Homemade Oatmeal Shampoo for Dry, Itchy Skin (for dogs)

Print Friendly

homemade oatmeal shampoo for dogs

Our dog after shampoo

Our sweet dog decided that the smell of skunk was like perfume and rolled all over a dead one. The ensuing “de-skunking” was quite an adventure, and after about 6 baths and finally discovering “Nature’s Miracle” skunk odor remover, she had just a hint of the nasty stench left. Unfortunately, the next day I noticed she was itching, and then she started to lose patches of hair. I ended up taking her in to the vet yesterday to make sure she didn’t have anything major wrong with her. Turns out she had an allergic reaction. They told me I could buy their bottle of soothing oatmeal shampoo for $17, but I politely declined and quickly came home to look up a homemade recipe. There are lots of recipes out there for homemade oatmeal shampoo, but this is what I ended up doing:
Pin it for later!

Recipe: Homemade Oatmeal Shampoo for Dogs (and probably other creatures, too)

homemade oatmeal shampoo for dogs

1 cup oatmeal

1/2 cup baking soda

1 quart warm water

In a food processor or coffee grinder, grind oatmeal until it’s a flour. Pour it into a bowl, and stir in the baking soda. Add the warm water and stir until well incorporated. When you’re ready to use it, get your dog wet. Lather her (or him) up with the oatmeal shampoo and allow it to sit for 5 minutes if possible. Rinse off, dry, and give your doggy some snuggles!

FRESH Posts In Your Inbox
Life Made Full
Join the 1000's of Readers That
Receive Our New Posts By Email.


  1. Amanda Dickson says

    I’ve got a question and a comment. My question is can you mix it up ahead of time and let it sit in an airtight container for a few months? Also I’ve heard if you use a small amount of lavender or tea tree oil it acts as a nautrual insect repellent.

    • says

      Hmmm…not sure? I thought about using some natural essence, but at the time, was just in a hurry to wash her since she had an allergic reaction to some skunk shampoo I used. lol I would imagine it would last fine–but would need to be shaken before use. Let me know if you try it and if it works!

      • Debbie says

        Have you heard of the natural skunk shampoo? It definitely works! I’ve used it on my 3 beagles and have also used it when my cat urinated on my carpet to take out that smell (just be careful, it can bleach certain fabrics). Here’s the recipe: 1 quart 3% hydrogen peroxide, 1/4 cup baking soda, 1 tsp liquid dish washing soap (I used dawn).
        Wearing rubber gloves (we didn’t have gloves, you just turn your hands white and find all your cuts), wash your dog with this solution immediately after he’s been sprayed. DO NOT get the solution in the dog’s eyes. Let it set on your dog for 5 minutes if possible. Caution: Do NOT save this mixture or make it ahead of time, as the mixture could explode if left in a bottle. Rub the mixture through his fur. Rinse him thoroughly.
        My dogs didn’t even have a wet dog smell afterward. I wish this was safe to use weekly! We did need to bath them the next day with dog shampoo because their skin was a bit irritated and dried out, but no other effects were noted.

          • Lassen Dog Raiser says

            Something else that I have used for a de-skunking mixture is, as weird as it sounds, the Massengil douches (spelling?). They are PH balanced and there are absolutely no irritants for the dogs. I don’t know how they work but they do. While all of my dogs are large it takes a few of these, per dog, to get the job done but oh so worth it.

        • Lassen Dog Raiser says

          this de-skunking mixture works wonders. I have used it many times. Recently my kids (dogs) got skunked and I used this as I have many times before. This time one of my kids had an allergic reaction to the mixture and he has been miserable with itching and allergies. He has lost a bunch of hair in patches so be very careful and watch for these signs on your critter. be sure to rinse the kids completely and when you think they are completely rinsed rinse them some more.

    • Jeanna says

      Amanda, PLEASE do not use tea tree essential oil on your dog ever! In the latest journal of Veterinary Medicine, they said to never use this on your animals, regardless of size. Tea tree oil is associated with canine ataxia, and should not be used. I know it is confusing, because you will find the ingredient in commercial dog products. But my vet told me that the over the counter pet product industry is highly unregulated, and that is why they are getting away with putting ingredients in products that are really not good for our animals. Thanks.

      • Debbie says

        I’ve used straight tea tree oil on my dogs for years without a problems. It’s a natural antibiotic/antifungal/antiviral and has done wonders for their skin problems. Both my natural health practitioner and vet recommended it.

      • Cindy says

        I used tea tree oil on my dog and he lost muscle control in his hind quarters after about a half hour. When I realized what was happening I washed him off immediately and the symptoms went away after a couple of hours. It was horrible…..

        • Kay says

          my dog lost muscle control when I used frontline on him. My vet told me to use oatmeal shampoo with a couple drops of tea tree oil to prevent fleas and ticks. I guess what I’m saying is that each dog handles things differently. I’m sorry that happened to your dog.

    • Rhonda Ferntorp says

      Personally I wouldn’t use tea tree oil. Lavender if in small amount apparently is ok but tea tree, pennyroyal and a few other ess oils can be harmful… I’ve been reading various items over the net etc.

      Best to check with your Vet first perhaps. Cheers. Rhonda

  2. Rivka says

    I tried this for my dog and it seemed to dry his skin severely – is 1 cup of baking soda really the right amount? It seemed like a lot at the time, and would not dissolve completely in the water, and since he got itchier than ever after I used it, I suspect some sort of typo.

