Dog paw balms are thick ointments that are applied to the skin of your dog’s paw pads. Like human moisturizing creams, dog paw balms heal and protect dry, cracked skin, and are especially helpful in winter to keep your dog’s paw pads in good shape because snow, ice, and salt and deicing chemicals can wreak havoc on paw pads. Dog paw balms are specifically made to be safe and nontoxic to dogs, and to penetrate the tough, thick skin of the pads while sealing in moisture. Some paw balms can also be used on your dog’s nose. Here are some of the best dog paw balms to keep your pup's pads in tip-top shape.
Musher's Secret Paw Protection Wax
This wax that was originally created for dog sledders in Canada is a must for just about any pup walking outdoors in snow and ice. A big plus for city dogs is that it protects against irritation from salt and other snow-melting chemicals on sidewalks and driveways. The 100 percent natural, food-grade wax creates an invisible boot around your pup’s paws that protects them while allowing perspiration to escape through the pads.
If damage has already been done, the all-purpose wax also soothes dry and cracked paw pads and it’s also safe to use on ears, elbows, and other hot spots. Speaking of hot, Musher’s Secret Paw Was helps on hot pavement, too; it’s used on patrol dogs in Texas and military K9’s. For best results apply two to three times a week.
Price at time of publish: $16
Best for Noses Too
Bag Balm Paw and Nose Moisturizer
With just four ingredients, this petrolatum- and lanolin-based dog paw and nose balm has been a favorite since 1899, when it was originally created in Vermont to protect cows’ udders. The long-lasting moisturizer works on paws and noses to treat cracked and damaged skin.
In addition to your pup, you can use this on your own dry or chaffed skin, to treat baby’s diaper rash, or as a first-aid ointment. It was specially formulated to discourage your pet from licking it off. Among Bag Balm’s many claims to fame is that it has been to Antarctica.
Price at time of publish: $9
Paw Nectar Organic Paw Wax
If you value feeding your pup an organic diet, you’ll appreciate that this paw balm uses 100 percent organic ingredients. It contains an all-natural blend of coconut, avocado and lavender oils, shea and cocoa butters, vitamin E, and soy and rosemary seed extract in a plant-sourced botanical wax. Slather it on your pup’s paws to treat dry, cracked, chaffed, chapped or damaged footpads. It’s also safe to use on your pup’s skin. And because it’s all-natural, there’s little to worry about should your dog lick it off. Reviewers note that the balm works quickly and one even goes so far as to call it “miracle stuff.”
Price at time of publish: $20
Natural Dog Company Paw Soother Stick
This all-natural, vegan dog paw balm comes in a stick that makes it easy to apply to your pup’s paws without getting your hands goopy. Simply twist up and swipe on affected areas—it’s safe to use in between the pads. It heals and nourishes cracked and irritated pads and is even safe for treating paw pad hyperkeratosis, also known as “hairy paw.”
Natural Dog Company Paw Soother is made in Texas, and its ingredient list reads like your own favorite body moisturizer, with coconut oil, cupuacu butter, jojoba oil, calendula extract, cajeput essential oil, chamomile, vitamin E, and rosemary extract.
Price at time of publish: $18 (2-ounce stick)
Pawtitas Travel Size Dog Paw Balm
This organic dog paw balm is available in a 1.75-ounce tin, which is portable enough for travel, but it also comes in a handy .15-ounce version—about the size of a standard chapstick. Pawtitas Organic Paw Dog Balm is more than just a conveniently pocketable option, it's also an excellent vegan option, with all-natural ingredients, including coconut oil, olive oil, candelilla wax, jojoba oil, rosemary herbal oil, carnauba wax, turmeric, and calendula herbal oil.
Cruelty-free, Pawtitas Organic Paw Dog Balm is only tested on humans, not animals.
Price at time of publish: $10
PetLab Co. Paw Balm
PetLab Co's Paw Balm combines carnauba wax and shea butter with coconut, sunflower, hemp, rosemary, sweet almond, and grape seed oil, providing not only skin moisturizing, but a multi-factor protective layer that enables healing of your dog's paws.
It's also a great option if you already know that use a lot of dog paw balm, since PetLab Co. provides big discounts for bulk buys. They offer even steeper discounts for subscription purchases, which can drop to as much as 30 percent off during sales. If you're looking to buy a lot of dog paw balm because you use before and after every walk, or as gifts to the dog lovers in your life, then PetLab Co. should be the first place you look.
Price at time of publish: $25 (1 stick), $72 (4 sticks)
Made for sled dogs, Musher's Secret Paw Protection Wax is an excellent paw balm for any dog in wintertime. If you're looking for a vegan formulation, Natural Dog Company Paw Soother contains no animal-derived ingredients.
What to Look for in Dog Paw Balms
Only use balms intended for use in dogs. Human products may contain ingredients that are not safe for dogs (if they lick it off), or that are not effective on a dog’s tough paw pads.
Most paw balms are formulated as thick ointments that come in jars, tubs, or tins. Use your fingers to scoop a little out and apply to your dog’s paw pads. Some paw balms are thinner, more like the consistency of moisturizer, and come in squeeze bottles. Squeeze a little right onto your dog’s pads, or use your fingers to apply. Dog paw balms are also available in stick form, similar to lip balm, deodorant, or stick sunscreen. You can rub these directly onto your dog’s paw pads without needing to get your hands messy.
Different dog paw balms are made from different blends of ingredients, including various waxes, such as beeswax or botanical wax, oils such as coconut, olive or avocado oil, shea butter or cocoa butter, petroleum, and lanolin. Some also include additional ingredients to protect against yeast or bacteria, and some are fortified with CBD oil.
What is the best way to put on paw balm?
If using a thick paw balm ointment, scoop up a small amount and massage it into your dog’s paw pads. Thinner paw balms can be squeezed from the bottle right onto your dog’s paw pads, then massaged into the skin. Rub stick paw balms directly onto the paw pads—no need to rub in with your fingers. Always follow the instructions on the paw balm, which tell you how much and how often to apply.
Can you use paw balm on a dog’s nose?
Most paw balms made for dogs can be used on the dog’s nose in addition to his paw pads. Always check the package label of the paw balm you are using to make sure it’s safe for use on a dog’s nose.