Monday, August 3, 2009

The Secret to Softer Skin (and Fur)

Can you believe it's already August? Arlo has been suffering the heat a little worse than me lately. Dry itchy skin, rashes. I tried spritzing him down with apple cider vinegar, and it seemed to help alleviate his conditions somewhat, but I wanted to try something different and, frankly, a little more pleasant smelling.

Plenty of skin products advertise colloidal oatmeal. It soothes skin by bringing the high pH of itchy skin down to normal levels. And here I thought "colloidal" indicated some special scientific process, but apparently it's just another term for "finely powdered"—which makes preparing it a snap.

Just grind a cup of oatmeal in a coffee or spice grinder until it's the consistency of a fine dusting powder. You can sprinkle this in a bath (for people or animals). But I wanted something a little more concentrated and having Arlo lie in a bath just didn't seem practical (or water-efficient). So I added just enough water to the powder to make it into a thick paste (think cake batter) then massaged it into his coat. Let it set for at least 15 minutes and then just towel dry afterward if necessary.

There were still some chunky bits left (I knew I should have ground it longer), so I used a flea comb to gently comb them out. What we were left with was the silkiest coat Arlo has had since he was a puppy. Hurray! I'm thinking of a weekly regimen of oatmeal rinses until his rash clears up. I'll let you know how it goes.

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