Tea tree oil is used as a treatment for a number of human health conditions, such as bites, stings and burns, and in bath and vapor treatments for respiratory discomfort. It is also useful as an antimicrobial to treat fungal infections, and as an ingredient in everything from lotions to toothpaste.
Tea Tree Oil for Dogs and Cats is Potentially Toxic
The healing properties of tea tree oil for pets have been reported in the treatment of skin irritations, drug allergies, and environmental allergies. Wounds and hot spots, which are painful, infected skin sores, can also be treated with a topical solution made from honey that is derived from the tea tree plant.
While it’s true tea tree oil has shown to be effective for humans – and most people handle undiluted exposure without any problem – its safety for animals is another story.
As a veterinarian in idaho falls we have seen warnings that have emerged regarding the use of tea tree oil for pets. Studies show that tea tree oil does have toxic potential, depending on the circumstances of exposure. If the oil is ingested, potential effects include vomiting, diarrhea and, in some cases, seizures. If inhalation of the oil occurs, aspiration pneumonia is possible.
The study involved oral and/or skin exposure of 100% tea tree oil and 77% of the pets involved developed an adverse reaction consistent with toxicity. Symptoms appeared within 2 to 12 hours and lasted up to three days. Some symptoms included skin rashes, elevated liver enzymes, drooling, weakness and vomiting. A few animals collapsed or became comatose. Small adult cats and kittens showed higher risk.
So is Tea Tree Oil Safe for Pets Under Any Circumstances?
Research shows tea tree oil is safe for dogs and cats and effective only when it is diluted in large amounts of water. The recommended ratio is 0.1-1.0 percent strength, to be dispensed topically. Oral application is not safe for your pet. This does not mean it’s safe for flea control; pet owners should consult with their veterinarian to get advice on the proper product to use, based on your pet’s species, age, size and health history.
When it comes to treating your dog or cat, it’s important to be well informed about safe and effective natural options to avoid exposure to potentially harmful medications and treatments. If you have questions regarding treatments for your pet, call us today to schedule a consultation with a veterinarian idaho falls.