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While there are more than 500 species of eucalyptus trees, you're most likely to find eucalyptus globulus or lemon eucalyptus in products designed for use on dogs. Eucalyptus oils contain antimicrobial and insect-repelling properties that soothe skin conditions and leave behind a fresh scent.
The Best Eucalyptus
According to a study by Cornell University on different types of eucalyptus, lemon eucalyptus (eucalyptus citriodora) has the most antimicrobial activity. Both lemon eucalyptus and e. globulus -- the variety generally referred to as just eucalyptus -- act have anti-inflammatory, antifungal and antibacterial properties. The university cites in a separate study that lemon eucalyptus oil in the form of p-menthane-3 also provides tick-repelling properties. The study found lemon eucalyptus inhibited ringwom, staph, E. coli and candida among other microbes. Eucalyptus globulus had only minor antifungal effects but killed e. coli , candida and staph. Holistic veterinarians use eucalyptus in distemper, parasitic skin infections and septicaemia.
Where to Find Eucalyptus
While you'll find eucalyptus globulus listed on products by that name, pet specific products using lemon eucalyptus usually list the ingredient by its scientific name, eucalyptus cittriodora. Other names for lemon eucalyptus on an ingredient list include menthoglycol, citrodiol, p-Menthane-3, para-menthane-3, 8-diol, PMD or 8-diol. Look for the ingredient on pet shampoos and pet-oriented essential oil blends.
Make Your Own
Mix 7 drops of your choice of eucalyptus oil into a 32-oz spray bottle filled with distilled water. Use E. globulus to make a solution effective against fleas; or lemon eucalyptus if you're targeting ticks and mosquitoes. Apply to your dog's bedding or spray lightly between your dog's shoulder blades to keep pests away.
Skin Soothing Shampoo
Add half an ounce of eucalyptus globulus or lemon eucalyptus essential oil to a 40 ounce bottle of pet shampoo to discourage ringworm or remove fleas on your dog. Use a nit or flea comb to distribute the shampoo and comb out eggs and fleas. Antifungal qualities will soothe your dog's skin during the process. Rinse well.
Not for Ingestion
Eucalyptus is toxic to dogs if ingested. Apply sprays to a dog's back in areas where he can't lick off the oil. Essential oils can also be absorbed through the skin, so don't apply the full strength oils. Signs of ingestion include vomiting, diarrhea, depression, weakness and excess salivation. Check for local skin reactions, such as redness or itching. Wash the oil off with Dawn original liquid detergent if the dog shows any sign of irritation and contact your veterinarian.