PetMeds® Tea Tree Oil Benefits for Dogs

Tea tree oil is an antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties, but it is also a great anti-inflammatory There is growing interest in veterinary medicine into less toxic means of helping with chronic skin problems and allergies. One of those rapidly growing areas is with the use of essential oils. One of the more commonly used essential oils known as tea tree is increasingly becoming popular. Not only does tea tree oil have antibacterial, anti-fungal and antiviral properties, but it is also a great anti-inflammatory as well. Products such as Be Soothed (dogs only) is a great over the counter product for dogs with skin irritations.

Many animal guardians have used it in treating localized skin inflammations and infections, in addition to hot spots. While it can work great in some animals, in other cases conventional drugs are needed. The reason for this is that every patient has a unique susceptibility to certain diseases not only in terms of symptoms expressed, but also in efficacy rates in responding to various medications. In a similar manner one person can respond to one antibiotic or medication, while that same antibiotic does not help a second individual.

It is important to also note that cats can be sensitive to tea tree oil and so I would use caution in using concentrated oil like tea tree in cats due to their unique liver detoxification pathways. In many pets, however, using tea tree oil topically is a viable alternative to other topical medicines. Always check with your veterinarian should a reaction occur and/or if your pet’s condition persists or worsens.

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  1. I haven’t tried it yet, but I’ve read that tea tree oil, or Melaleuca alternifolia oil, is an effective natural remedy for pearly penile papules. Tea tree oil is a really lovely product from Australia–it tingles and smells kind of like eucalyptus, and I’ve used as a treatment for cuts and blisters, because it acts as an antimicrobial. Its also the main ingredient in the Derma Remedies product. I’m going to make an experimental paste of garlic and tea tree oil and let you guys know what happens to the annoying wart on my right heel (the place where I always get blisters from sandals).

  2. Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianMay 1, 2011 at 9:38 pm

    Thanks for sharing your information on tea tree oil and the products containing it that you have experienced with it. Let us know about the wart. Also can try topical vitamin E and castor oil on the warts as well.

  3. I’m so confused. I’ve been looking into using tea tree oil for a few ‘hot spots’ our dog has on his paws. The majority of feedback has been very disconcerting; stories of dogs w/gross lethargy or who are unable to move, incidents of shaking/trembling, etc., after they received small doses of the oil in their shampoo or on their skin to help relieve an irritation. A few other blogs I have read suggested that as long as the oil is well diluted, it should not pose a risk to dogs. I’m not sure what to do, because my dog is almost sure to try & lick the hot spots after we put anything on them. Should I even consider this treatment, if we were to really dilute the oil, or is there something safer?

  4. Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianJuly 13, 2011 at 4:27 pm

    Try diluted version once. IF your dog reacts, then consider other natural shampoos

  5. Pl suggest a product with tea tree oil and product composition along with tea tree, I need to apply on our pets as well

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  7. My 14 year old mim schnauzer has a bad oder when he comes in from outside. does anyone know what I can put on him I bath him 2 times a week

  8. I put tea tree oil on a hot spot on my dog last night and had to rush him to the vet this morning. He was having trouble using his back end and was in extreme pain. Also experiencing tremors. I will NEVER again use tea tree oil or any item containing it on any of my dogs. To me, it’s not worth the risk when there are alternatives. Maybe your dog won’t react, but it’s likely to happen and can be fatal

  9. Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianSeptember 24, 2012 at 6:52 pm

    Thanks for sharing. Sorry for your experience with tea tree oil.

  10. I think your wording is confusing; you should simply state that all essential oils, tea tree, melaleuca; are toxic to cats and should *not* be used on cats.

  11. Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianNovember 29, 2012 at 8:42 pm

    Sorry for the confusion. One must be careful, however with essential oils on cats.


    I’m not understanding why you are suggesting tea tree oil should EVER be used on dogs or cats? Aren’t here other alternatives that have zero chance of being toxic to these animals?

  13. Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianDecember 2, 2012 at 5:53 pm

    I am not saying tea tree oil should never be used on pets. Just have to be very careful as especially cats are very sensitive to this and some other oils. For natural flea control measures, I will often refer clients for other oils like cedar or

  14. I used it on my 10 year old dog for dry skin. I came home from work he couldn’t stand, shook when I petted him. It took 3 hours before he could stand up and he was wobbling. I wonder how long he was laying on the floor while I was gone.

  15. Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianJanuary 19, 2013 at 9:49 am

    Any medicinal compound, natural or otherwise can have rare side effects on sensitive patients.

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  18. my dog has this itch I took her to the vet last year around October was given some shampoo costing over 35.00$ and some medication which worked for awhile but now the rash is back also with excessive shedding of hair could you be of some assistance of what I could use on her skin to at least stop the iching

  19. Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianApril 28, 2014 at 2:50 pm

    Relapsing itching/eruptions is very common in dogs and is often due to underlying inhalent/contact allergies and/or food allergies. Unless these potential causes addressed by your vet, the symptoms will keep recurring. You can try over the counter zytec for the itching at one half mg per pound once daily, and adding fatty acid like be well from 1800petmeds to meals. Yucca intensive and proanthozone antioxidant may help ease the itch a bit as well. Try adding a teaspoon or two of coconut oil to food twice daily as well as applying topically to dry flakey spots, etc

  20. Please, please, please do not recommend tea tree oil at all for any pets Dr. Dym. I trusted advice from the internet about using tea tree oil on my dog and I poisoned her! I had to rush her to the vet at 2 am because she couldn’t walk. They kept her all through the day and finally released here to me this evening. But now she is trembling which is another side effect of this terrible poison. I have to live on edge for the next few weeks and pray that she recovers and doesn’t end up with liver or kidney failure. It is extremely difficult to watch her suffer knowing that I caused this pain all due to me trusting someone with a title DMV on the internet. Who knows if they even were really a vet. I beg you…. Please advise against any use of tea tree oil. You say to dilute it, but I did with olive oil and it still poisoned my poor dog who depends on me to take care of her.

  21. Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianJuly 22, 2014 at 5:37 pm

    So sorry Terra to hear of your dog’s reaction. AS with any medicine, whether herbal or traditional pesticides sold here, reactions can occasionally occur. Sorry to hear of it. Hope your dog recovers soon.

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