The 7 Best Dog Paw Balms (2020 Reviews)

Though dog’s paws are built to carry them through life without shoes, we need to do whatever we can to keep their paws healthy and undamaged. One of the easiest ways to do that is applying paw balm to their footpads regularly to prevent damage and soothe any injuries.

To help you out, we sifted through tens of thousands of reviews to find the best dog paw balms and waxes on the market. Here’s our comprehensive review and buying guide:

Our Picks for the Best Dog Paw Balms and Waxes

1. Musher’s Secret Paw Protection Wax

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Musher’s Secret Paw Wax was originally created in Canada to protect the paws of dogsledding dogs in snowy, cold weather conditions. Today, the formula is a top-rated paw wax that moisturizes while also protecting paws from hot and cold weather, as well as ground irritants like salt.

Key Features:

  • Forms a wax barrier with breathable protection for dog’s paws
  • Moisturizes rough paws
  • Made with 100% natural food-grade oils and waxes
  • Contains white and yellow beeswax, vegetable oils, vitamin E, carnauba wax, and candelilla wax
  • Hypoallergenic – no nuts, soy, or flax oil
  • Non-GMO and gluten free

Pros:

  • Can be used on paws, nose, ears, or elbows.
  • Top dog paw balm for winter
  • Protects dog’s paws from snowballing, sand burns, hot pavement, lawn pesticides, and ice & salt.

Cons:

  • While the product is quick drying, pet owners have mentioned that wiping down paws immediately after use is important to decrease slippage on wood/tile floors.

2. BlueCare Labs Healing Therapy Paw Balm

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The BlueCare Labs Healing Therapy Balm is made with a number of ingredients meant to protect, moisturize, and repair your dog’s paws. In addition to a moisturizing oils and waxes, BlueCare differentiates itself with the inclusion of anti-inflammatory agents.

While the jury is still out on hemp extract as an anti-inflammatory, this balm includes hemp oil as well as comfrey extract. You can read about the benefits of comfrey here, including its skin regeneration properties.

Key Features:

  • Relieves and repairs dry, cracked, and inflamed paws
  • Made with shea butter, aloe vera, coconut oil to moisturize
  • Anti-inflammatory ingredients include argan oil, hemp oil, and comfrey extract
  • Creates protective barrier for hot and cold surfaces, and prevents snowballing

Pros:

  • Can be used on both paws and noses
  • Easily absorbed into paws
  • Many owners have responded that paws showed noticeable improvement after just a few days of application

Cons:

  • Dogs may try to lick off the balm – try and put it on at times when this is less likely to happen (at night, etc.)

3. Burt’s Bees Paw & Nose Lotion for Dogs

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If you’re primarily looking for a moisturizer, Burt’s Bees paw and nose lotion is one of the best paw soothers on the market. The lotion is made from a number of moisturizing butters and waxes, and can help repair dry, cracked, or chapped paws.

Key Features:

  • Moisturizes dog’s paws and nose, restoring protective skin barrier
  • Made in the USA
  • pH balanced formula safe for all dogs and puppies
  • Infused with honey, beeswax, jojoba butter, olive oil, and rosemary

Pros:

  • Veterinarian recommended formula
  • No harsh chemicals and sulfates
  • Gentle formula can be used on both paws and noses
  • Owners have mentioned that it’s not greasy, and does not leave stains or streaks on furniture and floors
  • Burt’s Bees is one of the more trusted brands for skincare, both in humans and dogs
  • Affordable compared to other lotions

Cons:

  • Not fully all-natural (99.7% natural), though remains free of fragrances, colors, and chemicals.
  • Moisturizes, but does not provide a thick barrier for protection compared to other balms and waxes.

4. Pet Head Oatmeal Paw Butter

pet head oatmeal paw butter

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The Pet Head Oatmeal Paw Butter was another highly rated paw moisturizer that owners loved. The most common response was that the balm smelled amazing, like maple cookies, and left dog’s paws feeling smooth after just a couple of applications. Check out this paw butter if you’re looking primarily for a paw soother and moisturizer, rather than a heavier wax for protection.

