We all know that dogs can eat coconut oil, and owners are often encouraged to add it to their dogs’ diets, but what about the coconut meat itself? Should we be giving actual pieces of it to our dogs? The short answer is yes! Coconut meat is just as healthy, if not more so, than the coconut oil alone. They share similar properties since they come from the same place. Coconut is non-toxic to dogs, but it does contain medium chain triglycerides, which may cause some gastrointestinal upset and bloating. You’ll want to check with your veterinarian before giving your dog coconut, of course. But the benefits should certainly outweigh the risks. So if your dog likes the taste of coconut meat, feel free to give him some.
Coconut meat is high in lauric acid, a medium-chain fatty acid. In less scientific terms, this basically means that the body is able to absorb the molecules whole, using them as a direct source of energy. Lauric acid is particularly good at fighting off viruses, such as influenza. It also helps treat yeast infections, ringworm, and Giardia. It also holds some major anti-inflammatory properties — it has greatly reduced swelling in rats during laboratory studies. Reduced inflammation will help speed the healing of cuts, hot spots, and other wounds. Inflammation is also the main cause of arthritis, so feeding coconut to your dog might make his aching joints feel a little better, as the inflammation settles down. Make sure to remove the shell prior to giving your dog coconut, as the shell could become lodged in his esophagus and cause intestinal irritation and possible blockage.
Boosts the Immune System
Coconut is packed with antioxidants to support the immune system. It also helps the body form a healthy response to foreign microbes. This means coconut provides the body with an extra defense against bad bacteria, viruses, parasites, and fungi. Although the ingestion of coconut hasn’t proven to cure any diseases, there have been studies supporting its anti-viral properties. Along with its ability to reduce inflammation, coconut is a great snack for a dog that’s feeling a little under the weather or healing from illness or injury.
Benefits the Skin
Coconut oil can be used internally and externally, as the oils are very beneficial for your dog’s skin and coat. Even if your dog just ingests the coconut meat, his skin conditions might improve. The anti-inflammatory properties will help reduce any yeast infections, hot spots, flea allergies, and dry, itchy skin, and the fatty acids promote a soft, healthy coat. Topically, the oil acts as a moisturizer and can be used on wounds to help soothe inflammation and promote healing.