Coconut Oil For Fleas – Does It Work and Is It Completely Safe?

There is nothing worse than seeing your dog or cat in distress, scratching itself furiously to try to get rid of their fleas. Does this sound like your furry friend? You are not alone, and the good news is that you don’t need to use any toxic chemicals to kill these fleas. Coconut oil is a completely safe, effective and very powerful solution for flea control.

  1. What kind of coconut oil is the best to use on your furry friends?
  2. Is coconut oil 100% safe for your cats and dogs or are there risks?
  3. How does coconut oil actually work to kill fleas and how long does it take?
  4. How to use coconut oil on your pet (I have listed a couple ways to do this).
  5. Other great benefits of using coconut oil on your pets (besides flea control).

Why use coconut oil instead of regular flea treatment products?

While spot-on treatments are used by millions and are usually effective, they do contain some fairly toxic ingredients and are applied directly to your pet’s skin. Obviously, the companies make sure that the composition will not kill your pet, there are potential health concerns (just take a look at the paper insert that lists them, ranging from skin irritations, vomiting and even seizures) which would be nice to try avoid.

In stark contrast, the option of using coconut oil as a flea treatment is completely safe and actually beneficial for your pet. As I will explain further in this article, it also works very quickly, it is affordable and you can make a coconut oil solution for your pets from the comfort of your home.

Do all types of coconut oil kill fleas on your pets?

Although the coconut oil solution that I will show you how to make doesn’t involve actually eating it, it will be applied to your dog’s fur and skin. With this in mind, it is ideal to purchase something that is as organic as possible and to avoid refined, blended or deodorized oil, even though all types will kill fleas.

The good news is that the brands that sell these unprocessed coconut oils are not much more expensive (based on my research, it will cost you about $5-8) and as mentioned, it’s worth it.

PRO TIP 1: While I suggest you purchase coconut oil from a reputable brand, you don’t have to find the most expensive one just because you “want to be safe”. Just make sure that it’s not refined, and then find the cheapest one.

How safe is it to use coconut oil on your dog or cat?

Coconut oil is completely safe for your dog or cat, as it doesn’t contain anything that will put a strain on their immune system or have a negative impact on their overall health. In fact, the “side effects” (if you want to call them that) are actually beneficial to your furry friend!

If your dog or cat has a chronic disease, coconut oil is entirely safe to use because it will not place any load on their body. As mentioned already, it is fairly common knowledge that commercial flea products will put your pet under a bit of internal stress, which is terrible if your pet has a health problem.

Coconut oil can safely be used on dogs and cats of all ages and sizes, and the application method is pretty much the same. This means that you can apply a coconut solution directly on puppies or kittens (or very old pets) with complete confidence that it won’t affect their health.

At certain times of the year, when the weather is particularly hot and humid, creating very ideal flea reproduction conditions, you can happily reapply your coconut oil treatment on your pet without the fear of ‘overdosing’ your pet.

A major problem that pet owners have with spot-on treatments is the possibility of them being licked off (especially by another household pet), which can cause major liver problems as it is processed by the body. In contrast, if your pet licks off the coconut oil, no harm will come to them as it is entirely safe when ingested.

If you are giving your pet any medication for other health issues, you may be concerned that this oil might cause negative interactions with them. In researching the benefits of coconut oil, I was unable to find any drug or food interactions.

Coconut Oil poses no harm to humans, so even young children can safely cuddle their fluffy pet that has been treated with this oil. The worst that can happen is some of the oil gets onto their clothing, which comes off quickly in the wash. If the oil gets onto their skin, that poses no problem at all, as coconut oil is even used on infants for a daily body massage!

PRO TIP 2: Are you worried that your pet loves rolling on your carpets or on your bed and you find that the oil is coming off? Get a little jacket from your local pet shop and put that on. This will even stop those few fleas that have escaped from jumping off!

How does it work to kill fleas and how long does it take?

Picture of using coconut oil for flea control on a dogCoconut oil kills fleas due it’s lauric acid content, which coats their exoskeleton and causes their doom. It will also limit their mobility once they come into contact with the oil, which is very likely if you use a jacket as mentioned in the pro tip above this section. I know this sounds a little dark, but don’t forget about the health problems that excessive flea bites can cause your pet (not to mention your own sanity).

