Can Dogs Eat Coconut?

Angela Vuckovic
by Angela Vuckovic

If you want to know can dogs eat coconut safely and if there are any benefits to the tropical fruit, read on.

Dogs are omnivores and, as such, they can digest a wide variety of foods, from fiber-rich veggies to the protein-packed red meats. But the fact that they are anatomically equipped to digest some foods doesn’t mean that they should eat it. Some seemingly innocuous foods can turn out to be toxic for dogs, and others, while not outright lethal, can damage their health in the long run. So, how do you know what to feed your pet?

For most dogs, a well-balanced diet of high-quality dry food will be the best option. You can choose the brand of kibble that’s specially designed to meet their individual nutritive needs and caloric intake, and you won’t have to supplement their diet. However, this doesn’t mean your pooch won’t crave an occasional treat in form of human foods (the favorite kind for most four-legged gluttons), or that you can whip up some tasty homemade treats and meals from time to time. This means that knowing which foods are safe for dogs is an absolute must- even if you don’t feed them to your pooch on a regular basis.

When it comes to plant-based foods for dogs, there are as many great and healthy options as are those that could upset your pooch’s tummy, or worse, cause them serious harm. So, where does coconut go on that list? Can dogs eat coconut or is this tropical fruit something they shouldn’t nibble on? As coconut comes in many forms and shapes, the answer might not be as simple as you might think.

Can Dogs Eat Coconut?

The short answer to the question can dogs eat coconut is- yes, when properly served and in moderation. What does that mean, precisely? Well, first of all, you shouldn’t ever give your pooch coconut in its shell, as eating pieces of coconut shell can be very dangerous for dogs since they can cause an intestinal obstruction. While you may think that the hard shell might be a good natural dental treat for your pooch to chew on, the truth is that this is the one part of the coconut your four-legged companion should definitely steer clear of.

As for the coconut meat, it is completely safe for dogs to eat. The flesh of the popular tropical fruit can be fed raw, or dried, in form of coconut flakes, as long as you don’t overdo it. Yes, there’s no dilemma when it comes to the question of can dogs eat coconut without risk, but giving them a spoonful as treat is not the same as adding large amounts of coconut to dog’s food every day. Coconut contains medium chain triglycerides, which, although not poisonous to dogs, can irritate the GI tract of a more sensitive pooch, leading to stomach ache and bloating.

Can Dogs Eat Coconut Oil and Drink Coconut Water?

For the last few years, coconut oil has been all the rage: this natural product has been toted as a cure-it-all for everything from bad hair and skin to fungal and bacterial infections. While the jury is still out on coconut oil benefits for humans, what’s the scoop on the merits for our furry besties? Can dogs eat coconut oil, and does it offer any benefits for their health?

As for the safety aspect, coconut oil can be perfectly dog-friendly; your dog can eat it, as long as you don’t go overboard- after all, oil is fattening, no matter how healthy it is or what type of beneficial substances it contains. When it comes to merits, though, there are no scientific studies to back the claims that coconut oil has benefits for dogs, which is not so surprising, considering that they’re barely any studies for humans as well. Even so, holistic veterinarians and animal nutritionists claim that including coconut oil in a dog’s diet can have positive effects, primarily for the health of the skin and coat.

That said, there’s also research out there that suggests being careful about giving your dog coconut oil. In fact, the ASPCA advises against pet parents giving coconut oil because it can cause irritation to your dog’s gut lining. It may make them have loose stools, diarrhea, cramping or more.

Coconut oil can also increase the amount and toxicity of lipopolysaccharide (LPS). LPS is an endotoxin that can cause immune response and inflammation in your dog–so on one hand, coconut can help prevent inflammation, but on another, in oil, it can increase it as well.

What about Coconut water? Well, it turns out that you should, because there are some to consider before letting your pooch sip this exotic beverage. While the natural, 100% pure coconut water is safe for dogs, you should always check if your store-bought stuff has any stuff added to it before you go offering it to your furball. Sugar, as well as some preservatives and additives, can be particularly harmful to pets.

