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Soothing Your Dog's Itchy Skin With an Oatmeal Bath

Oatmeal baths can be a great way to relieve your dog's itchy, irritated skin. Today our Winston-Salem vets share a few tips on how to give your pup a relaxing oatmeal bath to pamper and soothe their skin. 


Why You Should Consider an Oatmeal Bath for Your Dog

Irritating skin issues are fairly common in dogs. Dry itchy skin or other dermatological issues can be uncomfortable for your pup, and frustrating for you. Skin issues in dogs can stem from anything from food allergies to irritants to seasonal changes.

If your pup is suffering from more severe skin irritation urgent veterinary care is required. Skin issues not only make your pup miserable but can lead to infected lesions and more.

While it's always a good idea to have your vet investigate the cause of your dog's skin problem, an oatmeal bath is a great at-home remedy that may help calm minor skin issues.

Benefits of Oatmeal Baths for Dogs

Oatmeal has anti-inflammatory and protectant properties that help to soothe irritation and itchiness, while also forming a protective barrier that locks moisture in to prevent dryness. Oatmeal is also readily available, inexpensive and non-toxic for you and your dog.

The Ingredients for a Doggie Oatmeal Bath

Not only is giving your dog an oatmeal bath great for their skin, it's super easy too. You may even have most of the ingredients in the house already. Here's what you'll need to create a homemade oatmeal bath for your dog:

  • Food processor, blender or coffee grinder
  • Plain, unflavored oatmeal (slow-cooking oats, instant oatmeal or quick oats are all ideal)
    • Use ⅓ cup of oatmeal for small dogs
    • Use ½ cup for medium to large breeds
  • A bathtub, child's paddling pool, or for mini dogs a good-sized sink will do the trick.
  • Warm water (avoid hot water since it can dry out the skin and make inflammation worse)
  • Added Moisturizers: Although the following ingredients are not essential for a homemade oatmeal bath for dogs, they can add additionals moisturizing properties to the mixture. Add these options to boost the moisturizing properties of your oatmeal bath:
    • 2 tablespoons of olive oil or avocado oil
    • 1 cup of high-fat milk to make it extra creamy

Preparing The Soothing Oatmeal Mixture

Once you've gathered everything you need it’s time to mix them together to make the perfect oatmeal bath shampoo for your pampered pooch. Here’s what to do:

  1. Grind or blend your oats on the highest setting of your food processor, blender or coffee grinder, until it's a fine powder.
  2. Test your powder by stirring 1 tablespoon of your oatmeal powder into a glass of warm water. If the oats are fine enough the water should soon become milky in appearance and feel smooth.
  3. If the liquid does not look milky, grind the oats to an even finer consistency and test again. Repeat the process until you’ve got a fine, milky solution that feels silky.

How To Give Your Dog an Oatmeal Bath

Once you’ve prepared your oat powder, it’s time for the main event. As you bathe your dog, try to keep your pooch from drinking the water, though a lap or two of the solution won’t hurt them.

  1. Begin pouring a warm bath and add your oatmeal powder mix, and moisturizing ingredients if using. Stir evenly.
  2. Fill the tub to a level that your dog will be comfortable with. Most dogs are good with water up to their tummy.
  3. Lift or coax your pup into the tub.
  4. Using a cup or plastic tub gently pour the oatmeal-infused bathwater over their head and body.
  5. Gently massage the water into their fur and skin ensuring that the oatmeal water completely soaks any patches of skin that are particularly itchy or irritated. The process can be a great opportunity to spend some calm quality time together, (although, admittedly if your dog hates baths serenity may not be achievable).
  6. Your goal is to have your dog soak in the mixture for 10 minutes or so, then use clean warm water to rinse off the mixture.
  7. Towel dry your dog being sure not to rub at the skin as this could remove the protective barrier provided by the oatmeal. Also avoid drying your pup with a hot hairdryer since this too can dry the skin. Once towelled off, brush your dog's fur as usual.

Spot Treatments During Your Dog’s Oatmeal Bath

A full oatmeal bath may not be necessary if your canine companion only has small patches of itchy skin.  Simply use the oatmeal bath ingredients to mix up a creamy paste, then apply directly to the irritated area and leave for 15 to 20 minutes before rinsing and drying.

While oatmeal baths will not cure all of the skin conditions and diseases that could be causing your dog's skin to become dry and irritated, they can be a soothing addition to your pup’s routine, especially during the dry winter months.

What to Do About More Severe Skin Irritations in Dogs

If your dog is suffering from a more severe dermatological problem or skin ailments such as an infection, allergy, flea infestation, or another skin issue, our team of experienced vets can assess your pup's skin condition and recommend treatments to help your pet feel better.

Thanks to our in-house lab, our vets can test samples and help confirm the cause of your pet’s skin disorder, then develop a custom treatment plan to address it. Treatment for your dog's dermatological issue may include a therapeutic diet, environmental changes or other measures to help your pooch feel better and maintain healthy skin.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet. 

At Animal Hospital of Clemmons, we offer veterinary dermatology treatments for Winston-Salem pets. If your pup suffers from chronic dry itchy skin contact us today to book a dermatology appointment for your dog. 

Oatmeal bath to relieve your dog's itchy skin, Clemmons Vet

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