We recently came across a post on Facebook about a dog being poisoned by essential oils - tea tree oil being one of the worst. Someone had gone out and left their diffuser on. When they returned, their dog was very poorly. His symptoms were - disorientation and confusion. Thankfully the dog in question is in recovery because of the quick treatment he received, but not all are so lucky. The vets are saying that they are seeing more and more of these cases as the popularity of essential oils continues to grow.

Essential oils can contain ingredients that are toxic to dogs and cats so pet owners need to be aware of harmful products and know what the signs are to spot if their pet has come in to contact with the product.

Level of toxicity

Generally moderate to severe, life-threatening.

Common signs to watch out for

Symptoms of tea tree oil poisoning can vary from animal to animal and are dependent on the quantity ingested:

  • Muscle weakness
  • Loss of coordination
  • Vomiting
  • Drop in body temperature
  • Drooling
  • Collapse
  • Depression
  • Skin rashes
  • Seizures (in severe cases)
  • Pneumonia (from inhalation)


Treatment will depend on the severity of the toxicity. If your dog or cat has been exposed to tea tree oil, call your vet or Pet Poison helpline immediately for advice. You should hydrate your pet so that he/she may respond better to treatment.

With quick and proper treatment, your pet should have a good chance of recovery.

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