All pet owners know the cold, creeping horror that comes with finding fleas hopping through your animal’s fur. Fleas are the bloodthirsty nightmare every dog owner will have to deal with at least once, as these tiny insects are a global nuisance that is common on every continent.
The best way to handle fleas is to exterminate them, pronto. These jumping pests breed rapidly and, if left untreated, can quickly grow into an infestation that threatens to take over your whole house. Fleas can also transmit nasty zoonotic diseases (such as tapeworms) to your poor pooch, resulting in stress and high vet’s bills down the line.
There are dozens of products on the pet care market that are specially formulated to tackle fleas but choosing the right one for your animal can be tough. Many products designed to exterminate flea infestations contain harsh chemicals that you may prefer to avoid using at home. Others are downright ineffective and do nothing more than waste your time and money.
If you’re looking for an inexpensive yet effective natural remedy for fleas, coconut oil may be the ideal solution. This rich, fragrant oil has a million uses, from alleviating skin complaints to promoting good dental health. Its versatility and ‘100%-natural’ label means that coconut oil has enjoyed booming popularity over recent years, and most households have a jar of the stuff somewhere.
But does coconut oil kill fleas, and can you use it on your dog?
Does coconut oil kill fleas?
There has been extensive research into the properties of coconut oil and its benefits for humans, but relatively little is known about its potential uses on dogs.
One possible application of coconut oil for your pooch is as a natural flea repellent, as coconut oil is thought to keep bugs at bay. But what does the science say: do the facts measure up to the claim?
Can you use coconut oil for fleas?
Studies have found that dog shampoo containing high concentrations of virgin coconut oil was very effective against fleas, ticks, mites, and lice in dogs.
These findings suggest that coconut oil can, therefore, be used as a natural treatment for fleas and any other insects that end up in your dog’s fur.
So, what gives coconut oil its repellent properties?
Coconut oil contains a variety of compounds that have been found to drive bugs away, including fatty acids. These can be found in any product containing a large quantity of coconut oil, and they strongly repel fleas.
These fatty acids 100% safe to use regularly on your pet and they also have long-lasting residual effects that can keep your dog protected for hours after treatment.
Not only can a coconut oil treatment help to keep fleas away from your dog, but it can also heal the skin irritation caused by flea bites.
Not only can coconut oil be used to effectively repel fleas, helping to keep your dog parasite-free, but it can also promote skin healing in the wake of an infestation.
For pet-owners who favor natural remedies, it’s perfect; but how can you use coconut oil to repel fleas on dogs?
How can you use coconut oil on your dog?
What sort of coconut oil should you use?
When choosing a coconut oil to use on your dog, opt for a virgin oil. Virgin coconut oil contains more nutrients than the refined version, and more of the compounds that are useful for repelling fleas.
How to apply coconut oil to your dog’s skin and fur
A flea infestation can be horribly uncomfortable for your pooch, especially if they have an allergic reaction to the bites. The itching and scratching can cause further irritation, even leading to broken skin and possible infections.
Coconut oil can also be an excellent way to promote wound healing and alleviate skin discomfort, helping your pet get back to their usual happy self in no time.
To apply coconut oil to your dog, start by coating your palms with the oil. If your oil is solid at room temperature, scoop out a small chunk and rub it between your hands until it becomes liquid.
Next, rub the oil all over your dog’s skin including the belly, legs, back, and tail. If you are trying to rid your dog of fleas, it’s important to work the oil through your dog’s fur thoroughly using your fingers. Coconut oil is completely non-toxic, so this treatment is safe to use every day while battling the infestation.
Your dog may immediately start to lick the oil out of its fur. This isn’t anything to worry about (coconut oil is totally safe for canines to consume) but will obviously lessen the effectiveness of your treatment. You can get around this by popping a sweater on your dog for a few hours after treatment to keep the oil in place while it works its magic.
Most dogs get fleas at one point or another, as these insects will often hop aboard when your pooch goes outside. Fleas are resilient bugs and can be difficult to get rid of, and many treatments that are commercially available contain harsh chemicals. While effective, these insecticides can present health risks that many pet-owners are uncomfortable bringing into their home.
Fortunately, there are several natural remedies that can be used to effectively treat a flea infestation, one of which is coconut oil.
This plant extract has a wide range of uses, including repelling insects! To keep bugs out of your dog’s fur, simply apply virgin coconut oil once or twice a day for flea-free fur and healthy, nourished skin.