One of the first signs that your dog might be suffering from an irritating skin condition is his coat will start looking and feeling dry, rough and ragged. Whether it's just a temporary case of dry skin brought on by a change in the weather or something more problematic, you do have be careful with what you apply to your dog's skin because he will try and lick it off. Since oatmeal is safe to eat and a natural skin moisturizer, it is commonly used to help treat dogs with skin conditions.
Soothing Itch and Irritation
Oatmeal is very effective at helping soothe dry, itchy skin because it is high in certain chemicals like phenols and avenanthramides, both of which relieve skin itching, inflammation and irritation. In cases of eczema and psoriasis, oatmeal's natural ability to balance the skin's pH makes it a valuable tool for relieving itchiness and, when used on a dog, it can help soften his coat while relieving hot spots and allergic reactions to ticks and fleas.
Moisturizing the Skin
The skin is your dog's largest organ, so it needs to be taken care of and moisturized so it retains its elasticity and health. Besides increasing the humidity level in your home, you can use oatmeal to add some conditioning to your dog's skin and fur. To do this, simply add a handful of oats inside a nylon sock, slide the open end of the sock over the bathtub's tap and fill the tub with lukewarm water filtered through the oats. Soak your pup in the water for about 15 minutes, and the oatmeal water will condition and moisturize his skin.
There are dozens of dog shampoos featuring oatmeal available on the market, but not all of them are beneficial to your dog's coat. Before buying, check the ingredients for such skin conditioning powerhouses as aloe, vitamin E and tea tree oil. Dog shampoos labeled for sensitive skin or for hypoallergenic dogs offer the best results for those dogs suffering from irritating skin conditions. Or, you can concoct your own oatmeal shampoo by grinding one cup of oats into a powder and then blending it together with a quart of warm water and one cup of baking soda. After it's mixed, wet your dog's coat completely and apply the mixture. Let it stand for about 15 minutes and then rinse and dry him off.
Adding Oatmeal to His Diet
Your dog's skin condition, depending on the type and severity of problem, can also be relieved by treating the problem from the inside out. Oatmeal is safe for dogs to eat as long as it's cooked plain, unsweetened natural oats and not the artificially flavored kind. In fact, according to the World Health Organization, the protein quality of wild oats is equivalent to that of meat, eggs, soy and milk, and a high-protein diet is essential to your dog's health and the vitality of his coat.
Based in Atco, NJ, Dave Donovan has been a full-time writer for over five years. His articles are featured on hundreds of websites, and have landed him in two nationally published books "If I Had a Hammer: More Than 100 Easy Fixes and Weekend Projects" by Andrea Ridout and "How to Cheat at Home Repair" by Jeff Brendenberg.