How to Bathe a Dog with Salt Water

Easy
10 - 30 Minutes
1 Month

Introduction

Susan’s allergic, itchy dog, decided to take a swim in the ocean during their beach side vacation. Afterward, there was nowhere to rinse off the dog, and Susan was worried that her wet pet would have even itchier allergic skin than before, once she got back to dry land, and civilization. Much to her surprise, her pooch was remarkably less itchy, and irritated skin on her dog was significantly reduced after his swim in the ocean. Who knew! Now Susan bathes her dog in cold water at home mixed with sea salt purchased from a local pharmacy to relieve her dog's allergies and itchy skin and she and her pet both notice the difference.  

Table salt, sea salt, Epsom salts or good old-fashioned ocean water can relieve itchy dog skin. However, they can also lead to dry skin so you will have to find the right balance to treat your dog's skin. More good news: salt baths have been reported to kill fleas by dehydrating the pesky critters. Although they may not completely resolve your dog's flea problem, a salt bath can be part of a treatment regime to combat fleas on your dog.

Dog's Perspective

If you have a water-loving dog, a bath with salt water is really just a bath--no difference to your dog. Unless, of course, over bathing in salt water dries out his skin and makes him itchy, which is just what you are trying to avoid. Used carefully, salt water bathing can relieve itchy skin from allergies and even counteract parasites such as fleas, which will make your dog happy, happy. And if your pet is a good swimmer, a swim in the ocean is just as good as a swim in the lake, it’s just bigger and with more great stuff to explore!

The Salt Water Bath at Home Method

Effective
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Shampoo
Towel
Step
1
Use Epsom salts
Add Epsom salts to bath water. A ratio of 1 tablespoon of Epsom salts to 6 cups of warm water is typical.
Step
2
Use sea salt
An alternative is to use cool water with sea salt, as cool water counteracts inflammation and best mimics ocean water.
Step
3
Protect ears and eyes
Put cotton balls in your dog ears and cover eyes with your hand or use doggy goggles to protect your pet's eyes during bathing.
Step
4
Immerse
Immerse your dog in the salted bath water and pour water over your dog’s head, especially if being used to kill fleas to ensure all areas are soaked in salt water. Do not let your dog drink water with Epsom salts. Detergents and soaps can be used as necessary.
Step
5
Rinse sparingly
Rinse off sparingly, as some salt residue left will treat itchy skin and desiccate parasites, or rinse with salt water. Be careful not to allow your dog to lick off Epsom salt residue, which can act as a laxative.
Recommend grooming method?

The Natural Salt Water Bath Method

Effective
0 Votes
Towel
Step
1
Head to the beach
Take your water-loving dog to the ocean. Cool salty ocean water works best to relieve allergic and itchy skin and counteract parasites.
Step
2
Encourage into water
Encourage your dog into the ocean by accompanying him and taking a favorite toy such as a tug of war rope or rag, or throw sticks or toys into the water.
Step
3
Swim and immerse
Try to get your dog to completely immerse himself in the ocean water and swim about so he is completely exposed to saltwater.
Step
4
Air dry
Allow your dog to air dry without rinsing, so that salt residue from the ocean has contact with skin and can impart therapeutic effects.
Step
5
Rinse if required
You can lightly rinse your dog off with water you bring for that purpose, or from a nearby water source, if you need to rinse off that ocean smell before heading home! Rinse sparingly and pat dry with a towel before getting in a vehicle.
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Caution & Considerations

  • Too much salt can be drying to the skin, and dry skin can be itchy,  so be careful not to overdo it.
  • Epsom salts can act as a laxative if your dog ingests them by licking residue off his coat, so take precautions to avoid this.
  • If you are bathing your dog in the ocean, make sure he can swim well and supervise closely to make sure he does not get swept away by a current.  Use a swim harness or life jacket if necessary.
  • Do not use soap or detergent in open ocean water as it can be harmful to sea life.

Conclusion

Salt water can be used to treat itchy, allergic skin, on your dog,  or skin affected by parasites such as fleas. You can make salt water at home, or head out to the beach if you live near the ocean, to get your dog his saltwater fix. Remember that salt water can dry skin out too, so find the right balance to relieve itchiness. Cool water may be more effective for relieving inflammation.  Do not rinse all that good salt off afterward, as that is what will discourage fleas and relieve inflammation. Be careful, however, that your dog does not ingest salt water, especially Epsom salts, which can give him tummy troubles or dehydrate your pet.

Success Stories and Grooming Questions

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