Can Coconut Oil Cure Heartworms In Dogs? (The Truth)

can coconut oil cure heartworms featured image

If you have a dog that has been diagnosed with heartworms, then you may be searching for an effective cure.

You’ve likely been scared off by the possible side effects of conventional heartworm treatment like melarsomine injections or can’t afford heartworm treatment and are searching for a natural alternative.

One possible solution you’ve probably considered is coconut oil..

  • But can coconut oil cure heartworms in dogs and does it actually work?
  • Does this natural remedy offer any real benefits when used to treat dogs infected with heartworms?

This article will attempt to answer these questions and more as we explore in great depth the potential of coconut oil as a treatment option for canine heartworm infection.


  • No, coconut oil cannot treat heartworms in dogs or other animals
  • There are some benefits of coconut oil that may help your dog’s symptoms during treatment for the disease
  • There are no studies that show coconut oils efficacy in treating heartworm disease and you should seek treatment immediately as this disease is often fatal

Can Coconut Oil Get Rid of Heartworms?

No. When it comes to heartworms in dogs, coconut oil is not a cure. This is MYTH.

The effective, approved and traditional treatments for heartworm involve strong and expensive medications such as Ivermectin or Melarsomine.

Many pet owners who can’t afford treatment to get rid of heartworms or are fearful of the medication, are now incorrectly turning to alternative therapies like coconut oil due its purported medicinal properties.

There is no scientific evidence showing the efficacy of coconut oil and heartworms can’t be controlled naturally.

Benefits of Coconut Oil For Heartworms

Coconut oil can certainly play an important role for dogs on conventional treatment of heartworm disease. The benefits include:

  • Coconut oil orally: can help improve overall health by reducing inflammation, pain and providing essential fatty acids to keep a healthy weight and for better immunity against future infections.
  • Use coconut oil topically: Coconut oil contains lauric acid which has powerful anti-inflammatory, antifungal and antimicrobial properties meaning it can help reduce inflammation and fight off bacterial infections on skin caused by heartworms.
  • Calming: Studies have shown that coconut can relax, calm and help your dog sleep which will be important as your dog navigates an uncomfortable period of heartworm disease and treatment. [1]

So while coconut oil isn’t going to take care of heartworms on its own, there’s evidence suggesting that using it alongside traditional treatments could prove beneficial for adjunct treatment of this condition in your fur baby.

With proper use and under veterinary supervision, incorporating this natural remedy into their routine could lead to improved wellbeing for your furry friend.

When you consider what heartworm is and how it affects the cardiovascular system of our canine friends, you can see how this oil can be helpful.

Symptoms include:

  • coughing
  • difficulty breathing
  • lethargy
  • and even weight loss

Coconut oil can be beneficial in helping to improving all of the above symptoms.

Don’t forget, it’s not a cure for heartworm and the only approved effective treatment typically involves oral medications or injections (melarsomine) administered by a veterinarian.

Coconut oil is often recommended as an additional option for helping with worm prevention and maintenance due to its anti-parasitic properties, but NOT for curing heartworm disease.

Studies have found that when used regularly over time, it can help reduce the number of worms present in the body (but not heartworms) and prevent new ones from developing, so it does have its use.

Where Did The Myth Of Coconut Oil For Treatment of Heartworms Come From?

This is a question that has been raised by many pet owners and veterinarians alike.

Many a dog owner are worried about the harshness of heartworm medicine but with proper medical treatment and observation you can minimize toxicity.

Most dogs survive heartworm treatment; it’s actually the dying heartworms and the disease itself which causes the most fatalities.

It can even be something as tragic as the dog suddenly jumping on the couch after heartworm treatment, which triggers dead or dying heartworms to break off and block their blood flow.

The only effective treatment besides melarsomine according to the American heartworm society are non-arsenic based veterinary medicine but this isn’t generally recommended as it takes much longer for the adult heartworms to die (it’s a slow-kill method), leaving existing adult heartworms to do more damage to the dog’s heart and other organs.

The idea of using coconut oil to treat heartworms dates back to ancient medical practices, yet there is no scientific evidence to support its effectiveness.

Let’s take a look at what science has revealed about this practice.


Historically, coconut oil was believed to have anti-parasitic properties which could help rid the body of worms or parasites.

Additionally, some cultures believed that consuming coconut oil would boost immune system function and improve overall health.

Despite these longstanding beliefs, modern research into the efficacy of coconut oil as a treatment for heartworm disease has failed to produce effective results.

