Soothe that itchy skin
By Janet Tobiassen Crosby, DVM, About.com Guide
Oatmeal has been used for years to help soothe skin and control itching, both for humans and for animals. When discussing oatmeal used for bathing, "colloidal oatmeal" is often mentioned. The term colloidal means "finely divided particles" that are able to disperse and settle rapidly.1
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If your pet is itching and scratching, the first thing to do is check with your vet and have your pet examined. Itchniness can be caused by many things, and the inciting cause should be found and addressed. Oatmeal shampoos are gentle and can be used for many skin conditions, often in harmony with other topical treatments that may be prescribed, but always check with your veterinarian first.
There are many types of oatmeal shampoos on the market now, and it can be confusing to know what formulation is "best" for your pet. I prefer to stay with the simple colloidal oatmeal as the main ingredient. Aloe vera is a gentle moisturizer that is a good additional shampoo ingredient for dry skin.
When your pet is itchy, it is important to use tepid or cool water for the oatmeal shampoo (or any shampoo used for itchy irritated skin). Warmer water will often serve to aggravate the itchiness and redness. Cool water will "cool" the skin and the itchy irritation, bringing relief faster.