Will Tea Tree Oil Work on Dogs for Fleas?

By Erica Roth

Flea treatments for dogs are largely made of chemicals; substances that many people may not want around their pets or children. Tea tree oil is derived from the melaleuca alternifolia plant and may be a more natural approach to treating and preventing fleas on your dog. According to the Mayo Clinic, tea tree oil is used topically to treat different kinds of infection. Be sure to use tea tree oil as a topical solution only; giving the oil to your dog to drink may cause a toxic reaction in your pet. As with any flea treatment, individual results will vary.

Spraying with Tea Tree Oil

Stephen Walter/Demand Media

Spraying your dog with a solution of tea tree oil and water can work as a flea repellent as well as a treatment to current flea infestations you may face. Add 1 tsp. of tea tree oil into 1 cup of warm water and stir well. Pour the mixture into a clean spray bottle. The oil and the spray bottles may be found at pharmacies or natural health food stores.

Take your dog outside to treat him with the natural flea spray you have concocted. Some of the fleas may immediately die or leap off of your pet, so you want to avoid further infestation to your home. Spray your pet's entire coat with the tea tree oil and keep him outside for at least 15 minutes as the flea treatment dries. You will most likely need to apply the tea tree oil spray for several days until all of the fleas have disappeared. If you have other pets, limit the contact between them and the dog with fleas so that the others will not get fleas as well.

Shampooing with Tea Tree Oil

Stephen Walter/Demand Media

Another option for using tea tree oil to eliminate your dog's fleas is to add a few drops to your regular pet shampoo. One of the reasons why tea tree oil is an effective flea repellent is that the insects do not like the smell of the oil and will try to remove themselves from the smell. Shampoo your dog well, reaching down past any fluffy fur to the skin. You may see some fleas come away immediately. Give your dog a bath with the tea tree oil and shampoo mixture daily for a week or even longer, until you see that no fleas remain.


Stephen Walter/Demand Media

Tea tree oil should always be diluted or combined with another substance, such as shampoo, before used on your dog. The Mayo Clinic reports that straight doses of the essential oil may be irritating to the skin. If your dog continues to scratch herself and you see no more evidence of fleas, she could be reacting to an irritation called allergic contact dermatitis. Usually this condition reverses itself once the offending substance, in this case, tea tree oil, is no longer in contact with the skin.