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How to Give a Dog an Oatmeal Bath: Soothing Spot’s Skin!

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Dog Care By Kate Brunotts 6 min read September 21, 2020

Oatmeal baths for dogs

Many dogs will experience itchy or irritated skin at some point in their lives. And in order to soothe Spot’s skin, some owners give their pups oatmeal baths. 

While oatmeal baths won’t soothe all skin conditions on their own, they can be incredibly beneficial in some cases — especially for dogs with minor skin sensitivities. We’ll explain more about oatmeal baths and explain everything you need to know about giving one to your dog below!

How to Give a Dog an Oatmeal Bath: Key Takeaways

  • You can mix some water and colloidal oatmeal together to make a dog-safe bathing “paste.” Oatmeal is a dog-safe ingredient that can help soothe and moisturize your four-footer’s dry, irritated skin.
  • Giving your dog an oatmeal bath is pretty similar to giving him a normal bath. You’ll just whip up the oatmeal paste, use it to wash him, let it sit for 10 minutes or so, and then rinse and dry as per usual.
  • Oatmeal baths are also helpful for absorbing odors or drying out the skin of super-oily pups. You can also use the paste as a spot treatment for isolated patches of dry skin.

What Is An Oatmeal Bath, Anyway? 

Oatmeal baths are simply baths full of colloidal oatmeal

Don’t let the phrase “colloidal oatmeal” stress you out — it just refers to whole oat kernels that have been finely processed or ground. The ground oats will suspend in the water rather than sinking to the bottom of the tub, making for a well-integrated soak. 

Why Add Oatmeal to Your Dog’s Bath? What Are the Benefits?

Dogs can soak in a ground oat and lukewarm water mixture as a way to soothe minor skin irritations. 

Colloidal oatmeal is a great cleanser that can help maintain the skin barrier. Oatmeal baths also provide the skin with antioxidants and moisturize dry skin, which has led many pet owners to integrate these soaks into their dog’s regular grooming routine.

In fact, many people suffering from eczema or other skin conditions integrate oatmeal baths into their skincare routines as well. 

Oatmeal is a common ingredient in dog shampoo due to its soothing properties. If an occasional soak doesn’t suit Spot, you can always use an oatmeal dog shampoo like this one instead. 

In short, oatmeal baths are a safe, easy, and effective way to treat minor skin irritations and soothe your dog’s skin. 

Step-by-Step: How Do You Give Your Dog an Oatmeal Bath?

Here is exactly how to give your dog an oatmeal bath. Be sure to get a thumbs up from your veterinarian beforehand, just to be safe

Step 1: Prepare Colloidal Oatmeal 

In order to prepare a soothing oatmeal bath, you’ll need to use colloidal oatmeal.

To make this, grind up a cup of old-fashioned unsweetened oats.

You can use instant oatmeal to make the colloidal mixture, but make sure there aren’t added ingredients. 

You can grind the oats into a fine powder using a:

  • food processor
  • powerful blender
  • coffee grinder

The oats need to be fine enough to absorb water. 

To test this, you can stir about a tablespoon of ground oats into a glass of warm water. If the water becomes slightly milky, your colloidal oatmeal is ready to go! 

Step 2: Prepare the Bath

Fill a tub with lukewarm water. Make sure that it’s not too hot or cold as dogs are very sensitive to temperature.

As a general rule of thumb, If it’s too hot or cold for a human baby, it’s too extreme for your pooch. 

You’ll want to fill the tub to the level of your dog’s stomach so that it’s not too high. Keeping the water relatively low is important to keep Fido feeling safe. 

Not crazy about getting fur all over your bathtub? You could always get your pooch his own dog bath tub to limit the amount of wet dog fur in your own bathroom.

Gradually mix in oats to the water until it has a milky appearance and feels soft to the touch. If your pooch tends to lap up bath water, you might want to stay a bit more on the conservative side when adding oats.

While oats are safe for dogs to eat, too much consumption can cause diarrhea and stomach upset. 

Step 3: Pamper Your Pooch

Gently introduce your dog to the bath and be patient – some dogs are scared or nervous around water. Be sure to give your dog small treats or praise whenever he exhibits desirable behavior and never leave your dog unattended while he is in the bathtub.

Use a small cup to pour the mixture over your doggo’s skin that’s outside of the water.

Be especially cautious around the ears, genitals, and facial region. You can use a damp cloth to wash this area just to make sure you don’t get any oatmeal water in any body openings. 

Step 4: Soak 

Oatmeal needs to soak into the skin in order for it to pass on their soothing properties to your pooch. Massage the mixture into your pup’s skin for about 10 minutes. Don’t worry — your pup will likely love the extra attention! 

If your pooch has certain problem hot spots or localized irritations, you can apply a little bit of the ground oats directly to the area before rinsing. 

Step 5: Drain and Rinse

After about 10 minutes have passed, drain the oatmeal water mixture and carefully rinse your dog off with clear, lukewarm water.

Again, make sure you pay special attention to your dog’s facial region. 

Step 6: Brush and Dry

Towel dry your pooch and brush out fur. Avoid using hair dryers to speed up the process since they can easily dry out irritated skin. Also, make sure you prepare for the post-bath zoomies.

Out of the way! Wet pupper coming through! 

When Should You Give Your Dog An Oatmeal Bath?

Make your own colloidal oatmeal

Here are a couple of instances where it may be beneficial to give your dog a soothing oatmeal bath:

  • Easing Minor Skin Irritations — These baths are perfect for soothing dry, itchy skin and can also help ease canine allergy symptoms. Your dog can be soaked in colloidal oatmeal and water, or it can be added to your dog’s shampoo and integrated as a part of Fido’s regular bathing routine. 
  • Helps Dogs With Oily Skin — Oatmeal can help soak up excess oils in your dog’s skin. Colloidal oatmeal also helps create a protective barrier for your dog’s skin helping your pooch stay comfortable after the bath. 
  • Absorbing Odor — Colloidal oatmeal acts as a cleanser and can help absorb odors from stinky dogs. If your floof is a bit more fragrant than usual, oatmeal baths can help neutralize some of the smell. 
  • Soothing Spot Treatment — A colloidal oatmeal water mixture can also be used as a spot treatment for localized itches or minor skin rashes. Simply apply the colloidal oatmeal water mixture to the affected area and rinse off once dried. 

You can also make a thicker paste specifically for spot treatments. Take some of the oatmeal water mixture and continue stirring in your grounded oats until it has a paste-like consistency. 

It’s a good idea to check with your vet before giving your pooch an oatmeal bath, especially if your dog has a moderate to serious skin condition. Dogs with fleas, yeast, or bacterial skin infections need to see a veterinarian — a simple oatmeal bath will rarely suffice. 

Keep in mind that too much bathing can irritate your dog’s skin. While pooch bathing schedules do vary from dog to dog, you’ll want to work with your veterinarian to figure out what works best for Fido. 

***

Oatmeal baths can be an excellent tool for protecting Spot’s skin. These soothing soaks are a great way to show your pooch how much you care. 

Has your pooch tried an oatmeal bath? Have you noticed any difference in your dog’s skin? We’d love to hear all about it in the comments below!

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Written by

Kate Brunotts

Kate is a dog-loving content specialist with over a decade of canine-care experience. She is currently a professional dog walker and pet sitter, with previous experience working at the Heart of Chelsea Animal Hospital in Manhattan. When not spending time with four-footers, she can usually be found crafting top-notch dog-care articles that pet parents can trust. Kate loves dogs of all shapes and sizes, but Bernese Mountain Dogs hold a special place in her heart.

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