I have a confession.
My dog has fleas.
And not only my dog.
They have hopped from her to my cats.
And my cats to my bed.
And my daughter’s bed.
The only living thing not being afflicted with fleas is our beloved parakeet…I think…
Since I got my long-haired chihuahua Korra a couple of years ago, I have been searching for a natural (and
cheap, er, inexpensive) way to help her get rid of fleas and the occasional tick.
I have found the solution in coconut oil! Yay!
The advantages of using coconut oil:
I knew that coconut oil had many health benefits for my personal use and I even replaced using hair grease with coconut oil.
But I didn’t know that coconut oil also had health benefits for my pets.
- Coconut oil is an incredible source of medium chain fatty acids (MCFAs)
- Coconut Oil is over 40% lauric acid which has been shown to be preventative against some cancers.
- Coconut oil kills bacteria, viruses, parasites, yeasts, mange, and fungi.
- Coconut oil is over 90% saturated fat and has antimicrobial, antibacterial, and antifungal properties.
- Coconut oil improves bone health, cardio vascular health, weight management, diabetes, and digestion.
- Coconut oil also has antioxidant properties and it helps in the absorption of other minerals.
- Coconut oil can be used to improve a variety of conditions, including thyroid, digestion, fatigue and diabetes.
- Coconut oil moisturizes the skin and fur
- Coconut oil reduces symptoms of any dry, itchy skin.
- Coconut oil can be applied to cracked paw pads, wounds, scratches and cuts as a healing salve.
- Coconut oil can be used inside the mouth on sores and on teeth as a toothpaste.
- Coconut oil may also be applied to fungal infections, bites and stings–skin ailments of almost any kind.
- Slightly warmed coconut oil may be dropped inside your pet’s ears to treat ear mites and infected ears.
- Coconut oil may get rid of odors on your pet’s coat
- Coconut oil can help cats to eliminate fur balls.
- Coconut oil can benefit pets with difficult skin conditions such as eczema, allergy to fleas or other allergies.
- Coconut oil is safe for your dog or cat to lick off.
- Coconut oil may cause your pet to have more energy, healthy teeth, gums, and fur coats
- Coconut oil can help reduce bad breath
- Coconut oil is very cheap
The disadvantages of coconut oil:
- Your pet may respond negatively to the detox aspect of taking coconut oil including lethargy, headaches, flu-like symptoms, fatigue, and diarrhea.
Coconut oil is predominantly made up of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs)–and MCTs have a negative effect on taste for cats.
Coconut Oil MCTs may be a contributing factor to hepatic lipidosis, a life-threatening liver disease in cats and pancreatitis in dogs.
- Coconut oil may clog pores and stick to your pet’s fur and gathers dirt, and that can be detrimental and will only make your pet scratch himself more
- Its greasy.
What type of coconut oil:
With recent popularity of coconut oil, there are many brands hitting the shelves of your local grocery stores.
The best type to use, for our pets and ourselves, is 100% extra virgin coconut oil cold pressed from fresh coconut.
If you want a coconut oil specifically designed and marketed to pets, there are many brands to be found on Amazon, even coconut oil for horse enthusiasts.
How I failed the first time I used coconut oil
I was a bit stupid the first time I put the coconut oil on Korra.
Thinking that it was just kill the fleas and, possibly, repel new ones from attaching, I just spread the oil into her fur.
I didn’t take into consideration the fact that many of the fleas would make a run for it.
You could literally see the fleas jumping for their lives…and onto my bed!
Next time, do it in the bathtub or, better yet, outside.
The proper way to use coconut oil as a flea treatment:
Coconut oil know that below a certain temperature it’s solid, and at warmer temps it becomes liquid.
However, it melts really quickly when exposed to body or pet heat.
I scoop out the coconut oil and applying it everywhere, from the tips of Korra’s ears right down to her toenails.
Since Korra is so small, I can easily flip her over and apply the oil to her under-carriage.
I apply more to under her chin since fleas like to hide there because it is hard for her to scratch and bite.
- Weekly Treatment
I give Korra a bath on a weekly basis because she loves to roll around in the dirt when I take her for walks (if I don’t catch her to stop her fast enough) and she is white so it shows if she is not cleaned regularly.
