Is Coconut Okay for Dogs?

by Naomi Millburn
    Keep these out of Fido's paws and mouth.

    Keep these out of Fido's paws and mouth.

    Medioimages/Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images

    One of the keys to responsible pet ownership is a strong awareness of what foods are safe for the pets and which are unsafe. Foods that are totally harmless to people can be major perils to your fluffy buddies. Chocolate, onions and grapes are known toxins to dogs and other pets. Coconuts aren't believed to be poisonous to doggies, but they can cause upset stomach.

    While coconuts aren't thought to be poisonous to dogs, that doesn't mean that you can feed the palm fruits to them freely. Coconut milk and "meat" both include oils that can trigger potential belly woes in the canines who consume them. If your dog consumes coconut, he might experience effects such as diarrhea and tummy pain. If your dog has a tiny bit of coconut, he should be OK, but it's important to make a rule of keeping the fruit out of his reach.

    In many areas of the world, coconuts on the ground probably aren't too common. If you reside in Hawaii, however, things are a little different. Fallen coconuts are rather commonplace throughout the Aloha State. If you're a dog owner in Hawaii, always closely monitor your dog when he's outdoors. You don't want the curious little guy to come across a coconut, enthusiastically dig his teeth into it and experience an unhappy tummy shortly after. It's also imperative to be alert to the possibilities of coconuts falling and hitting your poor pet -- or poor you -- straight on the head.

    The oils in coconut milk and meat can cause similar undesirable effects in other pets, notably cats. If you keep coconuts or any items that include any of their components in your home, keep them away from all curious animals, no exceptions. If you throw anything coconut-related in the trash, tie it up carefully beforehand. When you own pets, securely lidded trash cans are your friend.

    While coconuts aren't thought of as being toxic to dogs, many everyday food items are. The fruit and vegetable world is home to many hazards to canines, including but in no way restricted to grapes, avocados and members of the onion family. Many specific components of fruits and vegetables also can be serious no-nos for pets. Pits of peaches and leaves of rhubarbs are dangerous to dogs. Any green elements of tomatoes are unsafe for them, too. Never feed your sweet pooch any human food unless you have the prior OK of a trusted veterinarian, no matter how healthy and harmless it might seem to you.

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    About the Author

    Naomi Millburn has been a freelance writer since 2011. Her areas of writing expertise include arts and crafts, literature, linguistics, traveling, fashion and European and East Asian cultures. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in American literature from Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo.

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