  3. Devin says

    Hey, I’m wanting to try this for my dog who has been itching like crazy, but I have a really stupid question to ask you (so don’t laugh)…when you say oatmeal do you mean 1 cup of oats (like, the dry kind)? Or just plain, no flavor oatmeal that you would eat for breakfast…? I know this is probably ridiculous but I really don’t know. Thanks!

    • radlandon says

      Hi, Devin! It’s not a stupid question! I used regular oats (like the kind you buy in a big tub–Quaker). Hope that helps!

  4. Dannie says

    This sounds like it would be a great gift for my furry friends! Thanks for sharing. One question…when you say to “lather”, does this actually lather like shampoo (no soap was mentioned)? OK, 2 questions ;-))…has anyone had any problems rinsing it out of long haired-dogs?

    • radlandon says

      It doesn’t really “bubble” up like lather, I just used that term to mean wash. lol And I’m not sure about long-haired dogs…hopefully someone else will answer!

    • tori says

      I have two aussies and it was not easy to get out of their long fur. That being said, I was able to get most of it out and brush out the rest while I dried them. I think it would have been easier if I could have sprayed it out of their fur…I can’t say for sure (just a thought). But they are clean, not itchy and for me personally it was worth it.

    • Claire says

      This was difficult to rinse out of my Sheltie’s hair, but I was able to get most of it, after spraying him very thoroughly with water. I think next time I would strain the mixture with a cheese cloth or French press to remove any remaining chunks of oatmeal. He hasn’t dried yet, so we’ll have to see if he is itch-free, but he smells great! The only modification I made was adding one drop of lavender to the shampoo.

  5. Jody says

    Hi there,

    I’ve used the basic oatmeal recipe listed above. I have added a few drops of lavender that works well as a natural flea/tick repellent. I have also included a few aloe Vera drops for it’s soothing benefits. As for the “lathering”, I have found adding a few drops of a natural dish liquid works great although I don’t notice if it actually had any benefits besides the actual soapy feel.

  6. tay says

    I know this post it’s for sensitive/itchy skin but….just an fyi for a good skunk remover (my vet and groomer recommended this whom I am really good friends with also).

    1 bottle qt size of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide

    1/4 cup baking soda

    1/2 tsp of dawn dish soap

    mix and use

    just dont add more soap, this stips the oils in their coat. Hence getting rid of the skunk smell.

  7. Eddie Davenport says

    I just tried this recipe. I’ll let you know how it works. I did notice that my Oreo, was not gagging like she does with store brand shampoos. I do need to grind the oatmeal better. The first time she shook, she decorated the walls and me with a coating of oatmeal bits. It was rather funny…. We all smell good!

  8. Valeria says

    Just one comment regarding baking soda: it really is quite irritant – ok, the oats are grat but you ned to neutralise the soda. Use vinegar dilluted in water, 1 cup per litre I’d say, to rinse. Not only it’ll begood for the skin, the hair will be super shiny afterwards!
    PD: this shampoo can also be used for people, but make sure to rinse with vinegar!

  9. says

    I know baking soda irritates the heck out of my skin (I tried deodorant with it). I don’t think I’d use baking soda for shampoo unless it’s really diluted. You could maybe sprinkle it on the fur to absorb odors, though. Even with the “no poo” method for human hair washing, I think people are only using like a tablespoon of baking soda in a whole cup or two of water. Just my 2 cents. :)

  10. Carroll the Irishman says

    I am very glad to have received your story via another great place of information. My Bloodhound has got an itch and her Vet just said it was from laying around on the carpet BUT, I don’t buy it. We’re both mid 60’s to the low 70’s kind of man and dog. It’s been unusually hot here this summer and my belief is she’s just been over heated. This would dry her skin out and I’m going to save some $$ by making this recipe and healing her up. Everything in life happens for a reason and because I’ve been thinking about her condition, the Cosmos has given me an answer to the problem. Or, I can thank Almighty God for being that Cosmos and taking the concern away. Thanks for posting it very much.

  11. says

    Came across this and I notice my dog has a patch of hair missing so I wanted to try it but was wondering how often you used it on your dog? And if your dogs hair grew back. I know it was posted a couple years ago so thanks for the post. I’m sure it’ll help.

  12. josiane says

    im going to try it but does it get odors of beaucause i have a lab and it stinks so im tring to get some homemade dog shampoo with stuff at home please reply with a answer of good smelling dog shampoo

    • says

      Hi, Josiane. I’m not sure about smells. This shampoo is more for itchy, dry skin. Although you may be able to add in some essential oils to help it smell nice. =)

      • josiane says

        thanks alot and i saw a video of almos the same recipe and the guy said that it gives shinier and smells not bad but nuthing:)

  13. Julie Hinsley says

    re oatmeal shampoo for dogs- I strain the oatmeal through a sieve as the resulting milky fluid is just as effective. I would not attempt to keep it too long though as it will go off after a week. I use this with some honey as a wash for myself as I have psoriasis – it is very soothing

  14. Pooka advani says

    Thank u so much is all I need to say ,my angel has this prob since she is a baby the vet regularly injects her various shampoos various diets no results I have tried the oatmeal shampoo today n her fur seems soft she has not itched in the last three hours which is a relief would feel miserable see her itch n could do nothing about it

  15. Nicole says

    Hey there,
    wonderful comments about the skunks haha just went through that with my dog, but I had a question. I just adopted a pup from the shelter that has lice so its been tough keeping my dogs seperate until it clears. I have to give her two more baths over 2 weeks but she is loosing tons of hair from itching all the time. I was going to try this oatmeal shampoo to help sooth the itch but do you have any other suggestions? or how often would you use this


Speak Your Mind