Oregano oil has a reputation for being one of the most effective natural antibiotics. Very minute amounts are effective to prevent microbial growth. This type of essential oil is "hot," meaning it can burn your dog's skin and leave him in severe pain if it is not diluted enough. Contact your vet to ensure you get the proper dosage and dilution to avoid making your dog's problem worse.
Oregano can be toxic
The secret to successfully using oil of oregano for dogs is to use only a drop or two diluted in a carrier oil. Coconut oil is a good choice because of its anti-microbial effects. Add one tiny drop of oregano oil to a teaspoon of carrier oil if you're using the oil on skin. Add two drops per teaspoon for internal usage.
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Besides causing painful burning to body tissues if not diluted, giving too much to your dog can be harmful. Symptoms include gastrointestinal distress, such as diarrhea and vomiting. Your dog might also drool, rub her face, cry or whine, shake her head repeatedly, or squint.
If you feel your dog is getting burned by the oil either topically or internally, don't rinse with water or try to make her drink. Water only intensifies the burning sensation of oregano oil. Instead, slather the area with carrier oil, such as coconut oil. Many dogs will readily eat coconut oil, making it an effective way to dilute the oregano immediately to relieve her distress before calling your veterinarian.
Oregano oil benefits
Oil of oregano has long been used by farmers as an anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-parasitic, and anti-fungal treatment for livestock and poultry. Its healing properties come from the powerful natural phenols thymol and carvacrol.
As its name implies, thymol is also found in the herb thyme, and this natural chemical has been used as a pesticide and animal deterrent since at least the 1940s. It is toxic to mice and guinea pigs but is generally safe for other vertebrates. This is not so for microorganisms. Its powerful compounds are useful in killing bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites, making it one of the most versatile ingredients for animal illness.
Carvacrol is a powerhouse ingredient that is also found in thyme, bergamot, and several other herbs. In addition to anti-microbial properties, it also has anti-cancer and anti-oxidant qualities.
Oil of oregano for dogs
It can be tempting to reach for a bottle of oil of oregano for dogs if your pet appears itchy or seems to not be feeling well. Although oregano oil is powerful, you should check with your vet first before administering it either topically or internally.
For topical use, dilute no more than one drop of oil in 1 teaspoon of coconut oil for use on your dog's skin to help with skin conditions or to repel pests. If your dog has ear mites, the phenols in the oregano oil can help eliminate them. However, your vet should check to make sure your dog's eardrum and skin surface inside the ear are intact to avoid a painful and potentially toxic reaction.
For internal use, add 2 to 3 drops of oregano oil to coconut oil or another carrier oil. Coconut oil contains beneficial components that are anti-fungal and anti-bacterial and can help soothe digestion. Oil of oregano for dogs can be used to assist antibiotics and, in many instances, be used in place of them.
- American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: Oregano
- Great Pet Care: Oregano Oil for Dogs: Benefits and Uses
- Veterinarians.org: Natural Antibiotics for Dogs: Are They Effective?
- Alternative Veterinarian: The Best Natural Antibiotics for Your Dog
- National Library of Medicine: Carvacrol and Human Health: A Comprehensive Review
- American Kennel Club: Coconut Oil for Dogs: Is it Really Good for Them?
- PubChem: Thymol