An Epsom Salt Bath For Dogs Can Soothe Their Ailments
A soak in a bathtub full of warm water can be a relaxing event. Add Epsom salts, and it becomes even more rejuvenating. This is something that people have been doing for hundreds of years, but did you know that it can help your pup, too? Take a dive into a new way to pamper your furry friends!
What Are Epsom Salts?
If you haven’t experienced the wonder that is an Epsom salt bath after a long day at work or a tough workout, you may be thinking a saltwater bath doesn’t sound that enticing. But, trust the age-old saying here, “Don’t knock it until you try it.”
The truth is, Epsom salt isn’t actually salt— it’s a naturally occurring mineral that contains magnesium, sulfur, and oxygen. Also known as magnesium sulfate, Epsom salt has a crystalline structure similar to that of common table salt (sodium chloride).
The combination of warm water and Epsom salts is an ancient technique for relief and relaxation, and the mixture continues to be as popular as ever. Even veterinarians tout the benefits of Epsom salt soaks— they are often used and suggested by many vets to reduce inflammation and encourage the healing of wounds.
Why Would My Dog Need an Epsom Salt Soak?
Epsom salt soaks can help relieve aches in muscles and joints. Our pets live full, active lives— playing, running, and aging as we do. Since we consider them part of the family, it only makes sense to treat them to some “spoiling” every so often, don’t you think?
Other reasons you might consider baths and Epsom salt soaks for your dog’s benefit:
- Epsom salt soaks may provide comfort to older, arthritic dogs
- New experiences can help strengthen the bond between you and your pet
- Bathing your dog may help improve you or your family’s allergies
- Bathing your dog may help improve your dog’s allergies
- Bathing can help remove odors or substances from your pet’s hair and skin
How Do I Give My Dog an Epsom Salt Bath?
Changing up your dog’s routine might seem overwhelming, but here are six easy steps to giving your dog the bathtime they deserve (rubber ducky not included).
Start filling the bathtub that you are using for the soak. The water should be warm, but not hot. There only needs to be enough water to cover the area you need to soak. (For example, if you are soaking your dog’s feet, you will need much less water than if you were soaking your dog’s shoulders or body.)
Measure out the Epsom salts-- you will need about one cup for every gallon of water. If you are using a bathtub, it is easiest to mix the Epsom salt into the water while it is still running. Use your hand to help thoroughly stir the mixture and ensure it has dissolved thoroughly before moving on to the next step.
Bring your dog to the bathtub. If your dog is not familiar with baths, now is a great time to introduce treats for encouragement. (Wild One’s Organic Veggie Burger Treats are a fan favorite!) Once you’ve placed your pet into the water, continue to provide treats or affection until your dog is relaxed. Ensure that your dog does not drink the water, as this is water for a soak only. Be careful to ensure that no water gets inside their ears.
Spend about ten minutes or more with your dog simply soaking in the Epsom saltwater. Since this is not a bath, no cleaning is needed. You can carefully pour water from your hands or a cup if you would like to get your dog more familiar with the bathing process. If your dog seems agitated, continue to give him or her treats or affection. If they are a little anxious, try bringing their favorite toy into the bath with them.
After about fifteen minutes, drain the tub and rinse your pet off with fresh water to remove any Epsom salt residue. (If you are giving your pet a soak for a wound, check the wound afterward and dry it carefully.)
Once you’ve dried off your dog, you’re done— your pet has benefited from a soak that humans have loved for centuries!
Now My Dog Needs A Bath!
The Epsom salt soak was just for relaxation, but now your pet has played outside and is dirty from the park. Bathtime is on the schedule. You can always use Wild One’s great Grooming Wipes, which gently clean your dog’s skin and coat (while removing dirt and minimizing odor), but some owners prefer to use shampoos and other products to ensure their dog is clean and comfy.
How Do I Give My Dog a Cleansing Bath?
If you’ve never given your pup a bath before, here are some steps and suggestions for dogs of all breeds and ages. Bath time can be one of two things for most dogs: a fun splash in the tub or an experience that they do only because you’re asking them to. If your pooch is one of the latter, be sure to grab some treats to help and reward them for good behavior!
Begin by gathering everything you will need for this task— a towel or two, bath products, nail trimmers, and anything else you might use. An extra person can be helpful if your dog is larger or particularly feisty. You can also put some towels down on the floor to help catch drips or splashes (or in case your dog tries to hop out of the tub!).
If your dog seems to slip around in the tub, it can be useful to place a non-slip mat in the tub before bathing them. This should help your pet keep their traction and bathe with less anxiety, which makes for a more pleasant experience for you both.
Next, start filling your tub with warm water. You can also just use a handheld shower head if you prefer, but be sure to have it set to a setting that will not disturb your dog. Take care that the water is not too hot but a comfortable temperature for your pup. Chilly water may startle your dog upon being placed in the bath.
If your dog is a breed that likes cold water and swimming, you can use cooler bathwater, but small dogs often get cold very easily. (The sound of running water can also startle some dogs, so you may desire to wait to bring your dog in until after the bath is filled to your desired level if your dog isn’t yet familiar with the bathtub.)
At this point, you can bring your dog into the bathroom or area you are using for the bath. Keep your dog calm throughout this process by providing treats, petting them, and praising their good behavior.
If you are indoors, close the door to the room so that your dog cannot escape. If you are outdoors or in an area you cannot close off, you may want to put your dog on a leash to keep them in the area.
Once your dog is in the water, calmly use a washcloth to wet his or her coat. You may lightly spray or pour water slowly on them if they are not nervous. Take care not to splash water in their eyes, ears, or nose. Continue to provide treats if your dog seems agitated.
When the coat is fully saturated with water, apply shampoo and lather. Be careful to not get shampoo around their eyes or their ears.
Use a shampoo that is specifically made for dogs, like Wild One Conditioning Shampoo. This conditioning shampoo helps minimize itching and dry skin and comes in two fresh scents, Grapefruit Lemongrass and Eucalyptus Peppermint. (Products made for humans can irritate your dog’s skin.)
Now you can rinse out the shampoo. Simply pour or spray water over your dog’s coat, rubbing your hand through the fur to help aid rinsing. Be sure you rinse all of the shampoo out.
Dry your dog’s coat with a towel while you continue to provide positive reinforcement through affection or treats. For faster drying, use a towel to gently squeeze your pet’s coat so that they are as dry as possible. You can take your dog outside to dry in the sun if conditions are appropriate.
After their coat is fully dried, you should brush it to ensure it is tangle-free.
The Powers of Epsom Salts
Regardless of whether your pet plans to enjoy an Epsom salt soak or a bubbly (pet shampoo) bath, taking a bath should become a regular activity for your pooch. Baths are necessary to keep your dog clean and their coat mat free, but sometimes, it’s nice to treat them to some spa time! Next time you consider pampering your pet, consider an Epsom salt bath! You might just find that they like it just as much as you do.
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