How to Give an Oatmeal Bath to Dogs

Dog Health Recent April 2, 2024
How to Give an Oatmeal Bath to Dogs
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How to Give an Oatmeal Bath to Dogs

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How to Give an Oatmeal Bath to Dogs

Have you ever had really itchy skin? Maybe you have had a case of poison ivy or poison oak and someone told you to take an oatmeal bath. Do you recall how the oatmeal helped soothe your skin and made the itching go away, at least temporarily? An oatmeal bath for dogs does the same thing for your canine companion.

Learn more about oatmeal baths for dogs in our brief guide. We’ll help you take the itch out of your dog’s skin.

What is an Oatmeal Bath?

Many dogs experience itchy skin due to dry skin during the winter months, which is often caused by home heating systems taking moisture out of the air. People often apply lotion to their dogs during this time, as there is less humidity.

Some dogs may have itchy skin due to allergies, environmental factors, or parasites like mites. Most dogs will experience itching or dry skin at some point in their lives, even if it’s only temporary. If itching or dry skin seems to be getting out of control, many people give their dogs an oatmeal bath.

Oatmeal has numerous health benefits as a food and as an anti-inflammatory ingredient, protecting the skin and soothing irritation and itching. The bath provides a protective layer that locks moisture into the dog’s skin, slowing the loss of moisture and preventing dryness and itching.

Oatmeal, with its anti-inflammatory properties, soothes skin irritation and itchiness. Bathing your dog with oatmeal helps develop a protective barrier, locking moisture in and preventing dryness.

How to Make Homemade Oatmeal Shampoo

If you would prefer to make our own oatmeal treatment for your dog, you can gather the ingredients and make the mixture in your kitchen. There are probably other recipes but try this vet-recommended one here.

You will need:

  • A food processor, blender, or coffee grinder.
  • Plain, unflavored oatmeal. You can use slow-cooking oats, instant oatmeal, or quick oats. Any of them will work.
  • Use 1/3 cup of oatmeal for a small dog.
  • Use ½ cup of oatmeal for a large dog.
  • A bathtub (obviously).
  • Warm water is perfect for soaking and bathing your dog. Do not use hot water since it will dry the skin and make any inflammation worse.

Optional: You can also add two tablespoons of olive oil or avocado oil to the mixture. The oil will boost the moisturizing properties of the oatmeal bath but it is not required.

You can also add 1 cup of high fat milk to the mixture to make it extra creamy. Again, this is not required.

Once you have gathered all of your ingredients, you can mix them together.

  • Use your food processor, blender, or coffee grinder to blend your oats on the highest setting. They should be ground to a fine powder throughout.
  • Test the powder by stirring one tablespoon into a glass of warm water.
  • If the finely ground oats easily absorb the liquid and the water appears milky and feels smooth, the oats have been blended long enough.
  • If the water doesn’t look milky, keep grinding the oats to be finer and test them again.
  • Repeat the process until the solution is fine and milky. It should feel silky.

When you have reached this point, you are ready to use the mixture for your dog’s oatmeal bath.

How to give Your Dog an Oatmeal Bath

It’s not difficult to give your dog an oatmeal bath.

You can use a good oatmeal shampoo or make your own mixture at home. There are many good oatmeal shampoos for sale. However, it’s not hard to make the mixture. (See below.)

  1. Once you are ready to bathe your dog, prepare the bathroom and tub. Have the shampoo or mixture ready, a cup, and some towels.
  2. Run some warm water in the tub. If you are using your own mixture, pour some of it into the tub and stir it in. For most dogs, you can run the water up to your dog’s stomach level.
  3. Gently put your dog in the tub with the warm water.
  4. Use a cup to slowly pour some of the oatmeal solution over his body.
  5. Gently rub some of the oatmeal solution directly over the areas that seem especially itchy or irritated.
  6. Let your dog soak in the oatmeal solution for about 10 minutes. Massage the oatmeal solution into his coat during this time. (This is the hard part – keeping a dog patient and still for 10 minutes.)
  7. Use warm water to gently rinse the mixture off your dog.
  8. Use a towel to dry your dog. Never use a hair dryer since your dog already has dry skin. The dryer will only make the problem worse.
  9. Brush your dog’s fur.

Your dog will be slippery from the bath and the oatmeal so use caution.

For some dogs, they might not be itchy all over. Perhaps they only have one itchy spot. In this case, you can use the oatmeal mixture as a thick paste and put it on that one spot for a few minutes instead of giving your dog a full-body bath. Leave the mixture in the itchy place for 15-20 minutes and then rinse it off with warm water.

What to Do About More Severe Skin Conditions

Your vets can assess your dog’s skin condition and recommend treatments for severe dermatological issues like infections, allergies, or flea infestations. They may even perform an in-house lab, and can test samples and confirm the cause of the disorder, then develop a custom treatment plan. Treatment may include a therapeutic diet, environmental changes, or other measures to help your pet feel better and maintain healthy skin.

Final Thoughts

Dogs often experience itching and dry skin, even for short periods of time. To soothe and heal their skin, give them a bath or soak with oatmeal shampoo. Oatmeal shampoo is easily available or homemade. For most dogs, an occasional oatmeal bath is enough. If your dog has chronic issues, consult a veterinarian.

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Amy Towry is a Certified NAVC Pet Nutritionist and pet lover. She is the proud owner of two rescue cats and a rescue dog and her love for animals has led her to a successful career as a freelance writer specializing in pet care, nutrition, and product reviews.
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