Human usage of essential oils is growing in popularity nowadays, so it’s not a surprise that these humans have been trying to use them on their canine companions as well, as natural alternatives to many physical ailments.
Essential oils are natural chemical components of plants that are extracted through distillation. They are extremely concentrated and using them usually requires mixing a few drops with another carrier substance, like olive oil for instance. Essential oils of different kinds have a number of benefits and properties, for example, they can be: antiviral, antifungal, antibacterial, sedative, anxiolytic (anti-anxiety), expectorant, immunostimulants, etc.
Tea tree oil is a highly potent extract from the tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) found in Australia. It has been used by Australian aborigines for years as a traditional herbal remedy, especially for reducing swelling of inflamed tissues. Tea tree oil has become increasingly popular because it’s a multipurpose antimicrobial even in its smallest doses. It is important to note although that tea tree oil must be carefully diluted as it is very potent and can produce toxic reactions if it is ingested or used improperly.
It’s also important to keep in mind that dogs can be more sensitive to essential oils than humans, so proper and careful usage is a must.
- 1 Top Rated Tee Tree Oils for Dogs
- 2 Benefits of Using Tea Tree Oil on Your Dog
- 3 Dangers/Risks of Using Tea Tree Oil on Your Dog
- 4 How to Use Tea Tree Oil for Your Dog.
- 5 FAQ
- 6 Conclusion
Top Rated Tee Tree Oils for Dogs
Benefits of Using Tea Tree Oil on Your Dog
Second to lavender oil, tea tree oil is probably the next most popular essential oil for dogs. It’s commonly found in many dog products like shampoo and conditioner for its many skin healing and antimicrobial properties. It’s common knowledge that tea tree oil is very potent and can be toxic if it is misused, so every dog owner is in his/her complete right to question, is tea tree oil is good for dogs?
Despite being natural, tea tree can be very toxic if it is ingested in its pure, undiluted form, but when used properly, it is actually very beneficial for your dog. Here is a list of benefits from using tea tree oil:
- Effective treatment and preventive of yeast and fungal infections.
- Anti-inflammatory for the skin.
- Relieves itchiness and irritation.
- Great antibacterial.
- Anti-viral and anti-fungal.
- Repels fleas and other external parasites.
- Helps treatment of sarcoptic mange.
The website for VCA Animal Hospitals states the following:
“Specific activity of Tea tree oil against Malassezia, a yeast that is a frequent cause of ear and skin infections in dogs, has been demonstrated. Tea tree oil can be found in small amounts in veterinary shampoos, and can also be diluted for use as an ear cleanser….Not only does tea tree oil appear to be a highly effective germicide, but it often relieves the itch and swelling that can accompany yeast and bacterial skin and ear infections.”
So, is tea tree oil good for dogs?
To properly answer this question, we will say that tea tree oil IS safe for dogs as long as you use it properly, or purchase products that already have an adequate dilution of the oil for your dog. Tea tree oil is greatly beneficial for treating a host of skin problems for your dog. However, you must be very careful while handling tea tree oil and not allowing any undiluted oil to touch your pet’s eyes, mouth, nose or genitals. Also be aware of not applying any tea tree oil in places that your dog licks. Please be sure to check with your veterinarian before using tea tree oil so your dog can properly benefit from its use.
Dangers/Risks of Using Tea Tree Oil on Your Dog
When faced with the decision of whether or not to use tea tree oil on your dog, a pet owner should first contemplate if tea tree oil is safe for dogs. Tea tree oils are a highly potent essential oil that contains terpenes, which are the active ingredients that give tea tree oil its anti-inflammatory properties. This makes tea tree oil a neurotoxin. The symptoms of toxicity will vary depending on how much tea tree oil your dog has ingested, or how much undiluted tea tree oil your dog has come in contact with. These include:
- Hyper salivation
- Partial paralysis
- Loss in body temperature
- Liver damage
- Pneumonia, if inhaled
- Reduced level of consciousness, including coma
These symptoms may appear 2 to 12 hours after exposure and can last up to three days.
So, is tea tree oil safe for dogs?
While there are risks in using tea tree oil on your dog, they are attributed to misuse and overdosing. Your dog should receive a highly diluted amount of tea tree oil at about .1%-1% of strength combined with a carrier oil or mixed with water. When used properly, tea tree oil can be very beneficial in treating your dog’s skin problems and at keeping pests away.
The most dangerous side effects come from ingesting tea tree oil, and this should be avoided at all costs. Always make sure to consult with your veterinarian to determine the best way to treat your dog.
How to Use Tea Tree Oil for Your Dog.
Tea tree oil should only be applied in a dilution of 0.1%-1% strength on the exterior surfaces of your dog’s body. This essential oil should never be taken orally and every pet owner that decides to use tea tree oil should be very careful while handling it to make sure it doesn’t end up accidentally on your dog’s mouth, eyes, nose or genital area. Keep in mind that I am not a veterinarian and that you should always check first with your pet health care professional to determine the best treatment for your dog.
The website for VCA Animal Hospital states the following precautions:
“Tea tree oil is so potent in its antimicrobial effects that even a 1:250 dilution appears to be effective and yet quite safe for use as an ear wash. Tea tree concentrations in anti-fungal shampoos for dogs and cats are often even lower. Never apply tea tree oil directly to the skin without diluting it. NEVER APPLY IT to areas that the animal can lick.”
