Can Dogs Drink Coconut Milk? How to Introduce It Safely?

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Author: Jacob Kay

Coconut milk has become an increasingly popular plant-based milk alternative for humans looking to add variety to their diets or avoid dairy. As more pet owners opt for plant-based foods and beverages for themselves, some may start to wonder if their dogs can also reap the potential benefits of coconut milk. But can dogs drink coconut milk?

This article will dive into all the details around dogs and coconut milk – looking at what exactly coconut milk is, the potential benefits and risks of giving it to dogs, how much dogs can drink safely, and tips for adding it to their diet.

Can Dogs Drink Coconut Milk? How to Introduce It Safely?

What is Coconut Milk?

What is Coconut Milk?

Before looking at the effects of coconut milk on dogs, let’s first understand what exactly coconut milk is. Coconut milk is the white, opaque liquid extracted from the meat of mature coconuts. It is a popular ingredient used heavily in Southeast Asian and Indian Cuisines.

Coconut milk has a rich, creamy texture and a slightly sweet and nutty coconut flavour. It contains no dairy, unlike the name may imply, making it a vegan milk alternative.

How Coconut Milk is Made

Coconut milk is made by grating the flesh of brown coconuts, soaking the grated coconut meat in hot water, and then straining the mixture to separate the coconut solids from the liquid. The solid pieces are then pressed to extract even more coconut milk from the meat.

The first press is usually higher in fat while the second press yields a thinner, waterier milk. Sometimes the milk is homogenized to prevent separation. Either the first press or a blend of the first and second press can be sold as coconut milk.

Nutritional Profile

The nutrition of coconut milk can vary based on the brand, how diluted it is, and if it contains any additives. But in general, coconut milk contains:

  • High amounts of healthy saturated fats – especially medium chain triglycerides (MCTs).
  • Calories: 80 per 100 ml.
  • Carbs: 5-10 grams per 100 ml.
  • Protein: 2-3 grams per 100 ml.
  • Vitamin C, iron, selenium, copper, manganese, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, and zinc.
  • Antioxidants like vitamin E and polyphenols.
  • Low sugar and carbohydrates.
  • No cholesterol or lactose.

Now that we know what exactly coconut milk is made of, let’s look at why it can potentially be beneficial for dogs.

Potential Benefits of Coconut Milk for Dogs

Potential Benefits of Coconut Milk for Dogs

There are some key nutrients and components in coconut milk that can make it a healthy, beneficial addition to a balanced dog diet. Here are some of the main potential benefits:

High in Healthy Fats

The medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) in coconut milk provide a concentrated source of beneficial fats. MCTs are more easily absorbed and metabolized than longer-chain fats. Some key benefits of MCTs include:

  • Providing fuel for the brain and energy.
  • Supporting metabolism and fat burning.
  • Controlling blood sugar.
  • Optimizing digestion.

The lauric acid in coconut milk also has antimicrobial effects to support immune function. All these healthy fats support skin and coat health too.

Source of Vitamins and Minerals

Coconut milk contains a wide array of vitamins and minerals including vitamin C, E, iron, selenium, potassium, magnesium, manganese, and zinc.

This makes it more nutritious than other milk alternatives. Vitamin C, E, and selenium in particular act as antioxidants to reduce oxidative stress.

May Help Digestion

The MCT fats in coconut milk may improve digestion in a few ways:

  • Better absorption of nutrients.
  • Anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial benefits.
  • Prebiotics to feed good gut bacteria.

This may help dogs with digestive issues like inflammatory bowel disease, and colitis, or who are prone to stomach upset. Always consult a vet first though.

Hydrating Properties

Coconut water and milk can be hydrating options, containing key electrolytes like potassium. This makes coconut milk a good treat option on hot summer days or after exercise when dogs need to rehydrate.

For most dogs, coconut milk is likely safe and provides healthy fats and nutrients. But there are also some potential risks to consider before feeding it.

