If you haven’t heard of oil of oregano, you’re missing out. It can help fight some of the most common health problems in dogs including ear infections, yeast infections and even cancer. And it can do it without the harmful side effects of conventional antibiotics and antifungals.
Which is The Right Oil Of Oregano?
There can be some confusion when it comes to oil of oregano. So before you learn how amazing it can be for your dog … you should know the difference between oil of oregano, oregano essential oil, and oregano oil.
Choose Oil Of Oregano For Your Dog
Oil of oregano is a concentrated extract that’s prediluted in a carrier oil, such as olive oil or almond oil. It contains the active ingredient carvacrol (more on this later) and you can use it topically or orally for healing.
Oil of oregano is sometimes called oregano oil extract or oregano oil (to make things confusing). But in this article, we’ll just call it oil of oregano. You can find oil of oregano with the vitamins and other supplements in grocery stores, pharmacies and health food stores.
Caution: When you buy oil of oregano, be sure it’s prediluted in a carrier oil. If you’re unsure, find another product or dilute it before using it.
Can You Use Oregano Essential Oil?
Oregano essential oil is also a concentrated extract from the oregano plant but it’s much more potent. Look for a product made by drying leaves and then extracting the oil using steam distillation. This protects the potency and purity of the essential oil.
Oregano essential oil also contains carvacrol so it can also offer medicinal benefits. But because it’s more potent than oil of oregano … you should only use it internally if you’ve consulted a professional.
Oregano essential oil is safe to use for aromatherapy or topically after it’s been diluted with carrier oil.
Don’t Use Oregano Oil
Oregano oil is oil that’s infused with oregano. It’s used for cooking to add flavor to your food. You can find it at grocery and specialty food stores but it doesn’t have any medicinal benefits.
7 Ways To Use Oil Of Oregano For Your Dog
Here are 7 important ways oil of oregano and oregano essential oil can help your dog.
Oil of oregano’s claim to fame is that it’s a natural antibiotic. This is thanks to the carvacrol it contains. Carvacrol is an organic compound known as a phenol, which gives oregano it’s taste and aroma. While there are many phenols in oil of oregano, carvacrol is the most abundant. It’s also found in oregano essential oil.
Studies show carvacrol can stop the growth of many different bacteria. That includes MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), which causes staph infection. Oil of oregano may even work for antibiotic resistant bacteria like E coli and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. (P aeruginosa is a common cause of ear infections, which you’ll learn more about in a bit).
Combined with cinnamon bark, oregano essential oil is even more effective. In one study the combination completely eradicated the bacteria that causes Lyme disease (B burgdorferi).
Another study shows that it’s just as effective as conventional antibiotics. And it doesn’t have any of the negative side effects conventional drugs have. It’s even used in chicken feed to replace antibiotics.
Carvacrol isn’t just an antibiotic, it’s also one of three major antioxidants found in oregano. The other two are thymol and rosmarinic acid.
Out of 39 commonly used herbs (culinary and medicinal), oregano had the highest concentration of antioxidants. And gram for gram, it has 4x more antioxidants than blueberries and 42x more than apples.
Fights Yeast Infections
Yeast overgrowths are a major cause of ear infections in dogs and can cause skin and gut issues as well. Conventional vets will prescribe antifungal medications. The problem is that these drugs have harmful side effects and yeast can build up resistance to them.
Oil of oregano is a natural yeast fighter thanks to carvacrol and thymol, which is a natural antifungal. Studies on dogs show it could even be an effective alternative treatment to conventional meds.
In one study oregano essential oil was effective against 5 different types of Candida yeast. And another showed that carvacrol may even help fight oral candida.
Improves Gut Health
Earlier you learned that oil of oregano can kill E coli and other harmful bacteria. This alone helps improve your dog’s gut health. But oil of oregano can do so much more.
Leaky gut is becoming an epidemic in dogs. It happens when the intestinal lining of your dog’s gut gets damaged and lets foreign substances leak into your dog’s bloodstream. This includes food particulates, bacteria, viruses and other microbes. Over time, these invaders can cause food allergies, inflammation and chronic disease.
Oregano essential oil can help improve leaky gut by strengthening your dog’s intestinal lining. This stops invaders from leaking into your dog’s bloodstream. Carvacrol also has anti-ulcer properties that help improve gut health.
Helps Fight Parasites
Oil of oregano can also help fight parasites. In a 6 week study, 600 mg of oil of oregano reduced parasites in human participants. 77% of participants were completely cured. It’s also effective for giardia and as a dewormer.
Oregano essential oil can also help with ringworm because of its antifungal properties. Ringworm is a fungal infection on the skin caused by mold like parasites. (The same antifungal properties can also help fight valley fever.)
Helps Prevent Cancer
The antioxidants in oregano oil help prevent free radicals that increase the risk of cancer. But Carvacrol has an even more direct effect.
In a test tube study, carvacrol helped inhibit cell growth and increased cancer cell death.
Ear And Skin Issues
In fact, one study looked at the effectiveness of oregano and thyme essential oils for ear infections. They tested the combination on 100 bacteria and fungus associated with ear infections in dogs. In vitro, the combination was so effective it even killed highly drug-resistant bacteria and fungus.
How To Use Oil Of Oregano For Your Dog
Most oil of oregano is prediluted so it should be safe for internal use. But be sure to read the bottle carefully. If the product does not contain a carrier oil, look for a different one or follow the instructions for essential oils below.