Once the fleas come into contact with the coconut oil, they will die instantly (less than 10 seconds). They won’t suffer, and I can assure you that this is just as “humane” as using a spot-on treatment containing chemicals that cause hyperexcitation of their nerve cells.

PRO TIP 3: Fleas will quickly die when they come into anything that contains oil or soap (such as Dawn dish soap), as their respiratory system has holes in their exoskeleton. However, please don’t just use any oil (besides coconut) and don’t use too much, as they can cause problems (especially with cats) and make a mess in your house.

How to use coconut oil effectively (Three different options)

Alright, enough learning about coconut oil and more about, well using it to kill those damn fleas on your dog or cat! There are a couple ways to use it on your pet, feel free to choose the option that suits you. They are all effective and I have tested them extensively, but I would personally use the “bath” method. However, if you have a cat, it might be worth applying it by hand (unless you have a suit of armor lol).

Option 1: Using coconut oil directly on your pet

It is worth noting that if you don’t apply the oil to all areas, it is possible that some fleas won’t come into contact with it, which means they will not be killed. This is the most common reason why people say “this solution” doesn’t work, whereas in reality, it is very effective.

Step 1: Massage a small amount of the coconut oil solid between your hands. If you live in a somewhat cold climate, you may need to rub it a bit until it is completely melted. Before you move onto the next step, make sure that your hands are entirely coated with the oil and it is very “runny”.

Step 2: Run your fingers through your pet’s fur, making sure that you reach all areas (foot pads, between the toes, behind the ears, etc.). Make sure that you spend enough time doing this, as you don’t want to miss any critical areas where fleas may be hiding.

Option 2: Making a coconut oil spray for your dog or cat

A major benefit to this option is that you can make a slightly bigger bottle (just increase the quantities while keeping the ratios the same). Also, if you are using this option for a dog, you can add a few drops of lavender or tea tree oil to the spray bottle as it is a very effective way to keep the fleas away. However, do NOT use any essential oils on cats, as their liver cannot properly process it and it can cause major health problems.

Picture of the DIY methods for treating fleas using coconut oilStep 1: Add about 1oz (30ml) of your organic (preferable) coconut oil and 1oz (30ml) of warm water to an empty spray bottle and shake vigorously. The warm water will melt the coconut oil (much like the heat of your hand did in option #1) and will allow the mixture to be sprayed.

Step 2: Speaking of spraying, that is the only thing that is left to do. Keeping in mind the pro tip mentioned above, you will still need to make sure that you reach all the necessary areas, and you will also need to use your hands to rub it into the fur.

Option 3: Making a coconut oil bath for your pets

Step 1: Give your pet a quick bath, preferably using a soap-free product. Make this step as fast as possible as you just want to remove excess dust and dirt and to thoroughly wet your pet’s fur, which makes it easier to rub in the coconut oil.

Step 2: Rub a thick layer of coconut oil into your pet’s fur, remembering to get to all those problem areas that we have already discussed. Your pet will usually enjoy this coconut “massage”, do it slowly and carefully so that your pet feels relaxed and pampered. Try to keep the coconut oil on your pet for at least 5 minutes, perhaps giving your furry friend a treat or two to reinforce the pleasant experience.

Step 3: Rise off the excess oil using warm water and a cloth, don’t worry about getting it all off, the residue oil will be perfectly beneficial to your pets coat and skin and will act as an excellent flea repellent. Dry your pet off with a towel and use a brush to smooth out the fur.

A couple additional benefits of coconut oil (besides flea control)

Lastly, let’s have a look at how using coconut oil can help your pets (besides killing fleas of course). This presumes that you are using the organic, non-refined brands that have not been processed, which often strips the oil of various beneficial nutrients.

Your pet will enjoy a shiny, moisturized coat – this will quickly become evident once you have given your pet a coconut bath or two!! Coconut oil is packed full of vitamin C which moisturizes dry skin and promotes a healthy, shiny coat.

