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.
Best for Winter: 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.
Best for Paw and Nose: 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 and was used on the police K-9s after the 9-11 attacks in New York City.
Best for Itchy Paws: Dermapaw Dog Skin and Paw Treatment
With under ten easy-to-pronounce ingredients (clary sage butter, mango oil, coconut oil, beeswax, shea butter, jojoba oil, emu oil, vitamin E and lavender oil), you can trust that this all-natural dog balm is safe for your pet, even if he or she licks it. It’s formulated to naturally kill bacterial and fungal infections, including yeast. Slather it on your pup’s paws, snout, tummy, ears, lips, tail, or anywhere he or she has raw, inflamed skin. It soothes irritation and will help them stop that constant licking, chewing, or scratching, so you both can get some rest. Note that while it will soothe problems associated with allergies, it won’t cure them.
Best Budget: Pet Head Oatmeal Natural Paw Butter
This oatmeal-based dog balm soothes your furball’s itchy skin and soothes and relieves dry cracked paws. Apply it before or after walks or both. Reviewers note that it has a Chapstick-like consistency, so it’s helpful to warm up a dab between your fingers before applying. Another word to the wise: this balm can be greasy. If you’re using post-walk, you may want to use it with a pair of booties, so it doesn’t get on your floor or furniture. In addition to oatmeal, this balm contains a blend of shea butter, mango, coconut and olive oils, aloe vera and vitamins E and F.
Best Natural: 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.”
Best CBD Balm: Veritas Farms Full Spectrum CBD Paw Rescue
While the official jury is still out on if CBD is good for your pets, if you’re a fan of it, this CBD balm is one of the best available. It’s made of high-quality help oil that is grown, extracted, and formulated on a farm in Pueblo Colorado. It’s safe for your pet to lick off and may, in fact, help them calm down. In addition to organic hemp seed oil, the balm also contains organic shea butter, organic beeswax, organic St. John’s wort extract, vitamin E, organic rosemary extract, organic calendula extract, and full-spectrum hemp oil. Massage it into rough or calloused paws.
Best for Sore Paws: Natural Dog Company Paw Soother
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.” The balm 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. Note that this product is used to treat paws, while the company’s PawTection helps prevent damage.
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.