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  #1  
Old 03-04-2012, 09:25 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Canada
Skin Irritation - Is Tea Tree Oil Ok?

Hi Everyone!

De Niro has a minor skin irritation and unfortunately he is a licker. Even with a cone on the crafty little sucker is able to get a good few licks in before I catch him. My vet has looked at it and is confident it's just some dry, itchy skin that he made worse from licking at night in his crate (to clarify, he is overdue for a bath, he has had 2 TPLO surgeries - he tore the other ligament literally the week he fully recovered from the first - and so we haven't wanted to chance a slippery bath on 2 unstable legs, he's getting one this week though). We got some skin cream the vet recommended but he still seems very itchy and not being able to lick has made him restless and a little anxious.

I read on the internet the suggestion to use Tea Tree oil especially because dogs hate the taste of it. I have some as I've used it on ithcy skin myself, so put a drop on my fingers and De Niro took one whiff and gave the "that's disgusting!" face - so it seems that it may solve my problem. BUT I also read that it can be toxic to dogs? So, two questions:

- Is it safe to use tea tree oil on his skin? (and if so how should it best be applied?)

- If it's not safe, any suggestions for how to soothe the itch and discomfort?

Thank you so much for any help.
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  #2  
Old 03-04-2012, 09:32 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: N Z
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Re: Skin Irritation - Is Tea Tree Oil Ok?

It's definitely not recommended for cats and smaller dogs, but is supposed to be ok for larger dogs. Personally though, I would not use it, as I've heard of dogs as large as Bullmastiffs having very a very severe reaction to it. Simply, for my own dogs I wouldn't take the risk.
What causes his irritation, have they been able to localise a cause ? You might find it's something that's become an unfortunate habit, and the boredom of being confined due to his surgery has increased the issue.
How about something soothing like Aloe Vera and Witch Hazel ?
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  #3  
Old 03-04-2012, 09:50 PM
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Location: Canada
Re: Skin Irritation - Is Tea Tree Oil Ok?

Hi ajemons, thanks for the reply :)

Yeah, our vet seemed to think it was a habit formed from boredom (he is a definite licker when he has a wound and such). Especially since aside from the maybe 2 weeks of solid exercise he had between injuries he has mostly been housebound since the end of May - that said he has been doing remarkably well, he was never a dog to get excited at the prospect of a walk but I can tell he's feeling the lack of them. At the moment he's only walking for about a total of 30 minutes a day, he seems to be taking this recovery a lot more slowly. So yeah, the actual cause of the irritation is likely innocent. The real problem has been the licking (which I think is mainly motivated by the itch).

I feel so bad for him, feels like it's been one issue after another for the last little while so I don't want to take the risk either. It just seems like there's so much contradictory information on these kinds of matters. So I will certainly try the aloe vera. Thanks :)
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  #4  
Old 03-04-2012, 10:14 PM
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Re: Skin Irritation - Is Tea Tree Oil Ok?

Yeh, I'm just not comfortable with the fact that it's bad for smaller dogs, how can it be perfectly harmless to a larger one. To my way of thinking the larger body just doesn't show the effects, but the potential for long term harm exists.
I believe the subject of 'entertaining' recouperating patients is discussed in other threads on this forum, maybe have a search around.
Good luck.
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  #5  
Old 03-05-2012, 07:57 AM
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Re: Skin Irritation - Is Tea Tree Oil Ok?

Jack, my 1 year old has severe flea bite dermititis and skin allergies if I change is food from anything besides TOTW. Even on flea prevention, if he gets one bite, it will set off a terrible reaction leaving him a bloody mess because he will chew and lick himself raw. The magical cure for me has been to thoroughly spray him down at least twice a day with a mixture of pure lavender oil and water. It keeps him from chewing and acts as an antiseptic to speed healing. It really does work wonders. As an added bonus, it repels fleas, so even if fleas die on contact from common preventions, they can still bite first, this repels them. Finally, it leaves them smelling great and is safe for carpets, furniture, etc without creating an oily mess. I love this stuff! Some people mix it with mineral or almond ol which may make it longer lasting, but I prefer water because it keeps him cleaner and my furniture unslimy :).
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  #6  
Old 03-05-2012, 01:39 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Canada
Re: Skin Irritation - Is Tea Tree Oil Ok?

