The Benefits of Cooking with Coconut Flour for Pets
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 health, however, are there any alternative to these ingredients that not only tastes good to pets, cooks to a decent consistency, but also possesses qualities that are 100% beneficial for dogs, cats, and other animals to consume?
What’s wrong with wheat?
Wheat, including even that which is whole grain, is getting a bad rap even for human consumption these days. Its prevalence of use is credited for raising blood sugar levels (insulin resistance), causing weight gain, and inhibiting the immune system of both humans and other animals. Saturated fat is popularly claimed to be the culprit of heart disease in Americans, but there is much evidence that wheat consumption is actually responsible.
The answer lies with coconut flour. Coconut flour is not only healthier than the other carbohydrate sources listed above, but it is actually healthy for pets (and humans) to consume.
Coconuts are truly a miracle of nutrition, or the common phrase super food. While this status may be applied to many herbs and fruits, the many positive attributes of coconuts are well-documented. Coconuts contain the beneficial fatty acid Lauric acid, which boosts the immune system response. Coconut products have been known to improve digestion, thyroid function, metabolic mechanisms, and provide protection and defense against viral, pathogenic, fungal, and bacterial infections. 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 that quickly resolved. Coconut oil is a powerful healer and a nutraceutical that can be used orally for a myriad of health ailments and externally for skin complications.
After extracting the enormously healthy coconut oil from the palm tree's fruit (which also can be used in cooking for pets and humans as a butter or vegetable oil substitute), you get coconut flour, which is derived from the coconut's nutritious meat.
- Coconut Oil for Pets: Numerous Benefits
The many benefits of coconut oil aren't just for people. This highly useful substance can aid in healing injuries and ailments as well as having use as substantial nutritional support for animals including mammals, reptiles, and more.
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 may contribute to diabetes and weight gain in dogs. 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)
Wheat Flour (white, enriched, bleached)
Whole grain Wheat Flour
Coconut Flour (2 Tablespoons)
|Serving size: 28 g|
|Calories from Fat||36|
|% Daily Value *|
|Fat 4 g||6%|
|Saturated fat 4 g||20%|
|Carbohydrates 17 g||6%|
|Sugar 2 g|
|Fiber 11 g||44%|
|Protein 5 g||10%|
|Cholesterol 0 mg|
|Sodium 56 mg||2%|
|* 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.|
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. 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%.
Unlike whole wheat, coconut flour is gluten free. Gluten describes a class of proteins found in various grains. Some dogs, like humans, can develop an intolerance to gluten. Others may tolerate the protein and maintain seemingly good health, but beneath the surface, dogs fed large quantities of sources that contain gluten (such as what may exist in cheap dog foods) may be negatively affected according to some studies and anecdotal evidence. Many common ailments of companion animals such as arthritis, cancer, tumors, and allergies are thought to be attributed to gluten and other wheat products.
Some Pet Treat Recipes
- How to Make a Cake for a Cat (Healthy Coconut Flour Recipe)
How to make a birthday celebration cake for your pet cat with healthy coconut flour.
- Healthy Sweet Potato Pie Recipe for Pets
Healthy holiday meal ideas for pets, including recipes for pet-friendly cranberry sauce and sweet potato or pumpkin pie.
- Recipe for Gluten Free, Sugar Free Recipe for Gluten-Free Pumpkin Dog Biscuits
A healthy dog biscuit for your favorite 4-legged buddy made with brown rice flour (replace with coconut flour), flax, eggs, and pumpkin.
Swapping Wheat Flour for Coconut Flour
- Baking with Coconut Flour — Nourished Kitchen
Have you heard about the benefits of baking with coconut flour? As the interest in grain-free diets continues to rise, many cooks are looking to use coconut flour.
Coconut flour is more expensive than all other regular flours. You are afterall, dealing 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 is well 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.