I'm sure I've mentioned it before, but Lincoln battles some severe allergies. Because of this, he has been put on and taken off of medication, gets an immunotherapy shot once a month, and takes regular medicated baths. It can be a lot of work and trial and error; a mixture of some of these practices can also be really counterproductive. Like, when regular medicated baths (directed by our vet) began to dry out his skin which caused him to itch for a whole other reason!
Let's face it. I know my pets better than anyone so it's up to me to trial and tweak this process. While researching for an upcoming post about homemade laundry detergent (that's coming later), I discovered some elements that could, in fact, benefit Lincoln and his itchies.
Baking Soda helps to deodorize and balance PH levels of water and in this case also Lincoln's skin.
Tea Tree Oil works as a natural astringent, helping to heal infection and kill fungi. Peppermint Oil is a natural antiseptic and contains anti-inflammatory properties. Others like Lemongrass, Lavender, and Eucalyptus (also Peppermint) smell yummy and keep pesky bugs away.
Epsom Salt helps ease aches, pains (I know because I load my bath with it post gym time) and aids in healing minor scrapes. Now this isn't something I would include in homemade laundry detergent but I thought it couldn't hurt when it comes to Lincoln's recently pulled back and itchy paws.
So here's what we tried over the weekend -- I ran a warm bath, about three to four inches deep and let the water cool down to a comfy temperature. I then added some baking soda and Epsom salts and used my hand to stir the water to help them both dissolve. Once totally dissolved, I added a few drops of tea tree oil and lavender oil to the bath and gave it another good stir around. My bathroom was smelling delicious at this point!
Once I popped Lincoln in the bath, I used the bath water to rinse him down and let his feet soak. After a minute or two I washed him, head to toe, with an aloe/derma shampoo. I then rinsed him with the bath water again, removing as much shampoo as possible and continued to rinse him thoroughly with clean, warm water. We finished with a good towel dry, his favorite part!
After the bath, Lincoln felt so soft and smelled lovely! Throughout the day following, he was noticeably more relaxed and his skin seemed to not bother him at all. He usually has itchy spells throughout the day, even right after his usual baths. So this outcome is HUGE! I'm hoping we're moving down the right track towards more improvement. I loved the way he felt and smelled so much I bathed Lily the same way. I'm convinced I have two of the best smelling pups in England after their little spa day!
I'll be sure to keep you all updated as we continue to use this bathing routine. Have any questions or other suggestions? Please, leave comments below!