7 Dog Paw Balms to Soothe, Protect, and Pamper Your Pooch All Year Long
Even though a dog's paws are designed to carry them through the elements sans shoes, the pads of their feet still need some occasional relief. Dog paw balm is intended to soothe a pup's paws in the same way you'd cure your own dry, cracked hands or feet. The moisturizing properties give their paws some much-needed relief, while the waxy texture acts as a buffer between their paws and whatever terrain they explore, from icy, salt-covered winter sidewalks to hot summer pavement.
What is Dog Paw Balm?
The concept of dog paw balm came from the sport of mushing (when a pack of dogs pulls a sled over snow). Mushers used a simple blend of oils and wax to protect their dog's paws from snowy conditions. Musher's Secret, the first dog paw balm, was imported to the United States from Canada in the '90s and still continues to gain popularity with mushers and dog owners alike.
What to Look for in Dog Paw Balm
As always, when using a product that your dog could lick and accidentally ingest, be sure the ingredients in the dog paw balm you choose are safe for dogs. A lotion made for humans might not be safe for dogs, so always read labels and talk to your vet if you're unsure.
How to Use Dog Paw Balm
Since most dog paw balms are a blend of oils, they will need a little warmth to give a smooth application. Simply rub your finger into the balm, and the heat from your hand should be enough to help the balm glide right on to your pup's paws. If you are using the balm indoors, try slipping on a pair of dog socks so your pup doesn't slide around the floors.
If your pup has a minor wound like irritated paws or small cuts and scrapes, a dog paw balm is generally safe to use unless the product instructions say not to apply on broken/injured skin, says Jenna Stregowski, RVT and Daily Paws' pet health and behavior editor. If in doubt, ask a veterinarian about the product ingredients and contact a vet if minor wounds don't improve after a few days of balm use, Stregowski says.
Whether you're new to dog paw balm or already a fan, keep reading for the best paw balms for every pup (that are also super affordable).
7 Best Dog Paw Balms to Soothe and Protect Irritated Paws
Best for Winter: Musher's Secret Paw Protection Natural Dog Wax
It all began as a musher's best kept secret, and they still know how to do it best. This balm, inspired by the sled dogs in Canada, forms a breathable yet durable barrier between the dog's paw pads and the ground below. This balm is great to use in snowy conditions as well as sandy beaches and hot pavement.
Shop now: Musher's Secret Paw Protection Natural Dog Wax, $15; chewy.com
Best Scent: Pet Head Oatmeal Natural Paw Butter
This paw butter is designed to relieve dry and cracked paws and possibly to make your house smell like fresh baked cookies. One reviewer writes, "We adopted a shelter pup. Her paw pads are ripped up, burned, scabbed. It's clear she was on the street for a while." They shared a picture of their shelter dog's paws and rated the balm five stars. "Amazing. The scent is phenomenal. She smells like a warm cinnamon roll."
Shop now: Pet Head Oatmeal Natural Paw Butter, $8; amazon.com
Best Budget: Natural Dog Company Paw Soother Trial Stick
This 0.15 oz trial stick of paw balm goes for less than six dollars and allows you to test out the formula on your dog before making any decisions. The before and after photos say it all: before, dry and chapped; after, moisturized and healthy. If you end up having luck with this mini balm, you can check out the company's full-size options.
Shop now: Natural Dog Company Paw Soother Trial Stick, $6; amazon.com
Best Natural: Vets Preferred Paw Balm
This dog paw balm soothes and protects and can even be used on noses in need of moisture! This balm is made from a blend of soothing oils like olive, jojoba, and coconut as well as beeswax and a blend of essential oils. Reviewers say this has helped tremendously with their dogs' cracked paws!
Shop now: Vets Preferred Advanced Pad Protection, $11; amazon.com
Best Healing: Paw Gold
Fur Goodness Sake! No, really. That's the name of the brand, and they have lots to say about their healing dog paw balm. The formula penetrates deeper for immediate relief for dry, damaged paws. It also retains moisture for long-lasting protection.
Shop now: Paw Gold, $15; amazon.com
Best Organic: Bodhi Dog Organic Paw Balm
The best of the best when it comes to organic options is this Bodhi Dog paw balm. The full list of ingredients could easily fit on your dog's paw: organic shea butter, jojoba oil, beeswax, hemp seed oil, and calendula extract. That's it! This hypoallergenic paw balm comes from a family-owned business dedicated to making quality products for pets and families alike.
Shop now: Bodhi Dog Organic Paw Balm, $14; amazon.com
Best for All-Over Use: Bag Balm Pet Nose, Paw, & Hot Spot Moisturizer
It's called a bag balm because it's easy to throw into any bag and use daily on your dog's paws, nose, or hot spots. It's safe for both humans and animals, so everyone in your family can stay moisturized. Bag balm was even used after the September 11 terrorist attacks to soothe the paws of search and rescue dogs, so you know it's reliable and effective.
Shop now: Bag Balm Pet Nose, Paw, & Hot Spot Moisturizer, $8; chewy.com