bit of potassium is needed by our furry friends for healthy growth and development, a lot of it can quickly become a health emergency.
Cells tend to lose their water content and dehydrate. Thus, creating a situation where our pet friends have to be hospitalized for several days.
Can Dogs Eat Coconut: What About Coconut Milk?
Coconut milk, unlike coconut water, is made by adding milk to grated coconut meat.
Most vets agree that dogs can have coconut milk, however, in limited amounts.
When it comes to things such as milk, one must consult their vet, especially if the dog is no longer in his adorable puppy phase.
This is because many pups tend to become lactose intolerant as their age progresses.
Can Dogs Eat Coconut: Nutritional Perspective
So, we already know that coconut contains lauric acid and antioxidants.
Other than this, it also contains protein, fiber and carbohydrates.
Beneficial vitamins and minerals are also present inside and a good combination of these exists such that by eating coconut meat, your dog gets a higher chance at a better life.
Positive effects of coconut can be seen in the skin as well as the coat. The coat not only becomes softer but shinier as well. And the moisturizing benefits of coconut oil allow the skin to remain hydrated and fresh.
Can Dogs Eat Coconut: Fun Facts About Coconuts
- Coconut trees can produce upto 75 coconuts per year
- About 61 million tons of coconuts are produced each year
- Coconut husk and shell are as fuel
Can Dogs Eat Coconut: Recipe Guide
Coconut Dog Biscuits
- Brown rice flour- 1 ½ cups
- Coconut flour- ½ cups
- Water- ½ cups
- Eggs- 1
- Coconut Oil- 2 tbsp.
Start by preheating your oven to 350 Degrees Fahrenheit and lining your baking tray with a baking sheet.
In a large bowl, mix the flours. Next, add in water, an egg, and coconut oil. Mix everything together and kneed dough. The consistency should be crumbly. Wrap the dough in between two parchment papers and flatten using a rolling pin.
Once flat, use a cookie cutter to cut out the dough into specific treats. Finally, place these cut-out slices of dough onto a baking sheet and put them inside the pre-heated oven for twenty minutes. After twenty minutes, flip the biscuits onto the other side and bake for a further five minutes.
Voila, the biscuits are ready!
Caution: Cool them down before feeding them to your dog.
Can dogs eat coconut skin?
No. The coconut skin is rough and might cause choking.
Can dogs eat coconut raw?
Yes. Raw coconut has a crunchy feeling that dogs love.
Can dogs eat coconut if it’s cooked?
Absolutely. Check out the recipe linked above to find out more.
Can dogs eat coconut with flavorings?
No. They cannot. Artificial flavorings such as xylitol are actually toxic.
Can dogs eat coconut flour raw?