There are several “all-natural” remedies that are marketed as being effective at killing fleas because essential oils are commonly suggested as alternatives to medications. It’s better to stay away from fleas and to get rid of them when you do come across them because they can be bothersome, nip at you and your pets, and spread disease.
However, not all medical procedures are effective and safe. Tea tree oil is frequently used by pet owners to treat fleas, but it’s crucial to know whether the oil won’t harm your pet and whether it will actually work.
What Is Tea Tree Oil?
The Australian tea tree plant, Melaleuca alternifolia, also referred to as Malaleuca, is the source of tea tree oil. It is a minty-scented essential oil that has historically been utilized topically to treat a range of skin issues in people. On occasion, it is used on pets to cure skin conditions and get rid of parasites like fleas.
Tea tree oil should never be supplied orally because it is harmful if swallowed. Keep tea tree oil away from your pet at all times.
Purpose of Tea Tree Oil
Certain terpenes included in tea tree oil have been found to have beneficial benefits. One of the terpenes found in tea tree oil, terpinen-4-ol, is capable of activating white blood cells in humans to have antibacterial and antifungal effects1. While limonene, a different terpene, has been found to selectively remove Ctenocephalides felis, the flea species most usually observed on pets4, another terpene included in tea tree oil, 1,8-cineole, has been shown to be somewhat effective in removing a range of parasites3.
Numerous types of terpenes, which are present in many plants and are also in responsible of how a plant smells, exist. This suggests that terpenes play a role in the body’s endocannabinoid system as well as being responsible for the powerful scents of essential oils. The endocannabinoid system controls many bodily functions, but additional study is required to fully understand how this system works. Because of the terpenes, tea tree oil might be a helpful supplemental treatment.
Is tea tree oil effective against fleas?
According to published scientific evidence5, whole tea tree oil does not directly kill fleas, but it has been shown to be effective in getting rid of other kinds of arthropods, like some species of ticks and lice. Additionally, since limonene, a naturally occurring component of tea tree oil, has been shown to be beneficial against fleas, it is frequently thought that tea tree essential oil as a whole will be helpful.
Is Tea Tree Oil Safe for Pets?
Tea tree oil is dangerous if swallowed, so it should never be given orally to a person or a pet. If a dog licks tea tree oil that has been spilled or sprayed somewhere else, it could be highly harmful. In addition, using too much or undiluted tea tree oil to a pet’s skin may cause weakness, muscle spasms, a drop in body temperature, drooling, and difficulties walking. The Pet Poison Helpline has received reports of serious issues brought on by as few as seven drops of undiluted tea tree oil applied to a pet’s skin. Undiluted oil can be highly hazardous.
However, these dilutions should not be larger than 1%. On the other hand, tea tree oil can be found in various pet products in diluted form and is generally safe. Never use stronger solutions, and check if diluted goods still include the beneficial terpenes limonene and 1,8-cineole, which may be effective against fleas.
How is the use of tea tree oil safe?
Before using tea tree oil to your pet, you should check with your veterinarian to be sure it is safe and advised. Tea tree oil should never be given directly to your pet’s mouth, even if your veterinarian approves of its use. Instead, always dilute it to 1% or less. If your pet grooms themselves, it is not a good idea to apply the diluted essential oil in places where it might be licked off before it dries. The toxicity of tea tree oil in cats, even when applied topically, is a far higher concern than it is for dogs because of how frequently cats groom themselves.
CAT HEALTH & WELLNESS
Wondering about 7 Signs That Your Cat Is in Pain? Check it out on our latest post!