Part I of this article provided an overview of the many benefits of using oats for dogs. This article (Part II) offers practical advice on how to use oats for your dog’s care.
Here are some tips on how to use oats topically.
Natural oatmeal shampoos are readily available, and many have added healing herbs. These shampoos are generally mild, calming, anti-itch, anti-inflammatory, and healing for the skin.
You can make your own oatmeal shampoo, too. It’s nothing more than a colloidal suspension of oats, after they’ve been soaked in water, with something added to cleanse the pet’s hair and skin and perhaps something else added to moisturize and/or treat the skin.
For more anti-itch and anti-inflammatory actions, consider a soak. Commercial soaks are available or, again, you can make your own.
Put a handful of oatmeal in a nylon sock and attach the sock over the bathtub tap. Fill the tub to desired level with water filtered through the oats. Let the pet soak in the tub for 15 to 20 minutes (or for however long they will sit still). Rinse well and dry. Remember, pets prefer tepid water, and cannot tolerate really hot baths.
Dry shampoo can be used to help dry oily-itchy skin. Roast some ground or rolled oats until slightly browned. When they have cooled to room temperature, work them into the pet’s hair so they come into contact with the skin. Let stand for about 15-30 minutes, then comb out. Try this on a small area first, as some hair coats don’t lend themselves well to this type of application.
For “hot spots” or other localized skin irritations, make a slurry of ground oats and water, wrap the slurry in cheese cloth or a tea bag (available from health food stores). Or, soak a clean washcloth in the mixture, and apply as a poultice directly to the affected area. Leave on for 15 minutes or so (or as long as the pet will tolerate it). Repeat several times a day.
Healing herbs such as calendula, chamomile, or lavender can be added to the original mixture to further enhance healing.
Other Ways to Use Oats
Here are more tips on other ways to use oats for better pet health:
Use about a tablespoon of organic oats, steep for 15-20 minutes in a cup of hot water. Pour enough of the tea over the pet’s food to moisten it. Use several times a week for its beneficial effects on the nervous and intestinal systems.
Oatmeal for Breakfast
Increase fiber intake and make use of oats’ medicinal qualities by mixing cooked oatmeal into pet food several times a week. Start out with small amounts and increase to about a tablespoonful or so for every 10-20 pounds of animal.
Grow Your Own Crop
Oats are easy to grow, indoors or out. Simply stick some organic seeds in the ground (or in a pot or tray if growing them indoors), add water and sunlight, and wait a few weeks until the stems are a couple of inches tall. Let your pet eat from the crop, or harvest with scissors and mix the cut leaves into his food. Oat sprouts are also easy to grow, and some critters like them better than grasses. Oats are sometimes marketed in seed form, as “Cat Grass” and are grown and fed to cats as a treats or as an aid to digestion.
Tinctures, capsules containing oats and other forms of “medicinal” oats (Avena sativa) can be used for a variety of conditions. Check with your holistic vet for proper uses and dosages.
Wild oats, a different species of oats from the cultivated ones, is a flower essence remedy used to help restore direction and nervous energies.
Avena sativa is a minor remedy that may be indicated for the animal suffering from nervous exhaustion, sexual debility, or nervous tremors. Check with your homeopathic practitioner for more on how oats are used in homeopathy for pets.
Well, those are some of the amazing properties that nature gives us in oats. You’ll want to use organically grown (wild) oats, whether for dietary or topical use, as the nutritive values of organically grown oats are much higher than commercially produced crops, and you don’t run the potential risk of pesticide or herbicide residue. Plus, organic farming methods are good for the environment.