Your favorite holistic remedies might be toxic for your dog or cat. Tea tree oil is safe for dogs only in very small concentrations (0.1% to 1%), but the wrong dilution ratio can be harmful. So it’s important to know the risks of tea tree oil toxicity before using it on your pet. In this article, we discuss the reaction of tea tree oil in dogs.
Tea Tree Oil Dogs: Poison Or Helpful?
Is tea tree poisonous to dogs?
Tea tree oil is often found in different concentrations for a reason. Just as high concentrations should never be used on humans, it translates to pets as well.
Even as little as 7 drops of 100% oil has resulted in severe poisoning.
The usage of 10-20 mls of 100% oil has shown poisoning and death in both dogs and cats.
Can the smell of tea tree oil hurt dogs?
Tea tree oil is so toxic to human beings when ingested orally even causing coma in one instance. Dogs are far more sensitive to smell as their nose is full of receptors.
Worst of all, they might lick the tea tree oil solution when applied, making ingestion more likely. As dogs tend to groom themselves, tea tree oil is dangerous especially after a product has been applied to their wounds.
Does tea tree oil help dogs skin?
Many essential oils are toxic to pets, whether they are applied to the skin OR used in diffusers.
Before you break out the tea tree oil to treat skin problems, did you know that the majority of food based allergies in animals are a result of animal based proteins? That’s right, your dog might be allergic to beef, chicken, pork or other animal proteins in their food which may cause a lot of the itching and scratching and hot spots you may have seen.
Why is tea tree oil bad for dogs?
Tea tree oil applied to the skin can cause neurological and dermal effects, particularly when undiluted oil is used. Even a few drops of pure 100% oil can cause clinical signs in pets. Deaths have been reported in companion animals following dermal application of tea tree oil. ‘Natural’ does not always mean safe.
What if tea tree oil is used diluted?
Ever noticed that tea tree oil is a touted ingredient in a handful of items, when you’ve shopped for pet shampoos or treatments? That’s because when tea tree oil has been weakened to this extent, it is no longer considered toxic to pets.
Such products have been formulated so that the tea tree oil is remarkably diluted — usually between .1 to 1% strength.
It’s important to note that these products have been professionally formulated and tested for your pet’s safety. As such, trying to replicate such formulations isn’t easy or advisable.
Use only pet- and vet-approved, fully tested treatments on your furry friend and try the DIYs on yourself.
Please bear in mind to stop using tea tree oil, and other potentially toxic ingredients, in your homemade cleaning products. Though your pet is not likely to lick or roll around on countertops or floors that have just been treated with tea tree oil-infused cleaners, it’s best to just play it safe.
What essential oils should not be diffused around dogs?
Essential Oils Harmful to Dogs include but aren’t limited to:
- Citrus (d-limonene)
- Sweet birch
- Tea tree (melaleuca)
- Ylang ylang
Why essential oils and animals don’t mix:
Essential oils are very powerful and useful as their molecules tend to be highly reactive with the compounds in our own bodies, and in pets’ bodies as well.
If they didn’t react with our bodies, they wouldn’t have any effect.
The reactions of oils are basically poisonous or toxic, because they can mess up a pet’s natural body chemistry. Human bodies have grown accustomed to drastic holistic treatments through trial and error, but animals are often much more limited in what is safe for them.
It is highly recommended not to use any essential oils for pets, especially when it comes to direct application to an animal’s body, or diffusing the oils into the air. And if you do wish to use some, only do so with a vet’s approval. Our view on essential oils and animals is that they’re likely to do more harm than good, so better to be safe than sorry.
To avoid poisoning, keep these oils out of reach of your pets. Store them in secure containers that your dog or cat cannot get to. And, again, ask your vet before you use ANY kind of oil in any capacity.
What are the symptoms of pet poisoning:
There are several common symptoms of poisoning in pets. A good rule of thumb as a pet owner is to stay alert if you see any changes of behavior in your animal
According to the Pet Poison Helpline: “We can see signs of depression, ataxia (very uncoordinated gait), paralysis of the rear legs, vomiting, hypothermia (low body temperature), and dermal irritation,”. “These exposures will require veterinary intervention and symptoms may be present for up to four days with aggressive care and treatment.”
Here are some other symptoms to watch out for:
- The scent of essential oils on their fur, skin, breath or vomit
- Difficulty breathing
- Difficulty walking or stumbling
- Muscle tremors
- Pawing at the mouth or face
- Redness in or around their mouth
- Burns on their lips, tongue, skin or gums
What do I do if my pet shows symptoms?
Just like poisoning in humans, the key to reacting to poisoning in your pet is to act fast. Don’t delay contacting a professional. Seek medical treatment immediately. Call your veterinarian asap!
If you can’t reach your vet or their office is closed, bring your cat or dog to an animal emergency medical center. The sooner the better. Acting fast will improve your pet’s prognosis!
`Other tips that can help are:
- If the oil is on your pet’s fur or skin, wash it off immediately.
- Don’t give your pet any treatments without a vet’s approval.
- Take the oil with you to the vet so they know what they’re dealing with.
Calling your vet is the best plan of action in the unfortunate case of ingestion of tea tree oil, or if your pet has already begun showing symptoms associated with being poisoned. Some important factors that you need to tell your doctor are: how much essential oil was consumed/applied, the pets size and age, and the pets symptoms. A blood panel or biochemistry profile may also be conducted in order to determine whether your pet’s organs are functioning properly. Be careful with the use of tea tree oil in dogs.