Key Features:

  • Moisturizes paws with shea butter, oatmeal, mango, vitamins, coconut oil, olive oil, and aloe vera
  • Made in the USA
  • pH balanced safe and gentle formula, even if ingested
  • No sulphates or parabens

Pros:

  • One of the most owner-loved moisturizers we reviewed
  • Most comment that the balm had a very pleasant smell
  • Great results seen in just a few applications on paws

Cons:

  • Not meant as a paw protector, more of a moisturizing balm.
  • Because of the smell, dogs may want to lick it off. Consider applying at night or when there’s less of a chance of this happening.

5. Vets Preferred Advanced Pad Protection Wax

vets preferred advanced paw protection

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Vets Preferred Advanced Pad Protection is the ideal all-natural balm for dog’s with pad injuries. The solution is made with 100% natural moisturizing ingredients such as cocoa butter, beeswax, and coconut oil.

Key Features:

  • Creates a natural barrier that locks in moisture, while protecting against heat, cold, ice, and salt irritants
  • Helps heal pad injuries by relieving cracked and itchy paws

Pros:

  • Made with 100% natural ingredients including white beeswax, yellow beeswax, coconut oil, and cocoa butter.
  • Made in the USA in a “lab quality” facility.
  • Owners have mentioned that this wax worked well when hiking with dogs.
  • Can be used in all climates.

Cons:

  • Similar to other products, dogs have tried to lick off the balm.

6. Bodhi Dog Organic Dog Paw Balm

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If you’re looking for a completely organic balm, take a look at this Bodhi Dog Paw Balm. The solution is made from 100% USDA certified organic ingredients that qualify at human food standards, and includes shea butter, beeswax, and hemp oil among others.

Key Features:

  • Softens paws, and clears up cracks and dryness
  • Made with only USDA Organic ingredients including shea butter, hemp oil, jojoba oil, beeswax, and calendula extract
  • Non-toxic and hypoallergenic formula
  • No parabens, chemicals, dyes, or fragrances

Pros:

  • Great all-natural option for paw health
  • Made in the USA
  • Backed by a 100% money back guarantee, no questions asked
  • Does not have a strong odor

Cons:

  • Balm is thicker than others, and can require some work to apply to paws

7. Penny’s Paw Rescue Natural Dog Balm

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Penny’s Paw Rescue dog balm is another all-natural option to help heal, moisturize, and protect your dog’s paws. It includes a number of moisturizing agents such as beeswax and shea butter, as well as anti-inflammatory and antibacterial ingredients to help heal up cracked paws.

Key Features:

  • Protects paws against heat, snow, ice, and rough terrain.
  • Ingredients include beeswax, shea butter, almond oil, jojoba oil, moringa oil, olive oil, and avocado oil.
  • Includes hemp oil to reduce inflammation

Pros:

  • Made with 100% natural ingredients
  • Can help  paw injuries, as jojoba oil has naturally antibacterial and antifungal properties
  • Absorbs into paws after a few minutes
  • Portion of profits donated to rescue dogs

Cons:

  • Contains vanilla essential oil which some owners are cautious about.
  • Application can be difficult given consistency.

Buying Guide for Dog Paw Balms and Waxes

Guide provided by Kaitlin Birkbeck

underside dog paws

As a pet owner, you’ve probably heard the terms paw balm and paw wax. But are these items something you should be investing in regularly? Consider this: if you walked around barefoot all day long, would your feet hurt? Your feet would likely get used to it, but certain elements like the heat and cold could cause pain.

Dog Paw Balm vs. Dog Paw Wax

If you’re considering purchasing paw protection, you might be unsure if you should go with paw balm or wax. Do they serve the same purpose? No matter which option you choose, your dog’s paws will be protected and moisturized.

Dog balm and wax are extremely similar; both are made of a combination of waxes and oils like beeswax, soy wax, shea butter, vitamin E, olive oil, and coconut oil used to protect, heal, and soothe your dog’s paws. Dog paw wax is designed specifically with paw protection in mind. It’s made of waxy ingredients that help guard the paws against the harsh ground below. And while paw balm protects from the ground, it also works to effectively soothe and moisturize dry skin on the paws.

