What to Know About Dogs Eating Coconut Oil

Medically Reviewed by Amy Flowers, DVM on November 01, 2021
3 min read

You may have heard about the benefits of coconut oil. Maybe you’re using coconut oil more in your diet. But what about feeding it to your dog? 

There are many ways coconut oil can benefit you and your dog. Coconut oil works as an anti-inflammatory and antifungal. Veterinarians agree that certain amounts added to your dog’s diet are healthy and safe.

If you’re thinking about adding coconut oil to your dog’s diet, know the benefits and side effects before you do.

Coconut oil contains healthy ingredients and adds variety to your pantry. You may have some sitting on your shelf. There are other ways to use coconut oil.

Coconut oil comes from pressing the meat inside coconuts. The liquid, or extract, squeezed out helps form coconut oil. It’s high in fatty acids and saturated fats. These ingredients help keep your skin, nails, and hair healthy. They also make it a good option for you and your dog. 

Feeding coconut oil to your dog has pros and cons. Before you start doing so, you should know the recommended amount and side effects. 

Unrefined coconut oil, or virgin coconut oil, is best for your dog. When feeding oil to your dog, be aware that every oil has different flavors and smells. Not all coconut oils smell the same. You may have to find the one your dog likes best. 

Some of the things coconut oil could do for your dog include: 

  • Ease inflammation
  • Fight harmful fungi and bacteria
  • Help digestion
  • Ease coughing
  • Help skin and hair
  • Make their coat glossy
  • Eliminate odor

It can also:

  • Decrease brain lesions that worsen with your dog’s age
  • Improve how their thyroid works
  • Help bad breath
  • Ease allergic reactions to outdoor pollen
  • Balance insulin
  • Make them more energetic

Keep in mind that these claims haven’t been proven by veterinarians. It’s important to talk to your veterinarian before introducing anything new to your dog’s diet. They’ll know if your dog needs coconut oil and recommend the right amount to feed them based on your dog’s size. 

It’s safe to feed your dog coconut oil. But some potential reactions or digestive problems can occur. If you give your dog too much coconut oil, they can get diarrhea. Your veterinarian will let you know a healthy amount to give your dog. 

In some cases, your dog might have an allergy to coconut oil. Signs of an allergy include an upset stomach and itching.

Coconut oil can cause your dog to gain weight. You should add 120 calories for every teaspoon of coconut oil for your dog. If your dog has pancreatitis, don't give them coconut oil. 

There are plenty of creative ways to add coconut oil to your dog’s diet. But make sure that you’re not adding too much. Your dog could have health problems later if you do. 

Fun recipes to try include: 

No-bake coconut treats. These easy-to-make treats consist of four ingredients and don't need baking. To make, combine coconut oil, peanut butter (free of xylitol), rolled oats, and shredded coconut. You can shape them however you want and give them to your dog, in moderation.

Frozen coconut oil treats. You can make these treats any way you want. For a traditional peanut butter treat, mix together bananas, coconut oil, and peanut butter. Put into a silicon tray and freeze.

Peanut butter coconut oil treat. This is another easy treat you can try. You only need coconut oil, peanut butter, and a dash of cinnamon. Melt all ingredients together on a stovetop. Once they’re melted and mixed, add the mixture to silicone molds. Freeze. Once set, store in your refrigerator. 

Coconut and pear treat. This recipe involves a little more work. You’ll need coconut flour, pear puree or pear baby food (also safe for dogs), honey, coconut oil, and water. First, combine the ingredients. Then roll them into little balls and put them on a baking sheet. Finally, cook them for 10 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Before giving your dog some new treats or table scraps, you should make sure it's safe for them. There are surprising foods that are harmful to dogs.