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Can Dogs Eat Coconut? How TO Properly Feed It To Your Pup

Key Takeaways

  • Coconut is safe for dogs to eat but the number of medium-chain fatty acids it contains may result in stomach aches and bloating when it is first introduced into your dog’s diet.
  • Dogs should only have coconut products that are natural since ingredients in artificially sweetened coconut can be fatal to dogs.
  • Coconut has a number of different health benefits and nutritional properties that can help improve your dog’s life, as long as they don’t eat too much each day.

One food that has been up for debate about whether dogs should eat it or not is coconut. Can dogs eat coconut or will it cause them to get sick? Generally, dogs can eat coconut meat and other all-natural coconut products like oil and water without added sugar. Although proven to have health benefits to dogs, too much coconut will likely cause bloated and upset stomach due to the medium-chain fatty acids.

It is incredibly important for dogs to have a fully balanced diet including a wide variety of foods like red meat and vegetables. Getting dog food from a reputable source is always the best way to go, but sometimes pet parents like to add something special to their diet as I do. Dogs have digestive systems that allow them to easily digest a lot of different food but there are many foods that cause stomach problems if they eat them. Some food that seems perfectly healthy for your furry friend can cause stomach problems that could lead to your dog getting really sick or could be completely toxic to them.

I’ll help walk you through whether coconut and coconut-related products like coconut water and coconut oil are beneficial to your dog’s health or not.

As far as plant-based foods, there are a lot of healthy and tasty options that could upset your dog’s stomach and even cause him some harm. Fortunately, coconut is a tasty treat that is safe for your dog to eat as long as it is fed to them in small quantities. Coconut also has a wide range of health benefits that are found across the variety of coconut products that currently exist. However, the number of medium-chain fatty acids may cause some gastrointestinal upset or bloating if your dog is fed too much. Here are some tips and info on a coconut that will help you safely feed coconut to your dog in some fun and creative ways.

Can a Dog Eat Coconut?

Dogs can absolutely eat coconut! As long as you serve it to your dog in small quantities and in moderation, your dog will not have any stomach issues and they won’t get sick. But, what exactly does that mean? The first thing to know is that you should never give your furry friend coconut that is still in the shell. Feeding coconut in a shell puts a high risk for a dog to eat part of the shell, and it can get lodged in their stomach which can lead to internal blockage and stomach irritation.

Natural coconut flesh is completely safe for your dog to eat. You can feed coconut to your dog dried, raw, or as coconut flakes as long as you don’t feed them too much. You should only be feeding your dog a spoonful of coconut a day. It is also important to not feed your dog sweetened coconut since it can have ingredients that are fatal to dogs. Remember that there are medium-chain triglycerides in coconut, which isn’t poisonous for a dog, it can irritate his gastrointestinal tract, particularly if your dog has a sensitive stomach, and cause bloating and stomach aches.

If coconut is fed to your dog in the right quantity, the coconut they eat can provide major health benefits to your dog. Coconut flesh contains properties that help the body fight viruses such as influenza, yeast infections, and ringworm as well as providing anti-inflammatory properties that can help dogs recover from arthritis. Coconut meat also has been seen to boost a dog’s immune system since it’s extremely packed with antioxidants and provides the body with extra defenses against bad bacteria.

Can a Dog Consume Coconut Water and Coconut Oil?

Coconut with coco milk and meat.

While there aren’t any scientific studies to prove the benefits of coconut oil, animal nutritionists and holistic veterinarians know that it is very dog-friendly, as long as it is eaten in moderation.

Coconut oil has been proven to help improve many aspects of your dog’s life such as healthy coat and skin, helping with digestion, reducing allergies, curing bacterial and fungal infections such as tapeworms, and reducing bad breath. Can dogs eat coconut oil? When introducing coconut oil to your dog’s diet, it is important to feed it to them in small quantities since eating a lot of it at once can irritate your dog’s stomach lining causing them to have cramping, diarrhea, and loose stool. It is also important not to feed your dog coconut products in high amounts due to the number of medium-chain fatty acids that it has. If your dog consumes a lot of coconut oil a day, the amount of fat in the oil can cause your dog to become obese, which may cause more underlying health conditions to be present in your dog’s life [1].

Coconut oil may also increase the toxicity and amount of lipopolysaccharide or LPSj, which is an endotoxin that can cause inflammation and immune response in your dog. But, on the other hand, coconut can also have anti-inflammatory properties. If you are concerned about this possibly occurring, talk to your veterinarian about whether adding coconut oil to your dog’s diet is the right choice for them.

Coconut water is also safe for your dog to drink, as long as it is completely natural. When coconut water is 100% pure and natural, it can provide a ton of beneficial vitamins and nutrients. However, make sure you check the coconut water before you buy it in the store to see if anything else has been added to it before you serve it to your dog. Some additives can be completely toxic for dogs, so it is important to only serve them 100% natural water in order to make sure they can stay healthy. Coconut water can often contain a lot of sugar and medium-chain triglycerides, so it is important to only serve your dog a small amount of coconut water in order to prevent gastrointestinal diseases and obesity.

How can you give a dog coconut?

Guidelines for coconut oil

If you begin to add coconut oil to your dog’s diet, it is important to do it slowly and increase the amount gradually in order to prevent gastrointestinal problems. Small dogs and puppies should only have ¼ of a teaspoon per day, bigger dogs should only have 1 teaspoon per day, and dogs with sensitive stomachs like my dog should have barely any per day. When you give coconut oil to your dog, it can cause detox and digestive issues.