Make sure you always use a carrier oil your dog is compatible with, such as jojoba, olive, or coconut to name a few. You can even use water as well. Be very careful to keep your ratio of tea tree oil exact to prevent any of the side effects before mentioned. You can even purchase products with tea tree oil to avoid any of the hassle and possible accidents by doing it yourself. These products should already have a safe dilution of tea tree oil within that should present not harm to your pet. Regardless of what you choose to do, always consult your veterinarian first.
Choosing Essential Oils
Many problems regarding an essential oil can be attributed to its quality. Choosing the right essential oil is important because not all of them are created the same. When it comes to personal use or for your dogs, you need to seek the highest quality therapeutic grade essential oils.
The purity of an essential oil is a common issue, and this is because its achievement is expensive. For example, it takes nearly one hundred pounds of lavender plants to produce one pound of Lavandula angustifolia essential oil. Because of this, many producers will dilute a pure essential oil with other carrier oils or even add artificial fragrances to create a greater production. Natural News gives us the following guidelines to make sure you buy the purest therapeutic essential oil:
- EO’s should not be oily or leave a greasy residue.
- Packaging should include the common name (Tea Tree Oil), the Latin binomial (Melaleucaalternifolia), the country of origin, the method of distillation, the part of the plant used, lot number, amount of oil in bottle, contact information of the company, how the plant was grown, and the words “100% pure essential oil” or the ingredients, if in a carrier or blend.
- Price usually dictates quality.
- Not all bottles of the same size yet of different oils should be priced the same. In other words, if they carry 50 different types of oils, yet every 5ml bottle is $7.40, there is something wrong, and you can guarantee these oils have been adulterated in some way.
- Why should I use tea tree oil on my dog?
Tea tree oil has many beneficial properties for your dog. It can heal skin allergies, prevent itching, prevents and repels fleas, and wards off many bacterial and fungal infections of the skin. When used properly, under your vets consent, tea tree oil can be a great remedy for many topical ailments.
- Are there any side effects in tea tree oil?
Tea tree oil is a highly potent oil, so if it’s misused or if the dilution of the oil isn’t done properly, your dog might suffer many neurological side effects. Tea tree oil should ONLY be administered topically and in parts of the body your dog does not lick. It must be diluted between 0.1% to 1% strength by using either water, isopropyl alcohol or a carrier oil. Your veterinarian can help you determine this method the best before you go ahead and do it yourself.
You also need to make sure you have purchased a pure, high quality oil. You can determine this by reading the label closely. High quality oils will not be cheap and will not be diluted with another carrier oil such as jojoba oil. They will also always have the scientific name on the bottle. Always be sure to check with your vet and to read the instructions on how to use tea tree essential oil.
- Can I use tea tree oil on my puppy?
Since animals can be more sensitive to essential oils than humans, one much take extra precautions and really research the proper methods before actually using them on pets. It’s generally not recommended to use tea tree oil on puppies until after they are 10 weeks of age. The amount used should be very little and properly diluted. Always consult with your veterinarian first. For your puppy, you might want to use a commercial product that contains tea tree oil instead of using the essential oil and making the dilution yourself.
- Does my tea tree essential oil have to be therapeutic?
Yes. You should always seek a high quality therapeutic grade essential oil. Any other kind will not have the beneficial healing properties that you seek. The benefit of tea tree oil is that it is not commonly used for aromatherapy or perfumes because its scent is quite strong, so most tea tree oils will be pure oils. Regardless, some producers might dilute them with carrier oils to have a greater yield.
Pure therapeutic grade tea tree oil will be steam distilled and will be guaranteed to not contain any chemicals or carrier oils.
- How do I use tea tree oil for my dog?
Tea tee oil should ONLY be used topically. It’s best to dilute tea tree oil with a carrier oil or with water till you leave it between 0.1% and 1% strength. It may seem very diluted, but tea tree oil is very strong and your pet will definitely receive its benefits this way. You may also opt for a shampoo, conditioner, or other product that contains tea tree oil in it already and it will be diluted to a safe amount for your dog.
- How to store tea tree oil?
Tea tree oil, as any other essential oil, should be kept away from heat and the sun. They should also always be properly shut or sealed after using to prevent oxidizing. Always go for top quality oils to avoid this as well.
Tea tree oil has the potential to be a greatly beneficial essential oil for your dog. There is much evidence that indicates its use as safe and effective when applied properly. In many cases, it’s preferred over pharmaceutical and chemical laden treatments. Whether it’s for treating your dog’s skin or repelling pests, tea tree oil should always be sought in its purest form and diluted properly.
Make sure to consult with your veterinarian before using any kind of essential oil on your pet. Even though tea tree oil is becoming one the most popular oils used for naturally treating skin conditions in humans, it’s always best to introduce it to your pet slowly and with proper precautions and indications. This way, not only will you ensure that no negative side effects occur on your pet, but you will be helping your dog cope with its skin problems and preventing them in the future thanks to the curative properties of tea tree oil that helps soothe and protect dog’s skin.