Did you know that allergies can be as annoying and painful for dogs as it is for some people? Experts estimate that as many as 1 in 7 dogs suffer from allergies. And those allergies often cause symptoms such as itching, irritation, and inflammation.
Dog allergies fall into four categories and can be caused by the following things:
- Fleas and other biting insects
- Irritants that come in contact with the skin
- Inhaled allergens, such as dust mites, molds, pollens, grasses, and molds
- Foods, drugs, and supplements
In the case of skin infections related to allergies, your veterinarian may prescribe a medication, depending on the symptoms and severity of your dog’s skin infection. In some cases, mild to moderate skin infections may be effectively managed with over-the-counter, topical products. However, if left untreated such mild skin infections can develop into hot spots, which are extremely troublesome for pets.
What is tea tree oil and how can it help skin infections?
Pet guardians should be aware that pure tea tree oil (as well as other pure essential oils) is considered toxic for pets and should never be used in its pure undiluted or “raw” form.
Tea tree oil is a natural essential oil with curative properties that help soothe and protect dogs’ skin. When used correctly and in a diluted form on pets, tea tree oil can be very effective in treating and preventing topical bacterial and yeast/fungal infections. Tea tree oil is an excellent anti-inflammatory, so it helps reduce skin inflammation that can lead to itchiness and irritation. It also has great antibacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal properties that can help prevent and treat a whole host of skin problems.
Due to its effectiveness, tea tree oil is found in many pet grooming products in varying diluted concentrations.
How should I administer tea tree oil to my dog?
Tea tree oil must not be ingested, and should be applied externally only, and only in its diluted form. Products such as Be Soothed Spray and Be Soothed Shampoo contain a diluted amount of tea tree oil. While the percentage of tea tree oil in these products is proprietary, rest assured they are well below the level considered toxic to dogs and puppies (over 8 weeks of age.) As with any new product, always seek the advice of your veterinarian before applying to your dog.
Tea tree oil should not be used on cats. Use caution when applying tea tree oil if you have cats in the house.
*Article updated October 17, 2013