Did you know Oatmeal is not just a breakfast food? Most dogs get itchy skin from time to time. It is our job as dog parents to help them find relief and soothe the irritated areas.
But finding something that curbs the itching that is not full of chemicals or a huge ingredients list is sometimes a hard task. In this article, we are discussing all things Oatmeal Baths!
What are they, what can they be used for, how do you make them, and if they are safe for your dog. We even have some great tips on getting your pup into the tub!
Oatmeal has been a breakfast staple for many decades. Combined with milk, honey, and cinnamon it is a filling delicious and affordable meal. People have been eating it for its great health benefits such as lowering cholesterol which can help decrease your risk of heart disease.
You may also be familiar with oats as a topical remedy for skin issues such as acne, itching, and rashes. Well, when added to a bath, oatmeal helps your dog’s skin in the same way!
What is an Oatmeal Bath?
An oatmeal bath is a lukewarm bath that has ground oats mixed in the water. You typically let your dog soak in this mixture while massaging it into their coat. It is as simple as that!
Benefits of Oatmeal Baths
Oatmeal has anti-inflammatory properties and is packed with minerals and vitamins that can help calm irritated skin. Fleas and ticks can cause a slew of skin issues on your dog like dry patches and rashes.
Oatmeal creates a protective barrier on your dog that holds moisture and helps them heal.
An oatmeal bath is not an end all be all to skin issues but it can help alleviate temporary pain and irritation. Always take your dog to get checked out by a professional veterinarian if you suspect your dog has allergies or fleas.
Types of Oats
Oats come rolled, steel cut and even instant!
We recommend using rolled or steel-cut oats that have no additional additives or ingredients. Instant oats typically come with flavors and additives which we want to avoid when bathing our dog.
You can also use pre-ground oats known as oat flour as long as the only ingredient is oats. This can help save the mess and time of grinding!
Oatmeal Bath Recipe
- Grind 1 cup of oats in a food processor or blender until it resembles flour (if using Oat flour measure out one cup).
- Fill a bathtub with lukewarm but not hot water up to your dog’s chest height.
- Pour in oat flour and mix until combined. Ensure you mix anything that settles to the bottom of the tub.
- Place your dog in the bath and use a cup or pitcher to get your dogs coat fully wet with the oatmeal bathwater. Massage your pup in circular motions to let the mixture soak in.
- Try and keep your dog in the bath for 10-15 minutes. If you have a very unruly dog try for 5 minutes.
- Lightly rinse your dog with warm water and pat dry with a towel.
- Do not use a warm blowdryer on a dog with irritated skin as the heat could cause more damage.
Bath Alternative: Oatmeal Mask
In addition to oatmeal baths, you might find an oatmeal mask beneficial. We all need a spa day every once in a while and this mask will help your pup feel fresh and healthy.
- Mix half parts water and ground oats to create a paste.
- Apply this to your dog all over and especially hot spots or itchy areas.
- This can get messy so we recommend doing this outside or over a towel.
- Allow this mask to dry and fall off. (Messy we know but aren’t all face masks a little messy?)
- Use their brush to brush away any dried mask remaining. This will help remove dirt and dead skin while leaving a protective barrier on your dog to help retain moisture and anti-inflammatory properties.
- If you want to streamline this process you can apply the mask to only the hot spots or dry areas.
How Often is Too Often?
For a healthy dog, veterinarians recommend bathing no more than once per month to avoid drying out their skin. For a dog with skin irritation, you can bathe them up to two times per week but always be sure to contact your veterinary clinic for any concerns.
How to get your dog into the bath?
Isn’t that the question. All dog owners tend to struggle with this from time to time if not every single time they try and get their dog a nice bath.
Slowly introduce your dog to the bathtub. First the bathroom, then the tub, then the water running noises. Take your time and do each step many times before moving to the next step.
Here is the basic process:
- Let your dog come into the bathroom and reward them.
- Show them the bathtub and treat them when they come up to it.
- Add some peanut butter to the tub floor and allow them to get in and lick it off.
- Run the bathwater and reward when your dog comes to investigate.
Other ways to help your dog be more comfortable can be going for a walk, luring them with treats and keeping an eye on your own emotions.
Take your dog on a long walk or play session before asking them to get into the tub. This will help curb their high energy and allow for a more relaxed experience.
Lure your dog with the BEST treats. Chicken? Cheese? You know your dog’s favorites. Use them!
Keep Your Emotions in Check
Remember that our dogs play off our emotions. Feel calm and happy yourself to help your dog know that this is not scary. It can get frustrating at times but you can do it!
Many dog foods and treats use oatmeal as an ingredient. Ingesting oatmeal can also have great effects on your dog’s coat and help lower cholesterol just like humans!
However, moderation is key. If your dog licks their oatmeal mask or tries to drink some oatmeal bath they should be just fine. You can even add some oats to their food but check with your vet to ensure you are not overfeeding.
Oatmeal Baths can have great effects on the appearance and feel of your dog’s coat. They can help ease skin irritation caused by allergies or even fleas and ticks. The simple two-ingredient solution of oatmeal and water is a great alternative to chemical shampoos and topical medication. We highly recommend giving this healthy bath a try and we hope you and your pup get some relief!