Owning a pet can cause several dilemmas, including what to do about fleas. Each year, hundreds of domesticated animals die from flea and tick treatments, and thousands have adverse reactions. Yet fleas can cause miserable itching, tapeworms, hot spots, infections, and can even carry the bacteria that causes bubonic plague.
As a pet owner, what are you to do when you don’t want to use harsh chemicals on your dog or cat, but also want to treat or prevent fleas?
Fortunately, nature provides plenty of cures for fleas. Coconut oil has several uses and benefits. Killing and repelling fleas happens to be one of them! Let’s jump in as we educate you on how coconut oil can help prevent these pesky pests.
What You'll Learn
- 1 Does Coconut Oil Prevent Fleas?
- 2 Do All Types of Coconut Oil Kill Fleas?
- 3 Is It Safe to Use Coconut Oil on Pets?
- 4 Benefits of Coconut Oil on Pets
- 5 Use Caution First
- 6 How to Use Coconut Oil to Kill or Prevent Fleas
- 7 Other Remedies
- 8 Coconut Oil Wrap Up
Does Coconut Oil Prevent Fleas?
While it may seem hard to believe, coconut oil does actually work well in killing and preventing fleas. The lauric acid, which is a fatty acid in coconut oil, naturally kills fleas and has health benefits for both humans and some animals. Roughly 50 percent of the fatty acids in coconut oil is lauric acid, which is why the oil gets used so often as a source for lauric acid.
Not only does lauric acid kill fleas, but it also helps prevent them because fleas avoid lauric acid in any form. Fleas can detect lauric acid and avoid the substance. Lauric acid is also used in some areas of the medical industry to treat parasite, viral, fungal, and bacterial infections.
Thanks to the high amount of lauric acid in coconut oil, it will both repel fleas and kill them if they land in it.
When fleas come in direct contact with the coconut oil, the oil will hold them in place. Once fleas encounter the oil, it’s challenging for them to escape from the substance that will break down their tiny bodies.
Do All Types of Coconut Oil Kill Fleas?
Technically, all types of coconut oil have the potential to kill fleas as long as it is genuine coconut oil, although fractionated may be less effective in some cases (but some users swear by it). You will want to keep in mind that your pet might ingest some of the coconut oil if they lick—which most cats and dogs do from time to time—so getting an unrefined, organic coconut oil is best.
Don’t feel pressured to buy the most expensive jar. Just look for unprocessed coconut oil, and preferably not fractionated coconut oil. Fractionated coconut oil is a processed form that remains in liquid form, even in colder temperatures. This form of the oil has most of its 12-carbon lauric acid removed, so avoid fractionated oil, if possible.
Is It Safe to Use Coconut Oil on Pets?
Coconut oil is safe to use with both cats and dogs, big and small. Coconut oil is deadly to the minuscule bodies of fleas, but the oil has health benefits for many mammals. Not only is coconut oil safe to use, but it also does not have the sometimes dangerous side effects of chemical flea medications.
You can use coconut oil against fleas on puppies, kittens, and senior pets without the concern of chemical rashes or adverse side effects. Coconut oil is also typically well-tolerated and has a low likelihood of causing allergic reactions.
You don’t have to worry about an overdose of flea medication with coconut oil, either. Say you miss a treatment or forget whether you gave your cat or dog a coconut oil application or dosage. You can apply it again or give your pet another dose without the concern of too much medication.
Benefits of Coconut Oil on Pets
Not only does coconut oil repel and kill fleas, but it also offers several additional benefits to your cat or dog. Coconut oil:
- Can destroy bacterial infections
- Softens their fur
- Helps with dandruff and dry skin
- Kills some types of parasites
- Provides beneficial fatty acids
When you use coconut oil both externally along with a small dose internally in their food, your pet will get the benefits of coconut oil in their diet and for the softness and health of their skin and fur.
Use Caution First
Before using coconut oil on your pet, there are a few things to keep in mind. Following these steps will ensure that there aren’t any issues or unmet expectations when using coconut oil for flea prevention.
- Cats and dogs are the only pets we recommend using coconut oil on.
- You’ll want to research other types of pets before using coconut oil for fleas.
- Keep an eye on the expiration date, coconut oil can go bad.
- Be careful of slippery paws on tile or wood floors.
- Start with a small amount and work your way up if you need more.
- Coconut oil can stain your upholstery, so be careful around fabrics.
- Using a small amount, you can rub a bit of coconut oil on your pet’s bedding.
- Keep in mind that this can leave grease marks.
- Always store coconut oil in a cool dark place.
- Just be sure to test out coconut oil with your cat or dog slowly at first.
- Start with a small pea-sized dose to see how they handle it.
- You can work up to the amount you would like to use after testing.
How to Use Coconut Oil to Kill or Prevent Fleas
You can use coconut oil both internally and externally, to kill and prevent fleas on your cat or dog. When your pet ingests a small amount of coconut oil, it will absorb the lauric acid into their body, which can make your cat or dog unappealing to fleas. Rubbing coconut oil on your pet is helpful as a topical treatment.
You might have to do a little trial and error when feeding your cat or dog coconut oil. Use a small amount, roughly the size of a blueberry or even half a blueberry for smaller animals. You can mix it into their food or blend it in with another indulgence, such as nut butter.
If your pet does not like the taste or smell of coconut oil, try masking it by blending it with peanut butter or almond butter, adding it to a treat-paste, or mixing it in with wet food. Fleas will be repelled by the smell far more than your pet will be.
If you want to avoid harsh flea prevention treatments, you can apply a small amount of coconut oil to their fur, working it into their coat to spread some of the oil onto their skin. If you use too much, you can simply wipe the excess off with a damp cloth. Coconut oil will be solid at room temperature but melts quickly in your hands once you rub them together.
Work the coconut oil into your pet’s coat everywhere, making sure to cover their tummy, sides, back, and their legs. Fleas can also congregate near your pet’s head and neck, so be sure to get this area, too, along with their tail and ankles.
External Flea Treatment
If your pet already has fleas, you can help get rid of them with coconut oil. Make sure to apply the treatment outdoors, as many fleas will attempt to jump away from your cat or dog once the coconut oil application begins.
Warm up the coconut oil in your hands, and coat your hands with the oil, too. You will want to apply more for the treatment of existing fleas than for prevention. Begin with one section and work your way along your pet’s entire body, massaging in more coconut oil as you go.
After you cover your cat or dog with coconut oil, use a flea comb to rake through their fur. Combing your pet’s coat with the coconut oil applied will help remove fleas and make them stick to the oil. You can wipe or rinse off the flea comb.
After you complete this process, you can bathe your pet, and then reapply a lighter treatment to prevent further fleas from biting your pet.
If you are having an issue treating fleas on your pet, there are other ways to help get rid of them, depending on the circumstance. Below are a few guides that may provide alternate avenues of getting rid of fleas from your pup.
Coconut Oil Wrap Up
So, does coconut oil prevent fleas? When used correctly, coconut oil can be a safe and effective flea prevention treatment. With coconut oil, you don’t have to worry about your pet licking their flea treatment and getting sick from dangerous chemicals. You can also use coconut oil safely around small children and babies.
If fleas are in your house, you can also slather a bit on yourself, helping to protect your feet and ankles from bites, while also softening your skin. Remember, animals often need time to adjust to anything new in their food, even if it’s a tiny drop of coconut oil.
So, start small and monitor how your pet handles it if you choose to give them internal doses. With coconut oil, you can prevent fleas without the concern of chemical treatments that can injure your animal or worse.