Giving Your Dog an Oatmeal Bath: Helping Dogs With Itchy Skin

Oatmeal baths can be great for dogs with itchy, irritated skin. In this post, our Greensboro vets share everything you need for a relaxing bath to pamper your pooch and soothe their skin. 

Why would my dog need an oatmeal bath?

Dermatological issues among dogs are fairly common - itchy, dry skin or other skin issues can be uncomfortable for your pup, and frustrating for you. These can be caused by anything from allergies or irritants to seasonal changes.

An oatmeal bath is one at-home remedy that can help calm minor itches. Though more serious issues will need a vet’s attention, you may be able to alleviate your pooch’s discomfort and save yourself some time and money with this method.

What are the benefits of oatmeal baths for dogs?

With its anti-inflammatory properties, oatmeal acts as protectant for the skin, helping to soothe irritation and itchiness. The bath will help your dog’s skin develop a protective barrier that locks moisture in and slows the loss of hydrating ingredients, preventing dryness.

What ingredients do I need?

There’s a good chance you already have the ingredients you need around the house. Here are the things you need for a vet-approved oatmeal bath for dogs:

  • Food processor, blender or coffee grinder
  • Plain, unflavored oatmeal (slow-cooking oats, instant oatmeal or quick oats should do the trick)
    • Use ⅓ cup of oatmeal for small dogs
    • Use ½ cup for medium to large breeds
  • A bathtub
  • Warm water (not hot, as hot water can dry out the skin and make inflammation worse - not to mention be dangerous)
  • Bonus: Add one of 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

What do I do next?

Now that you’ve hunted down your ingredients, it’s time to mix them together to make the perfect oatmeal bath shampoo for your pampered pooch. Here’s how to do that:

  1. Use your food processor, blender or coffee grinder to process or blend your oats on the highest setting, until the powder is fine and consistent.
  2. Test your powder by stirring 1 tablespoon of your powder into a glass of warm water. Are the oats ground fine enough to absorb water?
  3. If water is easily absorbed and the liquid appears milky and feels smooth, you’ve blended long enough.
  4. 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 do I give my 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. Get the warm water running and pour the oat powder in. Stir evenly.
  2. Fill the tub as much as your dog is comfortable with. Most will be fine with the water level at least to the bottom of their stomach.
  3. Carefully put your pooch in the tub.
  4. Use a cup to slowly poor the solution over his or her body. Gently rub some of the oatmeal directly onto areas that are especially itchy or irritated.
  5. Let your dog soak for 10 minutes, massaging the oatmeal into her skin. Then use warm water to rinse off the mixture.
  6. Using a towel (never a hot air dryer), dry off your dog and brush their fur - keep in mind your pup will be slippery from the bath’s moisture.

Spot Treatments During Your Dog’s Oatmeal Bath

Does your pup have a minor skin rash or localized itch? You don’t need to do a full-body oatmeal bath and soak. Just apply a thicker paste directly on the area that’s affected. Leave for 15 to 20 minutes.

Using your blended oatmeal recipe, mix in just enough water to create a thick paste.

While oatmeal baths will not cure all skin conditions and diseases your dog can come across, they can serve as a great addition to your dog’s routine, especially during the dry winter months that are likely to leave your pooch feeling dehydrated and itchy.

If your dog is suffering from a more serious dermatological problem or skin ailment such as an infection, allergy, flea infestation, or another skin issue, our experienced veterinarians can assess and treat them.

In our in-house lab, we can test samples and help confirm the cause of your pet’s skin disorder, then develop a custom treatment plan to address it. Remedies may include specialized diets, environmental changes or other measures to help your pet feel better and maintain healthy skin moving forward.

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.

Does your pet have itchy, dry skin that won't go away? Contact our Greensboro animal clinic today to book an examination with our vets, who are experienced in providing dermatological care to cats and dogs.

Oatmeal Bath for Dogs, Greensboro Vet

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