Tea Tree Oil: Benefits and Dangers

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What is tea tree oil?

Tea tree oil has long been extracted from the leaves of a tree native to Australia.  Although this tree has been introduced to the states, the best quality is sourced organically from Australia.  The various types of chemical elements in tea tree oil are called terpenes.

Historic uses and toxicity warning

Tea tree oil has long been used by humans to treat a variety of issues including dandruff, acne and even athlete’s foot.  Tea tree oil also has wonderful benefits for dogs, including antiseptic, antibacterial and antifungal benefits.  It is, however, very important to understand that tea tree oil is toxic to small animals including ferrets, rabbits, cats and even small dogs.  These smaller animals lack the ability to properly process the oil through the liver and kidneys.

The most common uses of tea tree oil for dogs include:

  • Routine Ear Cleaning
  • Hot Spots
  • Flea Repellent
  • Mange

Proper dilution prior to use is essential

In order to properly prepare tea tree oil to administer to your dog, it is essential to dilute it first. The oil usually comes in 100% pure oil form and you can purchase it in bottles which specify the exact concentration level. Tea tree oil MUST be diluted before use. Most cases of tea tree oil toxicity occur when the oil is not properly diluted. If there are no dilution instructions on the bottle for your particular use, call the manufacturer for the proper dilution instructions. Because the tea tree oil is sourced from different areas, it is also important to call the specific manufacturer directly, rather than relying on information another one or on general instructions online. Again, be sure to dilute the oil appropriately before use. If your dog has a chronic condition or autoimmune deficiency you should consult your veterinarian before use.

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