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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49 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.

  16. I too, have been battling skin issues with my Shitzu. It began last year and has gotten worse. Vet finally agreed it was yeast. Little did I know, I was actually feeding the yeast!! I am now cooking for him and bathing him in a medicated shampoo from vet. Picked up tea tree oil yesterday. Going to bathe him again today but add the tea tree oil to shampoo. I’m hoping this works!! I’m tired of the stench!!! He smells like an old man!!!

  17. I have a Westies and been fight yeast infection for 3 months. Her skin is scabs from heat to tail. Eliminating all carbs and sugars part of the process . She is on restrictive diet and meds however still no change, I have been bathing daily and rencently had her fur cut short. I was shocked at how REALLY bad her skin is!!! When bathing I am leaving medicatied soap on 10-15 min. . I am hoping the airflow will help.
    Never use oatmeal on yeasty dogs, and dust out carbs and sugar. RAW diet is the best.

  18. I am here as I have a 15 yo Westie who has seborrhea spots and trying to figure out if I can use some tea tree oil on her. Being an older dog, I’m trying to keep her comfy and terrified to take her to the vet and have them “find” something wrong with her, ya know? I ADORE this girl! When she was a puppy I had taken her to a canine dermatologist and after all the special skin treatments, I switched her to a GRAIN FREE diet and her “pig feet” as I affectionately called her BALD, PINK feet disappeared and she has had fluffy feet for the past 13 years or so! I’m hoping this info might help someone here frustrated with itching! It was a cheap, easy God send! Grain free food is at large pet stores now too, not just feed stores…easy to find! I hope this helps! (As for hot spots-someone else mentioned) we had a Bouvier before our Westie and he was getting hot spots as we found out the GROOMER we were taking him to, was not changing their water between dogs!
    So. Many. Dogs came out of there with hot spots!
    I hope this info helps someone! I always love to go to comments and reviews for help myself! Bless y’all! : )

  19. Thanks for your feedback. So happy to hear the grain free diet helped your sweet Westie!
    ~ Abby, PetMeds Pro

  20. I have a 3 year old German Shepherd I rescued from the pound he is suffering from hot spots he has scabs and he’s biting his self Raw I’d like to know if tea tree will help him and how to use it I love him to death and I hate seeing him suffer so much any information would be greatly appreciated thank you

  21. My dog itches everywhere his hind in his back legs he can licks on his front legs trying to scratch from his belly has a hard time cuz he has a bad leg how do I stop the itching I give him a bath once or twice a week once would. Flea shampoo and what’s with medicated shampoo and nothing seems to work

  22. I have a 7 week puppy can I use tea tree oil on him? If so how much can I put on him?

  23. Our 1-800-PetMeds Be Soothed Tea Tree Oil Skin Relief is for external use on puppies and dogs 8 weeks of age or older only.
    ~ Abby, PetMeds Pro

  24. Hi, I have a 6 yr old bull Arab/ American staffy he’s so gentle but lately he has licked his in side of hi leg/ paw almost raw & it’s now pink, I have changed his diet to hard kibble of no grain no rice, no wheat just has meat extracts, vegies’, vitamins & fruit I’m hoping this will help also every 3rd night he gets 1/2 a chicken breast diced and cooked in with his kibble
    In the mean time is it ok for me to spray BOSISTO’S NATURAL TEA TREE SPRAY ON HIS LEG & PAW?? Thank you

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