Coconut is a sweeping trend among health enthusiasts, and many dog owners are sharing their coconut with their dogs. But is it safe for dogs to eat coconut? And are there any real benefits to feeding your dog coconut?
A healthy diet for dogs should primarily be well-balanced dry dog food. But if your want to give your dog a healthy snack that has added health benefits, you may want to consider coconut meat. We’ll explain why coconut meat is safe for your dog and why coconut can be a healthy supplement to your dog’s diet.
Is Coconut Safe for Your Dog to Eat?
Yes. Coconut is safe for your dog to eat in small amounts. Coconut is full of healthy vitamins, nutrients, good fats, and carbohydrates to fuel your dog and boost its immune system.
Coconut does contain some medium-chain triglycerides, which while good for your dog, can also aggravate your dog’s digestive system or cause bloating. You should start with small amounts of coconut, then monitor your dog to ensure it doesn’t upset your dog’s stomach.
Benefits of Eating Coconut
There are several health benefits for adding coconut to your dog’s diet:
- Reduces Inflammation: Coconut contains anti-inflammatory properties that speed healing and reduce swelling around cuts, wounds, and hot spots. Coconut meat can also help relieve joint pain caused by arthritis.
- Strengthens the Immune System: Coconut contains lauric acid, which fights viruses, yeast infections, ringworm, and Giardia. Coconut meat also has lots of antioxidants that help defend the body against bacteria, parasites, and fungi.
- Improves Skin and Coat: The fatty acids in coconut support a healthy coat, and the antioxidants can relieve dry, itchy skin. Coconut oil, while shouldn’t be eaten, is great as a topical moisturizer that can improve your dog’s coat.
How to Feed your Dog Coconut Safely
You can feed your dog coconut meat as long as you follow these guidelines:
- Do not give your dog sweetened coconut because the added sugar is unhealthy for your dog.
- Make sure you remove the husk and shell because they can be choking hazards for dogs.
- Start with a quarter teaspoon for small dogs and one teaspoon for larger dogs. As your dog shows tolerance for coconut, you can increase the amount to one teaspoon for every ten pounds of weight daily, which is about one tablespoon for a thirty-pound dog.
- Feed your dog small amounts of coconut because it is high-calorie, and you don’t want to exceed the recommended 10% of daily caloric intake for supplements and treats.
After feeding your dog, watch for signs of stomach pain or bloating. If you’ve fed your dog too much coconut, your dog may have these symptoms:
- Greasy Stools
If you notice these symptoms after your dog eats coconut or coconut oil, you should call your veterinarian to rule out bigger issues.
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Do Dogs Like the Taste of Coconut?
Most dogs enjoy the taste of coconut, so working it into your dog’s diet should be easy for most dog owners. Coconut is a healthy and delicious snack that most dogs will willingly eat. But be careful not to overdo it. Your dog only needs about one teaspoon a day to get the benefits of coconut.
Feeding Your Dog Coconut Oil
While using coconut oil topically on your dog’s skin and coat can help heal dry or inflamed skin, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) doesn’t recommend feeding your dog coconut oil. Coconut oil can cause digestive issues like stomach pain, vomiting, and diarrhea. Coconut oil is added fat your dog doesn’t need.
But if you do decide to feed your dog coconut oil, you’ll want to make sure it is non-hydrogenated. Hydrogenated coconut oil has harmful trans-fats that aren’t good for your dog and can raise your dog’s cholesterol levels.
Is Coconut Shell Poisonous to Dogs?
No. Coconut shell isn’t poisonous to dogs, but it can be a dangerous choking hazard. Because the shell is tough and jagged, it should never be ingested. Always remove the husk and shell before giving your dog coconut meat.
Can Dogs Eat All Forms of Coconut?
When you go to the store, you’ll find you can buy a variety of coconut products. Some of these products have more nutrients than others. Each of these products is safe for dogs to eat:
- Coconut Meat (unsweetened)
- Coconut Milk
- Dried coconut (unsweetened)
Why Can’t Dogs Have Coconut Water?
The ASPCA recommends that you don’t give your dog coconut water because it is high in potassium. High concentrations of potassium can cause hyperkalemia in dogs, affecting the heart’s ability to function.
Coconut in Small Amounts is Safe to Supplement Your Dog’s Diet
According to veterinarians, the best thing to feed your dog is high-quality, well-balanced dry dog food. Dog food has a complete balance of nutrients your dog needs to live a healthy, long life. But if you want your dog to have the added benefits of coconut, you can give them small amounts as a treat or supplement.
Adding coconut to your dog’s diet can help reduce inflammation, fortify the immune system, and improve their skin and coat. And dogs love the taste of coconut, so it isn’t a battle to give them a healthy snack.
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