Tea tree oil is a fantastic healer with anti-fungal, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. However, it is not for all pets. While tea tree oil works just fine for larger dogs and other large pets, it should not be administered on small dogs and cats. This is because of the relative inability of the central nervous system, kidneys and liver of smaller animals to process these oils. And yet it is great for handling fleas, foul breath, skin problems and ear infections of larger pets.
Tea tree oil has phenomenal anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, and antiseptic properties in humans and the same is true for many larger pets. It is particularly conducive to remedying foul breath, ringworm, ear infections and arthritis. Pet owners should consider external applications only--and solely on larger animals.
As a pet medication, the solution should consist of 1 tsp. of tea tree oil mixed with 1 cup of water. It is better to err on the side of caution and a less strong solution could be administered. As stated, tea tree oil has excellent anti-fungal properties. If your pet has ringworm, you may want to consider using a low-concentration tea tree gel or otherwise diluting the tea tree solution in bath water. If your dog suffers from heavy plaque on their teeth, then a low-concentration tea tree oil toothpaste may be your answer. For ear infections, using a tea tree oil product is preferable to using the water-based solution as the ear is a highly sensitive area. Tea tree oil also functions as a natural antiseptic and is great for treating your large pet's cuts, burns, bites and bruises.
Tea tree oil shampoos are great for getting rid of fleas and lice on larger animals, particularly dogs. However, precautions should be taken when administering tea tree oil shampoos to smaller animals, such as chihuahua, poodles and cats. Do not administer tea tree oil shampoos or shampoos with menthol, which have a concentration higher than 1 percent.
Side Effects and Precautions
Tea tree oils and other essential oils can be deadly for smaller animals because they are susceptible to central nervous system depressants, which are found in these essential oils. Symptoms to watch out for of tea tree oil poisoning in small pets are dizziness, stupor and convulsions. If you absolutely must use tea-tree oil on your animal and the animal is of small-to-medium size, then you should dilute the tea tree oil with carrier oil, which is safe for most pets. One to three drops of tea tree oil per teaspoon of carrier should be sufficient. Owners of birds should also take precautions when administering their avian pets with tea tree oil as they are highly sensitive to the oil.
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Marc Andreottola has been a published writer for nine years. He earned his B.A. from the University of Chicago and an M.F.A. in fiction from Brown University. He has published pieces in "The Barcelona Review," "Useless Magazine," "Pop Matters," "K48," "The Lifted Brow" and elsewhere.