The Benefits of Cooking With Coconut Flour for Pets

Updated on February 27, 2018
Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa cares for a variety of exotic animals and has completed a certificate in veterinary assisting and a Bachelors Degree in Biology.


Many pet owners that opt to make homemade treats for their dogs and other pets often use wheat flour as the base ingredient. With cooking baked goods, an ingredient like this is necessary to bind the other the ingredients (eggs, spices, ect.) together and form the main bulk of the treat.

In pet food that comes in a pellet form, binding agents are always either grain or starch based. Such filler ingredients may include potatoes, cornmeal, oats, tapioca, wheat, and rice. There is much debate on which of these is the healthiest, with corn and wheat typically being denounced among dog nutritionists as a major ingredient.

Yet, this ingredient is common in many dog treats. As long as it isn't fed in excess, it is not likely to cause damage to your pet's health. However, are there any alternatives to these ingredients that are appetizing to pets, cook to a decent consistency, and also possess qualities that might be beneficial for dogs, cats, and other animals to consume?

Source

The answer lies with coconut flour. Coconuts offer plant-based nutrition that is calorie-dense and nutritious. Coconuts contain the beneficial fatty acid Lauric Acid. Coconut products have been said to improve digestion, thyroid function, metabolic mechanisms, and provide protection and defense against viral, pathogenic, fungal, and bacterial infections, however more study is needed to prove any benefits. The fibrous cover of coconuts is something I also value as a soil additive for plant growing.

Coconut milk is a wonderful food which I have used in the past as a milk substitute treat for my baby spotted genet during a bought of illness. Many claims have been made about coconut oil as well, but similarly, there is insufficient evidence to promote that substance for health problems other than maybe skin issues (as a moisturizer). While pets do love the taste of coconut oil, it should be fed in moderation, if at all.

Coconut flour and other ingredients I use
Coconut flour and other ingredients I use | Source

Nutrition

Coconut flour is extremely dense with nutrients, which is why less of it is required when cooking with it. It is a good source of protein, iron, and it is 'low-carb', giving it a low glycemic index or GI.

A high GI has been said to contribute to diabetes and weight gain in dogs (however sufficient evidence is needed to prove this). The flour contains more protein per serving than other popular flours without the damaging gluten, making it also a wonderful supplement for non-meat eating animals (I have prepared recipes with it for my green iguana).

Some Nutrition Facts Comparisons

Nutritional Qualities (100 g serving)
Calories
Soduim
Gluten Free?
Dietary Fiber
Glycemic Load
Protein
Coconut Flour
443
200mg
Yes
39g
3
19g
Wheat Flour (white, enriched, bleached)
364
2 mg
No
3g
53
10g
Whole grain Wheat Flour
339
5g
No
12g
36
14g

Coconut Flour (2 Tablespoons)

Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 28 g
Calories 124
Calories from Fat36
% Daily Value *
Fat 4 g6%
Saturated fat 4 g20%
Carbohydrates 17 g6%
Sugar 2 g
Fiber 11 g44%
Protein 5 g10%
Cholesterol 0 mg
Sodium 56 mg2%
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.

Fiber

You may have heard a lot about fiber and the unfortunate deficiency of it in the diets of humans. Fiber is also important and beneficial in the diets of dogs and other animals. For senior dogs, fiber is even more important. Just be sure to watch the calories on older dogs that might be struggling with weight problems.

Fiber, in addition to improving gastrointestinal health, reduces the absorption of sugar into blood stream and lowers cholesterol. Coconut flour has 58 percent fiber, compared to that of whole wheat which is 12.2%.

Crust made with coconut flour and shredded dried coconut.
Crust made with coconut flour and shredded dried coconut. | Source

Coconut flour is more expensive than all other regular flours. This is due to the production differences with the meat of an r-selected species (a species that produces many offspring at a low cost) vs. a k-selected species (the coconut palm only produces a few large seeds a year). But the cost can be worth it, as coconut flour is a delicious alternative to other ingredients when making homemade treats for animals and you can feel good about serving your creations to them. Currently, very few, if any manufactures utilize this great ingredient in store-bought treats, but hopefully this will change.

Questions & Answers

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      • profile image

        Tmi607 

        22 months ago

        Just baking some coconut flour cookies now! Only thing about using coconut flour in baking is it needs a lot more liquid than other flours so I add water along with my other wet ingredients (eggs, Greek yoghurt, peanut butter)

      • profile image

        Trina 

        2 years ago

        I have been cooking for my chocolate lab mix, Nugget, for a little over a year! Your information helped to inspire me to start my own business making and selling homemade, Grain free, natural dog and cat treats. Being a stay at home mom of two children under 4, I can not afford to go back to work. This has allowed me to earn an income doing something I am passionate about. Your blog is one that i was able to learn about the wonders of coconut flour! Then I realized a lot of people would love to cook for their pets but simply don't have the time. Being home, I do! Thank you for your inspiration!!

        Trina

        Www.nuggetsnibbles.com

      • profile image

        Jamie 

        3 years ago

        Very interesting information.

        Thank you for sharing.

        I was searching for dog's & cat's.

        Coconut wheat flour

        Hopefully we will see this in more products for ALL

      • Melissa A Smith profile imageAUTHOR

        Melissa A Smith 

        3 years ago from New York

        Thanks Gypsy Owl, this flour is great for humans too!

      • GypsyOwl profile image

        Deb Bryan 

        3 years ago from Chico California

        Thank you! I didn't read this for my pet. I have been searching for gluten free flour options. This one will go on the top of my favorites list. I've never heard of it or tried it. I have been using coconut oil (cold pressed). Thanks again! Deb

      • Melissa A Smith profile imageAUTHOR

        Melissa A Smith 

        4 years ago from New York

        Glad this helped you titi6601.

      • titi6601 profile image

        titi6601 

        4 years ago

        I am going to start baking my dogs treats. Thanks for this useful information.

      • Melissa A Smith profile imageAUTHOR

        Melissa A Smith 

        4 years ago from New York

        Wonderful jacksson47, take care.

      • jacksson47 profile image

        John Reeder 

        4 years ago from Reedley, CA

        Good article, I sent it to my wife. We have a very coconut oriented home and our pet participates in the goodies along with us. She loves virgin coconut oil in her food dish.

      • Melissa A Smith profile imageAUTHOR

        Melissa A Smith 

        5 years ago from New York

        Glad to hear that ladydeonne. I will continue to update it.

      • ladydeonne profile image

        Deonne Anderson 

        5 years ago from Florence, SC

        Very informative hub. I have started making doggie treats for my 2 dogs, Yogi and Gypsie. I have book marked this hub and will refer to it often.

        Thanks!

      • Melissa A Smith profile imageAUTHOR

        Melissa A Smith 

        5 years ago from New York

        Thanks a lot Eiddwen!

      • Eiddwen profile image

        Eiddwen 

        5 years ago from Wales

        Very interesting indeed.

        I vote up and share.

        Eddy.

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