Does Coconut Have Any Benefits for Dogs?

Now that you know that, almost in any form, coconut should be safe for dogs to consume in moderation, the question remains- why should you give it to them? Coconut might have a delectable flavor, but is the hassle worth it? It depends. Although there are no evidence-backed, comprehensive studies that could prove the touted benefits of the coconut, it stands to reason that the antioxidants and vitamins it contains can support your pupper’s overall health.

According to some sources, such as the American Kennel Club, coconut is much more than just a tasty treat for canines. They propose that this fruit has anti-inflammatory properties that make it a good supplement for dogs affected by arthritis, hotspots, or flea allergies, for instance. Additionally, they credit it with improving the immune system in canines, helping them to fight off influenza and other infections. Whether you believe that coconut and coconut oil is as beneficial as people claim, or you think it’s all a fad, one fact remains: dogs can eat coconut safely and, in moderate amounts, it’s a healthy treat for your pet. So, how should you serve it?

Tips For Giving Your Dog Coconut Milk

If you’re going to give Fido some coconut milk, there are a few steps you’ll want to take:

1. Make sure coconut milk you give is organic.
It matters. The pesticides used in non-organic coconut milk can be bad for your dog. You want to feed the most natural products available. If you live where you can get a whole, organic coconut (or buy one), that’s a good choice for your pup as the coconut milk will not have been processed at all! After all, Mother Nature’s finest!

Don’t overdo coconut milk, water or anything.
As we always say with anything, too much of a good thing can be bad for your doggo. Coconut and coconut milk are both high in fat. Too much fat in your dog’s diet can lead to both weight gain and a medical condition called pancreatitis. Not to mention, coconut oil can irritate lining and increase odds of leaky gut. If you feel you may have overdone it on the coconut, be sure to take them to the vet to get checked out for pancreatitis.

Stop if coconut irritates dogs stomach.
You’ll know if your dog has too much coconut. If your dog is refusing to drink it or showing signs of stomach upset, vomiting or diarrhea after drinking coconut milk or water, or eating coconut, pull back. You don’t want to upset his tummy more.

Never give your pup a whole coconut
Do not offer your pup a whole coconut, that husky fiber is NOT good fiber! Not to mention, that fat in one sitting? Horrible for your dog’s tummy. Again, all things in moderation.

How to Give Coconut to Your Dog

While you can give a bit of raw coconut flesh to your furry companion, chances are you won’t have a whole coconut in a shell on hand every time your pooch wants a treat. If you want to reward your pooch with a tropical-flavored nom-nom, try out one of our fab homemade dog treats recipes that star coconut as their main ingredient!

Blackberry Coconut Frozen Dog Treats

Beat the summer heat with a simple yet delicious frozen yummy for your pooch. I don’t know what I like more about this recipe, the fact that this is so easy to make or that it’s a super healthy treat for your four-legged family member. To make these delicious and refreshing bone-shaped goodies for your dog, you’ll need two ingredients only- blackberries and coconut water! Let freeze and voila- you’ve got yourself the perfect reward for a very good boy (or a girl).

Banana Coconut Dog Treat Recipe

Your dog will love these crunchy cookies, and you won’t have to feel guilty if you dole out one or two more than you usually do: after all, these are made from healthy ingredients only so if you decide to spoil your furbaby, no big harm. For a batch of these dog treats, you’ll need unsweetened shredded coconut, banana, cinnamon, flax seed, almond milk, oats, and wheat flour.

Frozen Coconut Pineapple Dog Treat Recipe

Nothing says tropical paradise like the mix of coconut and pineapple! Cool off your pet with these delicious frozen treats that will make them slobbering as soon as you come near the freezer. With shredded coconut, coconut water, and pineapple cubes as the

only ingredients, this refreshing nom-noms are the perfect low-calorie summer treat.

Grain-Free Coconut and Banana Dog Treat Recipe

Got a pupper that has a sensitive tummy? Make them treats that contain ingredients known to go easy on canine’s GI tract. Lactose, meat, and grain free, this cookies are less likely to irritate your pet’s belly than store-bought ones. To whip them up, you’ll need coconut flour, egg, coconut oil, almond milk, peanut butter, banana, and just a touch of honey. Paw-licking good!

