Can Dogs Eat Coconut? Coconut’s Nutritional Value as a Dog Food

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Yes, dogs can eat coconut. Some nutrients found in coconut include fiber, lauric acid, antioxidants, and manganese.

These help with digestion, strengthen immunity, heal damaged cells, and improve metabolic functioning, respectively. 

A Miniature Poodle with coconut
A Mini Poodle with coconut

However, it’s important to feed coconut in moderation, as it’s high in calories and fat.

In addition, the hard shell of the coconut can pose a choking hazard, so it should be removed before feeding.

Overall, there is no reason to avoid giving your dog the occasional coconut treat, but it should not be a staple of their diet.

This article walks you through how coconut is an advantage for our dog’s health, including their metabolism and immunity. You can share the following benefits with your dog.

What are the Benefits of Coconut for Dogs?

Coconut is a nutritious, delicious fruit that can offer numerous benefits for dogs. When fed in moderation, coconut meat can be a healthy addition to your dog’s diet. 

  1. Coconut has antioxidants that aid the immune system: The phenolic compounds found in coconut help with damaged cells, too. 
  2. Fiber found in coconut improves your dog’s digestive tract: Fiber helps in preventing constipation, regulates the bowel, and maintains good colon health. It promotes good bacteria in the gut and the sugars found in coconut can help to bulk up your dog’s stool.
  3. Coconut helps to reduce inflammation: Coconut contains the fatty acid lauric acid which is a great anti-inflammatory. This means it helps in the healing of wounds, cuts, and hot spots. Lauric acid will also help your dog fight off any viruses, yeast infections, ringworm, and Giardia. 
  4. Fatty acids in coconut keep your dog’s coat healthy: Coconut is also rich in fatty acids, which can promote healthy skin and coat. You can also apply coconut oil directly to your dog’s skin and paws to keep it supple, shiny, and healthy.
  5. Magnesium in coconut enhances dogs’ metabolism and skeletal system: Optimal amount of manganese metabolizes protein as well as bone and cartilage formation.
  6. Coconut is good for your dog’s dental health: As discussed, coconut oil is rich in lauric acid, which has natural antibacterial and antifungal properties. When applied to the gums and teeth, it can help to reduce plaque and tartar buildup. In addition, it can help to kill bacteria that cause bad breath. For best results, apply a small amount of coconut oil to your dog’s gums and teeth with your finger or a cotton swab. Do this daily or as needed. You should see a noticeable improvement in your dog’s dental health within a few weeks.

What nutrients in coconuts are beneficial for dogs?

A close-up image of coconuts with leaves
Coconut and coconut leaves

Aside from those mentioned above, there are other vitamins and minerals that your dogs can receive from coconut. These include the following:

  • Albumin: Coconut contains 21 grams of albumin per 100 grams. This protein helps carry vitamins, enzymes, and other important substances through the bloodstream and is essential for the formation of red blood cells.
  • Iron: Iron found in coconut aids in blood synthesis. This helps your dog’s body in producing red blood cells, which carry oxygen to the tissues for cellular metabolism. 
  • Copper: Copper has many important functions in the dog’s body. Aiding in iron absorption, this nutrient is important in red blood cell function. In addition, it also plays a key role in dogs’ coats as it helps produce melanin.
  • Selenium: Selenium is an essential trace mineral that has antioxidant properties as well as contributes to proper thyroid functioning.

What are the Health Risks of Coconut for Dogs?

A dog with coconut at the beach
A dog enjoying his coconut at the beach – Image source

While coconuts have various health benefits for your dog, it also carries health risks when served incorrectly and excessively.

  1. Choking: The hard outer shell of coconut is difficult to chew and digest. When digested, this makes a choking hazard and causes gastrointestinal blockage in dogs of all sizes. Hence, make it a point to remove any bit of it when serving coconut to your dog.
  2. Weight gain: As mentioned, coconut is rich in calories and fat. With that said, dogs who eat excessive amounts of coconut may be at risk of weight gain. The high sugar content of coconut can also spike the sugar levels of diabetic dogs.

What’s in coconut that is harmful to dogs?

Coconut has nutrients that can bring harm to dogs if the fruit is given in large amounts.

This is true, especially if your pet has a pre-existing health condition that can be triggered by these.

