It’s always a little sad when your dog’s skin gets irritated. He or she will spend so much time scratching that he or she might rub himself or herself raw, leaving your dog in pain and with no real relief. Fortunately, there are many ways to help your dog feel a little bit better. One of the most effective methods of helping soothe your dog’s skin is the oatmeal bath.
While many people do swear by oatmeal baths, it’s important to remember that these are not miracle cures. They’re not going to help with every kind of skin condition – for example, crusty scabs on your dogs back may need an alternative treatment. However, they will do a lot to help dogs who happen to have sensitive skin. Once you understand more about how these baths work and how to give them properly, you’ll be able to better help your dog to feel his or her best.
What is an Oatmeal Bath for Dogs?
An oatmeal bath is, luckily for most dog owners, exactly what it sounds like. This lovely process is one that involves putting your dog in a bath that’s full of finely processed oatmeal, known somewhat more technically as colloidal oatmeal. You’ve got to use these specific oats because they float, which makes them more effective for the soaking process.
It’s also important to know that an oatmeal bath really is just that – a bath. This isn’t something that you’re going to put on your dog’s skin and then brush off quickly. Instead, it’s a process that involves a nice, long soak in a substance that really can help your pup to stop itching.
The Benefits of Oatmeal Baths for Dogs
At its core, an oatmeal bath is all about providing your dog with some relief. You’d be amazed how much better your dog will feel after a long soak, but you might wonder why this is so effective. Fortunately, there’s some solid science to back up the utility of this kind of soak.
You’re specifically using oatmeal to help your dog with itching because oatmeal is a fantastic cleansing agent. It helps to do a number of great things for your dog’s skin, ranging from providing it with extra moisture to ensuring that your dog gets the right antioxidants to keep his or her skin healthy. There’s a reason, after all, that there are so many pet products that tend to use oatmeal as one of their many ingredients.
If you have a skin condition of your own, you might already be familiar with how well oatmeal can work. A huge part of eczema lotions and other types of rubs, it’s a proven agent that works across the species boundary.
Oatmeal also works very well to soothe dogs when they’re nervous, and you might find it to be a viable alternative to supplements you can give your dog for anxiety. You will find oatmeal in any number of good dog shampoos, which makes it a good choice for those who have dogs who can’t or won’t sit still long enough for a soak. With all of these great features, it’s easy to see exactly why you might want to draw one of these baths for your dog.
How to Give Your Dog an Oatmeal Bath: A Brief Guide
Now that you’re ready to give your dog an oatmeal bath, you’ll need to know how to do so in an efficient way. As you might imagine, this can be tougher and messier than most would expect. Fortunately, we can break it down into simple steps that any dog owner can follow.
Start By Preparing the Oatmeal
It’s probably not all that surprising to note that you’re going to have to start this process by getting the oatmeal ready. To do this, you’ll simply need to grind up some unsweetened oats – there’s no special trick here, just make sure to get out your food processor or coffee grinder to ensure that the oatmeal is ground into a very fine powder.
If you don’t have access to unsweetened oats, you aren’t necessarily out of luck. Any instant oatmeal should be fine, as long as it doesn’t have added ingredients. Remember, you’re looking to soothe your dog so any extras could wreak havoc with that particular plan.
So, how do you know if you’ve done this part right? Simply take a spoonful of your freshly-ground oats and drop it into a glass of warm water. If your oats sink to the bottom, you need to keep grinding. If the oats are suspended in the water (i.e., they turn the water milky white), you’re set to give your dog a bath.
Preparing the Bath
Your dog is probably much more sensitive to water temperature than you might think. Anything that’s too hot or cold is going to make your dog uncomfortable, so you’re going to need to get the water to a perfect temperature before you proceed. Try thinking about the temperature you’d use for a baby and stick with that as you fill-up the tub.
It’s also important that you keep the dog’s water at the right level. If you’re using a typical bathtub, you want to make sure that the water goes no higher than your dog’s stomach. If you have a dog bath, however, you can fill it up as normal so that your dog gets his or her normal bath experience.
Once you’ve got the temperature right you’ll be able to start mixing in the oats. Slowly mix the oats into the water until the water has that milky, suspended appearance that you observed in your test glass. You’ll also know that the bath is ready when you’re able to feel the oats in the water.
As a note, it’s entirely possible that your dog is going to try to eat these oats. It’s fine for him or her to eat a little bit, but too much can cause stomach issues. If your dog is the type that tries to eat anything put in front of him or her, try to go light on the oats.
Prepare Your Dog
Now you need to get your dog ready for the bath. The easiest way to do this is by gently introducing your dog to the water, giving him or her dog treats, and make sure that your dog feels as calm as possible. If your dog is a fan of CBD oil or chews, this is a great time for it. Put a little bit of water on your dog’s skin at a time to make sure that he or she feels as safe and comfortable as possible.
Time for a Soak
Now that the oatmeal bath is ready and your dog is relatively calm, you can start the soak. you’re going to need to keep your dog soaking for about ten minutes and you’ll certainly want to massage the oatmeal into your dog’s skin during this time. Luckily, this process is very soothing and should keep your dog happy.
Now that you’re done, you can drain the tub. It’s going to be messy, but you can clean it up later. Make sure that you wash your dog off with clean, lukewarm water and that you get all of the oats off of him or her.
It’s time to dry your pooch off. Make sure that you towel dry him or her carefully – no hairdryers- and that you pay attention to your dog’s face and feet.
When Do Dogs Need an Oatmeal Bath?
Now that you know how to give your dog an oatmeal bath, you can look at when to do so. There are a few common situations that really make oatmeal baths a must.
The most common reason to give your dog an oatmeal bath is that he or she is a little itchy. Minor skin irritations and the resultant itching are normal problems, but they’re unpleasant for your dog. A good oatmeal bath can work wonders here. Oatmeal’s also a great choice for hotspots and other localized itchy places, with a thicker paste doing a great job of helping to soothe your dog even between full soaks.
These baths are also good for dogs who have oily skin or who tend to be a little on the stinky side. Oatmeal soaks up oil and odors with ease, helping to make sure that your dog looks and smells better after his or her bath is done. It’s amazing what oatmeal can do for a dog, even if you’re not necessarily looking to deal with any kind of medical issue.
Don’t give your dog an oatmeal bath if he or she has a serious skin issue. If you’re not sure about the seriousness of the problem, simply ask your vet for some information. Most vets are going to be happy to help you to make the right choice and they’ll be more than glad to tell you if your dog is dealing with a condition that makes giving your pet an oatmeal bath a bad idea.
It’s also a good idea to be mindful of how often you should wash your dog, and make sure that you don’t bathe them too frequently. Whether it’s with oatmeal or not, you need to come up with a schedule that will help you to keep your dog clean and happy without further irritating his or her skin.