It will leave your pet with a lovely scent – Of course, there may be some of us who hate the smell of coconut oil, others who find it very appealing but either way the ‘stinky dog’ smell we have all experienced is definitely not, in my opinion, a better option!

Coconut oil can help ease the pain of flea bites – it contains anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties that prevent existing bites from becoming infected and inflamed. It will even promote the healing of things like hot spots and bites and stings from other insects.

Coconut oil helps with various skin issues that your pet may be experiencing – a regular application of coconut oil can clear up skin problems like dry, itchy skin, dermatitis and eczema. It will also help with dry, cracked paws and elbows and if your pet suffers from allergies and is always nibbling at the paws, the oil will soothe and heal them.

It can kill fungus, small flea larvae and various parasites – The Lauric acid found in coconut oil, besides being rich in nutrients, contains antibacterial and antifungal properties which makes it a great natural topical product that can treat fungal infections and get rid other pesky parasites. Coconut oil helps to increase lipid levels making it very effective in helping your pooch with dandruff.

I’m sure that you will agree that using this fantastic product has no adverse side effects (unless we count some slightly greasy pets bedding or a dog that smells a little like it’s been vacationing at the Bahamas). You can have peace of mind that you are using a completely natural product that is safe for your pets and your family. Coconut oil will wipe out your pets fleas while also providing other great health benefits, making this is a potent and cost-effective treatment.

On a side, a lot of people have asked about treating fleas in the yard (which is very important), so check out my article on using beneficial nematodes for flea control if you need a solution for that. I hope you have enjoyed reading this article and I look forward to hearing how you have personally experienced trying out some of the suggestions given. If you have any questions, I will be more than happy to answer them for you.


  1. Avatar Esha says:

    I’m worried that the coconut oil might make my cats fur greasy!! Will the coconut oil do this? Also, is spraying coconut oil onto my cat a good idea for a beginner? , she is my first pet and this is the first time I have found fleas.

    • Natasha Anderson Natasha Anderson says:

      Hi Esha! You are not soaking your cat in the oil, it is a little bit and after doing some rubbing, your cat’s fur will actually look better than before. I highly recommend that you give it a try, maybe do the manual application first (where you use your hands), as it will allow you to get down to his skin.

  2. Avatar Doug says:

    I used a “double boiler”. A bowl of coconut oil in a larger bowl of warm water and the oil melted but I didn’t have it watered down as in the spray methor. It was very easy to dip my hands in the bowl of liquid and apply directly to cat.

    • Natasha Anderson Natasha Anderson says:

      Hi Doug! Appreciate the tip, I will definitely give that a try the next time I need it. Thanks!

  3. Avatar Fran says:

    I brought back cat fleas on my body and hair after cat sitting for 2 weeks. My partner says he is not itching or has no fleas. As I’m asthmatic and very allergic to cats and fleas i’m itching my sclap like crazy. I have washed clothes constantly and in the end through a lot of them out especially those which I wore when cat sitting as they make me feel itchy and some bits are coming out of the fabric. I dyed my hair last night left the dye on for 40 minuites and saw millions of black spots in the sink after wards.!
    I have used lemon sprays, tea tree shampoo, washing up liquid and regular shampoo’s I’m still itching after dying my hair??
    Any solutions would be appreciated.

    • Natasha Anderson Natasha Anderson says:

      Hi Fran, I am not sure what those black spots are but rest assured that any type of soap kills fleas on contact, meaning that as long as you are taking a shower on a regular basis, you definitely don’t have fleas living in your hair. I recommend that you visit the doc and just get that checked out, there must be a cause but rest assured that it is not fleas.

  4. Avatar Stephanie says:

    Is it ok for the cat to groom itself after the coconut oil is applied? In step one you say to rub it all over them but don’t mention about needing to wash it off. But in step three with the bath they need to be rinsed. If they ingest coconut oil will it be bad for them? I’ve got Maine coon cats with very long thick fur, do you think this will benefit them? Thank you for your extremely helpful articles!

    • Natasha Anderson Natasha Anderson says:

      Hi Stephanie! Yes it is fine. The goal is not to soak your cat in the coconut oil, so presuming that it has been rubbed in, it is not going to do any harm. Hope that helps and thanks for your kind words.

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