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 them some relief, while the waxy texture acts as a buffer between their paws and whatever terrain they explore.
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.
The AKC is a huge advocate for dog paw protection, and balms are one of the few ways they list to combat or prevent damaged paws. Because dogs spend most (if not all) of their life barefoot, it's important to take care of their paw pads. And not just in snowy climates—think of walking across hot pavement barefoot. Overtime, you'd need some hydration and damage repair.
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).
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. Say goodbye to those snow booties your dog just can't seem to get the hang of.
Shop now: Musher's Secret Paw Protection Natural Dog Wax, $15; chewy.com
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
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
Reviewers from cold climates rave about this veterinarian-grade paw balm that’s ideal for extreme weather conditions. One reviewer writes: “This is working wonders for my fido’s paws. We don’t miss a day of hiking here in Colorado. Things can get rough sometimes without her boots on. This has completely smoothed out her paws, and she’s not licking/chewing them at all.”
Shop now: Vets Preferred Advanced Pad Protection, $11; amazon.com
Fur Goodness Sake! No, really. That’s the name of the brand, and they have lots to say about their healing dog paw balm. They write, “If traditional paw creams are a cocktail, PawGold is a shot of tequila!” The formula penetrates deeper for immediate relief for dry, damaged paws. It also retains moisture for long-lasting protection.
Shop now: All Natural Dog Paw Balm for Rapid Healing, $15; amazon.com
This balm features an all-natural blend of herbs and oils to heal cracked pads and protect them from all the elements. And if your dog is an avid licker (we all know a guy), then Only Natural Pet balm is great because it’s safe for ingestion.
Shop now: Only Natural Pet Soothe & Shield Dog Paw Pad Balm, $12; chewy.com
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: USDA Certified Organic Paw Balm, $14; amazon.com
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 attack to soothe the paws of search dogs who foraged the rubble of the twin towers, so you know it’s reliable and effective.
Shop now: Bag Balm Pet Nose, Paw, & Hot Spot Moisturizer, $6; chewy.com