Many of us like to give our dogs a treat from time to time and sometimes that includes a special drink. But can dogs drink coconut water as a treat?
Going back a generation or two in certain non-tropical countries like the UK, foodstuffs such as coconuts were a special treat. As a consequence, so too were associated produce like coconut water.
Given that coconuts are readily available to many of us in the western world these days, it’s no surprise that our dogs may come into contact with both coconuts and consequently coconut water.
In today’s post I’m going to explain my understanding about dogs and coconut water, focusing upon:
Table of Contents
- Can Dogs Drink Coconut Water?
- Is Coconut Water Good for Dogs?
- Is Coconut Water Bad for Dogs?
- Related Posts
I should note at this point that I’m talking about pure coconut water in this post… i.e. the liquid that comes directly from a fresh coconut and not commercially prepared products, which include sweeteners and preservatives.
Can Dogs Drink Coconut Water?
Yes, dogs can drink coconut water and eat coconut products. But just because they can drink coconut water, it doesn’t mean you should permit them to do so indiscriminately.
Coconut water is an extremely nutritious drink (I’ll come into this later) and a little may be a nice, healthy treat for your dog. However, a dog that drinks coconut water in large quantities may become extremely unwell (I’ll also come into this later).
There are many commercial preparations of coconut water and these may well contain preservatives and sweeteners that may upset your dog’s digestive system or make it seriously unwell.
Is Coconut Water Good for Dogs?
Coconut water is rich in electrolytes and nutrients such as potassium and sodium. As a result it’s become a go-to drink for health conscious humans.
On occasion, allowing your dog to drink a small amount of pure coconut water may be beneficial for its health, especially if it suffers from “hypokalemia” (low potassium levels in the blood).
Hypokalemia can become a severe, life threatening condition in which a dog may suffer:
- Weight loss
- Muscular pain
- Breathing difficulties
To be completely honest though, I would never advocate anyone to allow their dog to drink coconut water in the event of hypokalemia… unless explicitly recommended by a veterinary expert.
Treatment for hypokalemia should at all times be advised by a veterinary professional, and I suspect it’s unlikely a vet will demand your dog drink coconut water to overcome it.
Find out what dogs shouldn’t drink.
Is Coconut Water Bad for Dogs?
I’ve already talked about the potential dangers of commercially prepared coconut water so I won’t revisit this.
In terms of what decoupled consider nutrients, pure coconut water has such a high potassium content, excessive consumption can cause serious health problems in dogs. So although a little coconut water is unlikely to cause harm, care should be taken not to allow any dog to drink as much as it wants.
Indeed, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) advises against allowing dogs to drink coconut water at all, due to the high concentration of potassium it contains.
I’ve stated how important potassium is for a dog’s health. However, if a dog drinks too much coconut water, and therefore too much potassium, it could suffer from a condition called “hyperkalemia“… the opposite of hypokalemia.
Hyperkalemia is also an extremely serious condition requiring immediate veterinary attention. The dangerous symptoms of hyperkalemia can be:
Notwithstanding the dangers of overconsumption of potassium, coconut water may well cause digestive upset. Any new food or drink you give to a dog, especially things produced for human consumption, have the potential to make your dog unwell.
None of us enjoy dealing with the outcomes of that!
Finally, certain commercially available coconut water products may contain sweeteners like xylitol, which are extremely poisonous to dogs. Even consumption of a small amount of xylitol can cause a range of dangerous symptoms such as hypoglycaemia, liver failure and seizures… and in extreme cases it can even cause death.
Find out more about foods dogs can’t eat.
Personally, I’m conflicted about feeding my dog coconut water.
On the one hand I know that dogs can drink pure coconut water. A little shouldn’t be toxic and likely won’t cause a serious problem. This comforts me as it means I won’t be overly concerned if my dog drinks a small amount, such as an accidental spillage.
On the other hand, I don’t think I would knowingly allow my dog to drink coconut water, especially in large quantities because of the risks of hyperkalemia.
I’ve read several articles online about the health benefits of coconut water in a dog’s diet, but I’m skeptical. I don’t believe that coconut milk formed the basis of our dogs’ forefather’s lives, so it’s not something it will miss if it never had the opportunity to drink some!
My advice is that if you need to give your dog a drink, stick to water.
Of course we all enjoy giving our dogs treats and so I understand the urge to share some things with a loved furry friend. But just be careful what you share!
Pure coconut water might not harm your dog in small amounts, but is it worth the risk?
Have you enjoyed reading this post? Do you let your dog drink coconut water or has it ever made your dog unwell? I’d love to hear from you. Please leave a comment at the bottom of this page.
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