Can Dogs Eat Coconut? What You Need to Know
Coconut isn’t only safe for dogs, it also offers a variety of health benefits. Sundays is here to break down what you need to know about dogs eating coconut.
As a pet owner, you’re well aware of the importance of providing your pet with the right food to support a healthy lifestyle. On the other hand,it’s equally essential that you avoid incorporating certain foods into their diet. This ensures you’re not accidentally feeding your dog a product that could distress or harm them.
Nevertheless, it can be difficult to decipher which foods exactly are “dog safe.” While we always suggest erring on the side of caution (if you can’t find an answer to your food safety question, it’s best not to feed it to your dog), there are some foods that you might not anticipate being safe and that actually have health benefits.
If you’ve ever opened a coconut around your furry friend, you’ve likely watched them go wild for a slice of the milky, smooth interior. Their reaction may have had you asking: is coconut safe for my dog to eat?
Today, we’re here to answer any and all concerns you might have regarding feeding your pup coconut.
All About Coconuts
Is coconut a fruit, seed, or nut? If you answered “all of the above,” you’re correct! This versatile food can actually accurately be classified as all of those. To make matters more complex, you can also categorize coconut as a one-seeded drupe.
Whatever you want to call it, this product has been around for an extended period of time. In fact, there’s historical evidence of travelers writing about coconuts after a visit to India all the way back in the fifth century.
Nowadays, you can find coconut producing palms in tropical areas from Hawaii all the way to Madagascar. Though not native to the continental U.S., the coconut palm tree was introduced to the area and now thrive along coastal regions in the southern portion of the country.
There are several ways that humans are able to use coconuts: by eating the flesh inside the nut (also referred to as the “coconut meat”), by drinking the milk, or by turning it into an oil. In addition to this, there are also uses for the hair coconut shell. The product is renowned for being high in fat -- around 60% when it’s dried.
But what does all of this mean for your furry friend? Is coconut just as valuable in the canine world as it is the human one? Are there certain parts of the coconut that your furry friend should avoid? What about parts that are safe to eat—if any?
Are Coconuts Safe for Dogs to Eat?
So, are coconuts actually safe for dogs to eat? The answer to your question is yes, coconut is nontoxic for canines to ingest. This means that it is perfectly safe to incorporate a slice of coconut meat into your dog’s diet.
While you might have heard that coconut oil is healthful for dogs, perhaps you’ve been unsure about feeding your pet the product itself. Luckily, the coconut meat is just as healthy -- if not even more -- than coconut oil, so consider this your green light.
We do want to add one thing: the product does include medium chain triglycerides. This could potentially mean your pet experiences gastrointestinal upset and even bloating. Therefore, if your pet has reacted adversely to coconut in any form in the past, you should avoid it.
In addition to this, getting the seal of approval from a trusted veterinarian who knows your pet is always a good idea. Before you start feeding your pup coconut, just give your vet a call first to get their opinion on it. Still, the benefits should—and often do—outweigh the risks.
What Are the Potential Health Benefits of Coconut?
Of course, being well-versed in the potential health benefits is important. After all, what’s the point of feeding your dog something that isn’t going to make a positive impact on their overall health?
We’re happy to report that, yes, coconut does come with a few health benefits for your pup. These include:
- Giving your dog’s immune system an antioxidant boost
- Decreasing inflammation
- Supporting a healthy coat and skin
First, let’s dive into the importance of using coconut to potentially give your pup’s immune system an antioxidant boost.
This benefit can be attributed to the number of antioxidants coconut contains -- it’s simply packed with them! These antioxidants help support a healthier immune system.
In addition to this, it helps your pet’s body create a healthy response to foreign microbes. What does that mean? That the coconut actually provides their body with an extra line of defense against viruses, parasites, fungi, and bad bacteria.
There’s currently no evidence to prove that ingesting coconut can cure any diseases, but if you notice your pup is under the weather, or if they’re healing from an illness or injury, slide them a coconut slice for good measure.
The next benefit of coconut for your dog is that it can decrease inflammation.
The way that this works is because coconut meal is high in lauric acid. This is a medium-chain fatty acid, meaning the body can absorb the molecules whole. Ultimately, it allows them to be used as a direct source of energy.
Again, lauric acid is supportive of your pet fighting off viruses, including the flu. That’s not all; it can also help treat yeast infections, Giardia, and even ringworm. Talk about a powerful fatty acid!
In addition to this, lauric acid holds anti-inflammatory properties. In a laboratory study, it significantly reduced swelling in rats. Reducing inflammation can have a whole host of benefits for your dog.
Not only will it help hurry along the healing of cuts, hot spots, and other wounds, inflammation is also the number one cause of arthritis. Therefore, feeding your pet some coconut might help achy, painful joints hurt a little less. This is because inflammation will settle down a bit.
Finally, coconut also supports a healthy coat and skin for your canine friend.
Coconut oil is versatile -- it can either be used internally or externally. If you’re using it externally, the oils can make a positive impact on your pup’s coat and skin. As we mentioned earlier, the food also has significant anti-inflammatory properties.
This can also help a slew of skin conditions including hot sports, dry, itchy skin, and flea allergies. The fatty acids in coconut oil also promote a healthy, silky coat. When you use it topically, coconut oil essentially acts as moisturizer.
How Can I Give My Dog Coconut?
As we mentioned earlier, there are two main ways to give your dog coconut. We suggest either giving your dog their helping of coconut in the form of an oil, or by tossing them a slice of coconut meat.
We do want to emphasize the importance of one thing. If you’re giving your dog a coconut, it’s essential that you first remove the shell. This is because it can get lodged in your pup’s esophagus, causing intestinal damage or even worse, blockage.
You can either incorporate coconut into their mealtime or provide them with a quick snack during the day. Either way, when you give your dog this food, you can rest assured that it’s safe for them. Even better, it has a whole host of benefits. There’s nothing better than giving your dog a snack they’ll enjoy and will help improve their overall wellbeing.
Other Ways Food Can Support Your Dog’s Wellbeing
Of course, incorporating coconut into your dog’s diet is only one way that you can support their overall wellbeing. There are plenty of other ways that food can do this, too. One of these ways is by ensuring that their everyday dog food is supportive of their health. That’s why we’re here.
Maybe you’ve noticed that your dog’s food bag has a bunch of words and ingredients you don’t recognize on it. Maybe you’re concerned your dog isn’t getting the nutrients they need to live a fulfilling life. Or maybe you just think there’s better food out there. Sundays for Dogs can help.
Our human-grade dog food was made by a vet, so you can be confident that you’re feeding your dog something good. Our products are created using real ingredients in a USDA-monitored kitchen. There’s never anything synthetic or artificial. Our food was created without anti-nutrients, common allergens, or sketchy ingredients. Instead, we harness the power of real, tasty ingredients to create food that will appeal to even the pickiest eaters.
Supporting your dog’s wellbeing through the food that you give them is of paramount importance. After all, the food that your dog ingests is responsible for getting your furry friend all the vitamins and nutrients they need. It’s important you pick what you feed them wisely.
Food can be supportive, or it could potentially cause your pet distress. That’s why we think it’s important to do your research, which you obviously are! Harness the benefits of coconut for your pet’s health and happiness—your furry friend will be very grateful!