Many pet owners are hesitant to purchase store-bought flea remedies for their dogs or cats as there have been many reports on these flea remedies poisoning pets. There are certain types of flea meds that are dangerous for cats but safe for dogs. The trouble for many pet owners is that cats lick themselves clean several times a day, while dogs generally aren’t as dedicated to this practice. It’s a lot harder treating a cat for fleas, as anything you apply to their fur can quickly be licked off.
There are safer flea medications you can purchase from a vet. But often fleas can also infest your yard and inside your home. You may wish to use a variety of natural treatments first, before resorting to pesticides, sprays, or prescription medicated flea remedies for your pets.
Tea tree oil is a natural essential oil. In order for it to be safe to use on pets, it’s recommended that it be diluted first, before application to pets. When you carefully follow directions, the oil can be safe for use on both dogs and cats.
Where Does Tea Tree Oil Come from?
Tea tree oil’s official Latin name is Melaleuca alternifolia, from the Myrtaceae family which is similar to the myrtle trees. This plant has a wide white coloured paper-like bark. Its green leaves are thin and oval shaped. It’s officially an essential oil, but can simply be called an oil too. This oil has a strong camphorous scent that is unappealing to fleas. But it’s much safer to apply a tea tree oil dilution to your pets, then using camphor or eucalyptus on their fur or skin.
In order to extract the essential oil from the plant, the leafy green parts of the plant are steam-distilled. The oil is collected and then treated and packaged into small amber-coloured bottles for the consumer market.
Tea tree plants are commonly grown in South Africa but can also be grown in other parts of the world too. When it’s sourced from Australia it can be called Australian tea tree oil. Besides being a flea repellant, the oil has antiseptic properties that make it useful for aromatherapy and other healthcare uses.
Is Tea Tree Oil Safe to Use on Pets?
Tea tree oil can be safely used on pets, but it MUST be diluted first. It’s not safe to use straight out of the bottle. It can also be expensive, so you never want to treat a dog or cat with drops directly out of a tea tree oil bottle.
Tea tree oil contains toxins called terpenes. These are what gives the oil its antiseptic, antifungal, and antibacterial properties. Fleas instinctively steer clear of these types of toxins, making it a good flea-repellant.
Unfortunately, there is no 100% safe way to keep fleas at bay. Every type of flea treatment for pets contains chemicals. Every type of flea treatment involves some risk. Many pet owners prefer a small risk from a natural ingredient, such as tea tree oil, than from more toxic store-bought flea medications.
Many pet owners may also prefer the small risk that tea tree oil has around children, while pet flea meds and sprays can be more harmful to smaller children or babies.
And the great thing about tea tree oil is that if your pet shows allergies or reactions to it, you can simply wash your pet and not use it again, whereas with oral flea meds, it’s a lot harder to treat an overdosed pet.
The safest amount of tea tree oil to give a pet is a small concentration, anywhere from 0.1% to 1% dilution. This small amount is safe for dogs and cats, yet it’s enough to repel fleas.
Just like a human would never swallow tea tree oil, it must never be given orally to pets.
You can also water down the tea tree oil and use it to spray on your sidewalks and pathways outside, in order to repel any fleas.
1. Tea Tree Oil Repellent for Pets Recipe
Gather together the following ingredients and supplies to make your simple tea tree oil recipes. There are two different treatment options. This one is suitable for dogs and cats, while the second option is suitable for dogs or cats who enjoy bathing.
- 1 tsp/5 ml tea tree oil.
- 1 cup/250 ml warm water.
- Measuring cups and spoons.
- Clean spray bottle—since you’re spraying on pets, buy from the dollar store rather than repurposing a chemical cleanser bottle.
Simply measure out the tea tree oil and the water and pour them into the spray bottle. Screw on the spray-cap lid. Shake it extremely well before usage.
How to Spray Tea Tree Oil on Pets
In order to use tea tree oil effectively for fleas, but safely for your dogs or cats, you need to dilute it first. This solution is simple to make in your home. Follow the steps above to make the solution and soon you’ll be able to treat your dogs and cats, and have flea-free pets.
- Take your pets outside before spraying them, as the oil can get onto surfaces, and it may erode wood floors or furniture. As you spray, the fleas will leap off your pets, so you don’t want that to happen inside.
- Spray your pet’s full coat with the tea tree oil. You should cover their eyes with your hand so that you don’t get any in their eyes.
- Keep your pet outdoors for at least 15 minutes after treatment.
- Allow the tea tree oil to dry on your pet. Discourage your cat from licking by playing with them or petting them until the oil dries.
- Reapply the tea tree oil at least once a day for a week.
- After a week you should see fewer fleas.
- Repeat spraying as required.
2. Tea Tree Oil Shampoo for Pets Recipe
Gather together the following ingredients and supplies to make a tea tree oil shampoo for your dogs, or your cats who enjoy being bathed. Some breeds, such as Maine Coon or Ragdoll cats actually enjoy the water. Just be sure to use warm water!
