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How Do I Use Tea Tree Oil for Fleas?

Tea tree oil.
A flea.
A veterinarian can help a person decide which flea treatment best for their pets.
An alternative to tea tree oil might be a better option for cats.
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  • Written By: Brandon May
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 14 August 2014
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Tea tree oil is an essential oil used in aromatherapy and alternative medicine, and it is very popular for driving away fleas and various other insects and pests. Due to its invasive and very strong aroma, it is said to help get rid of fleas quite easily, creating an uninhabitable environment. Since the oil can be dangerous to use around some small animals, particularly cats, it is best to use tea tree oil for fleas and other pests with caution. Most holistic or natural veterinarians advise using a very low concentration around animals, applying limited amounts to well-protected areas.

Using tea tree oil to treat pests is quite common in natural and holistic circles, as it helps a pet owner reduce the chemicals his animals are exposed to. Since the oil contains a strong aroma, it is said that the odor can help drive away fleas from the fur of an animal, as well as reduce the number of fleas in the surrounding area. Most tea tree oil made to treat fleas might contain other natural oils like cinnamon or nutmeg, contributing to a more offensive aroma. Many natural pet products that contain this oil often have a spray nozzle attached, designed for spraying the oil mixture around the house and on the fur.

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Using a small amount of oil and rubbing it into the fur of an animal is often done to get rid of fleas from the animal itself, rather than from the surrounding area. It is still a good idea to spray the tea tree oil around the home or at the source of the incoming problem. It's also possible to rub a small amount of tea tree oil on a collar, creating a flea collar, rather than rubbing it on the pet's fur. It isn't a good idea to spray any oil around pet food or anything that can be consumed by both animals and humans.

Experts often suggest that using tea tree oil for fleas isn't a good idea, as the oil in moderate to high levels can be very dangerous to cats and other small animals. Using a tea tree oil that has been diluted to a 1% concentration or lower is best for preventing pet nausea or serious illness. When spraying the oil on dogs or large animals, use it sparingly to avoid raising the level of exposure. Finding an alternative for flea prevention in cats and other animals may be preferred, and speaking to a qualified veterinarian might help determine a nontoxic, healthier way to treat fleas in these animals.

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Discuss this Article

anon963569
Post 8

Tea tree oil is a neurotoxin and can lead to death in dogs and cats.

anon342104
Post 7

I tried a couple of drops of tea tree oil on the back neck of the cat and just rubbed a little drop diluted on the rest of him, but it didn't work. I ended up buying a flea treatment in the end.

fBoyle
Post 6

@literally45-- I can't believe that there is such a product for cats. Tea tree oil is very toxic for animals. It should not be used under any circumstances and this actually applies for most essential oils.

Tea tree oil is okay to use for fleas only on humans. It can be diluted with other oils and applied topically. But it's not at all okay for pets.

serenesurface
Post 5

@literally45-- Technically, cats can use their paws to clean the back of their head and neck. So I think that tea tree oil can still be dangerous for cats when used that way. The only way I've used tea tree oil for fleas was by adding a few drops to my dog's shampoo.

literally45
Post 4

I would be scared to use tea tree oil on my cat by myself. I know it can be toxic for cats and it's difficult to figure what the right amount is.

But I found an all natural flea repellent product for cats. The label said that it contained tea tree oil in safe amounts. The description said to apply the oil treatment on the back of my cat's neck, since this is the only part of the body the cat can't get to.

I tried the product, I applied it on my cat and within a few days, I could tell a difference. It really repelled those fleas.

KoiwiGal
Post 3

@umbra21 - When you're cleaning your house, remember that you need to kill any eggs or fleas that get sucked up the vacuum cleaner as well, or they could just reinfect your house again.

I find tea tree oil to be quite effective, but I get occasional infestations from outdoor cats and so I don't have to worry too much about hurting them when I use it indoors. And I quite like the scent of it anyway.

umbra21
Post 2

@Fa5t3r - Personally, I prefer to just use modern medicine on fleas and get my pets that flea medication that lasts for several months.

However, if people are going to insist on doing it the 'natural' way, they will probably need to make a multi-pronged attack. I suspect diluted tea tree oil, or mint leaves won't be enough by themselves. You would need to thoroughly clean and spray every inch of the house, every inch of bedding and every inch of your pets, all in one go so they don't reinfect each other, and I would also do things like putting down diatomaceous earth or borax in the right places.

There are lots of different suggestions for natural remedies online if you have a look. I wouldn't rely on just one and I would research each one as much as possible, particularly if you've got pets.

Fa5t3r
Post 1

Personally, I prefer mint to tea tree. I think it smells better and it's just as effective at getting rid of fleas. You can just sprinkle a few leaves around as a deterrent, although that probably won't work for a major invasion.

I am also a bit too nervous to try even a diluted tea tree spray with my pets around, because I know they don't do well with it.

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