Potential Risks of Giving Dogs Coconut Milk

Potential Risks of Giving Dogs Coconut Milk

While coconut milk can be safe for most dogs, there are some potential downsides[1]:

High, Fat and Calories

The biggest risk is that coconut milk is very high in fat and calories. Too much may lead to:

  • Pancreatitis, which is inflammation of the pancreas.
  • Obesity if consumed is excess.
  • Diarrhea or upset stomach.

So monitoring portions is key if feeding dogs coconut milk regularly.

Allergies or Intolerance

Some dogs may be allergic or intolerant to coconut products. Signs include:

  • Itchy skin, hives, rashes.
  • Vomiting, diarrhoea.
  • Gas, bloating, stomach pain.

Dogs with sensitive stomachs may be more prone to reactions. Doing a small taste test is recommended before giving larger amounts.

Too Much Can Cause Digestive Upset

Even if not allergic, too much coconut milk can lead to loose stools or diarrhoea. Introduce slowly and monitor stools to ensure it does not cause gastrointestinal upset.

Now that we’ve covered the main benefits and risks, let’s look at how much coconut milk is appropriate for dogs.

How Much Coconut Milk Can Dogs Drink?

How Much Coconut Milk Can Dogs Drink

When introducing any new food to dogs, it’s best to go slowly with small amounts at first. Follow these tips for coconut milk:

For a taste test, start with just 1/2 to 1 teaspoon first. If no allergy symptoms after a day, can increase to 1-2 tablespoons max per day. 

For larger dogs, can increase to 1/4 cup per day. But because of the high fat, limit to 1-2 times weekly max.

Mix into their food or drink small amounts as a treat. Avoid giving up on an empty stomach.

For hydration, can make "doggy coconut water" using lower-fat coconut water and diluting it with regular water.

Monitor stools to ensure a diarrhoea or digestive upset. If so, reduce the amount.

Ask your veterinarian if appropriate, especially for dogs with medical conditions like diabetes, pancreatitis, obesity, or allergies.

While coconut milk can be a healthy, nutrient-dense addition to a dog’s diet, proper portion control is key. Consult your vet if you have any concerns. With some precautions, most dogs can enjoy a bit of coconut milk as an occasional treat!


Can Dogs Drink Coconut Milk?

Coconut milk can be healthy for dogs in moderation due to nutrients like medium-chain triglycerides, vitamins C and E, and electrolytes. But too much can cause diarrhoea or pancreatitis, so small portions are key. Always consult a vet first.

Can dogs drink coconut milk every day?

Feeding coconut milk daily is not recommended for dogs. At most, limit to 1-2 times weekly in small amounts diluted with water due to the high-fat content. Monitor stool and weight to ensure no issues.

Can puppies drink coconut milk?

No, coconut milk is not recommended for puppies under 1 year old as their digestive systems are still developing. Wait until puppies are fully grown before introducing coconut milk.

What kind of coconut milk can dogs drink?

Opt for unsweetened canned full-fat coconut milk without any additives. Avoid “lite” coconut milk or carton varieties which are very watered down.

Can diabetic dogs have coconut milk?

Ask your vet before feeding coconut milk to diabetic dogs. While it has minimal carbs, the fat content requires close monitoring of blood sugar. Small amounts diluted may be okay but get vet approval first.


Coconut milk can be a nutritious, beneficial addition to a balanced dog diet, providing healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, and hydration. However, pet owners should be mindful of portion sizes due to the high fat and calorie content.

Consult your veterinarian before regularly feeding dogs coconut milk, especially if they have medical conditions or a sensitive digestive system. Overall, when introduced slowly and fed responsibly, coconut milk can be a great supplement for dogs!


  1. Can Dogs Eat Coconut? | petMD
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Jacob Kay
Jacob Kay is a Veterinary Advisor and Editor at WWD. He’s also a dog lover and has two pet dogs of his own. He has extensive knowledge in the field of veterinary medicine and is always happy to share his insights with others.

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