Specifically, studies have shown that while coconut oil can kill certain types of worms and parasites in laboratory settings, it fails to do so when administered orally to animals with active infections.

coconut oil for heartworms illustration

Also, despite anecdotal reports of success among dog owners who have given their pets coconut oil supplements over long periods of time, there is still insufficient evidence to prove its effectiveness against heartworm infection:

Overall, although homeopathic remedies such as the use of coconut oils or essential oils are attractive due to their natural origin and potential health benefits, they remain largely untested when it comes to treating serious conditions like heartworm infestation in dogs.

Therefore caution should be taken before attempting any alternative treatments without consulting your veterinarian first:

  • Get them to do a heartworm test on your dog
  • Speak with your vet before trying any new treatments on your pet
  • Exercise extreme caution if considering giving your dog homemade supplements containing ingredients like coconut oil or essential oils
  • Remember that even all-natural products may cause unwanted side effects
  • Follow American heartworm society guidelines

Research thoroughly before making decisions regarding your pets healthcare

Given the lack of hard evidence supporting its use for heartworm treatment in dogs, it is important that pet owners take care when deciding whether or not to experiment with unproven therapies like those involving coconut oils.

Does Coconut Oil Work As A Cure For Other Worms?

It’s a common myth that coconut oil can cure heartworms in dogs, but is coconut oil effective against other parasites?

Studies have been conducted on the effects of coconut oil as an anti-parasitic agent for a variety of parasitic worm types.

The results show that it may help with some roundworm and tapeworm infestations [2] (bear in mind this study was partially done in cats and in vitro, meaning in a dish outside of a living creature) and possibly whipworms too.

However, no research has shown conclusively that it works for hookworms yet.

Coconut oil certainly seems promising when treating certain types of worms in animals, though further research is needed to draw firm conclusions about its effectiveness.

Veterinarians should always be consulted before giving your pet any kind of home remedy like this to make sure it is effective for the type of worm infestation your dog has.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Much Coconut Oil Should I Give My Dog For Heartworms?

When it comes to treating heartworms in dogs, you already know by now that coconut oil isn’t a viable option as a cure.

But its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties make it an appealing choice for pet owners who want to give their dog natural relief from the symptoms of these parasites.

Generally speaking, 1 teaspoon per 10 pounds of body weight is an acceptable amount; however, this may vary based on other factors like breed and age.

First off, determine if your canine companion has heartworms by consulting with a veterinarian and have them perform a heartworm test on your dog.

They can provide accurate diagnosis as well as advice on what type of remedy will best suit your dog’s level of infection (normally, melarsomine injections).

Once you’ve established that coconut oil is appropriate to take in tandem with dogs needing conventional treatment, your vet can recommend dosage recommendations.

Be sure to speak with a qualified professional to ensure that all dosages are safe and don’t contraindicate against other medications your pooch is taking. Too much coconut oil can cause side effects (more on this below).

Ultimately, administering adequate amounts of coconut oil may help alleviate symptoms associated with heartworms in dogs while providing essential nutrients at the same time, but won’t cure the infection.

Are There Any Side Effects Associated With Giving My Dog Coconut Oil For Heartworms?

Before giving your dog coconut oil for relief from heartworm disease symptoms, it’s important to understand the possible side effects associated with doing so.

Knowing what these potential risks are can help you make an informed decision about whether or not using coconut oil is right for your dog.

One of the most commonly reported side effects of giving dogs too much coconut oil for heartworms is digestive upset.

This could manifest as diarrhea, vomiting, gas, and other stomach issues that might be uncomfortable or even dangerous if they don’t improve quickly.

Especially since common side effects of heartworm disease treatment and preventive medications are known for these symptoms too.

As always, it’s best to talk with their veterinarian first. They may also suggest alternatives if they feel that treatment with coconut oil isn’t suitable in your case.

Are There Any Other Natural Remedies For Treating Heartworms In Dogs?

When it comes to treating heartworms in dogs, coconut oil is just one of many natural remedies people WRONGLY suggest trying online.

The treatments people suggest for heartworm that are not effective or approved include:

  • apple cider vinegar
  • garlic
  • turmeric supplements
  • essential oils like oregano oil, cedar oils or citrus oils
  • diatomaceous earth

While, these treatments may provide relief from symptoms such as coughing and labored breathing caused by the presence of heartworms, they aren’t heartworm preventives or cures.

While some may be helpful as a heartworm preventive i.e. cedar oils and citrus oils may help protect dogs naturally from mosquito bites by acting as a repellent, none of these treatments are guaranteed or kills heartworm naturally.

