Oh, oregano. Just thinking about it makes me hungry for a big ole bowl of pasta. It’s a staple in many dishes, and has many great natural properties that recommend it for health.

BUT, before you go sprinkling it on your dog’s food the next time you’re making a pot of spaghetti sauce, read this. There are important things to remember about oregano for dogs – the first being that it’s not as friendly for pets as it is for us!

In many cases, we’re all about this aromatic herb for dogs, but first, let’s discuss the benefits and how to use oregano for dogs safely.

Benefits of Oregano for Dogs

With powerful healing qualities that range from antibacterial to immune support, oregano – when used properly – has a variety of uses that can be wonderful for your furry friend!

The two main chemical compounds in oregano – carvacrol and thymol – are what give it most of its power, and where most of the benefits come from.

Benefits of oregano for dogs:

  • Antibiotic – can help kill bacteria like e.coli
  • Antioxidant – it has 4x more antioxidants than blueberries, so it’s great for fighting free radicals
  • Anti-fungal properties that can help fight parasites like giardiasis and ringworm
  • Anti-ulcer properties that can help improve gut health

Great – those are impressive…

Now, how can you use oregano safely?

Is Oregano for Dogs Safe?

Let’s start by noting that there are many different ways to use oregano. And while we might opt for fresh (or dried) for ourselves, that’s not the best approach for our canine companions.

The ASPCA lists oregano as toxic, and we don’t recommend feeding it to your dog fresh.

Although technically oregano is not very toxic, it may still cause intense digestive upset in your dog. This can include vomiting and diarrhea, which of course isn’t something we want. It has also been known to cause more serious side effects in some rare cases, such as decreased heart rate, low blood pressure, and ulcers in the gastrointestinal tract.

So, for these reasons, we say no to feeding the fresh or dried herb. There, nice and simple.

But that’s not the only form of oregano that exists.

Oil of Oregano vs. Oregano Essential Oil

Yes, they are different. Very much so in fact. And that difference is incredibly important to note when it comes to using oregano for dogs.

  • Oil of oregano is an oil that is extracted from the leaves of the oregano plant. It is then diluted in a carrier oil.
  • Oregano essential oil is just oregano oil. The extraction process is different, and it is a much more concentrated substance than oil of oregano.

So, one is far more potent that the other.

Our go-to is really only oil of oregano. Because of its potency, we err on the side of caution, and unless you’re comfortable with its use, or are using it alongside the guidance of a professional, that’s the only route we’d recommend.

To use it topically, for something like fungal a skin infection, mix one drop of oregano oil with a teaspoon of a carrier oil and apply it to the skin. You can do this up to 3-4 times daily.

To use it internally, use two to three drops in a teaspoon of a carrier oil (again, dilute, dilute, dilute) and give some to your dog 1-3 times a day, or based on the recommendation of your veterinarian. Start slow to see if your dog will tolerate it. And mix it with food (most dogs tend to be picky about the taste).

You can also add it to your dog’s toothpaste to 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. Just mix a drop of it into your dog’s normal toothpaste.

But we can’t just ignore that the essential oil exists, so we will say this: as with all essential oils, oregano essential oil for dogs needs to be used properly and carefully, and always make sure you’re using a therapeutic-grade product. Oregano oil can be applied topically or diffused, but don’t recommend giving it to your dog internally, and NEVER in its undiluted form.

Avoid oil of oregano and oregano essential oil for dogs who get seizures. 

There’s more on essential oils for pets at this post, both ones we recommend (and why) and how to use them safely.

So, is Oregano Safe for Dogs?

We’ve given you a lot to think about here. As you can see, the use of oregano as part of your dog’s health and wellness regimen is not to be taken lightly.


  • Avoid feeding your dog fresh (or dried) oregano
  • Never use undiluted oregano essential oil (or any undiluted essential oil) with your pet
  • Only use tiny amounts, especially at first
  • When in doubt, use in consultation with your trusted veterinarian