A healthy skin and coat doesn’t ordinarily smell. And if your dog is on a species appropriate diet of raw meaty bones then you already know how nice smelling, how soft and silky, your dog’s fur is. But there is always that occasion your dog may need a bath: digging in the garden, a smelly encounter with a skunk, rolling in the mud…well, you get the picture.
Over-washing your dog can remove the natural oils and dry the skin, and thus, make it more prone to irritation. Dogs/cats skin is different than human skin. Dogs skin is thinner than humans. It is only 3-5 cells thick compared to humans, which are 10-15 cells thick. Humans have 7 layers of skin, cats have 3. Human skin has a PH balance of 5.2 to 6.2, and dogs/cats skin has a PH balance of 7.0 to 7.52. And that is why it is not advisable to use human shampoos or soap on your pet….not even baby shampoo, it is 150 times too acidic for a dogs skin.
Instead, use a shampoo that is specifically designed for your pets skin. And, make sure it contains all natural ingredients…no dyes, no perfumes.
Oatmeal is a good skin cleanser, plus it can soothe irritated skin. Put one to two handfuls of rolled oats inside a sock or stocking. Swish the sock in the bath water until it becomes milky, and then let your dog soak for a few minutes. You can also add a couple of drops of lavender essential oil to the water. Rinse your dog thoroughly with clear water. Pat dog dry with a big, fluffy towel.
What about bathing a cat? Well, if you like to live dangerously then you can try and put a cat in bath water, or you can play it safe and use the above sock with rolled oats, dunk it in warm water (no essential oils), and apply it to the area on the cat you want to clean.
How about a herbal rinse?
For a light-colored coat on a dog: You can use Chamomile Flower Tops, either as a teabag, or 1 tablespoon of loose Chamomile, to one cup of boiling water, strain, let it cool, add juice of 1 lemon. Pour over dog and leave it on the coat.
For a dark-colored coat on a dog: One tablespoon of Rosemary Tea infused in one cup of boiling water, let cool, strain, and add a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. Pour over the dog’s fur, do not rinse off.
Itchy, Yeasty Dog?
If your dog has a yeast problem, aka Malassezla Dermatitis, you may not want to wash him with any product containing oatmeal, as that may aggravate the problem. Instead, combine 1/2 organic white vinegar (or, Apple Cider Vinegar) and 1/2 purified water and soak your dog’s feet, use as a flush for his ears, or apply to any other affected area. You may also use this combination as a rinse after washing, and allow it to dry for a lasting effect.