Hence, watch out for the following:

  1. Fiber: Dogs require a diet with fiber in order to maintain normal bowel movements. However, if a dog ingests too much fiber, it can lead to digestive issues such as diarrhea, gas, frequent stools, or excessive defecation.
  2. Medium-chain triglycerides: Some dogs may struggle to digest coconut due to this content. This could result in constipation or gastrointestinal distress, lethargy, weakness, and abdominal pain. 
  3. Cholesterol: Coconut oil can increase your dog’s cholesterol levels. That said, cholesterol doesn’t have the same effect on canines as it does on humans. While excess coconut oil in your dog’s diet may lead to weight gain, it isn’t likely to cause the same heart disease and cholesterol problems as it would for humans.

Is high potassium in coconut harmful for dogs?

No, although high in potassium, coconut is not harmful to your dog unless given in excess or if your dog suffers from certain health conditions.

Coconut is high in potassium, for this reason, coconut water is used by many athletes as a natural sports drink.

Potassium is vital to your dog’s health and has many benefits including boosting the functioning of the heart, nerves, and muscles. 

However, too much potassium in your dog’s body can cause diarrhea, vomiting, and general weakness. An overdose of potassium can even be fatal.

A lethal dose of potassium iodate is estimated to be 200 to 250 mg per kg of body weight.

Is There Any Dog Breed Allergic to Coconut?

No, there is no specific dog breed itself that is allergic to coconut.

However, as with any food, it’s always best to introduce coconuts slowly into your dog’s diet and to watch for any adverse reactions.

Because of food allergies, dogs may experience itchiness, which is usually the first symptom to develop and is often greatest around the ears and paws.

Swelling may also occur anywhere on the body but is often in the face, ears, and earflaps. Gastrointestinal upset can manifest as vomiting, diarrhea, or both. 

Some dogs may also experience respiratory distress, such as coughing and sneezing. In some rare yet severe instances, allergies can cause anaphylactic shock, which can be fatal. 

If you think your dog may be allergic to coconuts, it’s best to consult with your veterinarian.

They can perform allergy testing and help you develop a plan to avoid triggers and keep your dog healthy and comfortable.

What Happens If My Dog Eats Too Much Coconut?

If your dog eats too much coconut, he may experience an upset stomach and diarrhea. In some cases, vomiting may also occur.

Also, since the fruit is high in calories, too much of it can lead to gaining excessive weight. The high fat content may also heighten the risk of pancreatitis.

How Should Dogs Eat Coconut?

A smiling Samoyed with coconut
Ice, the island Samoyed, loves coconuts – Image source

Give your dog coconut that is fresh and unprocessed. This means that it should not be canned, frozen, or sweetened.

Secondly, make sure to remove the hard outer shell of the coconut before giving the flesh to your dog. Then, chop the coconut flesh into small pieces or shred it using a grater. 

If you buy flaked or shredded coconut from the store, always opt for the unsweetened version as sweetened coconut, like that used in baking, contains added sugars that aren’t good for your pet.

You can also feed your dog coconut oil. Go for the non-hydrogenated version which can be fed to your dog directly as-is or drizzled over his food.

Is Coconut a Good Treat for Dogs?

Yes, coconut is a perfectly safe and healthy treat for dogs, granted your pup is not at risk of obesity.

This is true, especially for canines who are recovering from illness or injury since the fruit has anti-inflammatory properties.

However, it’s important to remember that coconuts are high in fat, so they should be given only in moderation.

When should dogs eat coconut?

On the occasion when your dog is suffering from an injury, it’s a good idea to give him a coconut.

As mentioned, coconut has anti-inflammatory properties that aid in healing cuts and wounds.

Else, you can share a piece of coconut with him on 2 September, which is World Coconut Day!

When should dogs not eat Coconut?

If your dog has any allergies to coconut, it’s best to not share the fruit with him. Another situation in which dogs should not eat coconut is if they are obese.

Coconut has high levels of fat and calories, which can cause unwanted weight gain in dogs. 

What are the Food Recipes made with Coconut for Dogs?

One simple way to feed coconut to your dog is to add a tablespoon of coconut oil to their homemade dog food.

You can also use shredded coconut to make homemade dog treats or add it to their kibble as a topper.

What Parts of a Coconut Can My Dog Eat?

A Samoyed with coconuts sticking its tongue out
Ice, the Samoyed, cannot wait to get his hands on some coconuts – Image source

It’s important to know that not all parts of the coconut are safe for dogs to eat. As mentioned, the husk and shell of coconut are not digestible and can cause blockages if ingested.

As a result, it’s important to be selective when feeding your dog coconut. 

The meat of the coconut is the only part that is safe for dogs to consume. Hence, feed them only the meat of the fruit, and avoid giving them any other parts.

1. Coconut Oil

Dogs can eat coconut oil in moderation.

The high-fat content of coconut oil can however have some negative effects on dogs such as increasing their cholesterol level, reducing their ability to smell, and causing diseases such as pancreatitis.

