Dog paws are tough. They have to keep up with the everyday rigors of following you around. While being your constant companion is positive in so many ways, sometimes those everyday rigors can cause some wear and tear on their paws that needs a little more than your love and affection. Rather, your dog may be in need of some paw balm.
What is Paw Balm? And is it good for dogs?
In case you’ve never heard of it before, paw balm is a category of skin care products that aims specifically to protect and treat the pads on your dog’s paws. They are formulated to treat dry, chapped, or damaged skin and to form a protective barrier against everyday hazards like hot asphalt or cold snow. Many paw balm ingredients possess anti-inflammatory properties to help heal and soothe sore, achy feet as well.
Paw balms may be more lotion-y or waxier in texture depending on their best use. The waxier versions are meant more to protect dog paws, while a thinner, smoother texture will work better to moisturize and heal.
Do dogs need paw balm?
A dog’s paw pads are made up of fat, connective tissue, and a thick layer of keratinized skin that gives your dog’s feet cushion and protection from the elements. Hot sidewalks or asphalt, cold snow and ice and deicers can damage your dog’s paw pads. Also, walking on rough, rocky trails can wear their pads down causing cracks, abrasions, and cuts.
Dogs with health conditions, such as diabetes or hyperkeratosis, may benefit from paw balms as well as these diseases can make feet sore, rough, and cracked.
Paw balm is a great way of helping those sore paw pads to heal as well as protect them from further damage. Paw balm is for more than just feet, noses can become cracked and sore as well, so finding a product that can work double duty may be a must.
What Ingredients Should I Look For in Paw Balm?
Since what goes on the outside of a dog nearly always ends up on the inside, it’s always best to choose a paw balm with all natural, non-toxic ingredients. You also want something with a high efficacy and that is easy to use. Some beneficial paw balm ingredients include:
A natural product that provides your dog’s foot pads with various vitamins, as well as antioxidants to protect against environmental damage, and anti-inflammatories to relieve pain and swelling.
- Coconut oil for paw pads
Another natural oil that has anti-inflammatory properties, as well as promotes healing and moisturizes
- Shea butter
Shea butter is packed with vitamins and fatty acids that reduce inflammation, promote healing, and soften rough or cracked skin.
An antioxidant that protects skin from environmental damage and helps to repair existing damage.
- Candelilla wax
Comes from plants and conditions skin by creating a moisture barrier to keep moisture in and irritants out. Candelilla is not only safe for consumption, it is recognized to reduce the appearance of stretch marks, hydrate parched or scaly skin.
Works similar to Candelilla wax to create a barrier to lock in moisture.
"The ingredients in any paw balm should above all be safe for your pup to consume because you know they are going to lick some of it off."
If you have any questions about ingredients, be sure to check with your veterinarian first. You should also avoid skin care human products since some ingredients may be toxic or harmful to your canine companion.
Frequently Asked Questions About Paw Balm
How often can paw balm be applied?
Most balms for dog’s paws can be applied as often as necessary. This may mean before your dog goes outside in harsh weather or on rough terrain, after they come inside and have sore, achy paws, or even while they’re outside and you feel that they’re protective barrier has worn off. Read the label of your chosen paw balm and speak to your veterinarian for further guidelines.
Can I put Vitamin E on my dog’s feet or nose?
Vitamin E oil is a powerful antioxidant that is useful for many ailments, including sore or cracked paw pads. It can be applied directly to your dog’s feet or nose to help soothe and protect. Note that the effects of Vitamin E whether it's pure or diluted in a balm are similar. For the best results, try to keep your dog from licking it until it has absorbed into the skin so that it has time to get into action.
Can I put coconut oil on my dog’s paws or skin?
Coconut oil has anti-inflammatory, healing, and moisturizing properties. It can be used to soothe and moisturize paw pads and noses. Try to keep your dog from licking it until it has been absorbed in order to get the best experience. Also, if your dog happens to consume moderate to large amounts of coconut oil, it may cause some digestive upset like vomiting and diarrhea.
For those dogs that don’t mind harsh or hot weather or that love to run and play on the gravel or rocks, there’s no better friend to them (besides you!) than a good quality paw balm.
Paw balms can help protect your dog’s paw pads from temperature extremes and heal soreness and cracking so that they can continue to do what they do best-follow you no matter where the journey takes them.