Is Oregano Oil Safe for Dogs?

In the world of essential oils, oregano oil has made a name for itself. With a wide range of benefits from antibacterial properties to anti-inflammatory effects, this has become a staple household item that many people swear by. But what about dogs? Does oregano offer the same effect or the opposite? In this article, we'll find out whether you can give your dog oregano oil, how to properly administer the oil, recognize potential risks, and maximize its healthful benefits.

Key Takeaways

  • Oregano oil can be beneficial for dogs when properly diluted and administered, offering antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory health benefits.

  • Safety is paramount; precautions must be taken for puppies, pregnant/nursing dogs, and those with health conditions or on medications.

  • Choosing the right type of oregano oil is crucial; opt for oil of oregano with a carrier oil when possible.

Can dogs have oregano oil?

The short answer is: Yes, oregano oil is safe for dogs, provided it is used correctly.

The following sections will cover the various forms of oregano oil, and the correct application & dilution techniques of each type to prevent negative reactions.

Types of oregano oil

You may come across a variation of names when researching oregano oil such as oregano essential oil, essential oil of oregano, pure oregano oil, and oil of oregano. Although these names sound similar, they are quite different in production and composition, which has a huge impact on how they should be used.

Oregano essential oil

Oregano essential oil (so-called pure oregano oil or essential oil of oregano) is produced through a distillation procedure. During this process, steam is used to vaporize the desired compounds in the oregano plant. These compounds then get extracted in a liquid form through a cooling system.

This method aims to preserve the purity of the essential oil as the steam keeps the plant from burning, thus producing a higher quality and more potent product. As a result, oregano essential oil is an incredibly concentrated extract.

If you're planning to add oregano essential oil, or any other essential oils to your dog's routine, make sure to dilute it first.

Oil of oregano

Oil of oregano, on the other hand, is made by infusing oregano leaves in a carrier oil, such as olive oil. The oregano leaves used for this are often dried beforehand to reduce the moisture level, which can negatively impact the purity and longevity of the end product.

A mixture of ground oregano leaves and carrier oil is stored in a glass jar, either at room temperature for about two weeks or placed in a double boiler for a couple of hours to speed up the infusing time. Oil of oregano, therefore, is much less potent and safer for direct use and application.

When shopping for oregano oil, we recommend choosing this type for ease of use. Make sure to look for a carrier oil on the label, such as almond, coconut, or rosehip oil.

Application, dosage & dilution

Topical application

Oil of oregano can be applied directly on the skin, thanks to its lighter potency. Make sure to do a patch test on a small area first, preferably in the back so that your dog can't lick it. Wait 24 hours to observe any adverse reaction, such as redness or itching.

If your dog shows no negative reaction, you can apply this mixture to a larger area, up to three to four times a day. Stay away from sensitive areas such as the eyes, nose, ears, and genitalia. Avoid applying it to open wounds or severely inflamed skin unless advised by your vet. Dogs often lick their paws, thus you may want to steer clear of this area as well.

Internal application

Additionally, dog owners can add one to two drops oil of oregano to their dog's food and water. Some also choose to mix it with toothpaste for boosted oral benefits.


In the case of applying oregano essential oil topically or orally, dilution is a must. Pure oregano oil is highly potent and can cause skin irritation or burns at direct contact. Mix one drop of pure oregano oil with one teaspoon of carrier oil before any application.


It's important to remember that the dosage provided above is generic. Various factors, such as your dog's weight, age, medications, and health conditions can influence the appropriate dosage. Consult with a veterinarian for expert advice on the suitable dosage.

Adverse reactions

When first applying oil of oregano, look out for signs of skin irritation including redness, itching, or a burning sensation. If ingested in large quantities, your dog may experience symptoms such as abdominal pain, vomiting, or diarrhea.

If you notice any adverse reactions, cease usage, dilute the affected area with parts fatty carrier oil, and consult a veterinarian immediately.

Special considerations for puppies and nursing dogs

A puppy's developing organ system may not be able to process or tolerate oil of oregano in the same way as adult dogs. This makes them more susceptible to negative side effects. Their skin is also very delicate, which makes it challenging for topical application.

Additionally, avoid oregano oil on pregnant and nursing dogs due to potential risks to both the mother and her puppies. Essential oils can be passed to puppies through the mother's milk, posing a risk to the extremely sensitive puppies.

If a veterinarian does approve the use of oregano oil for a specific condition, it will need to be extremely diluted and used in a very controlled, minimal dosage. However, given the risks, many vets might advise against its use entirely for these types of dogs.

Potential interactions with medications

Another essential consideration when using oregano oil is its potential interactions with medications your dog may be taking, leading to adverse effects or altering the effectiveness of the medications.

Oregano oil can increase the risk of bleeding in dogs taking anti-blood cot medications, and decrease blood sugar levels in diabetic dogs. Oregano oil is a natural antibiotic, and thus can potentially interact with antibiotic medications, either enhancing or diminishing their effects.

Always consult with a vet before using oregano oil alongside your dog’s medication to ensure safety.

Benefits of oregano oil for dogs

Oregano oil isn’t just a culinary staple; it’s a potent natural remedy with a variety of therapeutic uses. From supporting immunity to enhancing respiratory health and its anti-inflammatory properties, oregano oil can be a helpful addition to your canine companion’s wellness routine.

Strengthen immunity

Oregano oil’s powerful antimicrobial properties, including compounds like carvacrol and thymol, can help bolster your dog’s immune health. These compounds can be effective against a variety of bacteria, fungi, and viruses. By eliminating harmful microorganisms, it can effectively combat issues linked to ear infections and skin allergies. Scientific studies even support its use for antibiotic-resistant bacteria, underlining its potential in treating complex ailments.

Enhance respiratory health

Oregano oil’s antimicrobial and antifungal properties also make it a beneficial ally for your dog’s respiratory health. It can be used to treat infections that hinder your dog’s breathing, making it a natural solution for respiratory issues like kennel cough and respiratory infections. By acting as a natural expectorant, oregano oil can help alleviate respiratory issues and maintain a healthy respiratory system.


The anti-inflammatory properties of oregano oil can help reduce inflammation in dogs, making it a natural and effective alternative to conventional antibiotics in conditions like arthritis.

Improve oral health

By reducing bacteria in your dog’s mouth, oregano oil can help prevent gum disease and potential heart disease. You can add it to your dog’s toothpaste or apply it as part of their dental care routine after diluting it with a carrier oil.


Oregano oil, when used correctly and safely, can offer numerous health benefits for your canine companion. From supporting immunity and respiratory health to its anti-inflammatory properties, oregano oil can be a beneficial addition to your dog’s wellness routine. However, it’s important to always consider the precautions, choose the right product, and monitor your dog’s responses over time. Here’s to a healthier, happier life for your furry friend!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I give my dog oregano oil?

Yes, it is safe for dogs to consume oil of oregano, either in foods or as a topical application. Essential oil of oregano must be diluted properly before being given to a dog.

How to dilute oregano oil for dogs?

You can give your dog 1 drop of oregano oil mixed with a teaspoon of carrier oil, administered orally up to three times a day, or as directed by your veterinarian.

Is there a natural antibiotic for dogs?

Yes, several natural antibiotics can be used for dogs to treat minor infections and skin irritations such as turmeric and manuka honey.

What does oregano do for dogs?

Oregano can benefit dogs due to its antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties, which can aid in combating infections and reducing inflammation. However, it must be used cautiously and under veterinary supervision due to its potency and potential side effects.