Have you ever stopped to think about everything your dog’s paws go through every day? They walk around the house, the yard, the neighborhood, in the woods, even stores – all with bare feet!
Can you imagine walking around all day with no shoes on? Ouch! That’s where dog paw balm comes in!
Using dog paw balm will help protect your dog’s paws, heal them when they are sore and keep them healthy year run.
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Paws For Thought
Take a moment to think about a puppy’s paws. They are soft and squishy (and smell of Fritos)! But as your pup gets older the pads on their paws get tougher, rougher, and harder.
This makes perfect sense really – imagine how hard the soles of your feet would get if you walked around barefoot all day?
So now think about how you would care for your own feet? Do you use lotion or oils to keep your feet soft, smooth and comfortable?
So why not do the same for your pup’s feet!
There are so many environmental hazards that can make your dog’s paws sore:
- cold weather
- hot weather
- salt on the roads
- gravel or rough surfaces
- hot roads or sidewalks
- chemicals and pesticides
- glass, rocks or other sharp objects
The most frequent problems are caused by extreme heat or extreme cold.
For years I’ve heard of dog paw balm and thought that it was only necessary for dogs in cold climates. Those poor pups having to walk barefoot in snow and ice.
I live in Florida, so a cold day for us is having to put a sweater on! However, I got a sharp reminder last week about the problems a dog’s feet have to deal with.
I was walking my dogs after work and it was a little earlier in the day than I normally do, about 4 pm. It’s the middle of August, so it’s pretty hot here in Florida.
OK, that’s an understatement! It’s hotter than hell, with humidity that leaves your lungs feeling like you are underwater!
Now, walking my dogs can be a little challenging at times because… I have 4 dogs! And yes, I walk them all together! Luckily 3 of my 4 dogs walk very well on the leash and walk nicely at heel.
On this particular walk, my best-behaved dog, Roxy, starts to pull over to the side of the road (getting us all tangled up in the process).
I had no idea what was wrong, but I assumed she needed a potty break. I take her over to a piece of scrubland and she just sits down on the grass! She didn’t need to pee and refused to get up or keep walking! I couldn’t figure it out.
We weren’t far from home (maybe 1/2 a block), so I turned around. She then starts PULLING me home! She is a 50 lb pitbull, so when she pulls… she REALLY pulls! This is also the dog who has had extensive leash training and never pulls! I KNEW something had to be wrong!
Once we are home she just flopped down on her bed. I assumed it was just the heat and she was tired and just needed some rest. Later in the evening, I notice she is limping. I checked her paws and she had BLISTERS! The road was so hot that it had blistered one of her paws!
Yes, I felt like the worst dog mom in the world! I do know the rule about standing outside barefoot for at least 15 seconds to see if the ground is too hot, but for some reason, I didn’t that day.
I quickly whipped up a batch of dog paw balm! After a few days of applying the balm, Roxie’s paws were all healed and she could resume walking with the rest of us (when the road was cooler of course!).
Moral of this (very long) story… all dogs need paw balm! It’s not just for winter!
Paw Balm – Buy or Make?
So now that you know that all dogs can benefit from paw balm, you are probably eager to try it on your own pup.
You have two options – you can either buy ready-made paw balm or you can make your own!
Dog paw balm can be difficult to find. But Amazon has a few really good brands.
I enjoy making things for my pets (like DIY dog toys!), so I chose to make my own dog paw balm.
DIY Dog Paw Balm
This recipe is actually kinda flexible depending on what ingredients you have and the exact needs of your dog.
It’s up to you how much you make, I just made a small amount, but you can definitely make larger quantities. After all, this dog paw balm also makes a GREAT GIFT for your dog-loving friends and family (or local dog rescue)! So why not make a big batch and give this thoughtful (and useful!) gift to everyone you know!
See below for ingredient and quantity variations.
- 2 tbsp of Shea Butter
- 2 tbsp of Coconut Oil
- 2 tbsp of Olive Oil
- 3 tbsp of Beeswax Pellets
- Few drops of Tea Tree Oil (optional – see note below)
As I mentioned above, you can tailor this recipe to your needs and what ingredients you have available.
Shea butter is great because it’s very moisturizing and easy for the skin to absorb. You can also try mango butter or avocado butter.
This is really the best ingredient but if you can’t use it, then you could double up on the olive oil, but your balm won’t be as creamy (or as healing).
Instead of olive oil, you could use jojoba oil or sweet almond oil. I used olive oil because I already had some in the pantry!
Beeswax is essential to this recipe, as it will make the balm firm. Without it, you will have more of a lotion. Beeswax will also act as a sealant to protect your dog’s paws from damage.
I used pellets as they are much easier to work with and melt much quicker – no grating or chopping required!
Tea Tree Oil
This is a wonderful oil to keep around the house! The antiseptic properties of tea tree oil make it a perfect healing oil. You don’t need to add this to your dog paw balm, but it will help with healing. Tea Tree oil does have a strong smell, however, it doesn’t seem to bother my dogs at all.
Note: Never use undiluted tea tree oil on your dog. It can cause a number of issues including salivation, lethargy, coma and tremors.
I use just a few drops in a big batch of paw balm. But if you don’t feel comfortable using it, then feel free to skip it.
You can also add other essential oils to your paw balm. Just make sure they are safe to use on pets. Lavender oil is always a great one to add, as it has excellent healing properties.
If you would like your balm to be firmer than add more beeswax and less shea butter/oils. If you need a softer balm then use less beeswax and more of the butter and oils.
Once you have made your balm, if you don’t like the consistency, then you can always melt it down again and add more beeswax (to make it firmer) or more butter/oils (to make it softer).
Step 1: Combine all ingredients in glass bowl or jar. Heat a saucepan of water and place the glass bowl or jar in the water (or use a double boiler). Do not directly heat your mixture in the saucepan.
Step 2: Continue heating until all ingredients have melted. Stir occasionally with a wooden skewer or spoon (the mixture may damage the spoon, so something disposable is better).
Step 3: Pour the melted mixture into a wide-mouthed jar, tin, or silicone molds.
Step 4: Allow to cool completely before applying to your dog’s paws.
Jar, Tin or Molds?
It is up to you if you use a jar, tin or silicone molds for your dog paw balm. If you decide to use a jar, it needs to have a large enough opening for your dog’s paw to fit inside. The paw balm is firmer consistency (like lip balm) and needs to be rubbed on the paws.
You don’t need to buy a jar or tin for your paw balm. You can easily reuse a jar you already have around the house. A wide-mouth mason jar or an Altoids mint tin will both work well.
I have 3 large dogs, so it would be very difficult for me to find a jar with a mouth wide enough to fit their paws in. So I prefer to use silicone molds and make bars of balm. These are easy to rub on your dog’s feet and can be stored in a large glass jar ready for when you need them.
Applying to Your Dog’s Paws
Now you have your wonderful homemade dog paw balm you can apply it to your dog’s pads whenever they need it.
In winter or extreme conditions, you might need to apply it every day. Other times, you might only need to apply it once every week or two.
If you apply it regularly, you will quickly find that your dog’s paws become softer and more supple. And it must feel sooooo much nicer for your dog too!
Not Just For Dogs
All along I’ve been calling this a “Dog” paw balm, but actually, it’s useful for more than just dogs! It’s great for all kinds of pets and humans too!
Rub it into your dry, cracked skin for quick relief! Keep a jar beside your bed to rub into your feet for an overnight foot treatment! Wind chapped or sore skin will love this soothing and healing balm!