Tea tree oil and dogs
Tea tree oil is a hot topic amongst pet parents. But, what are the facts behind all the oil talk?
This essential oil is a versatile oil known for its antifungal and antibacterial properties. For example, many use tea tree for acne, dandruff, and to soothe insect bites. Now, essential oils are typically diluted with carrier oils to make them more effective and tolerable. On their own, however, essential oils can be potent and can irritate the skin.
The confusion around tea tree oil comes from essential oil suppliers and experts. For instance, aromatherapists often use undiluted oils of lavender and tea tree. By contrast, some suppliers suggest always diluting essential oils before use. Hence, the continued doubt.
Can tea tree oil be diluted and used on dogs?
The Pet Poison Helpline in Bloomington, USA, notes that concentrations of tea tree oil of 1 – 2% are generally considered non-toxic. However, they also mention that “applications of 10-20 mls of 100% oil have resulted in poisoning and death in both dogs and cats”.
So, do not try diluting your own essential oils for use on your pets. To get to a specific concentration, one must know a little chemistry.
Why has this oil become so popular?
Everyone loves essential oils. In fact, even some doctors consider some essential oils a natural alternative for everyday ailments! Plus, if you are conscious of the environment, some oils are natural antibacterial home cleaners. It therefore makes sense that in a world that is moving toward natural living, essential oils are making quite a splash.
So, what do pet parents who really want to try this oil on their itchy dog do?
Look out for trusted brands that offer oils in an already safely diluted form. MEDPET, for example, sells a tea tree oil shampoo for dogs that repels tick and fleas, soothes insect bites and persistent itch. The shampoo also contains lanolin that detangles and conditions the hair. MEDPET’s shampoo formula contains tea tree oil at 20g / litre.
If you are in doubt about using tea tree oil in any form
It is okay to be concerned about your pet. So, if natural alternatives are not your thing, choose a tick and flea or anti-itch product that is available from your veterinarian.