After a long day, there’s nothing as soothing as a soak in the bathtub. Whether bubbled, oiled, or scented, a hot bath can return exhausted people to human status. Add a dose of Epsom salt—yes the same Epsom salts that your grandmother used to soak her feet—and you have a spa right in your home. You can find Epsom salts in any drug store or in your grocery’s medicine aisle.
Anyone who has experienced this simple but magical treatment can understand how dogs can also benefit from an Epsom salt bath. Bathing in Epsom salts has many benefits for our canine companions. Like us, dogs can enjoy soaking their tired, aching muscles in the water. The soak can also improve nerve function and repair skin abnormalities. Dry, itchy skin and tender feet can return to health with Epsom soaks.
How dogs can benefit from Epsom salt baths
Epsom salt baths are especially beneficial for older dogs, dogs with orthopedic instabilities, dogs with arthritis, and dogs with swollen joints. The salts can also help heal surface wounds. However, your dog may need a gentle introduction to Epsom salt baths, especially if he or she needs a little persuasion to tolerate a regular bath.
How to prepare an Epsom salt bath
Prepare for your dog’s bath by gathering supplies before you run the bath water. You will want to have towels on hand, as well as the Epsom salts. You may also want to have shampoo if your dog needs a cleaning and cotton swabs for his or her ears. Begin by brushing your dog to remove any tangles or loose hairs from his or her coat before beginning the soak. If your dog has a skin issue or an injury, clean and trim hair away from the area.
Fill your basin with warm water and add the Epson salts as indicated on the label. About a cup of salts per gallon of water works well. You might want to dab a little of the salted water on open wounds before immersing your dog in the water, and make sure the water is not too hot for your dog’s comfort.
Place your dog in the bath, and expect a little resistance at first. You may need to reassure your dog as he or she learns to relax in the bath. Use a plastic cup to pour water over your dog’s body, and he or she should start to ease into the experience. Continue to pour the water, and if possible, convince your dog to sit or lie down to relax. Keep your dog in the water for at least ten minutes, and then carefully lift him or her from the bath and towel dry.
You can also use Epsom salt soaks on a smaller scale to soothe sore paws. Make a bowl of salt water and place your dog’s paws in the water to soak for at least 10 minutes. You can also use terry cloths or sponges to make compresses to use on injured skin. Repeat this process two to three times a day for optimal effects.
What do Epsom salts do?
Salts dissolved in water are absorbed through the skin to deliver nutrients. This transdermal approach to treatment can be used deliver magnesium (which is found in Epsom salts) and other elements to the blood through the skin. Try to keep your dog from drinking the Epsom salt water, as it can cause digestive upset. It’s important to note that Epsom salt baths are not a substitute for veterinary care. Any severe of infected injuries should be treated by your veterinarian.
Epsom salts can work wonders on a dog’s itchy skin. This natural remedy provides relief without the use of chemicals that could cause irritation For more advice on treating your dog’s skin issues the natural way, read our article on “Home Remedies for a Pet’s Itchy Skin.”