We all know that coconut oil is good for dogs and humans, but what about regular, straight up coconut? Can dogs eat coconut? And if so, what are the benefits of eating coconut for our canine companions?
Let’s start by answering the most important question: can dogs eat coconut? The answer is a resounding YES! Coconut oil isn’t the only part of the coconut that’s beneficial and healthy for our canine friends. And I’ve discovered recently that my dog simply loves the taste of coconut oil, so why not branch out with other treats containing this superfood?
(If you'd prefer to learn about how awesome coconut is for your dog in a video, check out The Dog Bakery Founder Rocky Kanaka and his three dogs as they tell you all about it!)
Is Coconut Good for Dogs?
So, how can dogs benefit from eating coconut? Here are just a few benefits to treating your pup to some good, old-fashioned coconut every now and then.
1. Coconut contains lauric acid which helps fight against viruses and infections by boosting the immune system. Lauric acid is also useful for fighting fleas and coconut oil can be applied topically to a dog with fleas to kill the pests.
2. Coconut meat is high in healthy fats, but also contains moderate levels of protein and fiber.
3. Because of its hydrating and soothing properties, coconut oil can help reduce symptoms of allergies, bug bites, itchy skin, and other skin and coat-related issues.
4. Coconut oil has antibacterial properties that can help with bad breath.
5. Coconut oil is believed to help speed the healing of cuts, wounds, hot spots, and more.
So yes, it’s safe. It’s yummy.
Can dogs eat coconut?
Is coconut nutritious?
One question that often comes up regarding coconuts and coconut oil is about the high level of saturated fat.
Yes, it’s true that coconuts are high in saturated fat and typically, you do want to avoid saturated fat with your dog. But the fat in coconut is a bit different and is considered safe, in moderation, for your dog.
Of course, you don’t want to give your dog too much. Too much of anything can be a bad thing, and coconut is no different.
When it comes to coconut oil, a good rule of thumb is:
- 1 teaspoon for every 10 pounds of body weight
- 1 tablespoon per 30 pounds.
But you don’t want to start with these amounts. It’s best to introduce coconut and coconut oil to your dog gradually as it can cause runny poop.
Coconut Dog Treats & Recipes
The next question is, how should you give coconut to your dog?
Some owners apparently like to give their dog a whole, husk-on coconut to chew on like a toy.
That’s safe and could save your slippers, but don’t let them actually eat the shell or swallow any of the little hairs on the outside, as these can get lodged in your dog’s throat or digestive tract.
After your best friend is done playing with the coconut, you can open it up and feed them the pulp from the inside.
If you’d prefer not to deal with the mess of a whole coconut, you can also mix in coconut chips with their dog food or give it to them as a treat. We recommend these 100% raw coconut chips from CocoTherapy.
To make things extra simple, you can even give your dog coconut oil by the spoonful or by dipping a treat in it. (The one in the photo below is made just for dogs)
You can also easily find store-bought dog treats that have coconut as one of the ingredients like the 100% all-natural ones we make at The Dog Bakery specifically for dogs with skin & coat issues. For example, our grain-free pawcakes are topped with flakes of coconut and made from dog-friendly carob.
If your pup is sometimes hesitant to take treats but you still want them to enjoy the benefits of coconut, you can add coconut milk or coconut water to their food or water bowl.
In case you’re wondering, dogs love coconut so it shouldn’t be any problem to get them to eat it. It’s just another yummy human food you can delightfully (and safely) share with your best friend. The options are pretty much limitless, so to get you started, we’ve chosen a few coconut-based dog-safe recipes for you to try for yourself!
Recipe for Coconut Oil Dog Biscuits that Freshen Breath
Coconut oil can help to ward off the bacteria that cause stinky breath, but it doesn’t have much smell on its own. To actually freshen your dog’s breath, you’ll need to feed them something aromatic. The coconut oil will work to keep their breath from getting stinky, while the aromatic ingredients add the finishing fresh touch.
This recipe for coconut oil dog treats for bad breath includes curly parsley and mint, plus a few other simple ingredients to entice your pup to chow down!
- 1 cup old-fashioned oats
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour*
- ½ cup all-natural apple sauce (no sugar added and xylitol-free)
- 2 TBSP coconut oil (melted and cooled to room temperature)
- 1 egg
- ½ cup curly parsley, chopped
- ¼ cup fresh mint (spearmint or peppermint), chopped
- Preheat your oven to 350°F
- Process oats in a food processor for 2-3 minutes, or until the oats have been ground to a coarse flour-like consistency.
- Add the remaining ingredients to the food processor and pulse until the dough begins to come together. Once a rough crumb has developed, run the food processor until the dough is uniform, about 2 minutes.
- Turn the dough out onto a clean, lightly floured work surface. You may need to knead the dough a few times by hand to finish bringing it together.
- Using a rolling pin, roll the dough to about ⅛ inch thick.
- Cut using a cookie cutter of your choosing—we recommend using a 2” cutter.
- Place treats on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and transfer to the preheated oven. Bake for 16-18 minutes, or until lightly golden brown.
- Transfer to a cooling rack, and store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
*Note: If you want to avoid gluten or grains, you can substitute the all-purpose flour for coconut flour for dog treats like these. Since coconut flour absorbs much more liquid than wheat flour, start by adding just half as much coconut flour as the recipe calls for and gradually add more from there.
Peanut Butter, Banana & Coconut Oil Pupsicle Recipe
Help your dog cool down in the summer, or keep a heavy-licker entertained with these melty, peanut buttery frozen coconut oil treats for dogs. Super simple to make with just a few ingredients, these pupsicles are a fun way to feed your dog coconut oil while giving them an enriching activity. To avoid a mess, try giving your dog their pupsicle outside, or on a towel!