As a paw protectant, you can’t go wrong with either choice. The most important thing to consider is if your dog has an allergy to any wax or oil-based ingredients so you can avoid that product.

The Importance of Dog Foot Balm

Dogs are always on the go. It’s hard to get them to slow down, even if they’re hurt. Sometimes your dog’s paw pads might get sore, cracked, or blistered from playing on hard surfaces like concrete or gravel. Even if your dog isn’t showing outward signs that they’re in pain, a recovery plan must be put in place for proper healing.

Unlike a human that would avoid using their foot, you’re not going to be able to get your dog to slow down—which will likely only cause frustration for both you and your dog!

With the right protection, you can avoid any pain and suffering caused by paw injuries. Using paw balm regularly will add a barrier between the paw and the outdoor elements and prevent injuries from happening. If your dog’s paw were to get damages, dog foot balm will also help soothe any cracks or sore spots.

What Causes Dry & Cracked Paw Pads?

If you’ve noticed that your dog has sensitive or cracked footpads, you’re not alone. You’re also not too late to resolve the problem. Incorporating dog foot balm into your daily routine can get lock in moisture and reduce any irritation.

Here are a few reasons why your dog’s paw pads might be more dry or cracked than normal.

Hot pavement

The sidewalk might normally be a comfortable temperature, but in summer when outside temperatures are reaching the upper 90s, the ground can get excruciatingly hot. When taking your dog for a walk in warmer weather, try going for walks in the shade or on grass, avoiding concrete, metal, pavement, sidewalks, and asphalt.

To test whether or not the ground is too warm for your dog, touch the pavement with the back of your hand for seven seconds, and see if it’s bearable. If your hand isn’t able to tolerate the heat, neither can your dog’s paws without protection.

Cold weather

The opposite to summer temperatures that can damage your dog’s foot pads, you need to be careful in the winter as well. Depending on where you live, you might deal with blisteringly frigid winter months. If so, your dog’s paws are in danger of drying out from the cold temperatures. Additionally, your dog can irritate his or her paws from the chemicals and harsh materials commonly found on the ground in the winter—snow, salt, and sand.

Sensitive skin

If you’ve noticed consistent irritation or damage to your dog’s paws, there’s a very good chance that your pup has sensitive paws. Some dogs have naturally sensitive paws, which means paw protection is a must to minimize further damage.

Allergies

Like humans, dogs can be allergic to food or things like grass, floor cleaner, or mulch. Oftentimes, these allergies from food and other irritants actually can appear on your dog’s feet. If your dog does have an allergic reaction on their paws, you may notice that their paw pads become extremely dry and cracked. They can also become itchy, which might cause your dog to nibble on their paws and irritate them even further.

Zinc deficiency

If your dog has a zinc deficiency, they might experience issues like patches of crusty skin, dried out fur, digestive problems, or cracked paws. Zinc deficiencies are common in breeds like Great Danes, Beagles, German Shepherds, Poodles, and Huskies. If you suspect your dog may have a zinc deficiency, you should always contact your vet. This article also provides a more in-depth explanation on the topic.

How to Tell If Your Dog’s Paws Are In Pain

Your dog isn’t made to wear shoes. Seems obvious, right? Your dog’s footpads are made to withstand most of everything that gets thrown at them. But that doesn’t mean they can’t damage or hurt their paw pads on occasion. If you suspect your dog might be experiencing pain from his or her footpads, look for the following symptoms:

  • Limping, avoiding walking, or refusing to put weight on an individual paw
  • Consistent licking or chewing of their feet
  • Visible cracks, redness, or blisters on the paw pads
  • Noticeably darker footpads than usual

How to Apply Paw Balm to Your Dog’s Paws

If you notice a crack or irritated spot when examining your dog’s paw, you can help bring moisture back to the area by using paw balm. However, if the crack or irritated spot is large or continues to get worse, it should not be treated on your own and you should visit your veterinarian.

