How to Give a Dog an Epsom Salt Bath

Easy
15 - 25 Minutes
1 Day

Introduction

Epsom salt baths are useful for many reasons. Epsom salt is healing and soothing. It relaxes tired, sore muscles as well as improves nerve functions. If your dog has dry, itchy skin, an Epsom salt bath can soothe and relieve tender skin. If your dog has been injured or is healing from surgery and can take wet baths, Epsom salt can assist with quicker healing and improve swelling. An Epsom salt bath can also gently soothe wounds. Your dog’s feet see so much of the world and are often the first thing to become injured. Sticks and stones cause harm to tender paw pads, while stepping on sharp objects can cause injury. An Epsom salt bath can relieve much of these injuries while soothing minor scratches and keeping your dog’s paws in great condition for daily walking and running. 

Dog's Perspective

Your dog may not enjoy baths altogether, or he may be tender and sore, causing apprehension about bathing. If this is the case, you may need to work up to a soaking Epsom salt bath over time. A quick Epsom salt treatment and a treat reward might help in these cases. 

The Small Injury Soaks Method

Most Recommended
7 Votes
Towel
Step
1
Prepare
If your dog is dealing with a small injury such as one paw or one area on his skin, you can Epsom salt treat or soak that area without submerging your entire dog in an Epsom salt bath. To do this, prepare your dog and the area you need soaked. If it needs to be brushed or shaved to reveal the injury, do this before you're ready for the soaking.
Step
2
Epsom salt soak
Prepare a bowl of warm water and Epsom salts. You will want to add about a cup of Epsom salt per gallon of water. If your bowl is smaller than a gallon, measure accordingly. The measurements do not have to be exact.
Step
3
Soak
Set the area on your dog you would like to have treated with an Epsom salt bath in a place you can soak in the bowl. If instance, if it is a paw, just place this area inside the bowl and let it soak for about 10 minutes. If this is not an area you can place inside a bowl or container, you will need to do an Epsom salt rinse.
Step
4
Epsom rinse
Place your dog somewhere where you can pour water over the injured or affected area and have it drip down either into a tub or bowl, or onto the ground outside. When you have the area isolated and your Epsom salt bath ready, just pour small amounts of your Epsom salt water over the affected area. You will want this area to be wet with the Epsom salt for several minutes to be effective.
Step
5
Clean rinse
Once you are done either soaking the affected area or Epsom rinsing the affected area, be sure to give your dog a nice clean rinse with clear running water. To do this, you can have a second bowl prepared with clean water and have your dog soak in that bowl for a few moments or have clean water ready to pour over your dog's Epsom soak area just to give it a nice clean rinse.
Step
6
Treatments
If you are treating an injury or affected skin such as dry patches or healing wounds, you will want to do an Epsom rinse or soak at least twice a day until the injury has fully healed.
Step
7
Reward
Be sure to reward your dog for a job well done, patience, and tolerance at the end of every Epsom salt soak or rinse
Recommend grooming method?

The Epsom Dip Method

Effective
4 Votes
Pin Brush
Towel
Step
1
Fill tub
Fill the tub you use to give your dog a bath with warm water. You'll want enough water to submerge the area of your dog you want to soak in the Epsom salt bath. If you have an older arthritic dog or a dog with sore shoulder muscles this may be a higher bath. If you just need to soak your dog's paws you only need a few inches of water.
Step
2
Add epsom salt
Add about 1 cup of Epsom salt per gallon of water. Use your hands or a large wooden spoon to stir the salt around so it dissolves.
Step
3
Add dog
Put your dog in the Epsom salt bath and let him soak. If he needs persuasion to stay still and stand in the water for the soak, feel free to talk to him pet him, love on him, and provide him with lots of treats if necessary.
Step
4
Soak
Let your dog soak in the Epsom bath for at least 10 minutes. If he has sore muscles, you can dip your hands in the water and gently pour water over his muscles while massaging him. If he has injuries such as paw injuries, let him stand there and just soak.
Step
5
Rinse
Once your dog is done with his Epsom salt bath, you'll want to rinse him with fresh water. This will get all the salt off of his fur and skin. There is no need to actually wash your dog during an Epsom salt bath. This is therapeutic soaking, not bathing for cleaning.
Step
6
Dry and brush
Take your dog out of the Epsom salt bath and dry him with a towel. If he's dealing with an injury, simply pat dry that area. Try not to rub the skin, as you may cause irritation or pain. If you can brush him out to avoid tangles, do so after he's towel-dried. Also while brushing, avoid any injuries with the brush.
Step
7
Repeat
If your dog has injuries or dry skin you may need to repeat this Epsom salt bath about twice a day until his skin or injury is healed.
Step
8
Treats
Always end your Epsom salt bath with a nice treat for your dog. This will reward him for a job well done and for being patient while standing in water for about 10 minutes with nothing else but you for entertainment.
Recommend grooming method?

