4 Bath Salts That May Benefit Your Pets
We’re all looking for ways to improve our lives and those of our pets, and nothing says love like natural care!
When it comes to curing dandruff, easing itchy paws, stopping skin irritations and helping pets overcome stress, nothing gets the job done like natural bath salts.
Our pet’s bodies absorb the many minerals from these baths through the skin (dermal absorption) – just as we do.
There are tons of benefits for people and pets – from eliminating yeast and detoxing the body, to relaxation. Salts have many other curative effects and each has different benefits.
Bath Salts for Pets
First off, these salts are not for consumption for you or your pets.
Natural doesn’t always mean safe (see our article on Understanding Toxicity Levels of Natural Cures), so it’s important to use salts (and any other natural remedy) properly (which also means not using them too frequently).
Your pets don’t really need a salt scrub more once a month or a paw soak more than once a week – unless they are being treated for specific skin conditions.
These salts are all for soaking in water, so don’t let your pets drink the bath water. Salts are dangerous if consumed and can cause severe damage. But, for soaking purposes, they are the best!
So, there are many types of salts out there. Today we’re taking a look at a few of our favorites: Epsom, Dendritic, Dead Sea, European, Pacific, and Himalayan.
The History of Bath Salts
Salt baths have been prized as a valid medicinal cure for thousands of years. The ancient Greeks used seawater in their baths after seeing the miraculous healing effects the waters had on the hands of fishermen, and well they fought off infection.
The Romans often used salts in their communal baths (by 33 BC, there were 170 pubic and private baths in Rome alone). Cleopatra even used them in her very elite day spa on the Dead Sea shores, and Hippocrates wrote about their benefits in his notes many years ago.
When we use them on our pets, we should aim for a soak or a scrub. The scrub is a perfect exfoliation that removes dead skin and eliminates dandruff. A soak will help your pets become less itchy and these salts offer many benefits to arthritic dogs and cats.
Epsom salt is not truly a salt – it’s actually a mineral compound called Magnesium Sulfate and it happens to come in crystal form, so it looks like salt. Epsoms are used in everything from gardening to stabilizing aquarium water content.
Magnesium Sulfate (epsom salts) are also great for active, working dogs as it helps draw lactic acid from the body (which causes cramping and joint issues).
Epsom salts also help skin conditions. Itchy, sensitive skin and rashes respond well to Epsom salts. They also help to soothe embedded or ripped nails.
Recently, scientists found that regularly bathing with Epsom salts can help those suffering from arthritis and joint inflammation as they help reduce inflammation and pain in people (and, we’re assuming, in pets).
“The Manchester University team investigated how the way in which the body’s cells expand can control inflammation, which is the immune system’s first response to injury or infection. In the tests on mice, they discovered that by injecting a saline solution into an area of inflammation the swelling was reduced by sucking the water out of the expanded cells.”
Many humans are also deficient in magnesium, which can cause everything from heart problems to chronic fatigue and arthritis or joint pain.
So if you’re feeling a bit sluggish or stiff, take a long soak in the tub with a handful of epsom salts.
To use: Place ¼ cup into a bathtub or foot bath and soak your pet’s paws for 10-15 minutes or make into a salt scrub and use for exfoliation. Be sure to rinse well! Epsom salts can cause dehydration in pets and people, so encourage your pets to drink lots of water after a bath.
Dead Sea Salt
Dead Sea salt is a wonderful way to soothe your pet’s skin and relax them overall. This salt is different from other sea salts in terms of mineral content. Dead Sea salt only contains about 8% sodium chloride. Magnesium, sulfates, and potassium make up the rest of this salt.
This salt was reportedly used by Cleopatra in one of the first official day spas that she set up on the shores of the Dead Sea. She believed that salt guarded against aging and helped the Egyptians stay timeless.
Dead sea salts are rich in minerals (including magnesium) and are a natural way to keep ease tension and help relax pets.
Since they are high in potassium, magnesium and calcium, it can help soothe itchy skin and even help reduce eczema-prone skin.
Your pets will benefit from it with healthier skin and coats, and it really helps pets Conquer the Wintertime Blues!
To use: Use to exfoliate dead skin by turning it into a salt scrub. You can do this by taking a small handful of fine-grain salts and adding a bit of water or coconut oil (or any other carrier oil). Work the mixture into a paste and gently massage it over your pet’s skin. This will help remove dead skin cells and decrease the itchiness associated with dry coats and skin. Rinse thoroughly!
These salts were deposited during the formation of the Himalayan mountains about 50 million years ago. Since that time, they were locked into protective layers of sediment thanks to a series of volcanic eruptions. These ancient sea salt deposits have been naturally preserved from pollutants by this sediment, which helps us access some of the purest, most beneficial salt in the world.
What makes them so good? Himalayan salt contains 84 essential minerals (which gives this salt it’s beautiful coloring).
While it has less magnesium than Epsom salts or dead sea salts, it is a well-rounded approach to healthy skin and it can also reduce stress.
These salts also help soften your water, so if you live in an area of hard water (like we do), you’ll be able to create a type of natural water softener.
To use: Add a few teaspoons of Himalayan salt to bath water and soak your pet’s paws. Another option is to buy the “rock” (they are available in fine, course or jumbo), then hang under the faucet using an organza bag and let your bath water run over top of it to create a nice salt bath.
Dendritic salt is table salt that has been modified by a trace of yellow prussiate of soda (less than 3 parts per million). That tiny trace is then removed by the drying of the crystals. The end result is a tiny bit of salt that has a new design of star-shaped crystals rather than the traditional round shape – which leaves lots of extra surface area (nearly 2.5 times more!) than regular salts.
So, why go through this lengthy manufacturing process? Because the larger surface area helps the salt hold important things like essential oils or other oils (like essential oils).
Another big benefit is that it doesn’t cause the oils to oxidize (make them go rancid) and the unique design allows the salts to dissolve much more quickly in water. This salt is designed to be used along with one of the salts listed above.
To use: When making bath salts, mix a few drops of essential oils with your dendritic salts first and then blend the dendritic salts into your other salts. Mix well. You can add about 5% dendritic salt to your bath salts to help them to retain their scent longer.
Rosemary essential oil has been approved by the Commission E scientific advisory board (the German equivalent of the FDA) to treat both muscle pain and arthritis. Learn more about Herbal Supplements for Pets: Rosemary
If you’re not up to making your own dog or cat bath scrub, there are many available on the market.
However, there is only one manufacturer who specializes in these types of bathing solutions – and that is DERMagic. We use their Dead Sea Salt Scrub on our pets and we can’t recommend them enough. Their Dead Sea Salt Scrub includes three of the four salts listed above and it’s already balanced and contains Rosemary essential oils, which is the perfect solution for stressed out pets with difficult skin conditions.
Compare their ingredient list: Epsom Salt, Dead Sea Salt, Sodium Bicarbonate (Baking Soda – for pH balance), Dendritic Salt, Diatomaceous Earth, Rosemary Essential Oil, Vitamin E, Aloe Powder & Natural Food Coloring.
Here’s a video that shows how they work:
Avoid commercial, low-cost salts and scrubs
For example, Martha Stewart recently released her version of bath salts that includes eucalyptus, but we feel it’s too strong for our pets. The ingredients in her salts include: Sodium Chloride, Mineral Salt, Fragrance, Menthol, Yellow 5, Blue 1. I don’t particularly like the word “fragrance” because it generally means “not essential oil”. I also really hate the words Yellow 5 and Blue 1, and I’m not seeing which salt is used. Also, while eucalyptus may feel good in the bath, we feel that oils like Rosemary offer better results for skin-healing.