Follow these steps to apply paw balm to your dog’s paws:

Step 1 – Clean

Examine your dog’s paws and clean them off with a damp cloth. Pat dry before beginning to apply the balm.

Step 2 – Apply the balm

Rub a thin layer of the paw balm on the pad. You can do this one of two ways. You can take some of the balm on your finger and lightly massage it onto your dog’s paw. The other option is to rub the canister of balm on your dog’s paw, gently moving it around until each part of the paw has been addressed.

Step 3 – Cover

This step is optional. If your dog is curious about the paw balm and keeps trying to lick it off, you will need to cover your dog’s paws to lock in the moisture and prevent them from making the paw damage worse.

When to Use Dog Paw Balm

Dog paw balm is commonly used to protect footpads from outdoor elements, as well as minimize irritation of cuts or cracks. You’re more likely to require paw balm year-round if your dog requires long walks or plays rough outdoors, but especially in the hottest and coldest months of the year.

Summer Heat Protection

It’s important to remember that not all paw balms are created. If your goal is to protect your dog’s footpads from the extreme temperatures on the ground, you need to select a product that is built to handle summer conditions. Paw balms are made of wax and oils, which can melt when faced with heat.

To protect your dog’s paw pads in the summer, we recommend purchasing a paw balm or wax that has beeswax as the main ingredient because beeswax has a melting point of 120 degrees Fahrenheit—making it an ideal balm for the summer months!

Dog Paw Balm for Winter Cold Protection

A high-quality dog paw balm will solidify and become a layer of protection between your dog’s paw and the outdoor elements—think of it as their winter boots. Not only that but their “winter boots” will act as a layer of insulation, trapping in the warmth of the body and protecting them from the snow or cold weather outside.

When there is snow and ice on the ground, your dog’s paws can become wet. The colder it is outside, the more chance they have of developing frostbite on their paws because of the excess moisture. The wax, oil, and fat in the balm will help their paws repel the water they’re coming in contact with.

While snow on the ground might not be very dangerous for your dog, the toxic substances they use to melt the snow can cause foot pad irritation.

dog paw balm before and after
Image via emotionalpetsupport.com

Benefits of Using Dog Foot Balm

As a pet owner, you want the best for your dog. That’s why paw balm is always great to have on hand. From damage prevention to its healing properties, there are many benefits of regularly using balm or wax.

Paw Balm Provides General Paw Protection

If your dog has sensitive paws, requires lengthy walks to get out energy, or plays outside a lot, adding paw balm to your regular routine can be extremely beneficial for your dog.

It’s important to note that while balm is great for preventative care and healing damaged footpads, you don’t want to do it too often. Using it daily can cause your dog’s paws to become very soft, and as a result, sensitive. While you don’t want your dog’s paws to be hard and cracked, it can also cause them problems if too soft.

Prevent Damage to Your Dog’s Foot Pads

When winter and summer roll around, your dog’s foot pads are exposed to both hot and cold temperatures, as well as toxic chemicals on the ground. By applying balm before your outdoor walks, you’re creating a barrier of protection. It will allow your dog’s paw pads to remain tough enough to walk on surfaces but will moisturize them to prevent cracks and other damage.

Soothe Irritation & Heal Damage

Because of its ability to trap in moisture, paw balm is crucial when trying to quickly heal any damage to your dog’s paws. Imagine you had a huge blister on the bottom of your foot—it would hurt to walk, right? What would you do to make it feel better? Whether your dog is suffering from a blister, hot spot, crack, or any other type of damage, paw balm is the best soother for dogs.

It’s Non-Toxic & Harmless to Dogs

One of the top reasons paw balm is so popular is because all of its ingredients make it non-toxic to dogs. Dogs naturally will lick their feet and paws, so when you put something on their feet, they’re even more likely to lick it. Paw balm is non-toxic, meaning that if your dog licks it off of their feet, they won’t get sick from ingesting it.

Paw Balm Can Be Used Elsewhere!

