Dogs can have a multitude of skin allergies and sensitivities, and the chemicals in some treatments and shampoos can actually end up making them worse. The best way to treat your dog's skin trouble is with a natural, homemade remedy so you know and control all the ingredients. One type of bath that can soothe many an itch and irritation is a mud bath.
Take a Close Look
Before you make any kind of home remedy for your dog's skin, do a thorough inspection for any parasites like ticks or fleas. If you find any suspicious lumps or bumps, sores or anything else you can not immediately identify, make an appointment with your veterinarian. Get a thorough examination to ensure it is not something too serious for you to handle at home. If everything is OK, ask your vet if he thinks your recipe is appropriate for your dog's age, size and physical condition.
Mud has many of the same benefits for dogs that it has for people. It can remove any irritated dead skin. It soothes irritations like hot spots and abrasions and takes the itch out of bites and healing cuts. Mud helps to remove dandruff and moisturize skin, especially in winter, and invigorates and softens a rough or dirty coat. Used warm with a compress, a mud mixture can help sore paws and joints stiff from injury or arthritis.
Keep It Simple
Keep ingredients to a minimum. Start with a basic but high-quality Dead Sea mud. There's no need to find a product labeled for use on dogs. Human products are much more closely regulated for safety, so it is better, and usually cheaper, to buy the mud you would use for yourself. Just avoid anything that has extra properties (e.g., "purifying," "beauty" or "exfoliating") that might indicate other additives.
Add something specific for your dog, also a human-grade supplement. Aloe vera is great for itchy or burned skin. Coconut oil will help soften rough skin and increase coat shine. Ground oats can help exfoliate, soothe irritations and soften skin. Mashed avocado will also moisturize, soothe and remove buildup on skin and coat. Adjust the amounts for the consistency. You want it to go on easily, spread well and still rinse thoroughly. Check with your vet if you have any questions about the ingredient you want to use and for what reason.
Using the Bath
Give your dog a gentle bath with your mud mixture. You can apply to dry or damp coat. Slather on gently, avoiding eye and genital areas. Massage it in well all the way to the paw pads and rinse with lukewarm or cool water. (Since you're not using soap or other drying agents, it is not imperative to remove every trace.) Pat dry with a soft towel.
Kat Toland has worked with animals for over 20 years. She's been employed in the pet industry, but more significantly has been involved in all aspects of rescue, working with cats, dogs, horses, even spending time with rescued wolves. She currently volunteers with a group that runs with shelter dogs.