If you are using coconut oil to kill fungi, yeasts, parasites, viruses, and bacteria, make sure not to feed your dog too much right away. Doing this can cause your dog to get extremely sick, and it could cause the detoxing process to be incredibly hard for your dog to go through. The signs of detoxing too quickly can include diarrhea, fatigue, flu-like symptoms, headaches, and lethargy. If you see any of these symptoms, talk to your veterinarian right away to see what you should do to make sure your dog gets healthy as soon as they can.

It is important to not feed your dog a large amount of coconut oil since it can cause a wide array of digestive issues to occur such as having greasy stools or diarrhea as their body starts to adjust to the diet change. Make sure to start with a small amount and work up from there in order to prevent any digestive issues from occurring. If you see that your dog is uncomfortable, tired, or has diarrhea, then it’s a good idea to cut back on how much you are giving them for the time being. Then you can slowly increase the amount that you give them every couple of days.   

Remember that you should serve coconut oil with your dog’s food. Liquid coconut oil can be added to your dog’s food at any mealtime in order to add a ton of nutritional benefits and a better taste to their food. Coconut oil made from different brands have a range of tastes from a strong coconut taste to a buttery flavor to an extremely bland flavor, so you will need to experiment to see what your pet likes the best.

Guidelines for Coconut Meat

When feeding your dog coconut meat it is important not to give your dog too much too quickly since it can cause stomach aches and diarrhea. Small dogs and puppies should never have more than a teaspoon, large dogs should never have more than a tablespoon, and overweight dogs should never have more than ¼ of a teaspoon. Keep in mind, for puppies and large and small dogs, these are not the amounts that you want to start out with. You should start with ¼ of a teaspoon and slowly work up to a larger amount over time in order to reduce the chance of your dog having any stomach aches or diarrhea. If you notice that either of these issues is starting to occur, cut back on the amount of coconut oil for a few days before gradually increasing the amount. Before committing to adding coconut to your dog’s diet, make sure to feed them a small amount first to make sure that they don’t have an allergic reaction to it.

There are many different forms that coconut can take such as raw coconut, dried coconut, or shredded coconut, but before you buy any form of coconut, make sure that it is not artificially sweetened coconut since that can be toxic for your dog. It is also important to not feed your dog baked goods with coconut in them since they can contain Xylitol, which is an ingredient that can be fatal to a dog. Dried coconut can also affect your dog negatively since the added preservatives and sugar can lead to gastrointestinal distress. Always look for an unsweetened form of coconut and only feed it to your dog in moderation in order to prevent any major gastrointestinal issues from occurring.

Coconut Oil for Treatment of Skin Issues

Coconut oil is also a very good ointment for treating dry skin, wounds, and rashes when it is applied to the skin. If you think that your dog will be tempted to lick it off their skin, then you will want to wrap the skin with a towel or rag. By doing this, the coconut oil will have enough time to soak into your dog’s skin before they have a chance to lick it off.

More Ways to Add Coconut to a Dog’s Diet

Here are some of my favorite dog treats with coconut that I know your dog will love!

Coconut oil popsicles – Use ½ a cup of solid coconut oil along with a handful of frozen fruit you know your dog likes. If you haven’t given your dog fruit before, make sure to check which fruits dogs can and can’t have before putting fruit into this popsicle. Divide up the portions into ice cube trays and freeze. As you create the portions, remember to follow the above coconut oil feeding guidelines based on your dog’s size. 

Coconut, peanut butter, and honey biscuit dog treats – Heat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and combine one cup of water, one egg, ½ of a cup of natural coconut flour, and 1 1/2 cups of peanut butter along with two tablespoons of baking powder, one tablespoon of honey, and ½ cup of melted coconut oil. Roll the dough out on the cutting board and create fun-shaped biscuits for your pup. Bake them for 15 to 20 minutes or until they are set.

Coconut, banana, and blueberry smoothie – Blend together one cup of ice, one tablespoon of peanut butter, one tablespoon of coconut oil, one cup of blueberry, and one banana. When serving a smaller dog, make sure you portion the smoothie out accordingly based on how much coconut oil your dog should have a day and refrigerate the rest. 

Tips When Giving a Dog Coconut

Only give your dog organic coconut milk 

When choosing between feeding your dog natural and non-natural coconut milk, choose natural milk. You will find non-organic coconut milk uses pesticides that can be harmful to your dog and can possibly result in your dog getting seriously ill or dying. Make sure to look for the most natural coconut milk product that is available to you since that is what will give your dog the most nutritional benefits. If you can get an entire, organic coconut where you live, then that is the best choice for your coconut milk since it will not have been processed at all.

Don’t overfeed your dog coconut Milk, meat, or water

Remember that saying, too much of a good thing is bad? Well, the same thing can be said about coconut and your dog. All coconut products have a high-fat content, which can lead to pancreatitis and weight gain for a dog. Plus, coconut oil may irritate your dog’s stomach lining as well as increase his odds of developing a leaky gut if they eat more than they should. If your dog is showing symptoms of diarrhea, vomiting, lethargy, or a decreased appetite take them to the veterinarian so they can be checked for pancreatitis as soon as possible.

A dog biting on a coconut.

Stop feeding your dog coconut if his stomach becomes irritated

If your dog doesn’t like coconut, they will tell you as you watch how they act. If your dog has diarrhea, is vomiting, is refusing to drink or eat anything coconut related, or pulls back when smelling coconut, then you should reduce the amount of coconut you are giving them. If these symptoms continue after decreasing the amount they eat each day, then you should stop feeding them coconut altogether.

Do not give a dog the entire coconut

Remember never to give your dog the entire coconut. The coconut husk is fiber, but it isn’t the kind of fiber that’s good for your dog’s health. The number of fatty acids in the coconut shell can cause a lot of gastrointestinal issues, so it’s important to feed them coconut in moderation. Also, giving your dog an entire coconut shell can possibly result in the shell getting stuck in their esophagus and causing an internal blockage which would be extremely painful.

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