It’s never fun to watch your furry friend deal with itchy skin. There are many different remedies for irritated skin out there, of course, but one of the most popular has become the oatmeal bath. Though this treatment is not going to solve absolutely every skin condition, it’s a beneficial solution that can help your dog with itchiness and redness. Once you understand how these baths work—and how to give one to your dog—you may also start to swear by their efficacy.
How Oatmeal Baths Work
While oatmeal baths for dogs sounds like it could be something complex, it’s simply a bath of finely processed oatmeal (a.k.a. colloidal oatmeal). The oats simply float in water, helping to create a mixture that’s great for your dog’s skin.
The Benefits of an Oatmeal Bath for Dogs
Since creating one of these baths is simply a matter of adding colloidal oatmeal to water, you might wonder what good it can do for you. The truth is that these baths are beneficial because they are able to provide some relief for minor skin problems.
So, how does the bath work? Like most good solutions, it does a few things at the same time. Colloidal oatmeal maintains the skin barrier and cleanses the skin, but it also provides your dog’s skin with some necessary antioxidants and moisturizes dry skin on dogs. With all of these benefits, it’s no wonder that so many dog owners make these baths a regular feature of their dog’s lives. In fact, it’s actually no wonder that so many humans use exactly the same treatment for their own skin issues.
If you’re not totally comfortable with an oatmeal soak, you might still be in luck. Oatmeal is a regular part of many dog shampoos, simply because it does so much to soothe the skin of dogs. As such, a good shampooing can be a good alternative treatment for those dogs who won’t sit still long enough for an oatmeal bath.
So, why use oatmeal? It’s safe, it’s effective, and it can do quite a bit to make your dog comfortable.
How to Give Your Dog an Oatmeal Bath
Giving your dog an oatmeal bath isn’t hard, but it can be intimidating if you’ve never done so before. Fortunately, it can be done in a few painless steps that are honestly easy. Follow the next directions to help make even your dog’s first oatmeal bath a success.
Step One: Prepare the Mixture
Starting the bath means preparing your colloidal oatmeal mixture. It’s vital that you use actual colloidal oatmeal here if you can, but you can use instant oatmeal that’s free from other ingredients in a pinch . The important thing is that you use oats that are able to be ground up finely.
So, how do you grind up oats? The great news is that you probably have something in your kitchen that can do the job quite well. You can use a blender, a food processor, or even a coffee grinder to grind up your oats; the tool itself doesn’t matter nearly as much as the fact that the oats need to be ground up finely enough to absorb water.
It’s always a good idea to test out your oats before you commit to the bath. Take a spoonful of your oats and add them to a glass of warm water as a test batch. If the water turns milky when you stir in the oats, you’re ready to start your bath.
Step Two: Getting the Bath Ready
Now it’s time to start getting your bath ready. As with learning how to bathe a puppy, it’s always a good idea to start by getting the water to the right temperature for your dog—after all, he or she is much more sensitive to variations in temperature than the average dog. As a rule, you’ll want to keep the water at around the same temperature as you would for a baby.
Once you’ve got the right temperature, you can fill up the tub to about your dog’s stomach level. This will not only make giving your dog a bath a little less messy, but it will also help your dog to feel safe when he or she gets in the bath. Once you’ve got the water at the ideal height, you can start mixing in your oats until the bath has the same milky appearance as your test batch and it beings to feel soft.
Step Three: Prepare Your Dog
This is the tough part for many dog owners, especially if their dogs are averse to getting in the bath. many dogs have bath phobias, so make sure that you’ve got plenty of treats and plenty of patience available during this step. The calmer you can make your dog feel, the better this is going to go.
Once your pup is safely in the bath, you can start to pour your oatmeal mixture on his or her skin. Try to be very cautious when you’re washing in your dog’s most sensitive areas—if you’re in doubt, simply use a washcloth in those places. Try to be careful that you avoid pouring any of the mixtures around your dog’s eyes and ears as well, as you definitely don’t want to get any oatmeal lodged in any of your dog’s body’s openings.
Step Four: The Soak
Now that you’ve got your dog safely in the bath, it’s time to soak. Spend some time gently massaging the mixture into your dog’s skin, aiming for about ten minutes. This should be a fairly pleasant experience for your dog, but it’s okay if he or she can’t quite make the full time.
Step Five: Rinsing
Once your ten minutes are up, you can drain your tube and rinse off your dog. Again, you’re going to want to use lukewarm water for this part of the process and you’ll absolutely want to use a washcloth around your dog’s face.
Step Six: Grooming
Finally, you’re going to make your dog look his or her best. This means not only toweling off your dog, but also brushing out his or her fur. It’s totally natural for your dog to want to run around after the bath, though, so be aware that you may have to wait a few minutes until you can really groom him or her.
When is an Oatmeal Bath for Dogs Helpful?
While you now know how to give your dog an oatmeal bath, you might not know when to do so. Fortunately, there are at least a handful of times during which oatmeal baths become absolutely the right move.
The most common time to give your dog an oatmeal bath is when he or she has any kind of minor skin irritation. These baths are really designed for helping to soothe itchy skin and they’re great for helping your dog deal with allergy symptoms. A good oatmeal bath is going to be totally safe for your dog’s skin and definitely won’t cause any other problems, so it’s safe to do it any time your dog gets itchy.
It’s also a good idea to consider one of these baths if your dog has very oily skin. Oatmeal is also good at soaking up oil and it helps to create a helpful barrier on your dog’s skin that will keep him or her healthy and happy after a bath. Oatmeal is also very useful if your dog tends to stink—that same barrier will help to neutralize the bad smells and get your dog back to his or her old self.
Finally, a good oatmeal mixture can also work wonders if your dog has any kind of localized rash . You’ll use the mixture sparingly here, just on the applied area and you’ll wash it off fairly quickly. It’s also possible to make a good oatmeal paste for rashes, though doing so does require a few extra steps.
If you’re not sure about giving your dog oatmeal baths, you can always check with your vet. While most vets are more than happy to recommend a good oatmeal bath, vets will also let you know when you need to bring your dog in.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How do I make an oatmeal bath for my dog?
Making oatmeal baths for dogs is a fairly straightforward process. You’ll need to take some raw oats, then grind them until they are fine enough to float suspended in water. Once you have that done, you can run a lukewarm bath for your dog, filling up the tub until it reaches his or her stomach level. When the water’s done, simply mix in your oats until the water has a milky appearance and it feels soft to the touch.
2. Do oatmeal baths help dogs?
Yes, oatmeal baths do help dogs. They are great for helping to soothe rashes and minor skin irritations, as well as dealing with some of the symptoms of allergies. Oatmeal baths can also be very useful for dealing with oily, itchy skin and even bad dog smells, but it’s always a good idea to check with your vet to make sure that your dog’s problems aren’t serious enough to warrant a vet visit.
3. What can I bathe my dog in to relieve itching?
One of the best ways to help your dog with itching is to bathe him or her in an oatmeal bath. A good oatmeal bath is simply made of water and colloidal oatmeal, but it will do a great job of helping your dog to stop feeling itchy. As a note, this only works with itchiness that is due to skin irritation or allergies—you’ll need to see a vet if your dog has fleas or ticks.
4. What is an oatmeal soak for dogs?
An oatmeal soak is a simple bath made of lukewarm water and colloidal oatmeal. This soak is designed to help relieve itching and allergy symptoms, but it can also help with other minor skin problems. It is not, however, designed to deal with the kinds of major skin issues for which you would normally see a vet.