I feel tremendous guilt and remorse over the death of my 9 year old Shih Tzu, Snoopy. He died on December 13th, a Friday, after showing signs of severe illness on Wednesday night/Thursday morning. Around the prior Sunday-Monday, I had placed 100% tea tree oil down on the floor in a very large quantity, although in a single spot. This was very stupid and short-sighted of me, especially being that I regard myself as someone who understands chemical toxins (I try to live a holistic lifestyle) and don’t use any chemical products in the house. It smelled very strong where I had placed it down and the smell had persisted for a long while after. I had great uses with essential oils in the past so I never thought they could be so toxic and harmful and I didn’t take the time to look up what the possible risks are. On that Wednesday, I went out and left him alone for 12 hours, early in the morning, which I had never really done before, but he was with my mom who went out around 4 pm and thus he was alone for about another 7-8 hours. The area I placed the tea tree oil down is the same place he always goes to pee (I was putting it down there to cover up the lingering scent of a previously cleaned mess) He seemed to match many of the symptoms of tea tree oil poisoning. My speculation is that he licked his paws after he peed where the tea tree oil was (which he did frequently to clean his paws of any residual urine) When I took him to the vet right after he died, they said it was likely heart failure and that it probably wasn’t the tea tree oil, but I can’t help but feel extreme guilt and despair over it. They also said that he had something lodged in his throat and we still do not know what it is, but we will find out soon I suppose. He was never one to put random things in his mouth like that, at least not that I knew of. He was always a very smart boy and wouldn’t pick up random things. Despite this, I strongly believe that if I hadn’t put it down on the floor he would still be here. We are having his body examined via necropsy from a local institution. I wish his life wasn’t cut short. I want him back so badly and it kills me inside to think he’s gone because of me. I can’t live with the guilt and shame. I can’t bare that I cost myself my best friend from such a stupidly simple and avoidable decision

Snoopy February 23 2010 - December 13 2019
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I am so very sorry about your sudden loss of Snoopy. I understand how you must blame yourself.
But like you, I didn't realise tea tree oil could be toxic. I think cats are more sensitive to it than dogs, but still I had no idea, and only learned that the last couple of years or so.
I am very very lucky I never used it when my dog was with me.

But....one thing that always happens when any loved one has passed like this is -we always examine everything we did in minute detail, and are filled with guilt -sure that something we did or didn't do, has contributed to or caused their death.

I think this awful pain affects everyone, no matter how their lttle ones passed.
It may be a part of shock, but I feel it's certainly a huge part of grieving.

It is just possible that the heart attack was the cause of your Snoopy's passing , and not to do with the tea tree oil at all.
If he went to that spot you had treated with the oil, just to pee, then I can imagine the scent would be unpleasant for a dog. Unless you could see he had peed again on that spot, then it's quite likely the overpowering scent put him off, and he peed just away from it??

I don't think the smell is toxic for them, just horribly unpleasant, and would probably make a dog back off -quickly. I think they would actually have to ingest a certain amount of it.
I don't know. That's just my imagination at work. I may be wrong.

I think your decision to have a necropsy may be a good idea, because if they find that Snoopy died from a massive heart attack or stroke, then I think it was highly likely NOT to be connected with the oil.
But I am sure the cause of death will be revealed.

I am very sorry for your loss of Snoopy, bless his Soul. My kindest thoughts sent out to you. You must have had a rotten Christmas.
Hold the love like a little light. It is all you have, or will ever have, to find your way home.

Misty's Blog..a Dogfight with Cancer http://www.mistysblog69.blogspot.co.uk

Misty's life after death: http://www.dog2spirit.com
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Thank you. We think it might have been a heart attack/heart failure or even stroke. I really appreciate your kind and comforting words. We are puzzled as to what could have been stuck in his throat. The vet said one of their technicians had chipped a nail trying to remove it, so it must be something hard and solid. It could be something he picked up and tried to swallow or something he regurgitated. I miss him more than words can describe, and indeed, I did have a truly rotten holiday season this year. I thank God that I got to enjoy that last thanksgiving with Snoopy a little over a month ago. It was always his favorite holiday. He loved fresh turkey and all the other dishes. Thanksgiving is always a feast for my family, Snoopy included. Thank you misty
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