When someone asked me the question “Can dogs have coconut?” the other day, I must admit that I hadn't ever really considered it. As the owner or three dogs, I have come across at least one of them chewing on a coconut some time or the other, but never really gave it much thought.
Before we venture into a discussion on the question can dogs have coconut or not, we should first go into the digestive and nutritional facts about the digestion of these canines. Every dog owner would like the best for their mutt, and we would want to avoid our furry friends eating something that could be toxic or to which they could be allergic.
Nutritional Facts About Dogs
Here is some information about the dietary aspect dogs, their digestion and what we require for them to follow a balanced diet:
Dogs have a surprisingly robust metabolism. You may not intentionally give them a particular substance to eat, but being naturally curious animals, they tend to stick their nose into the strangest places and sometimes end up ingesting something that is harmful to them. There are lists of things that dogs should or should not eat.
If you look at a list of stuff that is good or bad for your dog, you will see foods and substances graded as "safe," "moderate" or "toxic." Usually, coconut is tagged as “moderate” in such lists. It is good to be aware of this information primarily if you feed your dog foods other than dog chow.
Can Dogs Have Coconut? The Downside
The only negative factor about the issue of can dogs have coconut or not is the fact that coconuts contain a high-fat content, so you would be well-advised to give it to them in moderation.
Also, coconuts include triglycerides which can cause intestinal discomfort and bloating of the stomach in dogs, if they eat it in excess. So, moderation is the way to go here – perhaps half to one coconut a week, depending on the size of the dog.
Can Dogs have Coconut? The Benefits
Your dog can significantly benefit from taking coconut. Here are a few of the benefits:
Due to the high concentration of lauric acid in coconut, it helps to provide relief from inflammation. This fact means that any cuts or abrasions will heal faster as a result of eating coconut.
Coconut has a high degree of antioxidants which boost up the immune system. This antioxidant property improves the capacity of the body to fight harmful microbes.
The benefits humans get while applying coconut oil to the skin and hair are well-known. The same applies to dogs. If used externally it is good, and if your dog eats coconut, it will help to give luster to the coat and keeps dry skin at bay. There will also be a reduced risk of yeast infections, hot spots, and flea allergies.
Eating coconuts help to fight bad breath due to the anti-bacterial properties contained in coconuts. In the same way, dog odor or “doggy smell” as we tend to call it gets minimized.
Coconuts contain a fair degree of manganese which is one of the elements that help to build healthy bones, so this is another benefit of your dog having coconut.
The copper content in coconuts helps in the manufacture of red blood cells in the body. The presence of this element is one of the factors that contribute to enhanced immunity of dogs who have coconut on a regular basis.
Can Dogs Eat Coconut - A Word of Caution:
Although coconut is beneficial to dogs in so many ways as described here, never allow your dog to munch on the coconut shell. The shell of the coconut is hard, can damage teeth and is not digestible, so can wreak havoc in your dog’s intestines. Moreover, the fibers which are present in the coconut shell can be very harmful to your dog if ingested.
So, the answer is to the question,” Can dogs have coconut?” is quite clear. Yes, they can and it is not only safe for them, but it is even beneficial to them in several ways, as we have seen. However, like all other food substances, coconut too should be given to dogs in moderation.
When it comes to the nutrition and diet of your pooch, you need to monitor it carefully to ensure that she gets a balanced and nutritious diet. Whenever in doubt, never hesitate to consult your vet, who will be able to recommend the best diet for your dog based on the breed and the quantity of food required, based on body weight.
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