Coconut is one of the healthiest and great tasting fruits for the human masters, and dogs are often left salivating at the fibrous fruit.
While most dog owners easily fall to the temptation of giving their furry friends a bite of the fruit, it is important to understand that not every human food is good for dogs. Coconut is not an exemption in this case.
The big question that dog owners ask is: can dogs eat coconut? Is coconut bad for cats? Does coconut have any benefits to my dog?
The truth is, coconut is a safe fruit and dogs can eat coconut without any health issues. Coconut has multiple health benefits that your pup can benefit from, including digestion and an improved immune system. However, not every part of a coconut is good for your dog.
Read on to see what part (between the coconut oil, coconut water, and the meaty part) of coconut is good for your dog, how much coconut to give your dog and any potential side effects of coconut.
Is coconut good for cats?
Coconut is a healthy fruit for the human masters, and it also makes a good treat for your pooch.
The most popular component of coconut is coconut oil, which is added to dog supplements both for its medicinal value and its pleasant scent. Some dog owners even add small droplets of the oil to dog food to tickle their picky eater’s taste buds.
Coconut oil is highly valued due to its antibacterial and anti-fungal properties, which helps keep common diseases at bay. It is sometimes used as a homemade antihistamine to reduce the severity of allergic reactions in dogs. It also helps in the digestion process.
Coconut milk is another nutritious fluid that is safe for dogs to drink. It contains certain medium-chain fatty acids that help trigger regular bowel movements to relieve constipation in dogs.
While coconut oil and milk are nutrient-rich, much of the nutritional value is in the white coconut flesh. This meaty part is grated to produce coconut milk. This flesh can be served raw either as a top-up to your dog’s meal or as a treat.
Benefits of coconut for dogs
Giving your dog a small bite of this coconut can provide the following benefits to your dog:
Boost Immune system
Coconut is rich in antioxidants, which help boost your dog’s immune system and create a powerful response to foreign disease-causing microbes. A strong immune system is necessary to promise an extra layer of defense to viruses, fungi, parasites, and bacteria.
If your dog spends most of his time outdoors, coconut can help keep his immunity stronger to protect him from getting infected by parasites or bad bacteria lazing around your garden. It can also help in the management of ringworm infections and other infections caused by bad bacteria, fungal or viruses.
Coconut contains lauric acid, a type of medium fatty acid that has anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce the severity of inflammatory symptoms.
Scientists have studied the inflammatory properties of lauric acid by injecting it in rats. The results of these tests show that lauric acid greatly reduced the intensity and severity of swelling in rats.
The anti-inflammatory properties are also evident in helping reduce swelling in dogs. Most dog owners say that serving a small piece of coconut during mealtime helps speed the healing of wounds and cuts. Coconut also works in healing arthritis.
However, note that coconut should not be used as the actual treatment for wounds, cuts or arthritis. It can be used in managing the symptoms and speeding up healing, after getting veterinary treatment for the main condition.
Good for the skin
I use coconut oil for my skin, and I also found out that coconut oil is good for my dog’s skin. It can make the shaggy looking coat smooth and shiny and give him a new look that he is not used to.
Whether you are serving your dog coconut oil or just the meaty part, you are guaranteed to see some positive change in his skin condition. The lauric acid can also provide anti-inflammatory properties to reduce skin swellings, infections and flea allergies that make the dog’s coat appear bumpy.
You can also use coconut oil as a moisturizer on the dog’s skin after bath, to reduce coat dryness and itchiness.
How much coconut is too much for your dog to handle?
Dogs do not need fruits such as coconut to get their nutrients, and therefore, coconut should not be given in large qualities. Giving your dog too much coconut can cause stomach upset and indigestion in the short term.
Serve your dog only a small amount of coconut either as a treat or by adding grated coconut to his meal. Dice the coconut or grate a small piece of the coconut and sprinkle it into the dog’s meal. Your dog will enjoy the pleasant taste of coconut and still enjoy the benefits provided by the fruit.
If you prefer giving him coconut oil rather than the meat, a few drops of the oil is enough. The coconut oil will provide all the benefits that your dog would get from eating the actual coconut, and a few drops into his meal can serve the intended purpose.
Can dogs eat coconut oil?
In the last few years, coconut oil has been hitting the headlines as a cure-it-all medicine. While there is no scientific backing for coconut oil as a medicine for everything, coconut oil has produced positive results when applied to the human hair and skin. The benefits are mostly external, and you can see the actual benefits after a few uses.
Is coconut oil safe for dogs? Yes, coconut oil is safe and dogs can eat the oil but in moderation. Coconut oil has properties that may lead to weight gain and should only be served in small amounts. Nutritionists and vets do not object serving coconut oil to dogs, and they agree that coconut oil has certain benefits to dogs.
Can dogs drink coconut milk?
Coconut water is not as popular as coconut oil, but it is a popular option for a select number of dog owners. Coconut milk is safe for dogs to drink, as long as it is obtained from safe sources.
You can extract coconut milk directly by grating the coconut meat and squeezing the milk from the fruit. You can also buy bottled coconut milk from the grocery store. However, be careful with store-bought coconut milk, and check for any additives such as sugar, artificial flavors, and preservatives that may be toxic to your dog.
Naturally, coconut milk is loaded with dozens of nutrients such as zinc, calcium, iron, and magnesium which improve the overall health of your dog. When serving coconut milk to your dog, make sure it is the freshest you can find. If it is processed, check for any additives such as sweeteners, colors or flavors that may affect your dog.
What to do if your dog eats coconut
Sometimes, dogs can get mischievous and steal coconut from the grocery bag.
If you caught your dog eating coconut, it should not be a cause for alarm since coconut is a safe fruit for dogs to eat. The worst that can happen if he eats too much coconut is a stomach upset. Still, you should find ways of disciplining your dog.
However, if you caught your dog eating the whole coconut and is in the act of breaking the husk, you should intervene immediately. Swallowing husks can cause blockage of the gut and even choking, which can be fatal if not addressed quickly.
Quickly take the coconut away from the dog and check if the coconut shell is broken. Also, check his mouth for any big bites of coconut and shells, and ask him to remove them in a way that he understands. If he is hesitant, you should provide his favorite treat that will force him to remove the coconut/shell in his mouth.
If the only concern is eating too much of the coconut meat, the coconut is unlikely to cause any health issues since it is a safe fruit. Your dog may experience tummy issues and may experience discomfort. Try calming him down and provide drinking water in his bowl to help manage the discomfort.