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Coconut Dog Treat Recipe

Winter Coconut and Cranberry Dog Treat Recipe

While this is definitely an all-season recipe, the smell the will spread from the kitchen while you bake them is definitely going to remind you of the year’s most festive season. These rich and tasty dog treats contain dried cranberries, shredded coconut, cinnamon, coconut oil, flour, egg, bran, and almond (or peanut) butter. Sure to please even the pickiest of pooches!

Touch of Coconut Dog Treat Recipe

These simple cookies combine ingredients that are readily available, tasty, and good for canines- what more can a pawrent ask? The recipe calls for wheat bran, all-purpose flour, cinnamon, egg, coconut oil, and broth of your choice- chicken and beef are both recommended. Your pooch will probably love these nom-noms regardless of the broth you chose, though!

Best Coconut Products for Dogs

OK, so you’re not too crazy about baking your own dog cookies and treats- and that’s OK. That doesn’t mean your pooch has to be denied coconut goodies, as there are plenty of commercial coconut products to choose from. Here are some of our choices for healthy coconut treats you can give to your pooch – he’ll love the scrumptious taste and you can rest assured he’s reaping all the benefits coconut offers to canines.

K9 Granola Factory Coconut Crunchers

These crunchy baked dog biscuits will make your mouth water, let alone your pet’s! Made with ingredients such as organic virgin coconut oil, pumpkin, cinnamon, oatmeal, and banana, these dog treats are not just exceptionally yummy but healthy for your pooch, as well. And if your doggo doesn’t go bananas for, well, bananas- there’s a papaya and mango option for your picky pooch.

Dr. Harvey’s Coconut Smiles

There’s only one ingredient in these dog treats and its pure organic dehydrated coconut. There’s no dyes, artificial flavors, preservatives, by-products, or taste enhancers to worry about! Your pooch can enjoy delicious, chewy yummies without any concern for his health- and what could be better than that? While not as durable as rawhide, these chewy goodies could be an excellent healthy and vegan alternative.

IMK9 Mutts Love Coconuts

They sure do! These low-calorie healthy dog treats are made with sustainably sourced ingredients such as apples, coconut, oat flour, carrots, honey, chia seeds, and others. The result are tasty and crunchy dog biscuits that will make your pooch’s tail wag as soon as you open the bag! In all honesty, you might be tempted to sneak a few for yourself- they smell THAT good.

Cocotherapy Coconut Chips

When it comes to dog food and treats, there are two factors to go for: natural ingredients and clean, minimal ingredient list- and these yummies combine both! These raw vegan goodies are made from human-grade dehydrated coconut meat and that’s it – no fillers, artificial ingredients, colors, flavors, nada! Just the scrumptious taste of coconut and the health benefits it offers.

Riley’s Organics Pumpkin & Coconut Treats

USDA-certified organic and verified as non-GMO, these small bone-shaped biscuits are the gold standard in the world of commercial dog treats. Made with human-grade ingredients, they combine pumpkin and coconut oil, oats and oat flour, rye flour, and peanut flour to create insanely yummy yet healthy treats for your furry best friend.

Zesty Paws Coconut Oil for Dogs

If you’re not looking for treats where coconut is one of the ingredients or worry that your pooch might not be interested in dehydrated coconut products, then go for pure coconut oil. Blend it in your pet’s food as a supplement or give ‘em a spoonful to lick if they like the taste (or just the greasiness factor). This is an extra virgin coconut oil option perfect for the needs of canines – it will make their skin and coat beautiful or soothe dry and irritated skin when applied topically.

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Angela Vuckovic
Angela Vuckovic

A proud mama to seven dogs and ten cats, Angela spends her days writing for her fellow pet parents and pampering her furballs, all of whom are rescues. When she's not gushing over her adorable cats or playing with her dogs, she can be found curled up with a good fantasy book.

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