Can Dogs Eat Coconut?

by Sundays

Split open coconut, coconut oil and flakes on a counter

Can dogs eat coconut? And what about coconut milk, water and oil too? Here's what you need to know.

For many years, coconut has been hailed as a superfood and magical cure-all for people. Companies have put it in personal care products, promising shiny, strong hair and healthy, moisturized skin. Drinking coconut water or eating coconut meat also promises all sorts of nutritional benefits, and then there was the whole teeth-pulling fad. 

But is eating coconut good for dogs? Let’s take a look at the facts to find out whether coconut has the same benefits for your pup.

Should dogs eat coconut?

The TL;DR is that you can safely give coconut to most dogs in small amounts as a once-in-a-whole treat, but it should not be an everyday thing. This applies whether it’s raw, shredded, dried, or fresh coconut.

Coconut for dogs: The good stuff

The white fruit, or coconut meat, is not toxic to dogs, and it does have a lot of fiber and certain vitamins and minerals. It’s high in magnesium and manganese, which are both good for healthy bones. 

However, there haven’t been enough studies done on the benefits of coconut for dogs for us to hail it as a doggie superfood. Rest assured that your pup does get all the vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients they need to thrive in every bowl of Sundays for Dogs. 

You can tell by reading the AAFCO statement on the box, and Sundays was also created by Dr. Tory Waxman and formulated by board-certified veterinary nutritionists.

The downside of dogs eating coconut

Even though it’s safe for dogs to eat, coconut can cause tummy issues and diarrhea if your dog has too much of it. That’s because it’s high in saturated fat, and on top of that, introducing new foods in general can upset your dog’s digestive system. If you already know your dog has a delicate stomach, skip the coconut.

The same goes for dogs that are overweight. Coconut is high in calories, so overweight pups shouldn’t be getting extra treats, and especially not coconut. This is also another reason why you don’t want to make coconut an everyday treat–it can lead to weight gain, which can cause other problems for your dog.

Not to keep laying it on, but for some dogs, foods that are high in fat can cause more serious issues like pancreatitis. If your dog has a history of this, look for another tasty treat.

Can dogs eat a coconut’s shell?

Eating the fruit part is okay, but never give your dog the shell or hull of a coconut to chew on or eat. Not only can it be a choking hazard, but if swallowed, the hard pieces of coconut can get stuck in their digestive tract and cause an obstruction. 

Are MCTs in coconut good for senior dogs’ brains?

You may have seen people posting about MCTs, or medium-chain triglycerides, and swearing that they are good for a senior dog’s brain power. It is true that coconut has MCTs, and they can help keep your dog sharp. 

The problem is that there’s no way to tell how much your dog is getting, and you don’t want to feed them a bunch of coconut because of the whole digestive issue. However, there are products out there that are made specifically for senior dogs. If there’s one you want to try, ask your vet what they think.

Can dogs drink coconut water or milk?

Now that we know the story with coconut meat, what about coconut water or milk? 

Coconut milk is basically just the meat of the coconut mashed up with some water, so the same warnings apply. Also, canned coconut milk can have guar gum or other preservatives added that you don’t want to give your dog.

Coconut water is the liquid found naturally inside a coconut. It is lower in fat and calories and high in electrolytes. Some brands add sugar to coconut water, which is already high in carbohydrates, so it’s not the best treat for your pup. 

Can dogs have coconut oil?

You may be thinking that adding coconut oil to your dog’s food might help with their skin and coat. If you cook your dog’s food, you might also wonder if you can use coconut oil as the fat source or oil. 

The thing about coconut oil is that it doesn’t have omega-3 like fish oils do, and it’s pretty low in omega-6 compared to other plant-based oils. These long-chain fatty acids help with cognition and support a healthy heart, skin, and joints. That’s why every Sunday’s recipe includes fish oil.

You can, however, use a little coconut oil to moisturize small areas of dry skin. It’s a great home remedy for keeping your pup’s paws soft and smooth, and as a bonus, coconut oil will help get rid of that Frito smell that’s too common in doggie paws.

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