Before bathing her, however, I cover her completely in coconut oil right before I walk her.
I rub the oil in very well and pay special attention to anywhere heavily infested with fleas.
The fleas start dying or jumping ship immediately.
After our walk, I take her directly to the bathroom and give her a bath in a mixture of half Dawn dish washing liquid and half vinegar.
After her bath, I rub another dab of coconut oil through areas where I still saw fleas.
Then I comb the dead fleas out of her fur with a flea comb.
- Daily Treatment
On a daily basis, I use to put a few drops of coconut oil in my hands and rub it through my chihuahua’s fur paying special attention to areas where I see fleas or any areas of health concern.
Now I keep a spray bottle with 3 parts coconut oil and 1 part vinegar that I spray on her and rub into her fur.
During my very first treatment with coconut oil, I also washed all of the bedding and litter box with borax as they were probably infested with fleas.
If your pet is heavily infested, you may need to do an overnight treatment.
After applying the coconut oil, slip a sweater or coat on your pet to keep the dog from licking it all off.
Let the treatment sit overnight and then proceed to wash her.
You can do this daily as necessary because unlike the commercial products, this is completely safe to use on most pets.
I also vacuumed (and immediately tossed the vacuum waste into the outside garbage container) and shampooed all of my furniture and other areas where the pets normally lay as they might have been infested as well.
I also mist my furniture with the spray bottle combination of coconut oil and vinegar.
If I still see fleas (or feel them biting me, most likely), I sprinkle a mixture of salt, baking soda, and borax on my furniture and vacuum it up a few days later.
If push comes to shove, I put out a few banana peels. Like me to a cheese cake, the fleas are attracted to it but, unfortunately for them, they are allergic to it and it kills them dead.
By the way, did you know that fleas can lay dormant for years and even fake death in water.
With my method, I do not have to use any flea powders, flea collars, flea drops, or even flea & tick shampoo.
You can also feed your dog and cat coconut oil:
I was scared to feed my pets coconut oil without doing some research first to see if it was safe.
Especially my kitten, as I thought I read somewhere that it was dangerous for her to consume.
But, apparantly, it is as safe to use if given in appropriate doses.
Start with small amounts, such as ¼ teaspoon per day for small dogs or puppies and 1 teaspoon for large dogs, or even just a dab if your dog’s constitution is sensitive. –
Large-medium sized breeds: 1 measuring teaspoon to start, gradually increasing to 1-2 full, generous tablespoon size (measuring or eating type) over the course of 1-2 weeks. Add to food once a day and serve.
Small-toy dog breeds and puppies: 1/2 – 1 measuring teaspoon to start, increasing to 1 full tablespoon over the course of 1-2 weeks. Add to food once a day and serve.
Adults: 1/2 measuring teaspoon to start, increasing to 1-3 teaspoons over the course of 1-2 weeks. Add to food once a day and serve.
Kittens: 1/4 measuring teaspoon to start, increasing to 1 teaspoon over the course of 1 week. Add to food once a day and serve.
If your cat won’t eat it in her food, just put a dab of coconut oil on her paw before or after meals. She’ll lick it off and get it that way.
For my cat, I put a dab on my own hands and rub it through her fur everyday paying special attention to any areas where I see fleas.
I’ve even got my parakeet in on the coconut oil action as I put a drop of oil in her water supply.
Coconut Oil for Pet Skin Problems
If you wish to apply topically to use coconut oil to treat a rash, wound or dry skin, but they try to lick it off, try wrapping the skin in a rag or towel for a few minutes to let the oil soak in before they get a chance to lick it off.
Why not use medical or over-the-counter flea and tick treatments?
I used those remedies for years. Let’s face it, they work. Some better than others but they work.
The active ingredients, you know, the stuff that cause them to work, supposedly produce cancer, organ damage, nervous system damage, reproductive damage and skin problems.
The results of using coconut oil:
The results have been astounding.
No more fleas in our beds.
No fleas biting me or my daughter.
And, most importantly, no more fleas on my dog or my cats.
But, an unexpected side effect is that the wheezing that I use to hear from Korra is now completely gone.
Have you ever used coconut oil on your pets? Do you use it for yourself? Let me know the results, good or bad, in the comments.