According to some veterinarians and animal experts, tea tree oil may be toxic for dogs when its ingested or absorbed through the skin. It is also suspected that using tea tree oil for dogs may also cause liver damage. Accidental ingestion of tea tree oil may cause gastrointestinal symptoms in dogs as well. Additionally, there have been reports of dogs suffering from neurological damage from the use of this oil.
Essential oils are generally not recommended for use on dogs, as these highly concentrated products can have harmful effects, especially to a small animal. Some experts claim that using tea tree oil shampoo is safe for dogs, but maintain it should be used with caution. Many veterinarians do not recommend the use of any tea tree oil product on small animals, including cats and dogs.
Many experts believe the oil can lead to serious damage to a dog's respiratory system and liver. By ingesting tea tree oil, neurological disturbances can damage a dog's balance and coordination. Some dogs have also experienced seizures after being exposed to tea tree oil products over a period of time.
In severe cases of toxicity, a dog may suffer from paralysis or coma. In reported cases, these symptoms had occurred from the use of undiluted tea tree oil. Experts generally agree that this oil should never be used in an undiluted form, either for pets or for humans.
As with any medicated or herbal product, tea tree oil used topically on dogs may produce allergic reactions. Even in a diluted form, the oil has the potential to cause symptoms in animals with sensitivity issues or allergies. Some symptoms of allergic reaction to tea tree oil for dogs include sneezing, hives, rash, and breathing difficulties. A dog that experiences any of these symptoms after being exposed to tea tree oil products should receive prompt veterinary care.
Tea tree oil is often used as an effective flea repellant, and it can be found in other dog care products as well. When used often, the toxins from the oil may accumulate at a gradual rate, not causing noticeable symptoms early on. The early symptoms of toxicity from tea tree oil are lethargy and loss of appetite. When such symptoms become apparent, the dog may have already suffered damage to major organs.