Can Dogs Eat Coconut?

coconuts on white surface

Are dogs allowed to take coconut for a meal? From coconut water to coconut milk, experts for dogs discuss what is appropriate to serve and what’s not.

Can Dogs Eat Coconut Safely?

The short answer is complex. It depends on what portion of the coconut that dog is eating. Jacqueline Brister, DVM and consultant for Embrace Pet Insurance explain that you should not feed your dog whole coconuts or pieces of shell because the shells are not digestible and could cause intestinal obstruction and damage.

What are the different types of Coconut Products Can Dogs Eat Safely?


Coconut Flesh

As per the ASPCA, Coconut flesh contains oils that could cause diarrhea, stomach upset, and loose stool. Although it’s unlikely to cause any harm to your pet in small quantities, it’s recommended to be aware when feeding the diet to your dog. Be sure to seek guidance from your veterinarian before introducing any new food to your pet’s diet.

Coconut Oil

In the words of Sophia Silverman, co-founder, and president of A New Chance Animal Rescue, a 501c3 dog shelter located in Bedford Hills, NY, even though dogs can eat coconut oil in small quantities without being poisoned, there’s a controversy over whether it’s beneficial for dogs. “There isn’t a great deal of research conducted about this and this makes it challenging for pet owners to weigh the benefits and disadvantages,” Silverman explains.

If you give your dog coconut oil, take care because “it could cause severe digestive issues in certain canines,” Brister warns. She also explains how pancreatitis, which is a life-threatening inflammation disease of the pancreas, can result from feeding dogs small amounts of coconut oil, just one tablespoon twice per day. Additionally, coconut oil can cause diarrhea when consumed in high doses.

If you feed your dog coconut oil in a home-cooked diet, Brister suggests that it should be something other than your sole fat source since it’s not a great source of essential fats. For instance, coconut oil can only provide around 2 percent of critical fat Linoleic acid (corn oil has about 54 percent). “This is important when it comes to its use as an anti-inflammatory treatment for problems such as skin conditions. It isn’t likely to be as effective as other oils because it’s low in essential fats,” Brister explains.

What do you think about applying coconut oil to your pet? Many people use coconut oil on top to ease dry skin. This Brister states, “can be beneficial for certain canine patients since it’s rich in vitamin E. Consider discussing coconut oil with your veterinarian first, as itchy skin could be caused by a problem that requires medical treatment.”

Coconut Water

Coconut water can be described as the semi-clear, sweet liquid that’s found in young, green coconuts. As the coconut matures, it becomes harder and hardened to form the white meat on the inside shell of a coconut. The ASPCA says that coconut water is rich in potassium and shouldn’t be fed to pets. Brister adds, “No significant benefits from coconut water have been documented particularly when dogs are given an adequate diet.” It’s best to hydrate yourself with coconut juice but provide your pets with H2O.

Coconut Milk

Coconut milk is made by crushing and grating coconut meat before mixing it into water. “No major advantages of adding coconut milk have been proven in the past, particularly when dogs have healthy diets,” Brister explains; however, it can be a great food source for pets who require them, like those with megaesophagus or are severely malnourished.

However, as with its fleshy counterpart, coconut milk can occasionally contain oil that could cause stomach upset or Poop issues in dogs. Therefore, it’s best to speak with your vet about whether it is beneficial for them to consume based on their health issues. If you’re planning to indulge in an ice-cold glass of coconut milk, it’s recommended not to give it to your dog.

Is it worth the risk to feed My Dog Coconut in small Amounts?

Silverman advises you to always consult with your vet before altering your dog’s diet, and “don’t be unwilling to ask questions to your veterinarian. That’s why they’re here to assist you!” Additionally, Brister recommends starting anything new under the guidance of a vet and with very small doses.

If you decide to feed your pet coconut oil, “its potential benefits as it has anti-inflammatory properties don’t necessarily outweigh the risks even in very small doses, especially in the case where other oils could have better effects,” Brister explains. Additionally, she warns that the meat of the coconut, its water, or milk might need to provide more benefits than the price and effort.

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