Like most dog owners today, you want to feed your pet a healthy diet. Or maybe you are just looking for healthier treats to reward your dog or ways to keep its skin and coat healthy.
There are so many different choices these days in dog food and treats that it can be difficult to determine which is best for your dog.
Many owners even opt for making homemade food and treats in lieu of buying commercial brands.
Coconuts, coconut water, and coconut oil have become very popular in recent years due to the health benefits to humans.
But are they good for dogs? And if so, how much coconut can a dog eat? Are there health risks associated with coconuts?
Can dogs eat coconut?
Yes, dogs can eat coconuts, and coconuts can be very healthy for dogs.
Is coconut good for dogs?
Coconut is rich in protein and carbohydrates, both of which boost energy and help build muscle in active dogs, and is rich in fiber and electrolytes.
Coconut also contains lauric acid, albumin, antioxidants and beneficial oils, as well as vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C, thiamin (vitamin B1), folate, potassium, manganese, copper, selenium, and iron.
What are the health benefits of feeding your dog coconut?
There are many health benefits of feeding your dog coconut.
According to the AKC, the lauric acid helps fight viruses and treats yeast infections, ringworm, and Giardia. Lauric acid also is a good anti-inflammatory, so it can help with the healing of cuts, hot spots, and other wounds.
Coconut’s anti-inflammatory properties also help ease the inflammation and discomfort associated with arthritis.
Coconut contains a lot of antioxidants which help boost the immune system and fight bacteria, viruses, parasites, and fungi.
Coconut has not been proven to cure any disease, but there are studies that support its anti-viral properties.
The albumin found in coconut aids in the formation of red blood cells.
Coconut can improve nutrient absorption and help with digestive disorders such as inflammatory bowel syndrome and colitis.
The oil found in coconut is very beneficial for a dog’s skin and coat. It can clear up eczema and itchy skin, prevent and treat yeast and fungal infections, and promote a soft, glossy coat.
How much coconut should I give my dog?
Use moderation when feeding coconut to your dog since it contains medium-chain triglycerides. These are good fats, but they can cause a bloating and gastrointestinal upset.
It is a good idea to monitor your dog for these symptoms and adjust the amount of coconut you are feeding him.
Can dogs eat coconut daily?
Yes, dogs can eat coconut daily in moderation. As noted above, monitor your dog for signs of upset stomach or loose stools.
Is coconut poisonous to dogs in any way?
No, coconut is not poisonous to dogs.
Help, my dog ate coconut shell!
While the coconut shell itself is not harmful to dogs, the hairs on the outside of the shell or pieces of the shell (if your dog chews it up) can get lodged in your dog’s throat or digestive tract.
If your dog ingests any of the shells, monitor her for any signs of distressed breathing or intestinal blockage. If either of these occurs, take your dog to the vet immediately.
Because coconut shells are very hard, they also may damage your dog’s teeth.
Can dogs eat coconut flakes?
Yes, dogs can eat coconut flakes. Just make sure you are feeding your dog unsweetened coconut flakes otherwise your dog will be consuming too much unhealthy sugar. This can be bad for overweight or diabetic dogs.
Can dogs eat coconut flour?
Yes, dogs can eat coconut flour and it is a good alternative when making dog treats.
According to Chew Chew Treats, coconut flour is rich in dietary fiber, low in sugar and carbohydrates, and high in protein and healthy fats, making it good for dogs with diabetes or high cholesterol.
Can dogs drink coconut water?
Coconut water can be a nice treat for your dog as long as it is natural and without added sugars.
Natural coconut water is low in salt, sugar, and calories so it is good for boosting energy.
Coconut water contains electrolytes, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, and vitamin C. It is, however, high in carbohydrates so don’t give your dog too much.
Is coconut water good for dehydration in dogs?
The electrolytes in coconut water can help keep your dog hydrated on a hot day. You can give your dog straight coconut water or mix it in with his regular water. You can even make coconut water ice cubes.
Can my dog drink coconut milk?
While coconut milk is not toxic to dogs, it is often processed and contains additives such as sugar. Coconut milk should be limited to a few ounces a day. You can also try unsweetened coconut milk when baking dog treats.
Is coconut oil safe for dogs?
Coconut oil is extremely safe for dogs. Dogs Naturally Magazine recommends using virgin or extra virgin coconut oil, preferably organic and in a glass jar.
RBD coconut oil, which stands for refined, bleached, and deodorized, should be avoided because the process of heating and filtering causes loss of nutrients. Also, dogs tend to like the smell of coconut and are more likely to eat it if it smells appealing.
Coconut oil does contain a lot of fat and therefore should be avoided if your dog suffers from pancreatitis as the high-fat content can be a risk.
What are the benefits of coconut oil?
Dogster suggests putting a teaspoon of coconut oil over your dog’s food or brushing your dog’s teeth with coconut oil to combat bad breath.
Coconut oil can be beneficial to both your dog’s skin and coat. Its anti-inflammatory properties can help with flea allergies and dry, itchy skin.
It can treat yeast and fungal infections such as candida. It also contains fatty acids that moisturize the coat, keeping it soft and healthy.
Coconut oil helps clear up ear and eye infections. Melt it and then use as eye drops or topical solution in the ears.
