Coconut comes in a variety of forms. It comes coated in chocolate, tucked into cakes, and mixed into alcoholic beverages. When it’s in an unadulterated form, it’s actually quite healthy. Before you indulge in a tropical treat when you’re hankering for the beach, don’t go doling out coconut to your pup just yet.
Can Dogs Eat Coconut?
Yes, dogs can have coconut as long as you don’t let them have large amounts at once. Raw coconut is the best way to feed it to them because of the nutrients in the fresh coconut meat. Coconut is rich in protein and carbohydrates, both of which are necessary in very active dogs to help create energy and build muscle. This combination is also good for older dogs if they don’t have any existing health conditions. The coconut water is lower in salt, sugar, and calories, so it’s good for boosting energy while helping with hydration. In the heat of summer, coconut water is an excellent treat for your dog. Just consider it the Gatorade for dogs. You can give them small amounts after strenuous exercise or freeze them into small treats to give them electrolytes.
Coconut oil has exploded in popularity among the more natural-minded crowds. It’s a natural source of saturated fat and lauric acid, and it’s also naturally anti-microbial and anti-fungal. Many naturopaths use coconut oil to treat a variety of bacterial, fungal, and viral infections. It’s also been linked to reducing the risk of cancer and aiding in proper digestion. If you want your dog to have a glossy coat, one teaspoon of coconut oil per day will shine their coat right up. The oil can also clear up minor skin ailments like irritation due to flea allergies and dry, itchy skin. Some owners report the oil reduces bad breath and helps with arthritis.
You shouldn’t feed your dog the hard shell of coconut. It’s very hard, meaning it’s difficult to chew, and its hairy nature can affect the dog’s bowel movements when the hairy fibers gather in the intestines. If your dog has been drinking coconut water or eating the meat, don’t be alarmed when you notice a change in their stool. It’s normal for their stool to turn soft and runny. Some owners report it looks greasy, and some dogs will have stool that’s pale in color. This is completely normal, but if it turns into diarrhea, you should discontinue the coconut immediately.
Not All Coconuts Are Created Equal for Dogs
Coconut comes in many forms, but not all of these forms are okay for dogs. Dried coconut is particularly popular as snacks or toppings for salads and desserts, but some brands are loaded with added sugar to make it more palatable to people. Sugar can cause digestive upset or weight gain in dogs, so they shouldn’t anything with lots of sugar. Any coconut found in candies should never be given, especially if chocolate is an ingredient. If you’re giving your dog coconut water, ensure that the only ingredient is coconut water. Again, many companies add a ton of sugar to their product so people will drink more of it.
Before you give your dog coconut in any form, especially daily doses of coconut oil, you should talk to your veterinarian. Just because it’s healthy doesn’t mean that it’s suitable for all dogs. Your veterinarian is the best source of information about what is best for your dog.
Coconut is a great way to hydrate your dog or give them healthy fats. While their food gives them all the nutrition they need, it certainly won’t hurt your dog to give them a little nibble of your coconut here and there as a treat.