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

homemade oatmeal 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:

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

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!

Print Friendly


  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!

    • 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.

  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.

    • says

      Hmm, I’m not sure, Rivka? I’ve used it multiple times on our dog without any problem? Unfortunately, each dog is different, and it’s possible yours is sensitive to this for some reason?

        • Val says

          In the original comment Rivka wrote “1 cup” of baking soda. Your recipe clearly says 1/2 cup.
          That is what Georgi was trying to clarify.

          Passing this recipe on to my son who has a cocker spaniel with skin problems.

          Thanks for sharing it.

  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.

  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. :)


Speak Your Mind