Using tea tree oil for your dog’s skin infections

Dogs can get allergies and itchy skin, too

Did you know that allergies can be as annoying and painful for dogs as it is for some people? Experts estimate that as many as 1 in 7 dogs suffer from allergies. And those allergies often cause symptoms such as itching, irritation, and inflammation.

Dog allergies fall into four categories and can be caused by the following things:

  • Fleas and other biting insects
  • Irritants that come in contact with the skin
  • Inhaled allergens, such as dust mites, molds, pollens, grasses, and molds
  • Foods, drugs, and supplements

In the case of skin infections related to allergies, your veterinarian may prescribe a medication, depending on the symptoms and severity of your dog’s skin infection. In some cases, mild to moderate  skin infections may be effectively managed with over-the-counter, topical products. However, if left untreated  such mild skin infections can develop into hot spots, which are extremely troublesome  for pets.

What is tea tree oil and how can it help skin infections?

Pet guardians should be aware that pure tea tree oil (as well as other pure essential oils) is  considered toxic for pets and should never be used in its pure undiluted or “raw” form.

Tea tree oil is a natural essential oil with curative properties that help soothe and protect dogs’ skin. When used correctly and in a diluted form on pets, tea tree oil can be very effective in treating and preventing topical bacterial and yeast/fungal infections. Tea tree oil  is an excellent anti-inflammatory, so it helps reduce skin inflammation that can lead to itchiness and irritation. It also has great antibacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal properties that can help prevent and treat a whole host of skin problems.

Due to its effectiveness, tea tree oil is found in many pet grooming products in varying diluted concentrations.

How should I administer tea tree oil to my dog?

Tea tree oil must not be ingested, and should be applied externally only, and only in its diluted form.  Products such as Be Soothed Spray and Be Soothed Shampoo contain a diluted amount of tea tree oil. While the percentage of tea tree oil in these products is proprietary, rest assured they are well below the level considered toxic to dogs and puppies (over 8 weeks of age.) As with any new product, always seek the advice of your veterinarian before applying to your dog.

Tea tree oil should not be used on cats. Use caution when applying tea tree oil if you have cats in the house.

*Article updated October 17, 2013

Have pet health questions? For any medical concerns, we always recommend you consult your veterinarian. However, for non-emergency questions, you can contact Dr. Dym directly using our Ask the Vet form.

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40 Comments

  1. I have an English Bulldog that is allergic to literally everything! When we rescued her she would literally shred herself scratching. We now make homemade dog food so I’m positive of everything that goes in her body. I also bathe her once a week, I put 5 or 6 drops of pure melaleuca (tea Tree) oil in her bath water. Happy to report the recipe works. She is now happy, playful, loving and not itching!

  2. PLEASE do NOT give teetree to DOGS. it is TOXIC. google first if you still have any doubt.

  3. I use tea tree shampoo n conditioner on my hair if i get a bite or scratches. I use the tea tree shampoo as antibacterial. I use the exact same. Products. On my dogs… Kelly 15 years jow n kemper 2… Both weiner dogs 19 pounds n 20 pounds 1 pump of shampoo 1 pump of conditioner on each dog. The black n tan has a beautiful shiny coat i dont use conditioner on him. They get baths ar least once a week. I use frontline. I have seen maybe 3 fleas dead in the 15 years. I uses it on my cats too. My last cat twas 15 when i had to put him down.

  4. Lori Pittsley
    What is your homemade recipe. I cook for my dogs also. Just curious what you make?????

  5. 3–28–18 my beagle has had itching caused by fungus and bacteria so bad that she would chew her paws bloody. I got medicated shampoo from vet, but in between I mix up 6–7 drops of tea tree oil in one quart of warm water, pat this all over her body for a few minutes in our laundry tub, then rinse her very well with warm water and towel her dry. Itching stops over night. No visible side effects. She is happier and more comfortable and I am MUCH happier. Those of you with itching dogs know what I mean!!!