If you want to feed your dog coconut oil, choose the non-hydrogenated, virgin coconut oil.

2. Coconut Milk

Again, coconut milk is safe for dogs to consume but only in small amounts.

Only go for unsweetened coconut milk and try to find an organic variety that doesn’t contain harmful additives and pesticides.

Frozen coconut milk can make a delicious treat for your dog on hot summer days.

3. Coconut Flour

Coconut flour is a good alternative for dogs that have wheat allergies, a common allergy for pets.

You can try whipping up some homemade dog treats using coconut flour. Coconut flour is also gluten-free.

4. Coconut Ice Cream

Dogs can technically eat ice cream, but it’s not the best food for them. Most commercial ice creams contain too much added sugar and lactose, which can upset a dog’s stomach. 

In addition, ice cream is high in calories, and too much can lead to weight gain. If you do want to feed your dog ice cream, look for a lactose-free variety with no added sugar. 

You can also make your own dog-friendly ice cream at home using ingredients like unsweetened applesauce or mashed bananas.

Just be sure to avoid adding any ingredients that are toxic to dogs, such as chocolate or raisins.

5. Coconut Flakes

Coconut flakes are fine for your dog to consume as long as they don’t have any added sugar.

The dried coconut flakes you buy in most grocery stores have high amounts of sugar that can lead to an upset stomach for your pet. 

6. Coconut Meat

Coconut meat or flesh is perfectly safe for your pooch to chew on, provided that the hard outer shell has been removed.

It can also be served to your dog raw, dried, or roasted in small bite-sized pieces, flaked, ground, or grated. 

7. Coconut Yogurt

While many dogs can’t digest dairy, the bacteria used during the fermentation of yogurt helps to break down the product’s lactose.

This means that coconut yogurt is a healthy option for dogs. The probiotics found in yogurt also help with digestion.

If you decide to feed your pup yogurt, stick with plain yogurt made from live cultures and real fruit.

Avoid coconut-flavored yogurts that have lots of sugar and artificial sweeteners, flavors, and colors.

8. Coconut Cookies

The coconut cookies you buy at the store contain too much-added sugar that is not safe for your pet to eat.

Additionally, some cookies include raisins or chocolate, two ingredients that can be toxic to canines.

If your dog gets hold of these ingredients, he may experience lethargy, decreased appetite, digestive distress, or even exhibit seizures. 

You can however use fresh coconut, coconut oil, or coconut flour to create some delicious homemade coconut cookies for your dog.

9. Dried Coconut

Dried coconut makes a delicious meal topper to your dog’s regular food. Just ensure not to give your dog too much.

Rather, do this on rare occasions and not as an everyday occurrence.

You should also check that the dried coconut you’re giving your dog doesn’t contain any added sugar. 

10. Coconut Shrimp

While dogs can eat both coconut and shrimp, you shouldn’t feed your dog coconut shrimp.

This is because fried foods like coconut shrimp contain a lot of fat and can cause a serious upset stomach for your dog.

What Foods Can and Can’t Be Mixed with Coconut for Dogs?

A French Bulldog with a slice of pineapple
Bruno, a Frenchie, wants to have a lick of a pineapple – Image source

If you want to make training more fun for your dog, you can also try combining coconut with a variety of different fruits and vegetables as a treat for him.

Or you may prepare a summertime fruity snack for your pet by freezing tiny bites of coconut oil together with some of these other ingredients.

1. Pineapple

Pineapple is a great tropical fruit to mix with coconut for your pup.

As with coconut, be careful not to overdo it with this sweet, sugary fruit. A few small pieces will be plenty for your dog. 

Just be careful when feeding your dog pineapple as its hard texture can make it a serious choking hazard.

Like coconut, you’ll want to cut the fruit up into bite-sized pieces before serving.

2. Almonds

Dogs cannot eat almonds. Almonds can cause diarrhea, vomiting, gas, lethargy, and a loss of appetite.

As almonds have high levels of fat, they can also put your dog at risk of developing pancreatitis.

Due to their small size and hard texture, almonds can also cause an obstruction or lead to choking in dogs.

3. Pecans

Pecans, like almonds, should not be given to your dog.

They can also cause your dog to choke but additionally, they contain aflatoxin and juglones, substances that can be harmful to dogs.

Are foods made with coconut safe for dogs?

Be careful with giving your dog anything with coconut flavor that’s intended for human consumption.

These are frequently stuffed with sugar as well as artificial coloring and flavoring. 

