How Safe Is Tea Tree Oil For Your Pet?

By September 28 | See Comments

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Due to the ability of tea tree oil’s fungicidal and anti-bacterial properties, it is a popular treatment for various types of skin conditions. As a result of this, certain skin care products for pets have a small amount of tea tree oil.Tea tree oil is safe and tolerable for pets in concentrations as small as 0.1% - 1%. However, pet owners store pure tea tree oil in large amounts which can be dangerous to pets. If pets accidentally ingest highly concentrated tea tree oil or if pet owners don’t dilute it properly, it can be quite harmful. In fact, tea tree oil is toxic to us if we consume it orally.Most pet owners believe that pure tea tree oil is safe for pets because of the lack of a label which says otherwise. According to a 10-year study by ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center, there have been 443 cases where pets exposed to pure tea tree oil needed veterinary care.

What Happens When Pets Consume Tea Tree Oil?

Tea tree oil mainly consists of chemicals that are known as terpenes. The antibacterial and fungicidal properties of tea tree oil come from these chemicals, which are also toxic. Whether tea tree oil is applied to the skin or ingested orally, terpenes get absorbed by the body. As pets are known to groom themselves, especially felines, tea tree oil can be toxic.Symptoms of tea tree oil toxicity depend on the amount ingested by pets. The symptoms will only be visible between two to 12 hours after ingestion or exposure. If they consume small doses of tea tree oil, then they will exhibit symptoms such as vomiting or drooling. If taken in moderate amounts, then the pets will find it difficult to walk, look weaker than normal and they may have partial paralysis. If pets ingest tea tree oil in large amounts, they will display symptoms such as coma, seizures, tremors, or low levels of consciousness.

Treatment

Although there isn’t antidote available to combat the toxicity of tea tree oil, treatment is still possible. If the symptoms are mild, then you only need to decontaminate the skin using dish soap. However, vets don’t recommend inducing vomiting as it can cause aspiration pneumonia. If the symptoms are moderate, then vets will use activated charcoal to remove the toxins. In most cases of tea tree oil toxicity, vets will use support therapy and skin decontamination to remove the toxins.If the symptoms are severe, then medications will be used to treat seizures, muscle tremors, and vomiting. As the toxins can damage the liver, pet owners have to use silymarin and SAM-e to keep it safe.If you have any queries regarding this topic, feel free to leave a comment below

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