Is Tea Tree Oil Safe For Rabbits

Is Tea Tree Oil Safe For Rabbits?

Way back in the stone age when I was a teenager, I used Tea Tree oil on a cotton ball to clean my face. In addition, my mother used to use tea tree oil to repel insects when we ate at the picnic table in the backyard. And nowadays, we know of experienced rabbit owners that use tea tree oil to combat ear mites in their rabbits.

Clearly, this oil has many different uses, but before you use it on your rabbits, you may want to know Is Tea Tree Oil Safe For Rabbits?

No, tea tree oil is not safe for rabbits. It is toxic to rabbits, particularly if they ingest it.

Only when properly diluted and then carefully and skillfully applied, should it be considered for your rabbits. It only takes a small amount of this essential oil to poison a rabbit.

Why Are Essential Oil Diffusers and Nebulizers
Potentially Harmful To Your House Rabbit? – Read On To Learn!

The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene notes that Tea tree oil is an essential oil that is distilled from the leaves of the native Australian melaleuca plant (Melaleuca alternifolia). 

For many years it has been used to treat many kinds of medical ailments. It is a natural bactericide (kills bacteria), a fungicide (kills fungus), an anti-parasitic (kills parasites), and an anti-inflammatory (reduces inflammation and swelling). 

In particular, it has wide use as a topical skin treatment for skin infections such as scabies, caused by the acarine itch mite. 

Is Tea Tree Oil Toxic To Rabbits

Yes, the essential oil from the melaleuca plant known as tea tree oil is toxic to rabbits.  

The commercial pet and bunny products that include tea tree oil only do so because they have properly diluted the amount of tea tree oil within the product to be suitable for their advertised use.     

This Clinical Microbiology Review article provides a review of some wonderful medicinal properties associated with tea tree oil. Similarly, this Healthline article praises the benefits of tea tree oil.

However, as pet owners, we have to be keenly aware that what is good for us humans is not always good or even safe for our pets, like our bunny rabbits.

Essential Oils for Rabbits

Essential Oils For Rabbits

Although essential oils are natural and have many homeopathic uses, we advise against using essential oils with your rabbits. 

Why is that?

Because most true essential oils are very concentrated.  A rabbit does not find these high concentrations naturally in its environment and they can be harmful and even poisonous to rabbits. 

Your rabbit can come into contact with tea tree oil by ingesting it, absorbing it via their sensitive skin, or by inhaling tea tree oil fumes.  All three of these contact pathways are very dangerous for your rabbit. 

Additionally, if you’re using tea tree oil as a natural home cleaning agent, your house rabbit may be at risk of poisoning.  A house rabbit may be also exposed to essential oils if you are diffusing essential oils in your home.  

A water based diffuser disperses essential oils into the air along with water mist, so the essential oil is somewhat diffused, while a nebulizer diffuser dispenses pure oil into the air. If you have a house bunny and choose to diffuse essential oils, please be very careful. 

Essential Oil Diffuser And Rabbits

Tea Tree Oil For Ear Mites In Rabbits

Many experienced rabbit owners have recommended the topical use of tea tree oil to cure ear mites in rabbits as tea tree oil is very effective at killing parasites. 

However, here at Hobby Farm Heaven, we recommend you take your rabbit to the veterinarian to treat ear mites. 

Tea Tree Oil for Fleas On Rabbits

We acknowledge that some retail shampoos and sprays for treating fleas contain tea tree oil.  However, please understand that the quantity of tea tree oil in these commercial products is very small and very diluted.

Further, the commercial companies have the equipment and expertise to create the proper formulas and solutions. In contrast, most rabbit owners (including myself!) do not have the expertise to properly dilute and apply tea tree oil. 

As a result, our Hobby Farm Heaven recommendation is to call your veterinarian regarding how to treat fleas on your rabbit. 

Can Tea Tree Oil For Ringworm On Rabbits

Tea tree oil is effective on ringworm, but it is poisonous to your rabbit. 

If your veterinarian recommends or prescribes a topical application to combat the ringworm, that medicine may include tea tree oil.  Please understand that the tea tree oil in the veterinarian prescribed medicine has been properly diluted so that it is safe for your rabbit. 

We do not recommend that rabbit owners create their own home remedies using tea tree oil.  

Tea Tree Oil for Claw Fungus on Rabbits

As an antifungal, tea tree oil is efficacious for treating claw fungus on rabbits. 

However, the tea tree oil needs to be properly diluted or it can be poisonous, even lethal, to your rabbit.  We strongly recommend contacting your veterinarian in lieu of using a tea tree oil home remedy to treat claw fungus on your bunnies. 

Beautiful Tea Tree Blossoms

Signs of Tea Tree Essential Oil Poisoning in Rabbits

A mild poisoning is often hard to detect.  Clearly a stronger dose of poisoning will show itself in one or more of the following symptoms in your bunny.

  • Tremors, Shaking
  • Drooling
  • Unstable walking, as if the bunny is drunk
  • Inability to hop
  • Loss of Consciousness  

Here is a video about (Not) using essential oil diffusers near your house pets – including bunnies!

Is Tea Tree Oil Harmful To Bunnies?

Yes, tea tree oil is very concentrated and is harmful for your rabbit to ingest, absorb through the skin. Even breathing in tea tree oil vapors may harm your rabbit. 

Properly diluted tea tree oil can be very helpful for your rabbit, particularly for topical treatment of parasites.  But we recommend you consult your veterinarian in lieu of creating your own essential oil home remedies for your rabbits. 

What Essential Oils Are Toxic To Bunnies?

All essential oils are naturally heavily concentrated.  As such, It is safest to assume that all essential oils are toxic to your bunny unless they are properly diluted for a specific application on your rabbit. 

Most bunny owners don’t have the instruments or technical skills to competently dilute essential oils. Further, it is often hard to know or confirm the purity and concentration of the essential oil!

Final Thoughts on Tea Tree Oil For Rabbits

Similar to Apple Cider Vinegar, tea tree oil is a very useful natural compound that humans can use for a variety of purposes.

However, it is very toxic for rabbits and should only be used on or near rabbits when properly diluted. 

Here at Hobby Farm Heaven we recommend against the use of tea tree oil home remedies for treating infestations of mites, ringworm, and fungus on your rabbits. Instead, we recommend that you proactively contact your veterinarian.

Here is to healthy and happy rabbits!

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