To give it to your dog internally, add a drop or two in your dog’s food. This should help protect your dog against bacterial, viral and fungal infections. It can also help prevent waterborne illnesses.
You can also add it to your dog’s toothpaste to help with oral health. This will help reduce bacteria in your dog’s mouth. And that’s important because the bacteria that causes gum disease may also lead to heart disease.
Topically, you can apply oregano oil to skin 3 to 4 times daily. For ears, you can add oregano essential oil to 1 oz of warm aloe vera juice or use prediluted oil of oregano. Soak a cotton ball in the oil and clean the visible parts of the ear.
How To Use Oregano Essential Oil
Oregano essential oil shouldn’t be used internally without the guidance of a professional. But you can use oregano essential oil topically … so long as you dilute it first. To do this, add 1 to 3 drops of oregano essential oil to a teaspoon of olive, almond or other carrier oil.
Cautions With Oregano Essential Oil
Don’t forget to dilute your essential oil … otherwise it can burn, be overpowering or make your dog sick.
Avoid oil of oregano and oregano essential oil for dogs who get seizures. Contact your holistic vet if you have any concerns about giving your dog oil of oregano.
Oil of oregano and oregano essential oil can both be powerful natural remedies for your dog. And when used correctly, you can benefit from a natural antibiotic and antifungal alternative that’s free of harmful side effects.
Paddock C. Himalayan oregano effective against MRSA. Medical News Today. 24 Nov 2008.
Preuss HG et al. Effects of essential oils and monolaurin on staphylococcus aureus: In vitro and in vivo studies. Toxicol Mech Methods. 2005;15(4):279-85.
Sienkiewicz M et al. The antibacterial activity of oregano essential oil (Origanum heracleoticum L.) against clinical strains of escherichia coli and pseudomonas aeruginosa. Med Dosw Mikrobiol. 2012;64(4):297-307.
Man A, Santacroce L, Jacob R, Mare A, Man L. Antimicrobial activity of six essential oils against a group of human pathogens: A comparative Study [published correction appears in Pathogens. Pathogens. 2019;8(1):15.
Feng J, Zhang S, Shi W, Zubcevik N, Miklossy J, Zhang Y. Selective essential oils from spice or culinary herbs have high activity against stationary phase and biofilm borrelia burgdorferi. Front Med (Lausanne). 2017;4:169.
Llana-Ruiz-Cabello M, Gutiérrez-Praena D, Puerto M, Pichardo S, Jos Á, Cameán AM. In vitro pro-oxidant/antioxidant role of carvacrol, thymol and their mixture in the intestinal Caco-2 cell line. Toxicol In Vitro. 2015 Jun;29(4):647-56.
Zheng W, Wang SY. Antioxidant activity and phenolic compounds in selected herbs. J Agric Food Chem. 2001 Nov;49(11):5165-70.
Pozzatti P, Scheid LA, Spader TB, Atayde ML, Santurio JM, Alves SH. In vitro activity of essential oils extracted from plants used as spices against fluconazole-resistant and fluconazole-susceptible Candida spp. Can J Microbiol. 2008 Nov;54(11):950-6.
Marcos-Arias C, Eraso E, Madariaga L, Quindós G. In vitro activities of natural products against oral Candida isolates from denture wearers. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2011 Nov 26;11:119.
Cleff MB, Meinerz AR, Xavier M, et al. In vitro activity of origanum vulgare essential oil against candida species. Braz J Microbiol. 2010;41(1):116-123.
Force M, Sparks WS, Ronzio RA. Inhibition of enteric parasites by emulsified oil of oregano in vivo. Phytother Res. 2000 May;14(3):213-4.
Zou Y, Xiang Q, Wang J, Peng J, Wei H. Oregano essential oil improves intestinal morphology and expression of tight junction proteins associated with modulation of selected intestinal bacteria and immune status in a pig model. Biomed Res Int. 2016;2016:5436738.
Bukovská A, Cikos S, Juhás S, Il’ková G, Rehák P, Koppel J. Effects of a combination of thyme and oregano essential oils on TNBS-induced colitis in mice. Mediators Inflamm. 2007;2007:23296.
Study shows oregano essential oil’s ability to reduce parasite infectivity. Food Science & Human Nutrition. 2018.
Ponce-Macotela M, Rufino-González Y, González-Maciel A, Reynoso-Robles R, Martínez-Gordillo MN. Oregano (Lippia spp.) kills Giardia intestinalis trophozoites in vitro: antigiardiasic activity and ultrastructural damage. Parasitol Res. 2006 May;98(6):557-60.
Jung CY, Kim SY, Lee C. Carvacrol targets AXL to inhibit cell proliferation and migration in non-small cell lung cancer cells. Anticancer Res. 2018 Jan;38(1):279-286.
Yin QH, Yan FX, Zu XY, et al. Anti-proliferative and pro-apoptotic effect of carvacrol on human hepatocellular carcinoma cell line HepG-2. Cytotechnology. 2012;64(1):43-51.
Arunasree KM. Anti-proliferative effects of carvacrol on a human metastatic breast cancer cell line, MDA-MB 231. Phytomedicine. 2010 Jul;17(8-9):581-8.
Sim J et al. Antimicrobial activity of thyme oil, oregano oil, thymol and carvacrol against sensitive and resistant microbial isolates from dogs with otitis externa. Veterinary Dermatology. Sep 2019.