Does Coconut Oil Kill Fleas?

Let’s face it—fleas are an absolute nuisance.  No one wants to deal with the tiny little buggers and the discomfort they can cause for your dog.  Plus, fleas bite and can spread disease! In this article we will answer the question, does coconut oil kill fleas? Yuck!

Unfortunately, any dog is at risk of getting fleas.  Whether he/she enjoys a daily romp in the dog park or backyard, a rugged hike, or a trip around the block, the flea will try to find its way onto your precious pooch.  So can you fight off fleas naturally?  In this article, we’ll share the scoop on using coconut oil to kill fleas. 

How to Smother Fleas on Dogs

Coconut oil is non-toxic and works quickly to kill fleas naturally.  Follow these steps to smother fleas already living on your furry family member:

  1. Take your dog outside if he/she already has fleas, to prevent any stowaways from hiding around your home.
  2. Coat your hands (you can wear thin gloves when you do this too to avoid touching any fleas) with a nice thick layer of liquid coconut oil.
  3. Start with the worst areas first, which are usually at the base of the tail and along the back.
  4. Massage the oil into your dog’s skin, making sure to get through their hair.  Keep reapplying oil as needed and working it in to make sure enough reaches their skin where the fleas are hiding.
  5. Your pup can lick the coconut oil off safely, but you don’t want them to remove the coconut oil as it works!  Put your pup in a shirt or doggie sweater and wait several hours.  
  6. Finish off with a nice bath and brush to help remove any dead fleas.
  7. Apply daily or as needed until all of the fleas are gone.

Depending on how many fleas your dog has and how big their coat is, you might need to repeat these steps daily until the infestation is gone.  Be patient and your hard work will pay off!

What Types of Coconut Oil Should You Get For Fleas

  • Cold-pressed: This type of coconut oil has a high amount of nutrients due to how it is processed, producing the highest quality type of oil.
  • Virgin (unrefined)/Extra virgin: Also made from fresh coconuts, this is going to contain many nutrients and is better than the refined version.
  • Organic: You will want to reduce the and use the highest quality and most natural product on your precious pooch.  Make sure you are buying 100% organic as certified by the USDA, which guarantees the coconut oil does not contain any genetically modified organisms and is grown and produced without the use of harmful chemicals.

Here are links to a few products that fit the bill:

What are Other Uses For Coconut Oil

Coconut oil serves as more than just a one-trick pony.  You can apply it both topically and feed it to your dog!  

Note: Because the oil can be high in fat, do not give your dog a large amount to eat. Especially if they are on a special low-fat diet, such as for conditions like diabetes or pancreatitis.  More is not always better!  So start off with smaller amounts and always mix the coconut oil with your canine companion’s food.

Get the best bang for your buck

  • Clean teeth and fresh breath: Coconut oil has antimicrobial properties.  Your dog might like the taste of coconut oil more than doggy toothpaste.  Put a small amount on your dog’s gums and rub, or put on a toothbrush and brush their teeth like you normally would.
  • Dry skin: Coconut oil is the perfect moisturizer for your dog’s dry skin.  During both the cold winter months and hot summer months, your dog’s skin can really dry out. This creates tiny cracks in the skin, nose, elbows, and paws, and can lead to dandruff and flaking.  This is super uncomfortable for your pup!  Thankfully, coconut oil boasts the right amount of ingredients to create a nourishing barrier between your dog’s skin and the harsh air.  High amounts of vitamin E in virgin coconut oil not only hydrate the skin but strengthen and protect it as well.  
  • Energy and metabolism: Coconut oil contains high concentrations of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), which are thought to enhance weight loss.  MCTs are a good kind of fat that provides a quick source of energy.  You should never feed large amounts to your dog, though.  Start by giving 1/4th teaspoon daily to small dogs or 1 tablespoon (15 mL) daily to big dogs and gradually increase the amount. If your dog tolerates it well after 2 weeks, then giving 1/4th of a tsp per 10lbs of your pet’s weight once or twice a day should do the trick. 
  • Aging and Brain Function: Several studies have shown that coconut oil for dogs can slow down age-related changes, including dementia.  However, If your dog is getting older, you may want to consider adding some coconut oil to his/her food to help support a healthy brain.  There have even been reports from owners of dogs with epilepsy that giving coconut oil decreases the frequency and severity of their dog’s seizures!
  • Itchy skin and damaged hair: Research has also identified more skin benefits of using coconut oil topically: to prevent and treat hot spots, minor stings, and atopic dermatitis (eczema) which makes your dog’s skin red and itchy.  Coconut oil shampoo has antimicrobial, antiviral, and antifungal ingredients that naturally get rid of unwanted pathogens.  It also prevents hair damage due to grooming and UV light exposure, acting as a natural sunscreen.  Overall, this leaves your pup’s fur silky and skin smooth.

