PetMeds® Relieving Skin Infections on Pets with Tea Tree Oil

There is a growing interest in veterinary medicine into less toxic means of helping pets with chronic skin problems and allergies. One of those rapidly growing areas is the use of essential oils, with tea tree oil being increasingly used for topical use. Not only is tea tree oil antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral, but it is also a great anti-inflammatory as well. Using tea tree oil is a popular growing remedy to treat skin infections and inflammation

Many animal guardians have used it in treating localized skin inflammations and infections, in addition to hotspots. 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 tea tree oil topically is certainly a viable alternative to topical conventional 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. Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianJanuary 16, 2015 at 12:59 am

    Not much to be done at home. You could try antihistamine like zyrtac at dose of one half mg per pound once to twice daily… Try adding oral fatty acid like nordic naturals pet omega 3 fatty acid from 1800petmeds. Try malaseb shampoo every few days from 1800petmeds.

  2. Hello Dr. Dym.
    This past summer my 50 pound mix breed was having trouble with skin irritation and our Vet gave her a steroid shot and oral prednisone. He mentioned that Apoquel was the new wonder drug for skin allergies, but it was in short supply and being rationed. Has the availability improved?

  3. Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianJanuary 23, 2015 at 7:38 pm

    HI Bruce. Hopefully in the new year apoquel will be available within the next few months. Keep checking with your local veterinarian, as well as local veterinary dermatologists

  4. Tea Tree Oil took my dog to the emergency room. We thought we were going to loose her.I suggest caution or highly dilutting.
    Also, I have read that Cocnut oil is good for fleas and have been using it on my dog. It’s awesome for all kinds of issues. What do you think?

  5. I have a short haired orange swirl cat who periodically will begin licking herself continually and loses most of her hair on her stomach inner thighs and along her tail. I have observed her biting her skin on her inner thighs. All this seem to make her very uncomfortable and distracted. She has just begun this habit, again. Wherever she sits, she leaves a little pile of soft fur.
    For the past 2 years I have annually brought her into a vet who gives her an antibiotic and antihistamine shot – at my recommendation. Is there anything that you recommend?
    Thank you so much,

  6. My 7yr old black lab has had major ear infections and continued slimy substance between her paws/toes. She is constantly biting and itching. I’ve recently switched to all-natural food to try to see if the grain to contributing to a yeast issue. Bought tea tree oil but need to know how to administer since its her feet. The vet just keeps giving oral mess that work but then it comes back. Please help.

  7. Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianJanuary 25, 2015 at 3:44 pm

    You could ask your vet about long term allergy meds such as atopica(cyclosporine) or the new drug apoquel…..Good chance your dog will need chronic medications. A good quality oral fish oil like nordic naturals pet omega 3 from 1800petmeds also may help.

  8. Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianJanuary 25, 2015 at 3:48 pm

    You could try oral antihistamine such as chlorphenirimine at dose of 2 mg twice daily and a fatty acid supplement like nordic naturals pet omega 3 fatty acid from 1800petmeds. DMG liquid can also help boost immune system. If signs persist or worsen, may need vet exam and cortisone shot.

  9. Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianJanuary 25, 2015 at 3:51 pm

    Coconut oil is WONDERFUL for so many things for both humans and pets. I highly recommend it.

  10. Hello Dr. Dym:
    My 7 y.o. female boxer had a nice healthy coat when I adopted her last January. In the last few months, she started shedding a lot and within the last month, has been losing hair in small patches, along her spine. The vet said it might be mites or a thyroid condition. We will be doing the testing this week, but the mite treatments I’ve read about, all seem so intense and all seem to list possible adverse reactions…is there any home remedy I could make to rid the mites? She has had at least one litter of puppies; we don’t know her background. She was found as a stray. She has no health issues, eats fine. She gained weight quickly when I got her so back in September, my vet prescribed Metabolic as a means to help with weight loss. She loves it and has lost about 4 lbs. over the course of time. I am so stressed at what became of her coat. Most rescue dogs improve upon adoption and mine has gone the other way; I’m so sad and don’t know where I went wrong. (When she arrived, they had been feeding her regular Purina Dog Chow for about 2 months.) She uses Heartguard plus monthly for heartwork.

    Thank you.


  11. Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianFebruary 2, 2015 at 11:44 pm

    Iw would get the book Dr Pitcairn’s guide to natural health for dogs and cats by Richard Pitcairn, DVM, phd for more natural treatment options as well as diet choices

  12. I have an 8 yr old Lab, all he wants to do is jump on you and hump, what can I do about this? I would like to be able to play & pet him but unable to w this behavior. He does it w anyone or anything, human, dog or rug.
    I just found your site, can u help?

  13. where do you purchase the cocnut oil

  14. My long hair Maine Coon cat (4 yers old) recently has been plagued with fleas _ Advantix has not seemed to help – I have treated all favored napping areas with Diatomaceous Earth and have also dusted her with it. Now, unfortunately, Hot spots have developed. I am sad to read that Tea Tree Oil, even diluted , will be dangerous for her. What else is available? I have a healing salve that I occasionally can dab on her (when I can catch her off guard). You and others mention Coconut oil – would this be used like I would a salve? or oi /in food? Now and then, in desperation, I have sprayed her raw sore spot with a First Aid spray for humans because it says it is an anti-itch, anti-pain and anti-bacterial – it seems to put her at ease for a bit. Any other spray you can recommend (this is the easiest way to hit the spots without getting nipped at!)

  15. My English Bulldog is 9 years old and she has a big lump under her chest / belly ,the vet t fluid out and said she didn’t see any cancer cells , is there anything I can put on it ,lie coconut oil or neomycin ,thank you .

  16. Can I use tea tree oil on my dog”s skin tag? Also how much do you think I should use?

  17. I have a Maltese that has had bacterial & yeast skin infections a few times. We used tea tree oil, diluted, with antibiotics & anti-fungal oral pills. He also takes 1 Benadryl twice a day. We’ve switched him to lamb & rice dog food (which he refuses to eat so far). His skin & ears look so much better. His licking has stopped completely, and his coat has improved dramatically. His skin seems to be sloughing off (kind of like large dandruff flakes or even peeling like a sunburn). Just want to make sure this is normal after the treatment we’ve used and that he doesn’t need a moisturizer or a topical ointment. Any help would be appreciated!

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