Last Updated on November 11, 2023 by Linda Richard
Vets often recommend tea tree oil cleaners but you might be wondering “Can I use tea tree oil on my dog?” So, tea tree oil for dog ear infections – here are its 6 uses and other considerations. Is it safe? Is it even effective or is this just “pseudo-science”? If they work, how exactly should they be used – what are the right dilution proportions and measurements? Let’s go over each of these points below.
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Can You Use Tea Tree Oil For Dog Ear Infections?
In a word – yes. Tea tree oil is safe for dog skin when it’s diluted properly and it can be used to great effect in the right conditions. Ear infections, in particular, are a common target for tea tree oil cleaners and mixtures. Dogs have a hard time licking their own ears too and the oil cleaners are very easy to apply on a dog’s ears.
What Exactly Is Tea Tree Oil Anyway?
People often mistake tea tree oil with the tea plants and leaves used for actual tea. The two are not the same, however. Tea tree oil is derived from the Melaleuca Alternifolia Tea Tree in Australia. That’s why you’ll also see the terms Melaleuca oil or Australian oil used interchangeably with tea tree oil.
Tea tree oil has found countless uses, from medicine to pest control. It can be used as pet medicine too, hence why vets will often prescribe it. If you want to use your own tea tree oil on your dog, however, you will need to be careful with the exact proportions and application method. We’ll cover those in a bit but first, let’s go over what you’d even want to use tea tree oil for in dogs.
What Types Of Infections and Conditions Can You Use Tea Tree Oil For In Dogs?
There are six main uses of tea tree oil for dog ear infections. Keep in mind that in each of these six cases we strongly suggest contacting your vet first and confirming with them what treatment products/methods you’re going to use. The trick about using tea tree oil for dog ear infections is all in the dosage/dilution and the application. But, if you get it right, tea tree oil can help tremendously with any of the following:
- Ticks and fleas – the active ingredients of tea tree oil are excellent at dealing with all manners of pests such as ticks, fleas, lice, crickets, worms, and more. A dilution of 5 drops of tea tree oil with 5 drops of lavender oil in a glass of water works excellent for that particular problem.
- Canine acne – tea tree oil is as effective for the canine acne on the inside of dogs’ ears as it is for humans. Try a blend of 2 drops of tea tree oil, 2 drops of Witch hazel oil, 8 drops of coconut oil, and a glass of water.
- Ringworm infections – this rash-like infection isn’t caused by literal worms but is nevertheless annoying to deal with. Try a mixture of 5 drops of tea tree oil, 13 drops of apple cider vinegar, and 3/4 a glass of water
- Ear mites – like ticks and fleas, ear mites can be very annoying to deal with. The same mixture that works for fleas works perfectly for them as well, however.
- Yeast infection – the Gamma-Terpinene in tea tree oil is excellent for dealing with yeast infections as well as other problems.
- Extreme itching – sometimes dogs get overly itchy out of stress and take their frustration on their skin and ears. Fortunately, tea tree oil can have a calming effect on the skin in those situations too.
Read more about: Can Fleas Live On Human Heads And Lay Eggs There?
How To Use Tea Tree Oil For Dog Ear Infections?
Undiluted tea tree oil should never be administered directly to either dogs or humans. Don’t be fooled by the fact that tea tree oil is applied to the skin – it’s still absorbed in the body and processed through the liver. So, if you overdose your dog on tea tree oil you can expect any of the following symptoms:
- Loss of coordination
- Abnormally low body temperature
- Excessive salivation
- Partial paralysis
Granted, you really need to go overboard for the latter two. However, even the milder symptoms such as temporary weakness and salivation indicate a stressed liver. That can be a problem in and of itself, especially if your dog already had problems with its liver.
To avoid any such issues, you should make sure that you dilute the tea tree oil properly. This can feel complicated at first (especially if you’re stressed about the overdose effects we just outlined) but it really isn’t a big deal.
How To Dilute Tea Tree Oil For Dogs?
The standard safe ratio for essential oils like tea tree oil is 1 part oil to 50 parts water. This applies to average-sized and healthy dogs, so your Labrador Retriever should be fine with it. If you have a smaller or senior/unhealthy dog, however, use an even lighter dilution or contact your vet first.
Start Slowly With The Tea Tree Oil For Dog Ear Infections
Remember that dogs have a much stronger sense of smell than humans. So, what’s just a light earthy scent to us is a major stink for your dog. Especially if you’ve never used tea tree oil around your dog before, chances are that your pet will be very weirded out by the sudden stink applied to its ears.
So, the smarter way to go about this is to get your dog used to the scent first. Apply it lightly somewhere around the house and let your dog get to know the new aroma. Then, when you start applying it to your dog’s ears, start with the lightest possible drop of diluted tea tree oil. Once your dog gets used to it you can apply as much as you need.
In Conclusion, Using Tea Tree Oil For Dog Ear Infections – Yay Or Nay?
Tea tree oil can indeed be used for dog ear infections but caution is strongly advised. The oil can be toxic if it isn’t diluted well or if you use too much of it. Then, there’s always the risk of your dog trying to lick it or even getting his paws on the bottle.
All in all, it’s always wise to talk with your vet first before you do anything. If your vet recommends tea tree oil, make sure that you both dilute it and administer it as safely as possible. Do this right and your dog’s ear infections should soon be a thing of the past.