Oatmeal Bath for Dogs – What Are They & How do You Prepare One?

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This review guide was updated in November 2018.


You may have heard of oatmeal baths being good for your skin, but can they work in the same way for dogs?

Well, you’d be surprised to know that even your furry best friend can benefit from this all-natural pampering session.

What is an oatmeal dog bath?

Owners typically give oatmeal dog baths as a means of soothing the itchiness on their pet’s skin.

There can be a variety of reasons that lead to a dog’s itchy skin.

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 can’t 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; these 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 oatmeal baths are considered by many to be a great natural alternative to medicated shampoos — which may or may not contain ingredients that can 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 safe side, homeopathic treatments are the safest option around.

What kind of oatmeal to use? Oats come in many forms when its specific use is as a breakfast food, but the best type when it comes to soothing skin issues is Colloidal Oatmeal.

This is the variety that’s been grounded into powder and is used explicitly for baths and pastes.

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Benefits of oatmeal baths for dogs:

  • Nourishing damaged skin
  • Balances skin pH levels
  • Speeds up healing of any scratches
  • Relieves symptoms of hot spots
  • Soothes flea and tick bites
  • Softens their fur

Nowadays, 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!

Key ingredients of a great oatmeal product are:

  • Vitamin E
  • Tea Tree Oil
  • Aloe

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 is Ok for use on your pets as well.

Always look for hypoallergenic products, especially if you know your dog has sensitive skin.

We also advise you speak to a vet as well before you make any changes to your dogs grooming routine. They will be able to accurately assess what your dog’s needs are and what would be best for them.


dog standing in oatmeal bath


Preparing an Oatmeal Bath for your Dog

If you’d instead prepare the bath by yourself, using ingredients found in your own home, then there 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 want your dog to be very comfortable during the process, not slipping and sliding.
  • 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.
  • Place 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 while in the bath.

    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 soak into their skin to get the full benefit of the oatmeal bath.Do note that the solution will leave a protective layer on their skin so they might feel slippery for a short time afterward.

    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 soak 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 them off.

How Often Should You Give Your Dog an Oatmeal Bath?

Washing your dog often is crucial 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 either they:

  • Lack the time
  • Believe that frequent bathing can disturb skin pH

While the latter might be true, it all depends upon the oatmeal shampoo you’re using.

If you use something naturally nourishing like an oatmeal bath, you would be able to bathe your pet 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 will keep their skin moisturized and protected.

Not enough time to bath your pet? Check out waterless dog shampoos instead.

About the author

    Jenny Nolan

    Hey, I'm Jenny and along with Mom Sue the main contributor here at Cleaner Paws. As a mother-daughter partnership, we absolutely adore animals and together have over 40 plus years of pet grooming experience!

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