Confession time: I will try anything for glowing skin. Similarly, I would do anything to spend more time with my two French Bulldogs, Weston and Fira. Luckily, this doggy-and-me DIY facial lets me accomplish both! Made from blueberries—a superfood, if you didn’t already know—it’s designed to soften your skin and brighten your dog’s fur. Is it just a bit extra? Yup. Is it worthy? Hell yeah.
Let’s talk about blueberries for a quick second…
At our house, we go through several baskets of blueberries a week. I throw them into smoothies, pancakes, oatmeal or just pop ‘em in my mouth for a quick snack. They are also one Weston and Fira’s favorite treats. In fact, they even know them by name: We call them “bloobs.”
“Want a bloob?”
Blueberries are bursting with vitamins and antioxidants which may reduce inflammation, improve blood flow and reduce cholesterol levels. Believed to contain the highest antioxidant capacity of any fruit, blueberries have powerful bioactive compounds called anthocyanins which are thought to be natural disease-fighters and what give these powerful little gems their dark blue color.
And when it comes to skincare, blueberries fight free radicals and boast natural vitamins A, B6, C and E and beta-carotene, just to name a few, which may help brighten both skin and dull dog fur.
After learning all that scientific stuff, I knew I had to whip up a DIY facial featuring the powerful little berry. And let me tell you: If you’re looking for a fun bonding activity with your dog, plus fresher, softer skin (for you) and fur (for your pupper), THIS. IS. IT.
Want to get in on this? Here’s what you’ll need for your own DIY facial:
- ½ cup fresh blueberries
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1 tablespoon raw organic honey
- 1 tsp sugar
Now, to mix up a blueberry facial for dogs, you’ll need:
- ¼ cup fresh blueberries
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
Mash together in a bowl until smooth and blended.
Apply your facial to clean skin—it definitely smells like a smoothie! While wearing your mask (you’ll want to leave it on for about 15 minutes), you can apply your dog’s mask to their fur. Make sure to apply with a towel laid out or in the bath (it can get messy!). It’s a great “pre-shampoo” treatment. Just massage, rinse and wash with your pet shampoo of choice. Make sure to give your pup a couple blueberries while you’re at it!
When giving Fira her blueberry facial, I focused around her muzzle and eye fold area, taking care not to get it into her eyes. She actually has a small hot spot on her forehead, so I think this facial is going to be super gentle for those sensitive areas.
After massaging it around a bit, I easily wiped it off with a wet washcloth, leaving Fira smelling oh-so fruity and sweet. I love that this blueberry facial for dogs is all-natural, lick-safe and gently scrubs away impurities and bacteria—perfect for those pesky tear stains.
After wiping my facial mask off with a wet washcloth, my skin honestly felt so baby smooth. It really “plumped” it up and felt soft. Which isn’t too surprising: Coconut oil contains antimicrobial properties that can protect skin from harmful bacteria and keep good moisture in—a benefit that can help both pets and people. It is magic for itchy, irritated skin and keeps it calm.
Who knew this little “bloob” could do so much? Next time you find a basket of blueberries in your fridge, nibble on some but make sure to save a cup for your next spa day with your dog. Good things do come in small packages!
Grow Your Own Blueberries in Pots
Blueberry shrubs are some of the easiest plants to grow in large containers in full sun if you know a few tricks. It’s all in the 4 “P’s”—plant, prune, pick, protect.
Here’s what you need to know to grow fresh, sweet blueberries:
- At least six hours of direct sun each day.
- 18” deep (or larger) container with drainage hole on bottom
- 2 self-fertile, dwarf blueberry shrubs (ask for best local varieties at your local garden center or check out Bushel and Berry’s website)
- Plant in organic acid soil mix (bagged for azaleas and hydrangeas)
- Apply organic fertilizer for acid plants in early spring or when planting
- Water deeply and regularly as needed (in warmer months, this could be daily)
- Mulch with acid-producers such as pine needles, pine bark, true cypress
Prune in late winter or early spring. Pick berries often—if birds are a problem, cover pots with netting. Finally, in coldest regions (zone 5 and under), protect by moving pots into a garage or sheltered spot.
That’s all there is too it. Depending on the size of the bush, you may have to wait two to three years before it produces fruit. Then expect 1 to 2 pints of blueberries per bush.
—Kate Karam, editor in chief at Chewy, landscape architect and Master Gardener