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A drawing of a jar of coconut oil

Health & Wellness

Can dogs eat coconut oil?

While it's not toxic to dogs, coconut oil isn't the best treat option.

You go to fill your pets Kong with peanut butter when you notice that the jar is empty — the only jar left around: coconut oil. It's not what you ever imagined giving your pup, but here you are, researching if it's a safe option for your pet's snack.

According to Dr. Aliya McCullough, Fetch's on-staff veterinarian, coconut oil isn't toxic to dogs and may have some benefits — however, it isn't always the best treat option for them either.

Is coconut oil good for dogs?

Before we get into coconut oil, please know you should always contact your veterinarian before introducing your dog to a new food. Every dog is different, and only a veterinarian can know what’s healthy for your pet.

With that said, Dr. McCullough does acknowledge that coconut oil (in a pure form without any additives) is thought to have properties that are beneficial for certain skin and gastrointestinal conditions, but every dog can respond differently to the food.

Omega-3 fatty acid veterinary supplements for dogs or fish oil can be an alternative depending on the dog’s health status and veterinarian’s advice,” Dr. McCullough adds.

Only apply coconut oil to your dog’s skin if recommended by your veterinarian. “Coconut oil may cause skin irritation if rubbed on the skin,” Dr. McCullough says.

RELATED: Can dogs eat coconut?

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Can coconut oil make my dog sick?

Although an allergy to coconut oil is uncommon for dogs, Dr. McCullough says that coconut oil is not tolerated by all pets and can cause gastrointestinal upset, pancreatitis, and weight gain.

If your dog has an adverse reaction to coconut oil, look for symptoms like diarrhea, vomiting, loss of appetite and lethargy, and call your veterinarian for further instructions.

Can dogs drink coconut milk?

Coconut milk isn’t toxic for dogs, but it should still be avoided because it’s high in fat and can lead to the same risks as coconut oil.

And according to Dr. McCullough, some coconut milks may contain additives that can cause illness in and be toxic to dogs (like xylitol, an artificial sweetener). 

Happy snacking

We’re confident that coconut oil isn’t the only human food your dog would love to sink their teeth into (cue the drool). Check out our series “Can dogs eat ... ?” to learn more about which human foods are off-limits and what’s fair game.

The Dig, Fetch by The Dodo’s expert-backed editorial, answers all of the questions you forget to ask your vet or are too embarrassed to ask at the dog park. We help make sure you and your best friend have more good days, but we’re there on bad days, too. Fetch provides the most comprehensive pet insurance and is the only provider recommended by the #1 animal brand in the world, The Dodo.

The Dig is the expert-backed editorial from Fetch Pet Insurance. We're here to answer all of the questions you forget to ask your vet or are too embarrassed to ask at the dog park.

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