When you first start feeding your dog foods that aren’t in their kibble, it’s always a good idea to educate yourself on the topic. The last thing you’d want is to harm your pup in any way! But don’t worry, you can find all the answers and solutions here. So, can dogs eat coconut?
Yes and no. Coconut can be a tough one to figure out because it contains amazing health benefits, but it can also be harmful to your dog’s stomach. There are all kinds of healthy oils and fats loaded in a coconut that’ll give your dog the same healthy results as when we eat it, which is great. However, different factors should be analyzed before you start feeding them slices of coconut every morning.
Prior to giving your dog any extra food, you need to research their breed, age, and environment. Some dogs are prone to indigestion and sensitive stomachs, which is a big no-no for coconut eaters. The acids in coconut can hurt them, and even cause trips to the vet. This usually isn’t an issue for most breeds, but it’s always good to know.
For the most part, coconut is completely safe for dogs to consume. The healthy fats are actually excellent for promoting quick cognitive growth in puppies, as well as adult dogs. It’s also a great way to spice up their diet, which promotes scheduled meal times. Just like us humans, dogs love variety!
But there’s more to it than just yes and no, unfortunately. Not all pet owners are satisfied with a one-word answer, and we can’t blame you! Keeping your dog healthy is of the utmost importance, so let’s break it down a little bit more to clarify the subject at hand.
The Pros of Feed Your Dog Coconut
You will definitely find that there are a lot more pros than cons of feeding coconut to your dog. They love the taste, and it’s packed with super-beneficial nutrients to improve nearly every aspect of their life. You can’t find many other foods that do that for dogs!
So, can dogs eat coconut? One of the biggest pros of feeding your dog coconut is it boosts their immune system. Dogs fight influenzas and other viruses just like we do, so they need a defense built up. Coconut provides massive support through the naturally occurring antioxidants found in the seed. Not only that, but it also fights off the current illness, whereas most other foods simply act as a preventative.
Another benefit of coconut for your dog is the fact that it helps promote healthy skin. It’s no secret that dogs can get dry, flaky skin very easily. In fact, it gets even worse during the winter! Luckily, coconut oil makes your dog’s skin much smoother, and it shines their fur as well. If you live in an area with lots of flees, consider giving your dog coconut slices or rubbing it on their fur. Fleas hate it, and your dog will love it!
Can dogs eat coconut? Coconut is excellent for reducing inflammation in dogs as well, which is great if your dog suffers from arthritis or joint pain. It’s also an excellent treatment for dogs with heart problems. Not only does it reduce the swelling in their heart valves, but it also provides the aforementioned healthy fats to boost heart function.
The Cons of Feeding Coconut to Your Dog
Although there are not many bad things to say about giving coconut slices to your dog, it’s always good to go in with every bit of knowledge possible. Some dogs will have issues with adding anything new to their diet, especially if they’re older. Keep in mind that it’s much more intense to change up a dog’s eating habits than it is for us.
A huge mistake that some dog owners make is giving their dog a full coconut. It might seem like a good idea because it’s a massive chew toy, but there are far too many risks involved. For instance, the shell cracks after enough force is applied, which can get lodged in their throat or stomach. This causes several obvious issues, which is the opposite of what you want!
Another issue caused by feeding your dog a whole coconut is that the little strands, or ‘coconut hairs’, can get caught in their stomach and cause digestion issues. It can also create serious pain when passing bowel movements. In short, don’t give your dog a full coconut under any circumstances!
You should also remain skeptical of coconut water when it comes to your dog’s health. While giving them fresh coconut water at home is completely safe, store-bought coconut water is a different story. There’s a ton of different added sugars and preservatives that can cause health problems down the road, so it’s always good to remain on the side of caution. Not to mention all of the other questionable ingredients in processed food these days.
Can Dogs Eat Coconut? Should You Give Your Dog Coconut?
Now that you have all of the stats that you need, it’s up to you to decide if your dog can have coconut implanted as part of their diet. It’s safe to say that most coconuts are completely harmless and actually very beneficial to a dog’s health, so as long as you know the source, it’s a perfectly great way to improve their life.
Obviously, given the ‘cons’ list, you should now know to avoid giving them a full coconut as a chew toy. Don’t even try to give them a portion of it if possible. Many pet owners break off a chunk of the coconut, revealing the meat but leaving the shell on the piece. Before you do this, cut out the shell to prevent any issue.
The safest way to feed coconut to your dog is to break it open and cut off a sliver. This not only gives them appropriate bite size so they don’t choke, but it also prevents any chance of the shell being left over for them. It’s also just a good way to measure their intake and keep some for later as a treat!
Don’t be over-concerned with all the scariness of coconut ingestion. When it comes down to it, feed your dog a coconut the same way you’d eat it! You wouldn’t eat the shell or ingest the coconut hairs, would you? They shouldn’t either, it’s that simple. It tastes just as good to them as well!
Using Coconut as Medicine for Your Dog
In recent years, we’ve become more and more aware of all the health properties of coconut and coconut oil. In fact, there’s more coconut oil being sold than ever before! This is because science shows us that it’s not only good for the heart, but also for joint pain, relaxation, and acne prevention.
The great thing about all of those health benefits is that every single one of them applies to dogs as well. Coconut is useful in both its natural seed form, as well as when it’s used as an oil for topical applications. Not only does it help prevent many issues, but it’s also excellent when used as a medicine.
While it’s always easy for us to run up to the store and grab a cold and flu suppressant, it’s never the same with dogs. There’s no such thing as a dog mucus expectorant, or and inflammation reducer. Luckily, we have coconut to help in place of these medications that been evading dogs for far too long!
It’s now well-known that giving your dog coconut slices or coconut water helps them when they’re feeling under the weather. You know that terribly sad moment when you notice they’re much more quiet and slower than normal? Well, coconut helps reduce or even remove that! Think about how nice it would be to completely eradicate that feeling for him or her.
Things to Consider Before Asking: “Can Dogs Eat Coconut?”
Before you jump the gun and start feeding your dog a piece of coconut all the time, you should put a few things into question. For example, not all dogs like the taste of coconut. You wouldn’t want to give them something that they didn’t like! The taste buds of your dog are different than the neighbor’s dog, and so on. Since every dog is unique, they don’t all like the same foods.
Another factor to think about is the age of your dog. When dogs get older, they become more sensitive to new foods and a change in diet. On top of that, new textures can always freak them out, especially when they’re almost slimy as with some coconuts. If your dog is older, try letting them smell the coconut and give them a very small slice.
All in all, coconut is usually an excellent food to introduce into your dog’s diet. The safest bet is to always check with your local vet, but as long as you take it slow and remove the shell completely, your dog will be okay. In fact, with all of the health benefits involved, they’ll be more than okay! They’ll be eating delicious, natural food and loving every minute of it.
Victoria Nelson is a lifelong animal lover. She grew up in a small farm with a wide variety of pets that included dogs, cats, cows, fish etc. A published author since 18, she loves writing, and nothing makes her happier than writing about animals and sharing useful animal care tips.