Caution & Considerations

  • If your pup is injured, be sure you are careful and cautious of any sore injuries before moving him around in the bath.
  • Try to keep your dog from drinking the Epsom salt bath water. Epsom salt can cause tummy issues as it has a natural laxative effect. Your dog’s bath water should be diluted enough as not to have such an effect.
  • You can soak your entire dog in an Epsom salt bath or dip affected areas only.
  • If your dog can handle it, increase the time he spends in the Epsom salt by a bit each time you give him an Epsom salt bath.
  • Epsom salt is great for soaking or for spot treatments. You can give one injured paw an Epsom salt soak with a bowl of water without the hassle of a full bath.
  • Massaging your dog’s skin or healing injury with the Epsom salt bath could help with healing and tender or sore muscles.
  •  Use Epsom salt externally only.
  • Epsom salt baths should be used according to skin conditions or injury. Your dog does not need an Epsom salt bath each time he bathes.
  • Epsom salt creates soft soothing water which can help soften and soothe your dog’s dry skin as well as his coat.

Conclusion

If your pup had been injured or is dealing with achy muscles after a long day of play, an Epsom salt bath is perfect for unwinding and pampering. An injured paw or wound elsewhere can be soothed and moisturized with an Epsom soak. Get out of the doghouse and care for your pup the way you’d care for yourself with Epsom salt.

Success Stories and Grooming Questions

Grooming Questions & Answers

Question
Mia
Yorkshire Terrier
8 Years
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Mia
Yorkshire Terrier
8 Years

Mia has lost a patch of hair on her side from scratching. It is NOT red and the skin is not broken. How should this be treated?

Darlene Stott
Darlene Stott
Dog Trainer and Groomer
0 Dog owners recommended

Thank you for the question. I think it's important to find out why the hair loss occurred. Sometimes reasons like allergies, a reaction to a grooming product, or microscopic mites can cause a dog to scratch, even though it looks as though there is no reason. A trip to the vet is my recommendation if Mia continues to scratch or loses more hair. In the meantime, you can try an oatmeal bath as described here. https://wagwalking.com/grooming/bathe-a-dog-with-oatmeal All the best to you and Mia!

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Question
Mattie
West Highland White Terrier
24 Months
0 found helpful
Question
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Mattie
West Highland White Terrier
24 Months

Mattie has been tested for allergies and takes a weekly shot. However when she goes to the groomer a few hours after she some home she breaks out in spots mainly the back area and a little piece down each side. Especially when the groomer uses the electric clippers on her back I asked her not to do that it helped but her skin apparently doesn't itch no scratching or chewing the feet. just red and I mean red. after grooming. we use hypoallergenic shampoo from the vet and it seems to be okay as long as she doesn't use the clippers. do you think the Epsom salt bath would help if we did it at home. I can groom her face and head no problem and I am wondering if grooming should be on the back burner for a while. any suggestions gratefully accepted Jimie Carole Bowen

Darlene Stott
Darlene Stott
Dog Trainer and Groomer
0 Dog owners recommended

Thank you for the question. I would use the Epsom Salt bath on Mattie; it could be quite effective in calming down her skin. Make sure that Mattie does not drink any of the water from the bath. Here is a good article on Epsom Salts https://rehabvet.com/facilities/benefits-salt-water/. I would put the grooming on the back burner, yes. It will give the skin a chance to heal. Since you can trim her at home easily, I would do that. Brush her gently and often to keep the tangles out and I bet she will have a cute new look. I would ask around for referrals to groomers who can do quick scissor cuts to ease the irritation of Mattie's skin since it seems that your groomer won't give up the clippers. I agree with your concern - a comfortable pup is better than one with sore, irritated skin. She'll look adorable no matter what!

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Question
Jelly
Pit bull mix
5 Years
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Question
0 found helpful
Jelly
Pit bull mix
5 Years

How do you "soak" a taller dog? Mine is about 2ft at the shoulders. I don't think I could get her to lay down in the tub either.

Darlene Stott
Darlene Stott
Dog Trainer and Groomer
0 Dog owners recommended

Hi there, you are right - soaking a taller dog is not easy. If Jelly is comfortable in the bath, you could continue to fill the tub while she is in it. But even then, filling it only halfway is probably best. Then, you would have to continually pour the water over her until the fur is soaked. Be sure to rinse and dry Jelly well once you are finished. Alternatively, if it is warm enough where you live, you can fill a child's pool and have it outside. She may lay down in that. Make sure she does not drink the water. Is she having skin issues? I would call the vet to rule out parasites or infection if the skin problem goes on longer than a few days. Good luck!

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