Collect together the following ingredients and supplies to make an effective tea tree oil and shampoo solution for your pets.
- One bottle of pet shampoo. (Some people like to pour the shampoo into a smaller bottle to make mixing easier.)
- 1 tsp/5 ml of oil for every 1 cup/250 ml of shampoo.
- Measuring cups and spoons.
- Pour the oil into the shampoo bottle.
- Close the cap and shake well.
- Shampoo your pet extremely well.
- Be sure to rinse all the shampoo out of their coat and skin.
- Repeat treatment once a day for about a week.
- Repeat shampooing if you see more fleas after that point.
How to Use Tea Tree Oil Around the Home to Repel Fleas
There are other ways you can use tea tree oil around your home in order to repel fleas. Be sure to use the same spray bottle mixture that you use on your pets. This is to avoid having your pets pick up the oil on their paws. Some pets are also known to lick substances, even if they’re harmful.
- Pour some tea tree oil in a small plastic container with a pet-tamper-proof lid with holes. Place this dish in a strategic spot near the door, but not where your pet will try to get into it.
- Spray a mixture on pathways and outer doorways of your home. This will discourage fleas and encourage them to get off your property.
- Spray outdoors in the regions where your pets likely to hang out or sleep.
Where to Spray Tea Tree Oil for Maximum Impact
A small bottle of tea tree oil can be used up fast. But you may wish to purchase a larger bottle if you are finding it effective in your home. To get started, you may wish to know the best spots to spray tea tree oil for maximum impact.
- Treat your pets first, then your yard.
- Spray your yard for the spots where pets commonly hang out.
- Think about how fleas are getting into your yard. They don’t just pop up out of nowhere.
- Spray portions of your yard that connect with your neighbour’s yard. If they have pets, most likely they have jumped from their pets into your yard, and then onto your pets.
- If you’re friendly with your neighbours, warn them about the fleas and suggest they treat their pets too. Don’t blame them for the fleas!
- Spray paved and concrete pathways, walkways, patios, balconies, and driveways first.
- Follow the steps ahead to learn more about how to prevent or get rid of fleas in your home.
Other Ways to Control Fleas in the Home
Fleas can be pests but are rarely harmful nowadays. In the past, they have harboured the plague and other types of bacteria. They can be as common as other insects, and hard to get rid of. Follow these steps so that you can have a relatively flea-free home. The trick is to keep up with regular house cleaning and exterior maintenance, otherwise they can come back.
- If you discover fleas on your pet, treat them with the tea tree oil outside, then leave them outside while you clean indoors.
- The vacuum cleaner is your first defense for indoors. Use your vacuum cleaner to vacuum all carpets and upholstered furniture.
- Vacuum your non-washable pet beds. In the future, you may wish to cover these pet beds with clean but old towels, blankets, or pillowcases, which simplifies cleaning in the future.
- Place your pet’s blankets and washable pet beds into the washing machine. You can simply use cold water, as fleas drown in water.
- Wash floors and flat surfaces with water and vinegar.
- If your pets sleep on your bed, wash your linens too.
- For outdoors, set your sprinklers to work on city-approved watering days. This will kill any fleas inside your lawns or your pathways.
- Use your garden hose with a spray nozzle and hose down all hard surfaces around your house.
- Consider keeping your cats indoors. They stay safer this way and are less likely to pick up fleas or get sick. You should never chain your dogs up outside. They get lonely and can get health issues. Dogs should be supervised and kept inside when you’re inside.
Precautions When Using on Pets
Follow these tips when using tea tree oil spray and your pets will be safe and comfortable in the summer months. Tea tree oil may be sold in child-proof caps with cautionary labeling but if your country doesn’t require this labelling, you should still be cautious.
- Never give tea tree oil orally to a pet.
- Store your essential oils at the top of a cupboard, away from children, pets, dampness, and heat.
- If your pet exhibits signs of vomiting, rashes, or weakness, take them to the vet immediately.
- Wash your pet’s back with water and dish soap if they show any reactions.
- Avoid direct contact with your own skin. The oil can feel irritating.
- If your pet continues to scratch themselves, it may not be the fleas, it may be a reaction to the tea tree oil.
- If you’re having a hard time eradicating fleas, you may have to take your pet to the clinic for treatment.
Closing Thoughts on Flea Repellents in the Home
Many people find that diluting tea tree oil with warm water to make a simple spray is all that’s needed to eradicate fleas from your pets and home. With a few other preventatives and home maintenance, you should be able to keep your pets flea-free over the coming warm months ahead.
Once the fleas are gone you’ll feel less squeamish, and your dogs and cats will be much happier knowing that they don’t have a small but itchy pest problem. Now your entire family can enjoy the hot summer ahead!