- 2 ripe bananas
- 3 TBSP peanut butter (must be xylitol free!)
- 3 TBSP softened coconut oil
- Peel the bananas and add them to a medium-sized bowl. Using a fork, mash the bananas until you have created a smooth, gooey consistency. This step can also be done in a food processor or with a mixer.
- Add the peanut butter and coconut oil to the bananas and mix thoroughly until well combined.
- Pour the mixture into silicone molds of your choosing and transfer to the freezer. Freeze for at least 2-3 hours or until completely firm.
- Store in an air-tight container in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Can Dogs Have Coconut? The FAQ
Obviously, the answer to the question “can dogs eat coconut oil?” is yes—but what about the other parts of a coconut or coconut products? Here are some of the common questions dog owners have about feeding coconut to their dogs.
Are whole coconuts safe for dogs?
Yes, but with conditions.
First, you should only give your dog a whole coconut if you are confident that they are not going to eat the husk, shell, or outer fibers. The purpose of giving a dog a whole coconut is NOT to give them a treat, but rather to give them a shredding/chewing activity. If you are certain your dog will only be shredding, not eating, a whole coconut may be safe for them.
The second condition is that you should always supervise a dog with a whole coconut. Even dogs who are trustworthy and not prone to eating foreign objects should be supervised with objects like whole coconuts, which can pose a significant choking hazard if mishandled.
Can dogs eat coconut meat?
Yes! The flesh or meat of the coconut is completely safe for dogs to eat. Be aware that the high-fat content of coconut means that it should be fed in moderation, and too much coconut meat can cause gastrointestinal upset.
Can dogs eat coconut shell?
No. Coconut shells cannot be properly digested, and could pose a choking hazard to your dog. Swallowing large pieces of shell can also put your dog at risk for intestinal blockages or upset stomach.
Can dogs eat coconut milk?
Yes, in careful moderation. The high fat content of coconut milk can easily upset your dog’s stomach, so you should only give them a very small amount with other foods or liquids.
Can dogs eat coconut water?
Yes! Coconut water is hydrating and delicious, and is a fun occasional treat for your dog.
Can dogs eat coconut flakes?
Yes! As long as the coconut flakes are unsweetened, they are safe to feed to your pup in moderation.
Can dogs eat coconut shavings?
Yes, absolutely! You can feed your pup coconut shavings in moderation as long as they are unsweetened.
Can dogs eat coconut yogurt?
Yes, as long as it doesn’t contain other ingredients that are unsafe for dogs, they can have a small amount of coconut yogurt. However, coconut yogurt isn’t the best way to give your pup coconut, since it contains flavorings, sweeteners, and other ingredients that aren’t beneficial to dogs.
Can dogs eat coconut ice cream?
It’s not a good idea to give your dog coconut ice cream because it is high in sugar. If your dog happens to get a spoonful they’ll be completely fine, but it’s not a treat you should intentionally share with your pooch. In particular, coconut ice creams that contain artificial sweeteners, chocolate, and other ingredients should be avoided.
Can dogs eat coconut flour?
Yes, dogs can eat coconut flour! Coconut flour is a nice option for dogs who need to eat gluten or grain free and is high in dietary fiber for healthy digestion.
Can dogs eat coconut shrimp?
No, it’s not a good idea to give your dog coconut shrimp. Coconut shrimp are first coated in a breading (which includes coconut) then deep-fried in oil. Deep-fried foods are in calories, sodium, and saturated fats, and should not be given to your dog.
If your dog eats a coconut shrimp on accident, don’t panic, they’ll be okay! Just keep an eye out for stomach issues like diarrhea or vomiting.
Can dogs eat coconut cookies?
If the coconut cookies are made for dogs, the answer is yes! If they are coconut cookies made for humans, the answer is no.
Can dogs eat coconut whip cream?
Dogs can safely eat a small amount of coconut whipped cream as long as it isn’t sweetened with xylitol and doesn’t contain any ingredients that are toxic to dogs. Like coconut milk, coconut whipped cream should only be given as an occasional and very small treat.
Can dogs eat coconut popsicles?
Coconut popsicles made for dogs (like the ones we’ve shared above) are perfectly safe for dogs! However, coconut popsicles made for humans are another story. We don’t recommend sharing any human desserts with your dog, since sugar isn’t good for them.
How much coconut can I give my dog?
A few flakes of coconut is all you should be giving your dog! Remember that coconut is high in fat, and should always be fed in moderation.
What part of a coconut can a dog eat?
Dogs can eat all parts of the coconut that are edible by humans: the coconut meat, milk, and water.
What kind of coconut is good for dogs?
Dogs can safely eat the same kinds of coconuts as humans!
Rocky Kanaka is an entrepreneur, pet rescue advocate and dog dad to a rescue boxer named Flip, a blind Cane Corso called Kobe, and a terrier mix named Zoey. He's also a pet chef and owner of The Dog Bakery, which specializes in dog birthday cakes
and fresh baked dog treats. His three dogs can't get enough of the dog cakes and treats!
Lorna Paxton Ladd is a passionate dog lover and enthusiast of The Dog Bakery. She loves spoiling her 3 rescue dogs with dog cakes
and jerky. A 15 year veteran in the pet industry, her aim is to educate pet parents on the best recipes, products, tips and tricks to optimize the human/canine bond. Her favorite product at The Dog Bakery are the customizable dog birthday cakes.