For your pet, some artificial sweeteners, including xylitol, can be harmful to his health. Additionally, high-sugar foods have been linked to diabetes, weight gain, and tooth decay.

Are dog foods made with coconut healthier for dogs?

While coconut offers various health benefits to your dog, this does not necessarily mean foods that contain this fruit are necessarily better for him.

This is because it still carries nutrients that may do more harm than good when given excessively. Hence, give your dog only small amounts of coconut occasionally.

What is the Amount of Coconut that Dogs Can Consume a Day?

For starters, you can give a large dog a teaspoon of coconut.

If he shows tolerance for the fruit, you can increase the serving to a teaspoon per every ten pounds of his body weight. For small dogs, start with a quarter of a teaspoon.

As for coconut oil, the recommended maximum amount you should give your dog each day is one tablespoon per 30 pounds of body weight.

Most dogs love the taste of coconut. However, make sure your pooch does not eat too much as excessive consumption may be bad for his health.

What are the Dog Treat Recipes that Contain Coconut?

A Golden Retriever puppy with dog food bowl
Meet Sugar, a hungry Goldie puppy – Image source

You can try producing a variety of tasty dog treats, that feature coconut, at home. If you want to make something appealing for your dog, look at these recipes:

  1. Gluten-Free Pumpkin Coconut Dog Treat Recipe
  2. Frozen Coconut Pineapple Dog Treat Recipe
  3. Winter Coconut and Cranberry Dog Treat Recipe

What are the dog food products that contain coconut?

If your dog fancy coconut, you might want to feed him pet food that contains it.

Online, there are several satisfying coconut-based recipes that are suitable for dogs. To find out which ones your dog prefers, you can test out a few at home.

Here are our top three picks.

  1. Farmina N&D Functional Quinoa Skin & Coat Quail Coconut and Turmeric Dry Dog Food
  2. Yumwoof Perfect Kibble – Soft Dry Dog Food with Organic Coconut Oil & Fresh Chicken

If you have not yet decided to switch your dog’s daily commercial kibble, you can opt for giving your dog a coconut-based treat as a start. Here are our favorites:

  1. Riley’s Organic Pumpkin & Coconut Treats
  2. K9 Granola Factory Coconut Crunchers
  3. IMK9 Mutts Love Coconuts

Can Dogs Eat Derivatives of Coconut?

No, fresh, coconut is always the best choice when feeding your pet.

While dogs have strong digestive systems, even their immunities will struggle to stand up to coconut derivatives, like leftover coconut milk destined for the bin. 

Try and ensure your pet does not have easy access to your compost storage or garbage can where they can find these items or make sure you have a fence around any fruit trees.

What Diseases in Dogs Can Coconut Help?

As discussed, coconut has anti-inflammatory properties that help with swelling as well as speed up the healing of wounds and cuts.

The antioxidants in coconut also protect the immune system against harmful bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites.

The lauric acid in coconut also supports defense against viruses.

Some reports also state that coconut oil helps relieve joint pain in canines who experience arthritis.

What Other Foods that Dogs Can Eat are Similar to Coconut?

If your dog does not have coconut on his list of favorite foods, you can try giving him other yummy fruits and vegetables that can give him similar health benefits.

Here are some dog-friendly fruits and vegetables.

  • Apples, another nutrient-rich fruit that helps ward off disease, and keeps your dog’s skin looking great thanks to their antioxidant and fatty acid content
  • Banana has magnesium, which maintains the strength of the bones as well as aid in the absorption of other minerals.
  • Strawberries are a good source of vitamin C, which helps to boost the immune system. They also contain antioxidants and are a low-calorie treat that is perfect for dogs who are watching their weight. 
  • Sweet potatoes are also packed with antioxidants, which can help to protect your dog from cell damage caused by free radicals. It’s also an excellent source of fiber, which keeps their digestive system running smoothly, as well as vitamins A and C, which help boost your dog’s immune system. 
  • Pumpkin is a good source of fiber, which can help to regulate digestion. It’s also rich in vitamins A, C, and iron. The last aids in blood synthesis and improve oxygen supply. 

Conclusion: So, Can My Dog Eat Coconut?

As discussed above, plain coconut flesh can shower your dog with a lot of health benefits.

This fruit promotes a good digestive tract, skin and coat, and bones. Plus, this aids in metabolism and immunity. 

However, make sure not to overdo it as too much of anything, including coconut, can be bad for your pooch.

When sharing the fruit with your dog for the first time, watch out for signs of allergic reactions by offering it to him gradually. Better yet, give your vet a call for professional advice.

Does your dog love coconut? How does he like it? Give other fur-parents ideas by letting us know in the comments below!

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