If your dog is itchy, smelly or flaking like crazy, you can use ingredients from your pantry to remedy these problems. Oatmeal and baking soda baths get your dog clean and soothe his itchy skin. Bathing in these nontoxic ingredients benefits dogs suffering from skin allergies, bug bites and dandruff.
Giving Your Dog an Oatmeal Baking Soda Bath
To give your dog an oatmeal baking soda bath, first grind your oats in a food processor. This reduces them to a fine powder that dissolves more readily in water. In a large mixing bowl, combine 1 part baking soda, 2 parts oatmeal, and 3 parts water. Fill your tub with enough cool water that your dog will be submerged just to his belly. Place your dog in the tub and secure him. He may not like the cool water, but it's better for soothing itchy skin than warm or hot water. Carefully pour the oatmeal slurry over your dog's coat and gently rub it into his skin, avoiding his eyes. Lift the fur so the mixture gets onto his skin. Allow the slurry to mix with the bath water to get him soaked all over. Once your dog is coated in the slurry, drain the tub and rinse him with more cool water. Gently pat your dog dry -- rubbing too vigorously can aggravate itchy skin.
Giving Your Dog a Baking Soda Oatmeal Soak
If your dog is exceptionally smelly or itchy, let him soak in the oatmeal/baking soda mix for several minutes. To give your dog an oatmeal baking soda soak, first mix 1 part baking soda, 2 parts oatmeal, not ground, and 2 parts water. Make sure your tub drain is fully plugged so the oatmeal doesn't clog the drain. Stand your dog in the tub and get his fur damp but not soaked with cool water. Take the oatmeal mix in handfuls and massage it into your dog's coat and skin, avoiding his eyes. Allow the oatmeal mix to sit on your dog for at least five minutes, ideally up to 15 minutes. Then, push off the excess slurry and rinse your pup with cool water. Gently pat him dry.
Benefits of Oatmeal for Your Dog's Skin and Coat
Oatmeal eases itching and irritation on the skin, so it often serves as a topical treatment for dogs and people suffering from allergies. Saponins in oatmeal are what make it an effective skin cleanser. Starches in oats make them retain water and form a protective barrier on the skin, which helps relieve dryness. Phenols provide anti-inflammatory effects, which also helps relieve your dog's itching.
Benefits of Baking Soda for Your Dog's Skin and Coat
Baking soda is a deodorizer, mild abrasive and itchy skin soother. Baking soda also provides a foaming action when combined with certain chemicals, which helps lift dirt and odor from your dog's coat. Baking soda combined with hydrogen peroxide and dish detergent can remove stink from skunked dogs and dogs who have rolled in other particularly foul-smelling things. It's important to remember that baking soda combined with some other chemicals can be effervescent, so always dispose of leftover baking soda mixtures, and never store them in sealed containers.
Madeline Masters works as a dog walker and professional writer. In the past she has worked as a fitness columnist, fundraising copywriter and news reporter. Masters won two Pennsylvania Newspaper Association Awards in 2009. She graduated from Elizabethtown College with a Bachelor of Arts in English.