A puppy is exactly like a baby – cute and vulnerable. A bundle of joy, they can also be a cause of distress if they fall sick or are infected with parasites. Unfortunately, puppies do get infected with parasites – both external and internal. Amongst the external parasites, one of the most prevalent ones is fleas. There are many options for flea treatment available on the market. However, the majority of them contain chemicals that could prove harmful to your puppy. That is the reason many pet owners prefer to use a natural approach and products to treat their pets. One such natural remedy to get rid of fleas is using coconut oil. But before you start reaching out for that bottle of coconut oil, you must understand what you are up against and how to use the oil most effectively.
How do you Know if Your pup has Fleas
Fleas are small critters that make themselves at home in the dog’s fur. Your dog will show the following symptoms if it is infested with fleas.
Fleas crawling on the skin are very irritating for the dog and will cause it to constantly scratch or bite their skin. Another sign of fleas on your pet is redness on the skin. This is caused due to flea dermatitis, a reaction of the skin due to the fleas.
If you find dirt at the base of the dog’s fur which looks like pepper grounds, you can be certain that it has a flea infestation. This dirt is the waste produced by the fleas after eating.
What are the Complications of a Flea Infestation?
Parasite infestation can cause serious complications such as diseases and even death. While a flea infestation may not cause your pup to die, it can cause weakness leading to the pup being susceptible to various diseases including those that are flea-borne. Constant scratching and biting of the skin by the dog can lead to painful sores on their skin which might get infected. Dogs with severe flea infestations will show symptoms of pale gums. This is due to the loss of blood that has been consumed by the fleas. Very severe cases can lead to anemia, weakness, and lethargy, thus exposing the dog to the risk of further infections and diseases. If your dog is showing symptoms of anemia or sores on the skin, take him to a vet immediately for medical treatment. Treating the dog to get rid of fleas at this stage is not going to help.
Where did the Fleas Come From?
Fleas can be present in almost all outdoor settings. This is especially true during warm climatic conditions. Your pup could have inherited the fleas from its mother. This is a possibility when you get a pup from a source where the mother is not parasite free. Buying from trusted and ethical sources like https://www.puppyjoy.net/ ensures that you get a pup that will be free from external and internal parasites. Some of the other places that your pup can pick up fleas from are dog parks, day kennels and playing with other infected dogs. Parasites are opportunistic and even a short trip outside could find them hitching a ride back on your pet.
How Does Coconut oil get rid of Fleas?
Lauric acid, which is present in coconut oil, is the ingredient responsible for getting rid of fleas. The fleas are unable to move once they come in contact with the oil. Lauric acid in the oil breaks down the exoskeleton of the fleas which results in their death. One of the biggest advantages of coconut oil application is the speed with which the acid acts on the fleas. It takes roughly twenty seconds for the acid to breakdown the exoskeleton, resulting in the death of the flea. Another advantage of using coconut oil is its antimicrobial and antifungal properties. This helps deter the growth of bacteria and fungus on the skin. Finally, the application of coconut oil on the skin of the dog acts as a soothing balm against the itching and redness caused due to fleas.
Methods of Applying Coconut oil
There are two ways that coconut oil can be safely applied to your pet.
Simply pour some oil on your palm and massage your hands through the dog’s fur. Starting with the head, make sure that you cover every part including the ears, behind the ears, between the paws, and even the tail. Fleas reside in any part of the body, so ensure that the oil reaches each part.
You can make an oil spray to coat your pet’s fur. Fill a spray bottle with about 30 ml of warm water and add two tablespoons of coconut oil to it. Ensure that the water is warm enough to keep the oil in a liquid state. Shake the bottle and spray your pet all over. You can use your hands to further distribute and cover all parts by massaging the oil into its fur.
Once you have got rid of the fleas from your pet, it is important to remove the dead fleas and accumulated flea dirt from its fur. Bathe your dog with a mild dog shampoo, dry the fur thoroughly and run a flea comb to remove any flea residues from its coat. Using a flea comb for constant grooming is a good way to ensure that you catch them at the earliest.
Other Uses of Coconut oil for Your pet
Coconut oil has been proven to kill fleas on contact. However, the ingestion of coconut oil offers other health benefits for your pet. Giving your pet one teaspoon of coconut oil for every twenty pounds of body weight will improve your pet’s skin, coat, gut health, and may also help with weight loss.
The Bottom Line
It is very disheartening to see your pet in distress, scratching and biting at its skin. While fleas are a nuisance, checking for them regularly and implementing a strict flea control protocol, will ensure that your pet does not suffer from a full-blown infestation and undue stress.