Tea Tree Oil for Fleas

Many people have heard that tea tree oil may be useful in treating flea infestation on dogs as well as in the home. Some pets are sensitive to the chemicals and pesticides in traditional flea treatment like Advantage and Comfortis and these may not be an option for your pet. Tea tree oil is used in aromatherapy and homeopathic remedies and the smell is said to bother the fleas so much, that they leave the environment (namely, your pet!). It seems that this is indeed true, but per the Mayo Clinic and most DVMs, tea tree oil is toxic to dogs and cats and other small animals when not used correctly. The bad effects are terrible ones that involve the central nervous system. The straight scoop is that YES, tea tree oil can help BUT it is best used very sparingly and talking to your vet before using it is highly recommended. Here is what you need to know:

  1. Dilute dilute dilute: Tea tree oil needs to be diluted. It is so strong in its effects that even a 1:250 dilution will be effective in treating fleas. The smell that insects hate will still be there at this dilution. If you are not sure about how to dilute, ask your vet to help. They are scientists and can do this for you correctly. It is not recommended that undiluted tea tree oil is ever used directly on pets.

  2. Use as a shampoo or spray: After you have the proper, safe solution, you can use it as an additive to baby shampoo or other pet shampoos and wash your dog every day for 7-10 days. This will eliminate the flea infestation for some time. Important: be sure to wash your dog outside. Fleas will often jump off the dog at the first scent of tea tree oil and you do not want them jumping off into your kitchen or bathroom. If you dog does not like baths, it may be possible to spay his/her fur with a solution, but again, do this OUTSIDE and keep them outside until their fur is dry.