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Is Tea Tree Oil Safe For Dogs? (Topical, Aromatized, and Shampoo)


tea tree oil for dogs

Known by the names of Melaleuca alternifolia and Australian oil, this is a widespread natural remedy around the world. Did you know that 80% of the total production of tea tree oil belongs to Australia? 

This product has been widely used in both human and veterinary medicine and can be found in many forms. 

Recently, tea tree oil became popular in dogs and cats for treating external parasites. But is tea tree oil completely safe? Are there any possible hazards? 

Stay with us and we will answer all of your concerns! Let’s go in-depth about tea tree oil and dogs!

Can You Put Tea Tree Oil on Your Dog? 

Tea tree oil is a volatile oil extracted from Melaleuca alternifolia and has amazing antiseptic, antibacterial, and antifungal properties in humans. It is classified as an antiseptic in 1920, but after it, many researchers were committed. Studies became focused on the safety and healing properties of tea tree oil in both humans and dogs. 

This oil can be used in humans in cases of: 

However, in dogs, the usage of tea tree oil needs to be limited. Remember that you can never give your dog pure tea tree oil! This will do more harm than good. 

So, in general, you can put tea tree oil on your dog, but it shouldn’t be 100% concentrated. You can only do this if your vet suggested it, otherwise, there is a poisoning hazard. Again, before using it, you must consult with a professional.

Can You Put Tea Tree Oil on Your Dog

Topical Usage of Tea Tree Oil on Dogs 

One study from 2004 researches the usage of 10% tea tree oil in dogs with acute and chronic dermal health issues. Although a 10% concentration doesn’t seem so promising, it is completely enough. Higher concentration can lead to some adverse effects if the pets don’t respond well. 

Around 60 dogs were divided into 2 groups and treated topically twice per day. After only 10 days, dogs treated with tea tree oil had significant skin improvements. 

This study shows amazing improvements for:

This study found that the signs of pruritis, alopecia, pyodermas, and skin alterations can significantly improve. 

Tea Tree Oil Shampoos for Dogs

Bear in mind that there is only proof of safe topical usage on dogs for skin-related issues. In veterinary medicine, topical treatments like shampoos and creams are very popular. 

However, undiluted shampoos are not safe. Therefore, read its label carefully because high concentrations can lead to some severe side effects. Concentrations from 0 to 0.1 are considered safe. 

When including a new product for your pet, make sure to do it gradually. So, our advice is to test the product on a small skin spot and don’t rush! If your dog shows some allergic reaction or unusual behavior, immediately stop using it.

Also, our suggestion is to consult with your vet before buying it. There is no reason to gamble your dog’s health while having so many vet-approved products. 

Can You Diffuse Tea Tree Oil Around My Dog?

We at Dogaspet don’t recommend diffusing tea tree oil. In general, tea tree oil can lead to severe toxicosis, especially if not diluted correctly.

Important info: If you are a dog and cat parent at the same time, we have some news for you! Tea tree oils should not be used in cats at all since they are extremely sensitive to the metabolic process. Also, you must limit the usage in dogs since it is not safe and approved for veterinary use. 

Gradual introduction

Evidence of Tea Tree Oil Toxicosis (TTOT)

A 10-year-long study discussed TTOT in pets in the USA and Canada. In most of the cases (89%), the toxicosis was intentional, probably because pet parents heard somewhere about the amazing tea tree oil properties. But not everything that’s safe for humans is safe for pets as well. Before adding any human remedy or food to dogs, ask yourself some questions. Are you consuming dog food? And why not? 

You’ve heard or read somewhere at least once in your life that some human remedy was useful for some health issue, but you didn’t read enough. And what is the outcome? More harm than good!

Severity of Tea Tree Oil Toxicosis

The clinical signs of tea tree oil toxicosis can develop within 2 to 12 hours and can last up to 3 days. Drooling and salivation are the first signs if toxicosis occurs. If you don’t provide adequate treatment for your pet, you might notice the following signs: 

Late Signs of Tea Tree Oil Toxicosis (TTOT)

However, there are a few factors that affect the severity of the toxicosis. This includes the dog’s age and weight. These signs can last up to 3 days. No matter if it was intentional or accidental toxicosis, we advise immediate vet check-ups.

Dog Licked Tea Tree Oil, What Should I Do?

First things first, monitor for signs. Maybe the licked amount wasn’t enough for toxicosis. Let’s be honest: tea tree oil’s taste is not so attractive. It’s not like your dog tried chocolate. And as a reminder, chocolate is super delicious to dogs, but the bad news is that chocolate contains xylitol which is highly toxic for them. 

To make sure that nothing is wrong with your dog, you can take your pet to the vet. This way, you will exclude any poisoning and toxicosis. Additionally, your pet will get adequate treatment on time. 

The first and most obvious sign is drooling. So, if you notice this sign, it’s time to call your vet or Pet Poison Helpline. 

Dog Licked Tea Tree Oil, What Should I Do

Tea Tree Oil Poisoning Dog Symptoms

Even small quantities of 7 drops of 100% oil can lead to serious poisoning. While higher quantities can lead to sudden death in pets. 

The clinical signs include: 

Early Signs of Tea Tree Poisoning

Usually, the signs happen when 100% essential oil is used. In other cases, dogs can even benefit from this oil. 

Pet parents usually aim to treat dermatological issues with tea tree oil. And that’s okay! 

However, we advise careful usage of this magnificent essential oil. Dosing is the key to positive results!

Safe Essential Oil Use With Pets

If you diffuse your home with any essential oil, don’t do it too often. Also, make sure you do it for a short period of time and avoid direct exposure. 

After you are done with diffusing, open the windows. Another great tip is to take your dog on a walk during that process. 

The most important tip is to carefully monitor your dog.

Last, but not least, make sure to consult with your vet before adding tea tree oil to your pet!

How to Use Essential Oils for Your Dog

What Are Safe Essential Oils for Dogs?

There are a few safe essential oils for dogs. We will name a few of them. 

Lavender oil

It helps in decreasing anxiety and stress in dogs. It can also reduce the travel excitement in dogs. 


Frankincense Oil

It is a great alternative therapy for bladder cancer treatment in both humans and dogs. It also has antimicrobial properties and can boost your dog’s immune system. 

Chamomile Oil

Chamomile oil with tea tree oil has been used for otitis externa treatment and other bacterial infections. However, essential oils can never replace antibiotics and antimycotics. 

So, your vet will never prescribe you only essential oil as a treatment drug. It will be always combined with antibiotics and antimycotics. 

So, Is Tea Tree Oil Safe for Dogs? 

Every remedy can lead to disease and harmful consequences if not used carefully. In general tea tree oil is not safe for dogs. Avoid tea tree oil since it is not necessary for a dog’s health. 

Instead of this essential oil you can use many veterinary-approved products and remedies and save yourself from stress. If you decide to use tea tree oil, we are not judging you, but you need to know that moderation is the key for a successful outcome!

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Written by

Dr. Sandra
In addition to her current work as a veterinary student and researcher, Dr. Sandra Tashkovska brings six years of experience in writing to the table, making her a valuable addition to any team focused on animal welfare and related fields.
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