Coconut yogurt is the latest trend among health freaks and diet devotees and there are many who swear by its health benefits for our human bodies. However, is it alright to take a step further and share it with our canine companions? The answer stands at a yes. Nevertheless, there is some conditionality attached to it.
Most of us treat our canine friends as an extension of our family. After all, they are there to welcome us with a loving cuddle after a long day’s work, keep our beds warm and even lick our tears dry should we be feeling nostalgic looking at our high school yearbook or even that family album.
However, we have to careful while extending our food fads to them. Although, emotionally they may be a part of your family; but physiologically, they are a part of the large canine family. And that is how they have ended up having a different metabolism from us humans.
The Coconut Vantage
Coconut yogurt is high in both calcium and proteins. It thus strengthens the feisty dog bones and lushes up their coat skin, all at the same time. In moderation, it is also believed to improve digestion among dogs.
It is also known to take significant care of the odor in dog breath as well as in promoting faster wound healing among them. It is also believed to act as an immune booster among dogs.
Coconut yogurt is also believed to be imbibed with anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties.
The Lactase Hassle
All this and more, but only if your dog is not lactose intolerant.
Yogurt is a dairy product and dogs are prone to lactose indigestion due to their body metabolism. They produce fewer quantities of lactase enzyme, which is responsible for breaking down the lactose sugar in their bodies. The process worsens as they age.
So, it is best to feed them a small quantity of coconut yogurt as a test dose to see how their body reacts to it.
If your dog’s body is rejecting the yogurt, it will manifest it with symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal gas. It may also lead to excessive itching and over time result in significant weight loss.
These symptoms may manifest even if your dog is not lactose intolerant, but is fed coconut yogurt in excess.
Cardinal rules for coconut yogurt:
There are certain cardinal principles you have to follow while feeding your dog with a coconut yogurt delight, to ensure that you fix up a tasty as well as a healthy treat for them.
1. The Probiotic Preference
While on the lookout for yogurt, always keep an eye on its probiotic content. Live yogurts are your best bet and they promote a healthy gut in humans and canines alike. You can also scan the yogurt label for lactobacillus content.
The probiotics in yogurt also help in controlling the fungal infection and promote healthy skin in dogs. They also act on ear infections in dogs.
2. Create a calorie ceiling
Coconut yogurt should always be given as a treat and never as the main diet. This is because excess amounts of coconut yogurt, especially if it has added flavoring, can lead to weight gain in dogs. True, they don’t have to fit into those favorite jeans for that photo-op at the reunion, but weight gain still can prove counterproductive to them.
This can not only make the dog sluggish but excessive fat in the body can also lead to pancreatitis. This is the inflammation of the pancreas in dogs which often proves fatal for them.
The amount of coconut yogurt depends on the weight of the dog and consequently the calorie intake allowed to it. The vets suggest that the treatment should be restricted to 10 percent of calorie intake daily. That amounts to probably one teaspoon for a large dog and half a teaspoon for a small one.
3. Serve it in style
You can serve your dog coconut yogurt as popsicles by freezing them overnight in different shaped molds. This way your dog gets a healthy treat as well as something to play with.
You can also mix up things by feeding your dog plain yogurt with sugarless coconut cookies a few times.
If your dog is not comfortable with the taste of coconut yogurt or is just a fussy eater (yes, they are not restricted to the human world), you can hide or mix the yogurt in their regular diet food.
4. Keep a sweet check
You have to keep a hawk-like watch on the ingredients of the yogurt you serve them. Many flavoring that is otherwise appealing to human taste buds can prove highly toxic to them.
Chocolate as an added ingredient, for example, can be HIGHLY TOXIC to canines.
Xylitol is one such other ingredient for which you should especially be looking for. Its intake in even small amounts can prove disastrous to dogs. It is an artificial sweetener that can increase the insulin level in dogs and lower their blood sugar. This can lead to vomiting, fatigue, and eventual liver failure.
Even white sugar as an additive should be avoided.
5. Go the Homemade way
The best available brand of coconut yogurt in the market is well, not in the market. Homemade is the way to go if you want to provide your dog the best quality coconut yogurt. This is because the market yogurts often contain artificial sweeteners or even ingredients that are toxic to dogs.
You can add bits of coconut to your homemade yogurt to create this treat for your dog. However, be sure to keep the size of coconut chunks minimal to avoid choking.
This is better than even yogurts available in the market which claim to have real coconut in them. For all you know, they may be using artificial preservatives on them to keep them edible for longer durations.
You can also add coconut oil or coconut milk to plain yogurt, which will probably help in its faster absorption.
In fact, a good homemade coconut yogurt can give a real boost to the grey matter in your dog and can sharpen their pace. And you might have to gorge on some coconut yogurt of your own to match up to them at playtime.
Coconut yogurt passes our test of human to canine diet extension. It checks all the right boxes from being a healthy option to being currently very much in trend. However, moderation is still the key here.
It is thus important to keep an eye on your dog for any possible symptoms while experimenting with their diet. There is a need to treat them as individuals and not just part of an animal group and thus design a diet, keeping in mind their taste preferences as well as body metabolism needs.