Friday, March 23, 2012

Tea Tree Oil: Friend to Humans, Foe to Pets

For years most of us have assumed it safe to use tea tree oil on our pets. Better than safe, in fact, since using an essential oil seems to be a much safer, more natural way to treat problems like hot spots or other skin irritations. Well, you know what they say about assuming…..

It turns out to be quite the opposite. Although many pet products like shampoos or sprays containing tea tree oil are marketed in just this way, tea tree oil is, in fact, quite toxic to our dogs and cats. These products contain teeny-tiny amounts of tea tree oil, which is harmless in a shampoo, but the average pet owner might see the product and get the idea that applying undiluted tea tree oil to their pet's skin is even better. Wrong!!!!

Even though tea tree oil is well known for its antibacterial, antifungal and even antiparasitic effects, the Pet Poison Helpline states that "As little as 7 drops of 100% oil has resulted in severe poisoning, and applications of 10-20 mls of 100% oil have resulted in poisoning and death in both dogs and cats."

From the website, regarding tea tree poisoning:

"Most patients have clinical signs of central nervous system depression. Dogs and cats with tea tree oil toxicosis will appear weak, obtunded, uncoordinated, ataxic, and usually have muscular tremors. Cats may exhibit signs of liver damage. Toxic components are fat soluble and rapidly absorbed via skin and GI tract. There is no antidote. Treatment involves general detoxification, supportive care, bathing with mild detergents, using activated charcoal if ingested."

So there you have it. I love tea tree oil and I will continue to use it every day in my lotion, but CeCe had better keep her paws off!!

Pet Poison Help Line: 800-213-6680

1 comment:

dogblog said...

So, what is the best way to treat a hotspot for dogs?