Thanks for the suggestion btrtevino! Lavender also crossed my mind but again wasn't sure if it was safe for doggy skin :) I picked up some witch hazel this morning (couldn't find 100% aloe vera, just aloe vera mixed with stuff like lidocaine) and it seems to have calmed the redness a whole lot. He still licks a little but he'll stop with one "no" or calling his name whereas before you'd have to pull on his collar pretty good to get him away from it. So he seems a lot more comfortable. I have some lavender as well, so I'll give that a shot later on as well :) Thanks guys, I read some horror stories about tea tree oil and dogs last night so this is a big help!
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  #7  
Old 03-05-2012, 02:08 PM
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Re: Skin Irritation - Is Tea Tree Oil Ok?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sinead86 View Post
Yeah, our vet seemed to think it was a habit formed from boredom (he is a definite licker when he has a wound and such)
Just as an aside- my Amber would lick out of boredom. Since she was alone most of the day while we're at work this was a definite issue. We were able to help her break the habit by giving her a "hobby" . Puzzle toys such as the I Qube or Hide a Squirrel where the dog has to work to get the prize- both toys work on the same principle with is smaller stuffies inside of a larger one. Granted Amber eventually figured out how to cheat and would shake the larger toy until the smaller ones flew out but it still kept her busy (and tired her out). Also kongs. I'd stuff hers with cucumbers, carrots or a smear of peanut butter deep inside and she'd work on the thing for hours to get every last bit out. These things worked really well to keep her occupied during the day and to stop her from licking out of boredom.

Good luck!
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  #8  
Old 03-05-2012, 03:45 PM
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Re: Skin Irritation - Is Tea Tree Oil Ok?

Thanks Nina&Bill! Luckily I work from home so he's not alone too much :) Since the witch hazel didn't completely discourage the licking, I got him a deer antler today and soaked it in chicken bouillon so he's quite content and leaving his skin alone, yay!! I have been meaning to get him some of those puzzle toys you mentioned, I'll take a look at them. Can't wait until he's back to normal lol.
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  #9  
Old 03-05-2012, 06:01 PM
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Re: Skin Irritation - Is Tea Tree Oil Ok?

As long as you've found something to distract him and keep him occupied, that's great! Antlers would never have worked for Amber...she even turned up her nose at raw bones (she had her issues, my girl). I'm so glad that you found something to distract your boy.
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  #10  
Old 03-06-2012, 01:09 AM
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Re: Skin Irritation - Is Tea Tree Oil Ok?

I used it fine back in November on my girl Bella. It's a natural anti-fungal and good for hot spots. I did use an Elizabethan collar, but that collar was destroyed in under 36 hours.

Yes, it smells icky, but as long as the wound isn't open, it's okay to use. I also used Neosporin on the open parts until it healed, about 3-4x a day. Took a full 2 weeks.

If skin area is dry and flakey, use skin so soft by Avon, baby diaper rash lotion or the like.

Tea tree oil only needs a very small drop and just rub the entire paw. Thankfully my girl is not 'paw shy' , completely desensitized, so I was able to control and rub the oil in.
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  #11  
Old 03-06-2012, 09:10 AM
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Re: Skin Irritation - Is Tea Tree Oil Ok?

I've used tea tree oil for years on several different breeds of dogs...the one I buy is Miracle Coat - available in just about any pet store -it's got conditioners AND tt oil. Never had anything but a positive experience. It has soothing and antiseptic qualities...we use it for allergy season...no fleas/ticks/ just the itchies....I suspect from COOTIES, and it stops the itching right away!
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  #12  
Old 03-07-2012, 07:44 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Williamsburg, VA USA
Re: Skin Irritation - Is Tea Tree Oil Ok?

Keep in mind that with an irritated skin area like that, the normal epidermal barrier is compromised. This results in increased absorption of whatever you put on the skin.
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  #13  
Old 03-07-2012, 09:05 PM
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Re: Skin Irritation - Is Tea Tree Oil Ok?

Tea tree oil is good, I used it in conjunction with neem oil. Potent, stinky, fried onions smell! Vitamin E creme, or just vitamin e in capsules mixed with Vaseline before application. Put it on, give some yammy stuffed kong and you should be set for a while!
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