  6. Lori Pittsley, could you please share
    your homemade dog food recipe. ? My male dog has allergies as well as cancer. I would love to try this for him! Thanks I. Advance.

  7. Is tea tree and lemon Sage shampoo and conditioner help with your dog having irritated skin scabs etc and I have the same exact thing in conditioner form too for my dog
    I’m reading it’s completely safe and it helps but just be careful I read of pure Tree tea oil not diluted because it can be toxic but this is actually tea tree and lemon sage shampoo and conditioner.

  8. Is tea tree and lemon Sage shampoo and conditioner help with your dog having irritated skin scabs etc and I have the same exact thing in conditioner form too for my dog
    I’m reading it’s completely safe and it helps but just be careful I read of pure Tree tea oil not diluted because it can be toxic but this is actually tea tree and lemon sage shampoo and conditioner.

  9. Please I need help my little 2yr old lil guy is itching himself raw!! His allergies are overwhelming. What can I do? I have tried almost everything! The vet is getting costly as you all know, I already know that he suffering from allergies. “HELP” Kathi from Jacksonville Florida 😔

  10. Hi Kathi and thank you for your question. For any medical concerns, we always recommend you consult your veterinarian. However, for non-emergency questions, you can contact Dr. Dym directly using our Ask the Vet form. We hope little guy is feeling better soon!
    ~ Abby, PetMeds Pro

  11. Very informative! I wasn’t aware that tea tree oil works so perfectly for dog’s skin infections. I really like the info shared by you. Thanks and keep sharing.

  12. Hi I have a French bulldog and he gets quite red and itchy in the creases on his face I clean with water daily and always make sure he is dry but it doesn’t seem to be getting any better this time any suggestions please

  13. Hi Elaine. Sorry to hear your French bulldog is having an issue. little problem. For any medical concerns, we always recommend you consult your veterinarian. However, for non-emergency questions, you can contact Dr. Dym directly using our Ask the Vet form. We hope your furry friend’s skin is much better soon!
    ~ Abby, PetMeds Pro

  14. I’ve taken my dog to the vet for yeast infections without much success. I’ve used coconut oil, peroxide mixed with vinegar. Countless sprays and shampoos, oatmeal baths and the list goes on. I hear monistat works as well on dogs as it does humans. I’m going to try it for at least a week and if I see no improvement, I’ll try spraying her before her bedtime with six or seven drops of tea tree oil in a guart of warm water then rinsing her off. If this doesn’t work, I’m considering having her euthanized. I love her to pieces but I can’t take watching her suffering with this day after day for the rest of her life.

  15. Judy Dunford, before you give up on your beloved dog, do a bit of research into her breed, and what allergies that breed has, and you may have to make home made dog food for her, possibly adding dog safe herbs to maybe detox from whatever is in her body, again, research it to make sure all is safe.
    10 years ago I rescued a Lhasa apso mix, who was in a terrible mess, horribly matted fur, ears badly infected, his skin under the fur had big black patches, and those were “hot spots” for when the itching happened, problems pooping, etc, and no matter how, what, when I gave him a bath, he almost stunk worse right after… I felt a bit overwhelmed, then I started looking up his breeds allergies, and reading what was in the dog foods you buy, then I completely changed his diet, started cooking for him, and things started to change for him. His skin under fur eventually got all pink again, his ears cleared up, the stink went away, and he was a completely different dog. It’s more work, but they are our babies, and they are worth it!!

    For the other lady asking about what to cook your dog, again, research it, but I used frozen spinach, frozen okra (to help them go potty), sweet potato, ground turkey, sometimes brown rice, but I cooked all together in a big pot, and portioned in zip lock bags according to how often they ate, and froze the rest, it really helped greatly for my dogs. But the most important thing to remember is also their dental care, make sure they get “healthy” chew treats for they dental health, as sometimes soft dog food can sit on the teeth and slowly rot and decay teeth. Hope that helps, and by the way, I am in no way an expert, just a loving and concerned fur-baby momma/pet owner.

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