Coconut water, considered safe for humans, is a natural, tasty beverage that has become trendy over the past few years, and is loaded with essential nutrients and vitamins. But what about your furry friends? Can they share a glass or two with us on a hot summer afternoon?
Dogs can drink coconut water, but you must give it to them in small amounts. Coconut water contains several important electrolytes, vitamins, and minerals and is an excellent way for dogs to rehydrate. However, its high potassium content means that it can be harmful when consumed in large amounts.
Several controversies surround dogs and everything coconuts. This article will clarify any doubts you may have about coconut water and show you the best ways to give it to your dog.
Coconut water is water from a coconut, which is the clear liquid inside the fruit. It is typically tapped from green, immature coconuts as they contain more water than ripened ones. As the fruit matures, some of the water ripens into the soft white flesh or meat.
Coconut water is mainly used for rehydration as it contains 94% water, but its benefits do not end there. According to the USDA, one cup (240g) of natural coconut water contains:
- 10g of carbs
- 0g of fiber
- 2g of protein
- 10g of sugars
- 44 calories
- 0g of fat
- 64mg of sodium
- 24mg of vitamin C
- 0.5g protein
These nutrients and vitamins can benefit your dog in many different ways, including boosting your dog’s immune system, repairing tissues and muscles, and protecting its heart.
Coconut water is full of natural electrolytes that keep your dog constantly hydrated and energized. It also contains lots of essential nutrients, including:
In addition to nutrients, natural coconut water is packed full of B-vitamins and vitamin C to boost your dog’s immune system. With no added sugar or toxins, an allergic reaction to a few laps by your dog is unlikely. Coconut itself is not a tree nut, so even if your dog is allergic to tree nuts, it can still consume the water.
Coconut water does not have any known side effects on dogs, but you might need to watch your dog to make sure it does not show any allergic reactions.
While there are health concerns associated with giving them to dogs, most experts agree that it is entirely safe when they consume it in moderate amounts.
Many of these concerns stem from the fact that its calorie content is relatively high – about 45 calories per cup – and can lead to obesity in dogs. As long as you don’t let your dog have too much coconut water in one serving, it is a safe and healthy treat.
Another concern is from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) which advises that coconut water should not be fed to dogs because of its high potassium content. It contains as much potassium as four bananas, so when consumed in excessive amounts, it may cause hyperkalemia, a condition characterized by higher-than-normal potassium levels in the bloodstream.
Hyperkalemia is considered a life-threatening condition as it can lead to heart malfunction or failure. Symptoms can range from moderate to severe, but the most common ones are the following:
- Flaccid paralysis
- Gastrointestinal problems
However, these are only possible problems, so as long as you give them just a small amount, it’s safe.
There have also been several other claims that coconut water may be bad for dogs, but many claims are not substantiated and have almost no evidence to back them up.
Fresh coconut water, harvested from green and immature coconuts, has a handful of benefits for dogs, which we list below.
Coconut water contains many electrolytes, including sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium, to help your dog rehydrate, boost energy and mood, regulate fluid balance, and ensure proper muscle function.
While it doesn’t provide rehydration any better than water after a long walk or run, your dog is sure to enjoy its slightly sweet taste and nutty flavor.
Coconut water is low in sodium, which helps your dog maintain a healthy heart. Calcium and potassium also work together to keep your pup’s bones, heart, liver, and kidneys in good condition and prevent heart diseases.
Coconut water contains antioxidants that improve your dog’s immune system. Antioxidants help to modify and prevent the formation of free radicals that contribute to cell damage and many diseases and infections.
The tasty natural drink helps your dog form a defense system against viruses, harmful bacteria, and fungi.
Coconut water contains calcium, which does more than promote stronger teeth and bones. It helps in proper blood clotting and muscle contraction and function. If a dog doesn’t get enough calcium in their diet, it leads to a condition called hypocalcemia, where the calcium levels in their blood are lower than normal.
When the calcium level falls dangerously low, your dog may experience significant weakness, panting, fever, vomiting, convulsions, loss of coordination, and muscle spasms. If your dog is weak or sick, giving them coconut water can improve their condition.
One cup of coconut water contains different amino acids, including arginine, alanine, serine, and cysteine, which are the building blocks of protein and help to repair body tissues and wounds. It is particularly high in arginine, which allows your dog to respond to stress better and improves blood flow in their heart.
Its high potassium content also means that it helps in your dog’s muscle growth and repair, as well as boost their metabolism, which improves digestion and nutrient absorption.
Coconut water keeps your dog from dehydrating, which helps prevent dry, tight, and rough coats. When dogs are well hydrated, their fur will be soft, silkier, and brighter with stronger ends, reduced knots, and less frizz.
As mentioned earlier, your dog should drink coconut water in moderation. If you’re considering giving it to your dog, try introducing it gradually into their diet to see how they react to it. Start with a few ounces a day and then go from there.
Ensure that the coconut water you’re using is 100% natural as well. If you can’t get a whole coconut, check the ingredients list of any product you’re buying from the store. It should not contain any sweeteners or additives like sugar.
If your dog has a history of allergies to foods, try giving them a taste and checking their response before adding more to their water bowl. Of course, it’s always best to reach out to your vet if you have any concerns.
Coconut water has several benefits, and if your dog loves it, you should definitely give them some. Here are a few ways to allow your dog to enjoy this natural beverage:
The simplest way to give your dog coconut water is to put it in the refrigerator and pour it into their water bowl. Since it tastes better than regular water, it is a great and fun way for them to rehydrate on a hot afternoon, but don’t overdo it.
Another great way for your dog to enjoy coconut water is through ice cubes. Add a little tap water and pour it into some empty ice cube trays. You can add a few dog-friendly extras to the ice cubes to allow them to enjoy it better after a hot walk, on a hot day, or as a special treat during training.
Who doesn’t enjoy licking on some popsicles on a hot summer afternoon? A more refreshing twist to the ice cubes is to throw in some fresh fruits and blend them with coconut water to make nutritious popsicles. Some healthy additions include blackberries, carrots, apples, blueberries, strawberries, pineapples, or any other fruits and veggies they love.
Just as smoothies are good for humans, dogs can also enjoy their numerous benefits, as they are a great way to supplement your furry friend’s diet and keep them hydrated. Adding a spoon of coconut water boosts the flavor, vitamins, and nutrients in a smoothie.
There are many healthy smoothie recipes that you can make for your dog. One simple recipe involves blending:
- One tsp of turmeric
- 1/3 glass of coconut water
- 1/2 cup of fresh blueberries
- Half of a grated carrot
- Two strawberries
Remember to give them only small amounts.
Coconut water is a great and safe treat for dogs in small quantities. A few ounces in their water bowl can be an excellent way for them to cool off on an occasional basis, but you should avoid giving them a whole bowl of coconut water as it may cause serious complications due to its high potassium content.
When giving coconut water to your dog, always remember that it’s not in any way a complete substitute for water. So, you can let them enjoy this tasty and nutritious drink, but in moderate amounts.
- PetMD: Excessive Potassium in the Blood in Dogs
- Medical News Today: Seven Health Benefits of Coconut Water
- Doggie Designer: Can Dogs Drink Coconut Water? Is Coconut Water Safe for Dogs?
- Pet Consider: Can Dogs Drink Coconut Water?
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