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Tea Tree Oil, Dogs, Cats, and What You Need To Know

Herbs For Pets 3 min read
leaves of a tea tree plant from the top of a tree canopy. Tea tree oil, dogs, cats, and what you need to know

Tea tree is a popular herb known for its fresh, herbal scent. You can find it in many wellness products made for humans for its aroma and medicinal properties. We have had many pet parents ask us if tea tree oil is also safe for dogs and cats. If you also have that question, we’re happy to help clear it up for you!

What is Tea Tree?

Tea tree’s official name is Melaleuca alternifolia. This particular species is known as medicinal tea tree and is only one of the multiple species of Melaleuca plants. Tea tree is an evergreen tree native to Australia that grows up to 22 ft tall and has papery bark. It also produces small, white, spiky flowers in the spring. Tea tree’s increase in popularity worldwide led to cultivation in many other places, including parts of the United States. While it is possible to use the leaves and other components of the plant, it is typically available as tea tree oil.

History and Traditional Use of Tea Tree

The indigenous people of Australia traditionally use tea tree as natural medicine. During WWII, the Australian forces also used it for wound care. Today, you can find it widely used not only in Australia, but also in North America and Europe. Throughout the 20th and 21st centuries, tea tree has been studied. Research has established that tea tree has effective antiseptic properties and is beneficial for many skin issues.

A bottle of tea tree oil next to a small cup of tea tree oil. Surrounded by tea tree leaves, a towel, and some candles. Tea tree oil, dogs, cats, and what you need to know.

Medicinal Properties of Tea Tree

Research show tea tree to possess many medicinal properties including:

  • antiseptic
  • antiviral
  • immunostimulating
  • germicidal

The main active ingredients are volatile oil, terpinen-4-ol, gamma-terpinene, alpha-terpinene, and cineol. Terpinen-4-ol has antiseptic properties that are especially helpful when used topically. Cineol is an active ingredient in both eucalyptus and may contribute to these two herbs having similar, fresh scents.

Humans use tea tree in a variety of forms for its medicinal properties. For example, inhaled for respiratory issues, taken internally for infections, applied topically for skin issues, and even used as a suppository. You can also find it in many products for humans, such as soaps, hair care, deodorant, and even mouthwashes. Findings show it promotes the immune system and can help relieve chest congestion. Topically, tea tree is a great aid for skin issues like bacterial and fungal infections, wounds, and stings.

How To Use Tea Tree Safely for Dogs and Cats

When used in high concentrations, tea tree oil can be harmful to both humans and pets.

When used in high concentrations, tea tree oil can be harmful to both humans and pets.

Use only diluted tea tree oil to avoid irritation and other more severe symptoms. While tea tree has many benefits, it is only safe for pets at the correct concentration and dosage.

Is tea tree oil safe for dogs and cats to inhale?

We recommend only using tea tree for dogs and cats topically unless otherwise advised by your holistic veterinarian. When ingested, essential oils can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and depression. Tea tree is a common essential oil in aromatherapy and oil diffusers. All diffused essential oils can be irritating and potentially dangerous for your pet.

If you are using an essential oil diffuser, place it in a spot away from where your pet spends their time to reduce their exposure. Ensure the diffuser itself is secure, and there is no risk of it spilling or your pet coming into contact with it or the oils.

Essential oil diffusers should be entirely avoided if you have a bird. Our feathered friends have sensitive respiratory systems and may develop serious symptoms.

Tea Tree in NHV Products

Tea tree can be helpful for many common skin issues in dogs and cats like ringworm, acne, insect bites, infections, and more. Our holistic veterinarian and master herbalist work diligently to ensure that our products are safe and effective for pets. We have four topical products that contain tea tree oil at a safe concentration and dosage for dogs and cats; Echo Gold, First Aid Spray, Ouch Away Spray, and Target Spray.

Echo Gold is our natural ear drops formula. It contains a blend of herbs to help fight ear infections, reduce inflammation, and soothe irritation. You can also use Echo Gold for ear cleaning as proactive care.

First Aid Spray is a handy spray for cuts and scrapes. It has antiseptic properties that help heal and protect wounds from infection.

Ouch Away Spray is a topical spray to help with skin conditions like dermatitis, skin infections, and other skin irritations.

Target Spray is a natural insect deterrent formula. It contains a variety of herbs that naturally help ward off pesky insects like mosquitos, fleas, and ticks. Herbs like tea tree are also included to help soothe bug bites and stings.

If you have any questions about tea tree or our natural pet products, please reach out to us anytime! You can get in touch with our team of pet experts by clicking the button below.

NHV Pet Experts

NHV Pet Experts

We have a dedicated group of pet expert professionals, including veterinarians, vet techs, and other pet professionals to guide you through any questions. We’re committed to your pet’s wellness and can offer additional tips, resources, nutritional advice, and more.

Published: April 4, 2022

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