Oregano Oil for Dogs

With studies indicating that oregano’s power extends beyond the kitchen, enthusiasts from veterinary medicine to chicken farms are applying oregano oil as a safe alternative to traditional Western antibiotics. It’s potent, so carefully follow treatment advice from your veterinarian or other canine health practitioner when using this oil for your dog. And contact your veterinarian if your dog is running a fever, or has a deep or infected wound that is hot and painful to the touch.

Cute siberian husky puppy scratching
Oregano oil can potentially treat your dog's viral and bacterial infections.
credit: anurakpong/iStock/Getty Images

The Killer Ingredients

Oregano oil contains two powerful phenols -- chemical compounds -- that destroy harmful bacteria and microorganisms. In addition to using it to treat your dog’s illnesses and conditions causes by bacteria and fungi, it has also displayed effectiveness against viruses and some parasites. If your vet prescribes traditional antibiotic therapy, ask her about adding oregano oil in conjunction with your dog’s antibiotics; the addition may mean your dog can take a smaller dose of antibiotics. Oregano oil is also known to minimize negative side effects of certain antibiotics.

Dosing for Illnesses and Infections

Janet Roark, a veterinarian from Austin, Texas, advises dog lovers to dilute oregano oil in most cases, whether administered topically or orally. For topical applications, such as fungal skin conditions, mix one drop with a teaspoon of a carrier oil, such as olive oil. When giving orally, use two to three drops in a teaspoon of oil and give to your pup three times a day, or per your health practitioner’s instructions. Coconut oil also works as a carrier oil for internal dosing.

Roark only uses therapeutic-grade oregano oil in her practice and cautions that any lesser grade can negatively impact the oil’s effectiveness. You can make your own by mixing one-half teaspoon of high-quality dried oregano with one-half to 1 ounce of olive oil. Let the mixture sit for 24 to 48 hours, then dilute as you would a commercially purchased essential oil.

Ear Mites

Ear mites are stubborn and require a higher concentration; try 15 drops to 1 ounce of carrier oil. Put five to 20 drops of this mix into each ear every day. You can also purchase commercial preparations specifically prepared for canine ears that do not need diluting. Never put oregano oil in your dog’s ears to treat a suspected ear infection without having your pet’s ears checked to ensure the correct diagnosis and that his eardrums are intact.

Side Effects

Oregano oil is so potent that it also kills the menacing methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus -- commonly referred to as MRSA -- that is resistant to many popular antibiotics. That power is also why Roark advises dog owners to dilute oregano oil, especially when using on your dog’s skin for the first time. When properly diluted, oregano oil is considered extremely safe whether taken orally or applied topically, but don’t increase your dog’s dose without contacting your pet’s health practitioner or veterinarian. If you notice any skin irritation on your dog, discontinue use immediately.