You can add some of these ingredients to help your dog’s health during their heartworm treatment:

  • Coconut oil, as mentioned earlier contains lauric acid which has powerful anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and antifungal properties and effects, which can help reduce inflammation, fight off bacterial and skin infections caused by heartworms.
  • Apple cider vinegar can be added directly to your dog’s diet or water bowl to help prevent further infestation. (Find out more about what to feed a dog with heartworms)
  • Garlic has been known for its anti-parasitic properties – adding a few cloves per day to your pet’s diet may help reduce the number of adult worms multiplying in their system.
  • Turmeric also contains compounds that are believed to have antifungal and antiviral effects, helping to ward off new worm infections.
  • Milk thistle to help treat organ damage and protect their liver from further damage.

Together these could help support a dog’s immune system during this difficult time.

With professional guidance, you’ll be able to determine the best course of action for keeping your furry friend healthy and free from parasites.

A holistic vet may be able to advise on these treatments but should be taken WITH and not taken instead of melarsomine.

How Often Should I Give My Dog Coconut Oil For Heartworms?

Generally speaking, start with one teaspoon for every 10 pounds of body weight once or twice daily.

This dosage can be increased gradually over time as needed but take care not to exceed the recommended amount – too much and too frequent could lead to digestive issues!

I personally give my Frenchie a teaspoon full of coconut oil twice daily with her food for epilepsy and she tolerates this well.

If you notice diarrhea then skip a dose of coconut oil until your dogs digestive tract is back on track or reduce the dose.

It is important to note that while adding coconut oil into your pets diet may provide some benefits, especially when combined with other treatments like dewormers, it is still no substitute for traditional heartworm medicine and injections when dealing with heartworms in dogs.

Is Coconut Oil Safe For Puppies With Heartworms?

Before asking this question, what you really want to do is get your puppies the best start in life by giving them heartworm preventatives when they reach 6-8 weeks old (make sure your dog heartworm medicine isn’t expired.)

Heartworm disease is a difficult disease for most strong, adult dogs to survive. You don’t want to put that burden on your newborn puppy. Treat heartworms early by getting a preventive as early as possible.

When it comes to puppies with heartworms, using coconut oil may be a safe option to alleviate symptoms, but likely to carry more of the digestive risks and it is very high in calories for a dog so young.

As you’ve heard me say a bunch of times in this article, before giving any drug or supplement to an animal, it’s important to consult with your vet first. Especially a puppy.

Coconut oil has many beneficial properties, like soothing wounds and improving a dog’s skin, and may even help prevent some health issues in dogs as a natural antibacterial.

BUT it is not effective for treating heartworms as they are almost impossible to be controlled naturally.

It’s important to use a legitimate heartworm preventive available for preventing heartworms in puppies prescribed by your veterinarian.

Ultimately, your vet is qualified to provide you with advice tailored specifically to your puppy’s individual needs.


In conclusion, coconut oil has been wrongly suggested as a natural way to get rid of heartworms in dogs.

While coconut oil can be of benefit for alleviating symptoms and works great as a natural topical antibiotic among other uses, it can not kill adult heartworms and is not a good alternative heartworm treatment for your dog.

This could prove fatal and you’ll want to know how long a dog can live with heartworms untreated.

It is important to speak with your veterinarian before giving your dog any sort of supplement or home remedy.

While there it’s unlikely that there will be side effects with using coconut oil for treating heartworms, it may not be appropriate for every dog depending on their individual health needs.

Lastly, if you choose to give your dog coconut oil during heartworm treatment, make sure you know how often and how much to administer safely.

Overall, while coconut oil may provide some relief from the symptoms of heartworms in dogs when used responsibly and under veterinary guidance, it cannot cure heartworms alone in your dog naturally.


[1] Johnathan Binks, Sienna Taylor, Alison Wills, V. Tamara Montrose, The behavioural effects of olfactory stimulation on dogs at a rescue shelter, Applied Animal Behaviour Science, Volume 202, 2018, Pages 69-76, ISSN 0168-1591

[2] Abdel-Ghaffar F, Semmler M, Al-Rasheid KA, Strassen B, Fischer K, Aksu G, Klimpel S, Mehlhorn H. The effects of different plant extracts on intestinal cestodes and on trematodes. Parasitol Res. 2011 Apr;108(4):979-84. doi: 10.1007/s00436-010-2167-5. Epub 2010 Nov 25. PMID: 21107861.