Can Dogs Eat Coconuts?

dog eating coconut on beach

Coconut is a common ingredient in many desserts, and people have even started eating plain coconut as a snack. While it may be healthy for you, find out whether it’s just as safe for your dog to eat. 

Can dogs eat coconut? Coconut is a natural food that’s perfectly safe for people to eat, but is it equally safe for your dog? Yes, dogs can eat coconut, but that doesn’t mean you should let your dog overindulge in coconut. However, when eaten in moderation, coconut can be a tasty treat and may even benefit your dog’s health.

As with any new food, you should talk to your veterinarian about feeding coconut to your dog before introducing it into your dog’s diet. While coconut is okay for most dogs to eat, each dog is different. Your pet may have allergies or certain medical conditions that could worsen after eating coconut. A pet care professional can advise you on safely feeding coconut to your dog.

Are Some Variations of Coconut Safer Than Others?

Coconut is available in three main forms: water, oil, and meat. When a coconut is young and still green, the inside is mostly water. This water gets collected and processed for the coconut water you buy in stores. As the coconut ages, the water hardens to become the meat of the coconut. The meat gets harvested and packaged for sale, or it’s pressed to drain the oil.

All of these products offer the same nutrients, but coconut water also contains electrolytes. For this reason, account for each variation of coconut when letting your dog consume coconut. While some coconut may provide health benefits, too much can lead to gastrointestinal problems. 

When sharing coconut with your dog, make sure you read the packaging’s nutrition chart and ingredient list. Avoid buying coconut in any form that has additives included in the product. For example, baker’s coconut (sweetened coconut) contains sugar that can lead to obesity, diabetes, and other metabolic health conditions.

Similarly, avoid feeding desserts to your dog that contain coconut. While dogs eat coconut in moderation without suffering poor health effects, the other ingredients in the dessert probably aren’t as safe. In particular, watch out for fat, sugar, and sodium when you’re considering sharing any sweet treat with your dog.

Are There Benefits to Feeding Coconut to Your Dog?

There are some mixed opinions among veterinarians as to whether coconut oil provides similar health benefits to dogs as it provides to people. Coconut oil is 90% saturated fat, which is the “good fat” that fuels energy levels. The oil also contains laurel acid, which has the properties of antifungal, antibacterial, and antiviral agents. 

Additionally, the multi-chain triglycerides (MCTs) in coconut oil may help improve digestion and resolve digestive issues. The MCTs may also aid in weight loss, improve arthritis and bone health, and boost overall metabolic functioning.

It’s common to find coconut oil in topical lotions, ointments, and shampoo. When administered topically, coconut oil eliminates pet odor and gives the coat a sleek, shiny appearance. It can also help treat dry skin, hot spots, and insect bites or stings.

Can dogs eat coconut shavings? The meat of the coconut is most commonly eaten in shavings, and in this form, it provides most of the same benefits as coconut oil. Due to the health benefits of laurel acid, feeding your dog coconut shavings can help prevent the flu and colds. It also aids in the treatment of yeast infections, ringworm, and Giardia, which is a parasitic infection.

The antioxidants commonly found in coconut will also boost your dog’s immune system. The antioxidants help attack infections and inflammation. For this reason, some veterinarians may suggest feeding your dog a small amount of coconut if they don’t seem like themselves.

What Symptoms Are Common When Your Dog Has a Bad Reaction?

When asking your vet, “Can dogs eat coconut?” the answer may come with a warning not to overdo it. That’s because too much coconut can cause bloating or lead to gastrointestinal problems. If you do decide to share coconut with your dog, make sure you know the following signs of a gastrointestinal problem:

  • Stool changes, including diarrhea or constipation
  • Nausea, which may include vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Excessive gas, which can include flatulence and belching
  • Body weakness

To avoid this situation, follow the 10% rule when feeding coconut to your dog. The 10% rule recommends keeping the calories derived from coconut below 10% of your dog’s total calorie intake. This will be enough coconut for your dog to enjoy and reap the health benefits without causing gastrointestinal problems.

If you still see these symptoms of a gastrointestinal issue, consult your veterinarian. Your dog may have a coconut allergy.

When feeding coconut to your dog, make sure the shavings are free from shells. Sharp pieces of coconut shells can get mixed into a package of shavings. If your dog swallows shell pieces, the sharp edges may damage the intestinal tract. Larger pieces can also cause intestinal blockages.

Similar Foods You Can Safely Share With Your Dog

When you know the answer to “Can dogs eat coconut?” you can share this food safely with your dog. This might tempt you to share other fruits with your pet. In doing so, make sure you know which foods are safe for dogs to eat.


This fruit is a great source of fiber, vitamins A and C, potassium, and antioxidants. Dogs also enjoy the taste of apples, so this makes a sweet, hydrating treat for your pet. When feeding apples to your dog, make sure you remove the seeds, stem, and core since these parts of the fruit are harmful when ingested.


The antioxidants and fiber in blueberries are great for aiding in bowel movements for your dog. Some blueberries may still have the stems attached, so make sure to remove them before sharing them with your pet. If you have a small or medium-sized dog, blueberries may represent a choking hazard. You can address this issue by mashing the blueberries up into a pulp.


Even though watermelon tastes sweet, it only has a small amount of sugar. This fruit is 92% water, making it the perfect treat to help your dog stay hydrated on hot summer days. In addition, watermelon contains various nutrients, such as vitamins A, B6, and C, making it a great source of nutrition for your dog.


Giving your dog bananas can be a tricky treat to manage. The disadvantage of bananas is that they are high in natural sugar, making them poor treats for dogs with weight issues or metabolic health conditions. However, other dogs can benefit from the vitamins and fiber in the fruit. Bananas are also low in cholesterol and sodium.


Give your dog strawberries sparingly and avoid offering them with bananas since both fruits are high in sugar. Strawberries provide plenty of vitamin C, potassium, and manganese, which are all nutrients your dog’s immune system needs.

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Jeffrey Manheimer

I have grown up with dogs my entire life. My current fur baby is Frankie, a Bernese Mountain dog that is scared of flies, running water and the gameshow Jeopardy. Her health and joints have been managed by key supplements, vitamins and a variety of food.

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