The Short Answer is:
Pets are not expected to be affected by products containing low concentrations of tea tree oil, but pure tea tree oil should never be applied directly to the skin. There is a possibility of ataxia, salivation, lethargy, coma, and tremor following exposure.
The purpose of this article is to explain the “I Put Tea Tree Oil On My Dog!“.
- What is tea tree oil?
- Tea tree oil and humans
- Tea tree oil and dogs
- Tea tree oil golden rules- how to use tea tree oil safely
- Can I put tea tree oil on my dog for fleas?
- Can I put tea tree oil on my dog for itchy skin or hot spots?
- Can I put tea tree oil on my dog’s collar?
- Can I put tea tree oil on my puppy?
- Can I treat my dog’s ear infections with tea tree oil?
- I Put Tea Tree Oil On My Dog! (Watch Video)
Over the past few years tea tree oil has become increasingly popular as a useful tool in a dogs health toolkit.
There is a reputation for tea tree oil having antibacterial and antifungal properties that make it popular among dog owners who want to give their pets the best possible care at home.
No one wants to think about the trauma of a visit to the vet coupled with the cost of the visit.
Essential oils like this can be used for a wide range of purposes with dogs.
Tea tree oil is used to kill fleas as well as treat ear infections and ease itchy skin for our dogs.
Does tea tree oil work as a magic bullet?
Does it mean we simply apply tea tree oil to our dogs and then they are instantly cured?
Read on to find out more…
What is tea tree oil?
I’m going to shorten that to TTO because otherwise my fingers will fall off. Tea tree oil comes from a tree in Australia called Melaleuca alternifolia.
There is a picture of one right there
Isnot it lovely?
Indigenous Australians have been using it as an alternative medicine for over a century.
For coughs and colds they inhale the oil from the leaves and for skin ailments they dilute it to make an infusion.
Tea tree oil and humans
These claims are backed by scientific evidence.
Terpinene-4-ol a component of TTO seems to be involved in the process.
During this study tea tree oil was found to be effective against a bacteria known as MSSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus which is frequently found on dogs and peoples skin.
Currently this bacteria lives quite happily on the skin without causing any problems.
This bacteria thrives when the skin is inflamed.
In this study TTO was found to have effective antibacterial and antifungal properties.
In addition none of these studies have involved a large number of people to scientifically support these historical claims.
Tea tree oil and dogs
The use of TTO with dogs has been studied in a few studies.
A study published in 2002 found that tea tree oil is effective in killing the fungus Malassezia when treating dogs with severe skin conditions.
TTO cream was applied twice daily to the dogs during the four-week treatment. The cream contained 10% TTO.
Tea tree oil golden rules- how to use tea tree oil safely
I would like to talk in broader terms about how to use tea tree oil safely before I discuss specific uses for your dog.
We can now find TTO in many forms in the shops where we might purchase it.
Pet shampoos containing it and bottles of pure tea tree oil labeled “100% tea tree oil” are very popular.
Tea tree oil should always be diluted before use. This is the first golden rule.
More than four hundred dogs and cats have been poisoned by their owners who applied neat TTO to their dogs’ skins or more shockingly made them drink it.
How did the poisonings affect the body? Stumbling paralysis tremors and extreme lethargy.
A small bottle of pure TTO is expensive but this dilution rule allows the bottle to last a very long time.
There is a high dilution rate as well.
It is about perfect to add 1 drop of TTO to 100 drops of water.
One drop of TTO per 1000 drops of water is even recommended.
Tea tree oil does not have to be mixed with just water.
The best way to apply it is probably to mix it with olive oil which will probably make it easier.
Mixing the ingredients together can be a bit fiddly and I dare say boring.
You need to stay very focused for a few minutes in order to make a safe mixture because you are using such small amounts.
It is not easy to use one of those eye drops after all!
After that you must thoroughly mix the mixture to ensure that it is evenly distributed.
In addition your dog should not consume it.
I know Aborigines have a tradition of inhaling a weak solution of TTO to treat colds but do not even consider getting your dog to swallow TTO.
It is now time to start answering some specific questions now that we have outlined a few global golden rules.
Can I put tea tree oil on my dog for fleas?
On the surface this seems quite reasonable.
As long as it can kill fungi and bacteria it must kill fleas on contact.
TTO might turn fleas into mincemeat if it is used in sufficiently high concentrations.
You could harm your dog if you use the concentration levels required to eliminate fleas.
The amount of tea tree oil that ends up on their coat could be quite substantial when you treat dogs for fleas. Since you need to treat or cover their whole body the amount of tea tree oil on their coat could be quite substantial.
Diatomaceous earth would be a better home remedy for fleas.
You can rub this powder over your dogs coat like talcum powder. It is very fine almost like talcum powder.
Fleas are covered and effectively dissolved.
If your dog ingests a bit of DE make sure that it is food grade so that it is completely safe.
Can I put tea tree oil on my dog for itchy skin or hot spots?
The use of tea tree oil has been shown to effectively kill a fungus that causes skin infections in dogs as I have already mentioned.
I would recommend trying a dilute mixture of tea tree oil and olive oil if you are safe doing so.
Using TTO to treat itchy skin differs from using a TTO to treat fleas because itchy skin occurs in smaller isolated patches on your dog which means there is less dilute tea tree oil solution on your dogs body.
By definition hot spots are isolated patches!
If you have small patches of itchy skin or hot spots use this solution only.
Give your treatment time to work – do not think in terms of days think in terms of weeks.
However if things worsen contact your veterinarian immediately.
If you have a large area of itchy skin or several smaller patches of itchy skin see your veterinarian.
Can I put tea tree oil on my dog’s collar?
Tea tree oil diluted in water would definitely be worth trying on your dogs collar.
Is your dogs collar thoroughly rubbed with TTO and olive oil after thoroughly mixing them together?
The good thing about this “hack” is that there is no chance your dog will ingest it.
Although you will be placing TTO close to their eyes you should make sure that it is thoroughly mixed.
Can I put tea tree oil on my puppy?
I would like to try and answer a question about using tea tree oil on puppies.
My answer is no.
You already know that the research highlighted the plight of the dogs and cats who had pure TTO injected into them?
The study found that smaller and younger cats were at greater risk than their larger counterparts.
As a matter of fact I wouldnot even suggest using a diluted solution of tea tree oil on a puppy- I wouldnot even consider using a diluted solution on any dog if you have a puppy at home.
When the puppy is inclined to lick or groom the other dogs.
Can I treat my dog’s ear infections with tea tree oil?
The answer to this question is quite complicated so I have dedicated a whole article to it. You can find it here.
In short tea tree oil has been found to kill the yeast that causes ear infections in dogs.
No matter how clever they are I have never encountered a dog who can lick inside their ears.
In addition to causing a lot of pain and discomfort ear infections in dogs can deteriorate very quickly.
If you suspect your dog has an ear infection I recommend that you take them to see their vet.