Pet owners are often encouraged to apply flea drops or use chemical-laden flea collars on their pets. It is no secret that I have been using flea drops on my own dogs for years. However, many people are unaware of the fact that some of these products contain harmful chemicals that can cause seizures in dogs and cats. They slowly poison your pet which can lead to diseases over long term use. So is there a safer and more natural solution for fleas on dogs and cats? Thankfully, the answer is yes. You can get rid of fleas and ticks entirely without the use of chemicals. The solution is coconut oil.
What is wrong with conventional flea products for dogs and cats?
The active ingredient in many flea products available today is Fipronil. This broad spectrum insecticide can kill all kinds of parasites on your pets, including lice, ticks, mites, ants, roaches and fleas. However, Fipronil also spreads throughout the animal’s skin and is absorbed into its blood stream. This not only causes discoloration, hair loss and itching on the area where it is applied; it can also cause toxic side effects like vomiting, confusion and breathing issues. In some pets, the long term use of these flea chemicals is even known to cause fatal side effects. According to a recent article on AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association), four of the commonly available flea products were linked to seizures in cats and dogs.
Why use coconut oil for lice, ticks and fleas?
People have always used coconut oil for eliminating lice in hair. Lice are similar to ticks and fleas; they live on their host’s body in areas with hair and suck blood from them. Folk remedies around the world have recommended the use of coconut oil for drowning lice in human hair. The remedy involves applying coconut oil liberally throughout the hair and scalp to drown lice and nits. The oil saturates the exoskeleton on the pest’s bodies and completely blocks off oxygen supply. This causes the lice to suffocate and drown in the oil. In addition to that, coconut oil also imparts antimicrobial properties to the scalp to prevent infections in the sores and bites caused by the lice. Coconut oil also stimulates cell repair, cell regeneration or cell turnover to rapidly heal the bitten parts of the skin and scalp.
Coconut oil for fleas on dogs and cats
Coconut oil is a wonderful remedy for controlling fleas on dogs and cats. You can use it in multiple ways to ward off lice, mange, ticks, fleas as well as bacterial and fungal pathogens. The oil may even boost your pet’s overall health and well-being. Here are some ways to use coconut oil to repel fleas on dogs and cats:
Feed a couple teaspoons of organic coconut oil daily to your dog or cat (dosage depends on its bodyweight). This will help strengthen your pet’s immune system and empower it to fight off bacteria, fungi and other parasites. Add coconut oil to your pet’s meals or simply administer a couple of teaspoons post-meal. This will also help freshen its breath. Ticks and fleas have trouble surviving on pets that regularly eat coconut oil. Feeding coconut oil to dogs and cats also has other advantages like weight management, healthier fur, stronger immunity, better cognitive function, reduced inflammation, cholesterol management etc.
Dosage of coconut oil for dogs
- Large to medium sized dogs – 1-2 full generous tablespoons. Add to food once a day.
- For small breeds or puppies – ½ to 1 teaspoon and slowly increase it to 1 tbsp over the next few days.
Dosage of coconut oil for cats
- For adult cats – 1/2 to 1 tsp and slowly increase up to 1 tbsp.
- For kittens – ¼ tsp and slowly increase it to 1 tsp.
During flea season, massage warm coconut oil in your pet’s fur to ward off ticks, fleas, lice, mange and mites. The oil repels fleas and also drowns and suffocates existing parasites as explained above. Moreover, coconut oil also heals your pet’s skin where fleas and ticks may have bitten them. The oil prevents secondary skin infections by rapidly healing the skin and also prevents itching, redness and pain.
Homemade flea collars with coconut oil and essential oils
Rubbing coconut oil throughout the pet’s fur is one way of repelling fleas. However, this remedy can leave your pet’s coat greasy which can then attract dirt and grime. One way of going about this is to apply the oil, massage it in the fur, leave it on overnight and then wash off the next morning with a mild tick/flea shampoo. This can eliminate almost all of the existing fleas. However, this remedy may not repel new fleas.
For this purpose, saturate an old bandanna or handkerchief with a mixture of coconut oil and diluted lavender oil. The scent of the oil repels fleas and ticks. Simply add a few drops of lavender oil to a tablespoon of coconut oil and saturate a hanky in the mixture. Let the oils permeate the fabric overnight. You can now tie this homemade flea collar around your pet’s neck to repel fleas. You will have to ‘recharge’ the collar every few days with essential oil and coconut oil to keep the scent fresh.
Coconut oil flea bath
Another method of using coconut oil for repelling fleas on cats and dogs is making a coconut oil flea bath. This nice hot bath will soothe your pet and also eliminate all the fleas from its fur. As an added advantage, this bath will also moisturize its skin.
Steps to make a coconut oil flea bath
- Begin filling the bath tub with warm water, keeping the temperature suitable for your pet.
- Add 2 tablespoons of organic extra virgin coconut oil and 10 drops of lavender essential oil to the bath water.
- Once the bath is half filled, add some baking soda or Epsom salts to it.
- Place your pet in the bath letting the oils work their magic.
- After 10-15 minutes, rinse your pet off as usual following use of a mild pet shampoo.
Does coconut oil repel fleas on humans?
Humans are not immune to fleas either. Fleas can and will bite us in the presence or absence of animal hosts, leaving behind red, itchy welts that are painful, itchy and annoying. You may now be wondering if coconut oil can kill fleas on humans too. The answer is that you will have to really saturate your entire body with coconut oil to drown the fleas. Of course, fleas do not usually stay for long periods of time on humans; they bite and then jump away to find a hiding place. Since most humans do not have extremely hairy bodies, it may be difficult for fleas to find hiding places on them. What the coconut oil does here is, it soothes the rash and relieves pain and itchiness. You may apply coconut oil mixed with lavender oil to eliminate itchiness and inflammation and prevent the bites from turning into serious skin infections. The oil’s aroma will also repel fleas away from your body and stop them from biting.
Coconut oil can help kill fleas on your pets, provided you completely saturate their fur with the oil. That is the only way to really get rid of fleas on dogs and cats using coconut oil. You can add essential oils like lavender oil to the coconut oil to repel fleas. These scented oils keep fleas away and also soothe the skin. Alternatively, add coconut oil to your pet’s diet to strengthen its immunity and help them repel fleas from inside out.