What are Other Natural Alternatives For Coconut Oil

Other types of oils, called essential oils, can be used to safely repel fleas, when applied in the proper amount.  Commercial sprays containing these oils should be considered if your dog is allergic to or does not tolerate coconut oil.  These sprays are usually diluted since the oils can be very powerful in small amounts.

  • Cedarwood oil: Produced from cedar trees and both repels and kills fleas, ticks, mosquitoes, ants, mites, and more! 
  • Lavender oil: Repels fleas and leaves your canine companion smelling like a nice spring day.
  • Peppermint or cinnamon oil: If you are more sensitive to or just don’t like lavender scents, peppermint or cinnamon oil are a great alternative.
  • Lemongrass oil: This oil both repels and kills bugs.
  • Citronella oil: Made from the citronella plant, this oil also repels mosquitoes!

Does Coconut Oil Prevent Fleas?

  • Coconut oil is a great natural way to prevent fleas.  Just massage into your dog’s skin and coat and leave him/her be!  Use a clean, dry cloth to wipe any excess oil when her/she comes back inside.
  • Coconut oil contains lauric acid, a type of saturated fat, that kills and repels fleas.  The fleas will not want to live on your dog because the oil coats their exoskeleton and prevents the flea’s survival. 
  • Unlike professional chemicals that become absorbed by your dog’s skin and potentially cause harm, coconut oil hurts the fleas without hurting your dog.  Just remember to apply it on a regular basis to make sure that it stays effective.
  • You can sleep soundly knowing you are protecting your dog without the use of harsh products that have potentially serious side effects.  

How to Make Coconut Oil Spray For Dogs

You can also use coconut oil spray to maintain your pup’s coat and create a healthy barrier from unwanted bugs.

Use these three easy steps to make coconut spray:

  1. Take 2-3 tablespoons of coconut oil and put it into a clean spray bottle.
  2. Fill the rest of the bottle up with hot (but not boiling) water.
  3. Recap the bottle and shake to mix the coconut oil and water together.

To apply, start spraying at your dog‘s tail and continue towards the head.  Spray the coat thoroughly to make sure the oil gets through the hair to the skin.  Don’t forget your dog’s legs and feet.  Avoid getting the spray near his/her eyes, nose, and mouth.  After spraying, let your dog’s hair air dry naturally. 

Does Coconut Oil Kill Other Pests?

The short answer is, yes!  Coconut oil works to kill other pesky parasites the same way it tackles a flea problem.  Use it on your dog’s skin to get rid of or repel:

  • Ticks
  • Ear Mites
  • Mange Mites (Demodex, Sarcoptic)
  • Dog Lice
  • Internal Parasites like Tapeworms and Giardia (if given with your dog’s food). 

The Big Finish

Voila!  Now you know that you can use coconut oil to kill fleas and other bugs, and how to apply it to your dog.  We also shared other benefits of coconut oil, and some alternatives to using coconut oil to get rid of pests.  

Now fleas won’t stand a chance!  And your furry friend will thank you for using a natural product to finish off their coat.  

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