Even though it has “paw” in the name, paw balm doesn’t only have to be used on the footpads. If you’ve noticed that your dog’s nose has become extremely dry, often happening in the winter, you can use it to keep it moisturized.

Do-It-Yourself Recipe

If you’d rather make your own balm instead of purchasing a product, here’s a great recipe to try. According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), making your own dog paw balm is relatively simple.

Supplies

  • 6 1-oz. tins
  • Small pot or double boiler

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons of olive, sunflower, or sweet almond oil
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon shea butter
  • 4 teaspoons beeswax

Instructions

  1. In the small pot, combine the oils, shea butter, and beeswax over low heat.
  2. As the ingredients begin to melt, continue stirring until they are completely melted.
  3. Once blended, carefully pour the mixture into the tins.
  4. Allow the mixture to cool and solidify on the counter before closing them up.
  5. Let them cool on the counter until hard.
  6. Once hardened, place on the lids.
  7. Keep away from extreme heat to prevent melting.

Now that you have your paw balm, you can apply this to your dog’s foot pads as a preventative treatment every few days.

How to Treat a Paw Pad Injury

If you’ve noticed your dog limping or licking their paws often, his or her paw might be irritating them. Depending on the severity of the cut, you might be able to treat it yourself. Keep in mind, if the cut is deep or looks like it’s getting an infection, you should have your dog’s paw examined by a veterinarian.

To properly clean your dog’s paw injury, follow these steps:

1. Clean & Examine the Paw Pad

Before adding any sort of treatment, you will want to wash your dog’s paw with anti-bacterial soap to remove any debris stuck in the wound or near the paw pad and prevent infection. At this point, you should also examine their paw pad for additional irritation that you may have not noticed before. If anything is piercing their paw pad, have a veterinarian remove the debris.

2. Apply Pressure to Minimize Bleeding

If blood is present, apply pressure with a gauze or towel until the bleeding stops.

3. Use Non-Toxic Paw Balm to Reduce Irritation

Lightly apply paw balm to your dog’s damaged paw pad to help provide moisture and promote healing. You can also apply dog paw ointment if needed.

4. Wrap the Paw If Necessary

Depending on the severity of the cut, you can decide if the paw should be wrapped or not. If your dog is more easy-going and will relax while their paw heals, you can let it air dry. But if your dog plays rough or is constantly licking their paws, you should consider wrapping it up.

Additional Ways to Protect Your Dog’s Paws

While balm or wax can do a lot to protect your dog’s paws, there are other things you can do to ensure minimal damage:

Booties

Although dog booties can look funny, they are one of the best barriers of protection for your dog’s paws from the outdoor elements like heat, snow, ice, and snow salt. They also protect from debris, salt, and sand getting stuck in between your dog’s toes. Here’s an example of some highly reviewed booties.

dog booties
image from akc.org

Wipes

Although not a barrier, wipes can help keep your dog’s paws undamaged. If your dog is walking on snow salt, it can burn or irritate their paws. Not to mention, if your dog licks their paws and ingests the salt they can get sick! Wipes are easy to add into your walking routine—just thoroughly wipe down your dog’s paws with a wipe when you get back inside!

Even with these two options, it’s highly recommended that you also incorporate dog paw balm into your routine for both preventative maintenance and healing.

References

https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/lifestyle/how-to-make-your-own-paw-balm-for-winter/

https://www.germantownvet.com/blog/protect-doogs-paws-winter/

https://www.akcchf.org/canine-health/your-dogs-health/caring-for-your-dog/keeping-dogs-paws-healthy.html/

https://www.animalhumanesociety.org/news/protect-your-dogs-paws-winter-weather/

https://campcaninesb.com/how-to-heal-cracked-paws-on-a-dog/

Kaitlin Birkbeck
Katie Birkbeck is a content creator, nacho lover, and dog momager to her Australian Shepherd, Tyber (@tybertheaussie). When she isn’t working towards her goal of reading 50 books a year, you’ll likely find her hiking the Blue Ridge Mountains, teaching her dog a new trick, or binge-watching the latest Netflix Original.