Oatmeal Bath for Dogs
You may have heard of oatmeal baths being good for our skin, but can it really work in the same manner for dogs? Well, you’d be surprised to know that even your furry best friend could benefit from this all-natural pampering as well.
What is an oatmeal dog bath?
These baths are typically done by dog owners as a means of soothing the itchiness on their pet’s skin. Now, there could be a variety of reasons why this happens. Some might be experiencing allergies or may have played in an area that irritated their skin. As with humans, this can be extremely uncomfortable and if your pets cannot stop scratching at the affected area, it can even lead to an infection.
Oatmeal baths help because oats contain polysaccharides which leave a protective layer on the skin; it can help prevent both dryness and itching. Aside from this, oatmeal is also rich in phenols and avenanthramides, both chemicals help with relieving irritation. This is why it is considered by many to be a great natural alternative to medicated shampoos — which may or may not contain ingredients that can actually further aggravate the situation. It isn’t uncommon for dogs to be allergic to the fragrances or chemical compounds in these shampoos so if you want to be on the safer side, homeopathic treatments are the safest options around.
What kind of oatmeal to use? Oats come in a number of forms when its specific use is as a breakfast food, but the best type that works for skin care purposes would be Colloidal Oatmeal. This is the variety that’s been grounded into powder and is specifically used for baths and pastes.
Benefits of oatmeal baths for canine skin problems:
- Nourishing damaged skin
- Balances skin pH levels
- Speeds up healing of any scratches
- Relieves symptoms of hot spots
- Sooths flea and tick bites
- Softens their fur
Now, you can opt to make your own oatmeal bath for your pet or purchase oatmeal shampoos off the shelf. There are many options available, however, so to help you choose the best kind here are some of the things you must look for. TIP: Always read the product label and ingredients list before you buy anything for your pet. Better safe than sorry!
- Vitamin E
- Tea Tree Oil
These three are the top ingredients when it comes to skin care. Do note, that what you use for yourself doesn’t necessarily mean that it would be fine for use on your pets as well. Always look for hypoallergenic products, especially if you know your dog to have sensitive skin. It would be best if you can speak to a vet as well before you make any purchases. They should be able to properly assess what your dog’s needs are and what would be best for them.
Preparing the an Oatmeal Bath for your Dog
If you’d rather prepare the bath by yourself, using ingredients found in your own home then here are two different methods that you can use.
The Oatmeal Soak Method
- If you don’t have colloidal oatmeal, you can opt to make some manually. First, blend a cup of plain and raw oatmeal in a blender or processor until it turns into fine powder. This makes it easier for it to dissolve in water. You can use regular or instant oatmeal for this.
- For your pet’s safety, always place a non-slip bathtub mat before you begin bathing them. Oatmeal will have a slippery texture to it and you would want your dog to be very comfortable during the process. It would keep them steady as well.
- Fill the tub with warm water until it reaches up to your dog’s chest when they stand up. Next, stir in some of the oatmeal and mix until it disappears in it completely.
- Get your pet in the bath and let them adjust to the water. If you feel as if they’re comfortable enough, slowly scoop up some of the water and carefully pour it all over your dog’s back, stomach and head. Always keep the water away from their eyes and nose.
- Continue doing this for about 10 to 15 minutes. If your pet starts becoming agitated, it might be helpful if you talk softly to them during the process. You can also distract them with some toys they can chew on whilst in the batch. 15 minutes may not seem like much to you, but for a scared dog, it could feel like an eternity.
- After 15 minutes has passed, carefully remove them from the bath. You don’t have to rinse their skin with non-oatmeal water. Allow it to stay and sink into their skin to get the full benefit of the bath. Do note that the solution would leave a protective layer on their skin so they might feel slippery for a bit of time. Dry their skin carefully with a clean towel.
The Oatmeal Rub Method
- Combine half a cup of plain, raw oatmeal with half a cup of water. For this, you can use regular or instant oatmeal. Mix until it becomes sticky in texture.
- Next, take a cheesecloth or an old stocking (make sure it’s clean) and place the oatmeal mix into it. Wrap it tightly and secure the ends with a rubber band.
- Again, prepare a non-slip mat for your dog before getting them into the bathtub. After that’s been prepped, you can fill the tub with some water and use a cup to rinse your dog’s skin. It has to be cleaned well before you begin the rub. Make sure that you use warm water for this!
- Next, rub the cloth filled with oatmeal all over your pet’s wet skin gently. Use circular motions and make sure that you cover the length of their body evenly. You can opt to focus a bit more on the affected areas to make sure that the healing benefits of the oats sinks well into their skin. Do this for about 5 to 10 minutes.
- Once done, lightly rinse their skin with warm water. You need not be very thorough with this as some leftover from the solution wouldn’t be an issue. Dry their fur and skin with a towel and if there are any small bits of oatmeal clinging to their skin or fur, don’t forget to clean it off.
How many times should you do the oatmeal bath?
Washing your pets often is important when it comes to maintaining proper hygiene and helping them avoid various skin issues. However, a lot of people don’t do this enough because they either:
- Lack the time
- Believe that frequent bathing can disturb skin pH
Whilst the latter might be true, it all depends upon the shampoo you’re using. If you use something naturally nourishing like an oatmeal bath, you would be able to bathe your path every other day. Thrice a week is the recommended number and it increases according to need—as mentioned earlier, if your pet is experiencing allergies then bathing them frequently is a must.
After bath care is just as important. Regular baths can leave their skin rather dry and flaky which might lead to itchiness. Avoid this by using natural essential oils after. This would keep their skin moisturized and protected.