The quick answer: Yes, coconut products are safe for pets in moderation.
Offer your dog or cat a bite of fresh coconut or crunchy, dried coconut chips. Coconut oil is beneficial inside and out - it can be both eaten and applied topically to your pet’s skin and coat.
Benefits of coconut
In moderate amounts, coconut supports a healthy immune system and healthy digestion. Coconut water is a good source of potassium, calcium and vitamin C. The meat and oil from a coconut are high in natural fats which have anti-inflammatory properties. A majority of the fatty acids in a coconut are medium chain triglycerides (MCTs). Unlike other fatty acids, MCTs are metabolized quickly and provide a natural boost of energy for your on-the-go pup. Coconut also contains dietary fiber and antioxidants which help boost the immune system.
When sharing coconut (whether it’s water, oil, or meat) with your dog, only give them a small taste, and never offer anything with added sugars or artificial sweeteners. Coconut oil can be melted and drizzled over your dog’s food; opt for unprocessed, virgin coconut oil. Start with only a small amount—about ¼ teaspoon per day for small dogs and puppies and 1 teaspoon per day for large dogs—then gradually increase it to allow his digestive system to acclimate.
Coconut meat and oil are high in fat and eating too much at once can cause pancreatitis and gastrointestinal problems. Too much of any coconut product can also cause diarrhea. Plus, regularly adding coconut to your dog’s diet without adjusting the quantity of food he eats can lead to weight gain. Though coconut water is super hydrating and contains lots of beneficial electrolytes, it shouldn’t be used to replace plain water for your dog.
Coconut oil used topically
Coconut oil is a natural moisturizer and can keep your dog’s skin and coat healthy and shiny. It also has antimicrobial and antibacterial properties. Apply melted coconut oil to the skin to help soothe minor wounds, hot spots, bites, stings and mild skin flare-ups. Bonus: unlike medicated creams, it is harmless if your dog licks at the coconut oil on his skin!
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