Can Dogs Eat Coconut?

By Katelyn Chef. Reviewed by Sandra C. Mitchell, DVM, DABVP on Apr. 11, 2023
coconuts sitting on the beach with people and a dog walking past in the background

NOTE: Always check with your veterinarian first before giving your dog any new foods, especially “people foods.” What might be OK for one dog might not be good for your dog, depending on multiple factors, such as their age, health history, health conditions, and diet. Dogs on prescription diets should not be fed any food or treats outside the diet.

We love to share our indulgences with our pets—after all, who hasn't purchased a pup cup for their dog? But if we splurge on a coconut cream-blended beverage, is that OK to share? Can dogs eat coconuts?

As long as the hairy fruit is given in moderation, dogs can safely eat coconuts. Though, there are some precautions pet parents need to be aware of before letting their dog crunch on coconut meat or drink coconut milk.  

Is Coconut Good for Dogs?

Coconuts are not toxic to dogs. In fact, some coconut elements (such as coconut meat and coconut oil) can be healthy for dogs—in moderation.

Coconuts contain antioxidants that can boost a pup’s immune system. The fruit is also high in lauric acid, a medium-chain fatty acid that helps fight off viruses, such as canine influenza. Coconuts also offer bone-health benefits, as they are rich in magnesium.

But that doesn’t mean you should give your dog coconut as an everyday treat. Coconuts are a source of saturated fat, which can give your dog an upset stomach. But if you drop a piece of coconut meat or a splash of coconut milk on the floor and your dog laps it up, they should be fine.

Before introducing anything new into your pet’s diet, consult with your veterinarian.

What Coconut Products Can Dogs Have?

While coconuts are not toxic to dogs, not all coconut products are OK for them to snack on.

Coconut Meat

Coconut meat for dogs is just as delicious for them as it is for us. However, when feeding your dog coconut meat, treat it as, well, a treat, and only add a few flakes to top their food. Treats of all kinds, including coconut, should only make up 10% of your dog’s daily calories.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is likely safe in very small quantities (like as a helpful lubricant for giving a dog pills) unless your dog is prone to GI issues or pancreatic disease. But be very conservative in how much you give, as too much coconut oil can cause doggy diarrhea.

But you can safely use coconut oil on your dog topically—for example, applying it to chapped paw pads and using it on their coat to help keep it shiny.

Coconut Water

Coconut water can be a special treat for your thirsty pooch, but it should never be given as your dog’s primary water source. It’s important to read the label on your freshly cracked can of coconut water before sharing it with your pup. Some coconut drinks can contain ingredients that are toxic to dogs, such as xylitol.

Coconut Milk

Who can resist a breakfast cereal topped with a splash of coconut milk? It’s a rich and creamy addition to your daily nutritional intake, but because coconut milk is naturally high in fat, you shouldn’t give any to your dog. Foods high in fat can cause pancreatitis in dogs.

Coconut Husk

While the juicy white meat of a coconut is OK, the hard outer husk is a different story. Coconut husks can easily be a choking hazard or cause an intestinal blockage, so never give one to your pup to chew on.

How Much Coconut Can Your Dog Eat Safety?

Again, treats of any kind (including coconut) should only make up 10% of a dog’s daily caloric intake. The other 90% should come from a well-balanced dog food diet.

  • Extra-small dog (2–20 pounds): 1/8 teaspoon of coconut meat per day

  • Small dog (21–30 pounds): 1/2 teaspoon of coconut meat per day

  • Medium dog (31–50 pounds): 1/2 teaspoon of coconut meat per day

  • Large dog (51–90 pounds): 1–1 ½ teaspoon of coconut meat per day

  • Extra-large dog (91+ pounds): 1–1 ½ teaspoon of coconut meat per day

How to Feed Your Dog Coconut

1. To Coat Pills

If your dog has figured out that you’re hiding pills in the peanut butter, you can try using coconut oil instead.

2. As a Food Topper

One to two small pieces of coconut meat on top of your dog’s food is a simple way to introduce the fruit—and the health benefits—to your dog.

3. Baked in a Dog-Friendly Recipe

If baking is your favorite pastime, there are endless coconut-inspired dog treat recipes to bake. Some fun ones to try are turmeric and coconut dog treats and springtime pup-cakes.

Other Fruits Your Dogs Can Eat

Other fruits that are safe to share with your dog include:

Featured Image: Adobe/Nuli_k


WRITTEN BY

Katelyn Chef

Freelance Writer


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