Recently, studies have shown an increasingly bright light on the potential health benefits of oregano oil for dogs. Oregano oil (or oil of oregano, which means it has already been diluted in a carrier oil) has anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal and anti-parasitic properties. But as with all essential oils, oregano oil for dogs needs to be used properly and carefully, with the emphasis on finding a therapeutic-grade product.
Oregano oil for dogs can be applied orally, topically or diffused, but it should never be administered to your dog in its undiluted form. Because of its potency, you need to follow treatment advice from your veterinarian or other canine health expert when using oregano oil for dogs.
Oregano oil contains two powerhouse chemical compounds — carvacrol and thymol, to be exact — that can destroy harmful bacteria and microorganisms.
While oregano oil for dogs has proven successful at treating canine illnesses caused by bacteria and fungi, it has also worked to combat certain parasites and viruses. Oregano oil also contains cancer-fighting polyphenols and fights free radicals.
Some things oregano oil for dogs can combat
It can also be used in conjunction with traditional antibiotic therapy — with your veterinarian’s input, of course. Oregano oil for dogs can help to minimize the side effects of certain antibiotics, too.
One of the most exciting aspects of using oregano oil for dogs in place of traditional antibiotics (or in addition to traditional antibiotics) is that germs cannot become resistant to its effectiveness like they can with medicinal antibiotics. This resistance can result in “super-bugs” that are not treatable. Oregano oil for dogs holds great promise for solving this problem with Western medications.
“Every time essential oils are harvested, they’re a little bit different because they are constantly changing,” explains Melissa Shelton, DVM, a holistic practitioner with a specific focus on essential oils for animals. “Their ability to function as antibiotics evolves just as bacteria evolve, because otherwise, the oils would become extinct. They must evolve in order to fight off evolving bacteria. Man-made drugs can’t do that. Once they’re created in a laboratory and patented, they remain the same forever. So essential oils are amazing in that they continually evolve.”
Or course, never use oregano oil for dogs in place of or in addition to antibiotics without checking in with your vet first.
For topical applications, like fungal skin conditions, mix one drop of oregano oil for dogs with a teaspoon of a carrier oil (high-quality olive oil or coconut oil are good ones to use). When giving oregano oil for dogs orally, use two to three drops in a teaspoon of a carrier oil, and administer to your dog three times a day, or based on the recommendation of your dog’s veterinarian.
If you’d like to make your own oregano oil for dogs, you can mix half a teaspoon of high-quality dried oregano with one-half to one ounce of olive oil. Let the mixture sit for a day or two, and then you dilute it as you would with a store-bought essential oil.
Please note: This is a general dosage. The proper dosage for your dog can have many factors like weight, age and purpose of use. Always check with a holistic vet to get professional insight into recommended dosage and to see if it’s safe to use oregano oil with your dog’s specific health issues and medications.
When properly diluted, oregano oil for dogs is considered extremely safe whether it is taken orally or applied topically — but don’t increase your dog’s dose without first contacting your pet’s health practitioner or veterinarian. If you notice any skin irritation, discontinue use immediately.
Other things to keep in mind whenever you use any essential oil is to know your dog’s current health status and check with your vet to be sure that it is safe to use for your specific pet. Keep a close eye on your dog’s reaction and discontinue use if you notice any adverse reactions.
Never use essential oils around your pet’s eyes, nose and genitals. And you don’t add essential oils to your dog’s food or drinking water unless your vet says it’s okay. Additionally, don’t use essential oils with puppies under the age of 10 weeks old, dogs that are prone to seizures, or if your dog is pregnant or nursing. Be careful using oregano oil for dogs with bleeding disorders as it may increase the risk of bleeding. Oregano can also lower blood sugar, so use it with caution for diabetic dogs.
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Writer Elizabeth Vecsi lives in the Hudson Valley with her five cats. Over the past two decades, she has been an editor and writer for various pet publications, including Cornell’s Dogwatch.