Coconut oil can also repel fleas and ticks, so it can be rubbed on your dog’s coat before going for a walk in the woods.
When applied topically, coconut oil promotes healing of wounds, cuts, hot spots, and insect bites and stings. It also soothes elbow calluses and dry or cracked pads on the feet.
How much coconut oil should I give my dog?
About one teaspoon of coconut oil per ten pounds of body weight is the recommended daily dosage of coconut oil for dogs. You should start out with ¼ of this amount and work up to the recommended dosage.
What are the side effects of coconut oil in dogs?
Too much coconut oil can cause loose stools. This is why it is suggested you work up slowly to the recommended daily dosage for your dog’s weight.
Is coconut oil safe for puppies?
There is no indication that coconut oil is harmful to puppies. If you have any concerns about giving your puppy coconut oil, check with your veterinarian.
Can you train your dog to eat coconut and coconut oil?
Most dogs like the taste of coconut and coconut oil so training is not really necessary. Some owners even dip their dog’s treats in a little coconut oil for added flavor.
If your dog doesn’t want to eat coconut meat try mixing coconut oil into her food or baking dog treats with coconut oil or coconut flour.
What are some things to consider when adding coconut to your dog’s diet?
As with any changes to your dog’s diet, check with your veterinarian, especially if your dog has any existing conditions or allergies or takes any medications.
You should make sure you feeding your dog the recommended dosage and watch for any signs of distress or discomfort.
This YouTube video by Rocky Kanaka, Coconut Oil is Good for Dogs, But What About Coconuts? provides very useful information about feeding your dog coconuts.
Another informative YouTube video by Mermaid’s Reel, Coconut Oil Health Benefits for Dogs, gives a quick overview of the benefits of using coconut oil.
Coconut Dog Treats
Below are some easy recipes you can make at home for your dog using coconut oil and coconut flour.
No-Bake Coconut Dog Treats (Recipe courtesy of Dogvills.com)
- 1/3 cup coconut oil
- 2 – 3 tablespoons peanut butter
- 2 ½ cups rolled oats
- 1/3 cup finely shredded coconut
- Add coconut oil, peanut butter and rolled oats to a food processor and mix until well combined.
- Scoop out bite-sized pieces with a spoon and roll into little balls.
- Toss each ball gently in the finely shredded coconut until well coated.
- Place on a tray lined with baking paper and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Sweet Potato and Coconut Oil Dog Treats (Recipe courtesy of Wellnessmama.com)
- 2 medium-size sweet potatoes, cooked and cooled
- 1/2 cup coconut flour
- 1/4 cup gelatin powder
- 1/2 cup coconut oil (at room temp)
- 1 egg
- 1-2 tablespoons of water as needed for texture
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Combine all ingredients and mix until well incorporated. If needed, add a little extra coconut flour to get a dough that is slightly thinner than Play Dough.
- Form into 1-inch balls and flatten with hand.
- Bake for 20 minutes until slightly browned on the edges.
- Remove from oven and let cool completely before removing.
- Store in an air-tight container in the fridge for several weeks or freeze for several months.
Homemade Frozen Peanut Butter, Banana, Coconut Oil Dog Treats (Recipe courtesy of Momentswithmandi.com)
- Equal parts softened coconut oil and peanut butter (I did about 1 cup of each)
- 1 medium banana
Place your peeled banana, peanut butter, and coconut oil into a bowl and mash together with the backside of a spoon.
The softer your peanut butter and oil, the easier this will combine. It’s okay to have it a little chunky (just cut your baggie’s corner a little larger to accommodate).
Once mixed together, fill a plastic baggie with the mixture. Snip the corner with scissors and squeeze the mixture into your mold (silicone molds work great). You can also just make dots onto a wax paper-lined cookie sheet.
Once your mold is filled, pop into the freezer until solid. These WILL soften if handled too long, so serve straight from the freezer or in a small dish.
Grain-Free Dog Treats (Recipe courtesy of lexiscleankitchen.com)
- 1 1/2 cup coconut flour
- 1/2 cup peanut butter or nut butter of choice, no added ingredients
- 4 organic eggs
- 1/2 cup coconut oil
- 1 cup + 2 tbsp sweet potato puree or pumpkin puree**
- 1/3 cup shredded carrots
- 2 tsp dried parsley
- Preheat oven to 350
- In a mixing bowl combine all ingredients and form dough into a ball
- Roll out dough in between two sheets of parchment paper*
- Gently use your desired cookie cutters to cut and lift cookies into ideal shape**
- Transfer to a lined baking sheet
- Bake for 12-15 minutes or until cookies are hard
- Let cool completely before serving
*If the dough is dry, add an additional egg
**This recipe also works with unsweetened applesauce
Frozen Blueberry Coconut Oil Dog Treats(Recipe courtesy of hellownatureblog.com)
- Small silicone heart mold
- 1/2 cup coconut oil in solid form
- Frozen blueberries
- Place a frozen blueberry into each heart in the silicone mold. Set aside
- In a small saucepan, heat coconut oil until it liquefies.
- Allow coconut oil to cool for a few minutes, then carefully pour oil into the heart mold.
- Carefully place the mold into the fridge to solidify.
- When coconut oil treats are solid, pop them out of the mold.
- Store coconut oil treats in a baggie in the freezer.