Last Updated on February 9, 2022 by Marco C.
Outdoorsy dog breeds like Labrador Retrievers are quite prone to getting fleas. So, is coconut oil for fleas a good solution, or is that a myth? There are plenty of nonsensical “solutions” online after all, and sifting the good from the bad ones is often time-consuming. Coconut oil might just be one of the few internet myths that actually work, however. Let’s go over whether and how it works and what you should be careful with when giving your pet a coconut oil flea bath.
Coconut Oil For Fleas – Does It Work?
By all accounts – it does. And it’s intuitive that it would – oil of all kinds can suffocate insects such as fleas so there’s no reason why coconut oil would be different. That intuitive notion isn’t exactly on point, however – coconut oil actually works in a different way.
Learn more about: Can Fleas Live On Human Heads And Lay Eggs There?
How Does Coconut Oil For Fleas Work?
One of the key ingredients that make coconut oil is lauric acid. This is a type of saturated fatty acid with a lot of interesting properties thanks to its 12-carbon atom chain. White in color and with a powdery consistency, lauric acid is highly toxic to insect pests such as fleas and kills them upon contact in a manner of seconds. It’s also quite sticky, making it very difficult for the flea to escape once it has touched the coconut oil.
So, in short – coconut oil kills fleas indeed. It does more than that, however.
Coconut Oil For Fleas As A Repellent
Because coconut oil has a very strong and distinct scent, fleas tend to scatter the moment they notice its presence near them. The lauric acid itself also has a noticeable soap or bay oil odor. This means a couple of things:
- If you know for a fact that there are fleas in the place/park you’re visiting, you can just use coconut oil in advance as a repellent.
- If your dog is indeed infested with fleas, putting coconut oil on its coat will drive most of them to flee before they’ve even come into direct contact with the oil. This can be unfortunate if you’re doing this indoors as a major part of the fleas will get away and search for a different host.
So, needless to say, if you’re treating your dog’s coat with coconut oil for fleas, you better do so outside and away from other animals. If you could do it in an area that isn’t frequented by pets and people, that’d be ideal.
Is Coconut Oil Safe For Dogs?
Non-refined, extra-virgin, and pure coconut oil is indeed safe for dogs. It does contain fatty acids, of course, as well as a lot of calories – about 8 to 10 calories per gram, to be exact. So, if your dog has weight issues and/or is already taking fatty acid food supplements such as Omega-3, then you should be careful with the use of coconut oil.
Aside from that, however, coconut oil is a perfectly safe thing for dogs – both for ingestion and for an ointment for their coats. This does bring on the next point, however – how should you even use coconut oil for fleas on dogs?
How To Use Coconut Oil For Fleas On Dogs?
The simplest way to go about it is to put a spoon of liquid coconut oil on your palms and then gently spread that on your dog’s coat. Again, do this outside to avoid an infestation in your home. You might also want to take a bath yourself and wash your clothes afterward.
Once you’ve spread the coconut oil, your dog will likely try to lick it away. Coconut oil is safe for consumption but you want it to stay on your dog’s coat so it can do its job. So, a good solution is to do this treatment just before a walk outside – this way your dog will be too distracted to bother licking away the coconut oil. Alternatively, if have dog clothes of some kind, you can put them on to protect the oil for a while. A cone of shame can obviously work too but there’s no point in punishing your dog that way.
Can You Give Your Dog Coconut Oil To Eat?
Yes, you can. In fact, coconut oil’s fatty acids are quite healthy and you can use them instead of Omega-3 supplements. The rule of thumb is 1 teaspoon or 4 grams of coconut oil per 10 pounds of dog weight per day. So, if you have a lab that weighs 70 pounds, you should be able to give the dog 28 grams of coconut oil with its food.
Do consult your vet beforehand, however. Also, if your dog has weight issues, you might want to go easy with the oil as it’s quite rich in calories.
In Conclusion – Coconut Oil For Fleas and Coat Health
Coconut oil does work for fleas. It also has a generally great effect on your dog’s skin and coat health so it’s just a great all-around supplement. Consult with your vet first, however, as you always should when introducing a new food or supplement. And, if you’re trying to kill fleas with coconut oil, remember to do so outside.
Will coconut oil kill fleas?
Coconut oil will indeed kill fleas upon contact. That’s thanks to the lauric acid present in the coconut oil. It works by immobilizing the flea’s exoskeleton and then killing it within about 20 seconds. At the same time, that lauric acid and the coconut oil itself are perfectly safe for the dog and its coat.
The oil does need to be of good quality, of course. Only get extra-virgin and non-refined coconut oil with no extra additives. Then, just put a teaspoon of the liquid oil on your palms and spread it all over your dog’s coat. Do make sure to do this outside, however. Not only will coconut oil kill fleas, but it also acts as a powerful repellent. And you likely don’t want most of the fleas on your dog’s coat to end up running and hiding around your home.
Lastly, make sure your coconut oil doesn’t lick away the oil off its fur. For one, this will negate the effectiveness of the oil. However, coconut oil is quite rich in calories as well. So, while it’s safe for consumption too, you don’t want to give your dog too many calories anyway.