Using Oatmeal Paste for Dogs' Dry Skin

A dog's dry skin problem may be relieved by using a variety of homemade and commercial products. One of the easiest remedies is a simple oatmeal paste. This article will discuss the types of skin conditions oatmeal paste can help relieve, along with instructions for making and using oatmeal paste.

How Oatmeal Soothes Irritated Skin

In addition to being a breakfast staple, oatmeal has long been recognized as a skin protectant. Oats were first cultivated in the Fertile Crescent about 500 B.C. They have been grown consistently since the Bronze Age, and the ancient Greeks, Romans, Egyptians and Arabians all used forms of oatmeal baths to beautify skin and treat skin problems since about 2,000 B.C.

Colloidal oatmeal, the powdered form that stays easily suspended in bath water, is often used to soothe poison ivy and chickenpox rashes in people, and it's becoming a popular skin treatment for pets, too.

Certain chemicals in oatmeal, particularly the avenanthramides and the phenols, reduce skin inflammation and the related itchiniess. Oatmeal can also help regulate skin pH levels, which helps reduce irritation from eczema or psoriasis.

Canine Skin Conditions that Oatmeal Paste May Help

Oatmeal paste can help treat a variety of canine skin problems, including dry skin, hives and hot spots.

Dry skin can have many causes, including using too-harsh grooming products, feeding a poor-quality diet or allergies. Assess other aspects of your dog's care routine and take steps to improve them, along with adding regular oatmeal baths to your dog's grooming schedule.

Hives are caused by your dog's immune system overreacting to something in his environment that his body now sees as a threat. His immune system creates a chemical called histamine, which causes the hives to swell on his skin, along with other skin and digestive symptoms.

Hot spots, also known as moist dermatitis, are caused by allergies, fleas or over-grooming due to boredom. In addition to using an oatmeal paste on the spots, take steps to ensure your dog is flea-free and has an interesting daily routine to further help alleviate hot spot symptoms. Make sure his other allergy symptoms are under control, too, so that he receives maximum benefit from the oatmeal paste.

How to Make and Use Oatmeal Paste

To make an oatmeal paste for your dog's dry skin, start with a half-cup of oatmeal and a half-cup of warm water. Use more of both ingredients if you're trying to soothe a large area of irritated skin, or use less if your dog only has a small area of itchy or inflamed skin. Combine the oatmeal and water into a spreadable paste form, then apply it to your dog's irritated skin. Cover the paste with a warm towel and keep your dog quiet for about 10 minutes to allow the oatmeal to do its work. Repeat up to three times a day.

Within a few days, you should start to see improvement in your dog's skin condition and a reduction in his itchiness. If your dog doesn't improve, contact your veterinarian's office for an evaluation to determine the cause of your dog's skin problem.