Can Dogs Drink Coconut Water?
Fact Checked By Our Vet
This refreshing drink is a favourite among Aussie households, but should your pup have a taste? Can dogs drink coconut water?
Before sharing with your dog, here’s what you need to know.
Can Dogs Have Coconut Water?
Yes. Coconut water is non-toxic for dogs. In fact, it is full of micronutrients that could be a great addition to your pup’s diet. A half-cup of 100 mL of coconut water has around 60 to 75 calories, 4 grams of carbohydrates and 0.2 grams of protein.
What the above means is it shouldn't be a replacement for regular water.
However, as with any extra treats, there are a few things to keep in mind. We’ve gathered the latest research so you can make an informed choice before offering it to your pup.
PRO TIP: Stick to artisanal, plain coconut water if you want to share with your dog. Processed versions tend to have extra sugar and other components (like thickening agents) that aren’t healthy for your pup.
Is Coconut Water Good For Dogs?
It is one thing to know that coconut water is not toxic for dogs… but is it healthy for them? Here's what research says about this issue:
PRO TIP: Even if you’re offering coconut water, always keep plain tap water available for drinking. It’s the best way to ensure your dog is getting appropriate levels of fluid.
The Dangers Of Coconut Water For Dogs
Although coconut water can be great, it's important to be aware of the possible risks associated with it, before sharing this treat with your pup.
Coconut water could cause hyperkalemia (too much potassium on the blood stream)
The same electrolytes that can make coconut water a great option for rehydration can also cause dangerous imbalances. If left unattended, excess potassium in your dog's bloodstream can cause acute cardiac issues. In fact, a 2014 study reported that plain coconut water seemed not to be enough to hydrate a middle-aged man exercising in high heat. The man fainted and had to be interned due to acute renal failure, apparently caused by excess potassium .
Although the results above are inconclusive, it does mean that high-stress situations can exacerbate any imbalance in your dog's diet. Since coconut water is rich in potassium, excess consumption can lead to hyperkalemia. This condition can lead to heart and renal failure unless promptly treated by a medical professional.
In this case, moderation and prevention are key. If your dog will be working outside all day, take care to protect them from excess heat by providing ample water and shade. And if your dog starts showing signs of heat stroke such as lethargy, salivation and lack of appetite, bring them to the vet ASAP.
PRO TIP: If your dog spends the hotter months out in the yard, offer plenty of shady spots. In addition to shady trees , think about installing a couple beach umbrellas, or a shade shelterthat can help to keep them cool.
It's high in carbs
As we mentioned above, coconut water is relatively high in sugars (carbohydrates). While this can be beneficial, if you're trying to slim down your dog it could not be the best option.
When putting your dog on a diet, it's easy to forget about extra calories. Liquid calories, including coconut water, won't help your dog deal with hunger. For pups and humans, when going on a calorie deficit diet the best option is to eat, not drink, the food. Munching down on high-quality food, your dog gets satiated faster. It helps keep their hunger levels down and can help them not feel deprived.
If your dog needs to lose weight, it's best to stick to plain water. The trace minerals in coconut water won't be a great help and can easily make a calorie deficit disappear. There is such a thing as "too much of a good thing"!
PRO TIP: Are you considering putting your dog on a diet? Talk to your vet first. They will know your dog better and be able to give you a tailored meal plan.
Careful with food poisoning
Coconut water spoils easily, especially when subjected to heat. In most cases, this shouldn’t be an issue: as a treat, you’ll probably be offering a small portion of coconut water at a time.
However, if you intend to leave a bowl out, be careful. In the heat, coconut water can spoil in as little as 2-3 hours depending on the freshness. Although most dogs will refuse to drink spoilt water, if it’s their only hydration source they might drink it all.
As with any food poisoning, the risk of dehydration is high: your dog might present symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pain and lethargy. If left unattended, this can lead to dehydration.This one is an easy fix: avoid leaving coconut water in their bowl for hours on end, and pick up any leftover water before it spoils.
PRO TIP: Are you serving coconut water in your dog’s regular water bowl? If you are, make sure to carefully wash the bowl in lukewarm soapy water and give it a thorough rinse before refilling with plain water. This will get rid of any coconut water and saliva that could contaminate the fresh water and make it taste acidic.
How To Give Coconut Water To Your Pup
So, you want to offer coconut water as a treat? Here are some ideas to make it a great experience for your pup:
Can Dogs Have Coconut Water Every Day?
They can, as long as you account for the extra calories. One cup of plain coconut water packs 60 calories. Although it's not a lot, it can make a difference if your dog is obese, diabetic or just small. For reference, the daily caloric needs of a healthy Chihuahua is between 200 and 250 calories . If you let them drink half a cup of coconut water, that's a good chunk of their daily intake!
For larger dogs, portion control is easier. Just keep in mind coconut water should be considered a treat and not a full replacement for normal water.
PRO TIP: Even if you want to give coconut water to your dog every day, always leave their regular bowl of water available. This will ensure they stay consistently hydrated, especially if they spend most of their time outside.
Coconut water can be a nice addition into your dog’s diet, especially if they don’t usually like drinking their water. However, keep an eye out for extra calories, especially if you have a small or young dog: obesity can be as dangerous as any disease!
Have you ever given coconut water to your dog? Do they like it? Let us know in the comments below.
- Yong et al. December 2009. “The Chemical Composition and Biological Properties of Coconut (Cocos nucifera L.) Water”. Molecules 14(12): 5144–5164 Retrieved April 25, 2023. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6255029/
- Anurag, P., Rajamohan, T. September, 2003. “Cardioprotective effect of tender coconut water in experimental myocardial infarction”. Plant Foods for Human Nutrition. 58, pages1–12 (2003). Retrieved April 25, 2023. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1023/B:QUAL.0000040363.64356.05
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- Pinto et al. 2015. “Study of Antiglycation, Hypoglycemic, and Nephroprotective Activities of the Green Dwarf Variety Coconut Water (Cocos nucifera L.) in Alloxan-Induced Diabetic Rats.” J Med Food, 2015 Jul;18(7):802-9. Retrieved April 25, 2023. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25651375/
- Hakimian et al. February 1, 2014. “Death by Coconut”. Circulation: Arrhythmia and Electrophysiology, 2014;7:180–181. Retrieved April 25, 2023. https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/full/10.1161/circep.113.000941
- “Daily Calorie Requirements for Dogs”. Animal Medical Center of Chicago. Retrieved April 25, 2023. https://www.animalmedicalcenterofchicago.com/dog-diet-calorie-requirements-for-dogs/