Symptoms of Tea Tree Oil Poisoning in a Dog

By Naomi Millburn

If your dog has tea tree oil poisoning, he'll possibly exhibit symptoms such as feebleness and tremors. Although tea tree, or melaleuca, oil is known for its antibacterial and anti-fungal benefits, among others, significant concentrations of it can be hazardous to both dogs and cats.

Hazardous Amounts of Tea Tree Oil

Many people rely on topical tea tree oil to take care of skin conditions such as boils, burns, acne, athlete's foot, fungal infections, stings and bug bites. Tea tree oil is sometimes used to manage various skin conditions in dogs, too. Ringworm, moist pyoderma and bacterial ear infections are just a few examples. The majority of human beings can handle undiluted tea tree oil use. Animals, however, are a different story. Dogs can safely manage tea tree oil concentrations of between 0.1 and 1 percent. Higher concentrations, however, can be hazardous to them. Animals have experienced intense toxicity from just seven drops of 100 percent tea tree oil. Dogs and cats have died from exposure between 10 and 20 mLs of 100 percent tea tree oil.

Tea Tree Oil and Terpenes

Tea tree oil consists of chemicals known as terpenes. Terpenes are responsible for tea tree oil's potency in battling fungi and bacteria. These chemicals are also the poisonous component of tea tree oil. The body quickly soaks up terpenes when they're used orally. The body also quickly takes them in when they're used on the skin. Because of this, dogs are at risk of concentrated tea tree oil poisoning. Note that oral tea tree oil consumption is poisonous to pets and people alike.

Potential Toxicity Symptoms

Signs of tea tree oil toxicity are determined by the amount of terpenes ingested by the dog. If a dog took in a small amount, he might throw up or drool. If his poisoning is of a moderate intensity, he might show signs such as trouble walking properly and feebleness. He might even appear to be suffering from a degree of paralysis. If a dog's tea tree oil poisoning situation is serious, he might exhibit potentially fatal indications including seizures, tremors, coma and decreased consciousness. Other possible signs of tea tree oil poisoning are elevated liver enzymes, reduced body temperature, depression, loss of coordination, skin rashes and lack of energy.

Indications of tea tree oil poisoning typically emerge anywhere between two and 12 hours after contact. Tea tree oil poisoning symptoms can endure for a maximum of three days.

If you have any reason to think that your dog might have tea tree oil toxicity, contact a veterinarian for assistance immediately. Never use tea tree oil on your pet unless your veterinarian has advised to do so.

Immediate Veterinary Assessment

Don't dillydally when it comes to poisoning and your pet. Prompt veterinary treatment increases your dog's odds of recovering.

If your dog is indeed suffering from tea tree oil poisoning, your veterinarian will determine how to approach treating it by considering the specific degree of poisoning. If your pet's case of poisoning isn't severe, skin decontamination via a dish washing liquid bath might be beneficial. Intravenous fluid therapy is another common treatment option for pets suffering from tea tree oil poisoning. If a poisoned pet is displaying symptoms such as seizures, muscle tremors and throwing up, your vet will provide him with medications that can minimize those issues.