Does Tea Tree Oil Kill Fleas?

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I love using home remedies, especially ones that use natural ingredients such as essential oils.

However, before I try any new treatment on my dogs, I always take the time to research it to ensure it is safe.

And though essential oils are natural, it does not necessarily mean that they are safe. Several essential oils are harmful, especially if they are not properly diluted or are accidentally consumed.

One such essential oil is tea tree oil. Though it is in many pet products, it is not always safe to use in home remedies, and it is never safe for your dog to ingest it.

After searching the internet, I found that tea tree oil works great at killing fleas, but extreme care needs to be taken before using it on your dog.

Related: Does Rubbing Alcohol Kill Fleas on Contact?

Does Tea Tree Oil Kill Fleas?

Tea Tree Oil is effective at killing and repelling fleas[1].

But tea tree oil only kills adult fleas, so if your dog has had fleas long enough for the females to lay eggs, your dog will get fleas again as soon as they hatch.

Also, tea tree oil does not kill flea larvae, so it is not the best choice to eliminate fleas since it does not interrupt the flea life cycle.

Does Tea Tree Oil Shampoo Kill Fleas?

In addition to killing fleas, tea tree oil is regularly used as an antibacterial and antifungal[2]. So though it is not a common ingredient in flea shampoos, it is often used in medicated shampoos.

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Medicated shampoos can help reduce itching and infection, plus provide pain relief from flea bites.

And using a shampoo like TropiClean Oatmeal and Tea Tree medicated shampoo after a flea shampoo can help get your pup more comfortable.

But because tea tree oil cannot interrupt the flea life cycle, it is not an excellent option for flea shampoos.

Is Tea Tree Oil Safe for Dogs?

According to the Pet Poison Hotline, tea tree oil is toxic to dogs.

And even as little as seven drops of pure oil can result in severe poisoning, higher doses such as 10+ drops can kill a dog.

It is essential to remember that tea tree oil is more likely to negatively impact puppies or higher-risk dogs such as the elderly or ill than a healthy adult dog, so greater caution should be exercised.

Commercial products that use tea tree oil have significantly diluted the oil to a safe level. Most products contain less than 1% tea tree oil, which is not considered a toxic amount.

It is critical to blend tea tree oil with other products correctly to ensure proper dosing.

Just mixing or shaking a bottle after adding tea tree oil is not enough to properly disperse it through the shampoo or spray and could result in concentrated amounts on the oil being applied.

Bottom line, tea tree oil is not a safe option to use, especially if you are attempting to create your own flea shampoo or other tea tree treatment.

Tea Tree Essential Oil

How Does Tea Tree Oil Kill Fleas?

Tea tree oil contains two chemicals, limonene and 1,8-cineole, both of which are known for their insecticidal properties.

And limonene is especially effective at killing the common flea.

Though it is important to note that no scientific study has been done on the efficacy of tea tree oil on fleas, so it isn’t known how long it will take to kill the fleas.

Alternative Natural Options to Kill Fleas

Because tea tree oil isn’t the best choice, I would recommend considering other safer, more effective options, such as:

Coconut Oil: If you have ever read any of my home remedy articles, there’s a good chance I suggest coconut oil.

Coconut oil is like a miracle oil that you can use for darn near everything, such as keeping your dog’s teeth clean, cleaning your dog’s ears, and killing fleas. 

To learn how to use coconut oil to get rid of fleas, click here!

Diatomaceous earth: If you are looking for a natural remedy for your home and happen to have diatomaceous earth, you can use that to treat carpets and furniture.

Though some have used it directly on their dogs, it isn’t the safest available choice.

Epsom Salt: Epsom salt is one of my favorites for dealing with fleas. Not only will it kill adult fleas, but it also interrupts the life cycle by killing larvae and eggs. 

Also, Epsom salt has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, both of which can help keep your dog comfortable after being bitten by fleas.

Commercial products are also a great option, many of which use safe, natural ingredients. Some of my top recommendations include:

Richard’s Organics: One of my favorite brands, this shampoo works for fleas, ticks, and repels mosquitos.

TropiClean: TropiClean is a flea and tick shampoo that uses natural ingredients such as lemongrass, cedarwood, and cinnamon.

Vet’s Best: This is a plant-based formula that kills all flea life stages and is safe for puppies as young as 12 weeks old.


Can I Use Tea Tree Oil on My Dog?

Though tea tree oil is not lethal when used topically, it is toxic when ingested. So it is best to use specifically formulated shampoos containing tea tree oil to avoid harmful effects.

Does Tea Tree Oil Kill or Repel Ticks?

Tea tree oil kills and repels fleas. However, it only kills adult fleas and does not work at eliminating flea larvae or eggs.

Is Tea Tree Oil Bad for Dogs?

Tea tree oil may be safe for dogs if appropriately used in minute quantities; however, because there are several safer choices available, it is best to try something not listed as toxic by the Pet Poison Hotline.


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