white dog licking paw

DIY: dog paw balm recipe

Hot pavement, long walks, ice, and snow. These all cause wear and tear on your pup’s delicate paw pads. Paw’s need to be moisturized. It can be overwhelming to choose a good paw cream (although I do help you out, reviewing the top five dog paw lotions in these ones found here). Have you ever thought about making your own dog paw butter at home? If you or your dog are sensitive, or you prefer using natural ingredients this can be a great way to show your pet some TLC. You might even have all the ingredients already. You can tweak this recipe and experiment a bit, but there are a few basic “do’s and don’ts”.

DIY dog paw balm, body image, dog paw white dog being held by dog owner

DIY dog paw balm “do”s

  • Do select a heatproof container to store your paw butter in. I like to use tin containers from empty scented candles. The ones I purchased before I made my last batch happened to have lids. You can also use a container like these ones found here. Containers intended for homemade lip balms or crafting work will. Basically, any kind of small heatproof container with a lid will do.
  • Do use organic or local ingredients if you prefer. They won’t alter the quality of the paw balm. But, if you have access to organic or local ingredients this can be a nice way to show support for your community.
  • Do a patch test 24hrs before applying for the first time. Make sure you do one on your doggy and yourself. Take a small swatch of your balm and apply it to your own skin, and a tiny amount to one paw pad of your pooch. Leave it alone, at least overnight, and check for any redness or itchiness. All ingredients in this recipe are gentle and non-toxic. But, they can still cause allergic reactions from time to time. Beeswax is an ingredient here, and it can trigger pollen allergies. If you are unsure, check with your vet before proceeding to rub into your dog’s paws.
  • Do share with other dog lovers. One tin of this lasts me quite a while. If I make a bigger batch, I share with friends, family, and dog park goers. Let everyone know exactly what ingredients you included. You wouldn’t want anyone or a sweet pup to have an allergic reaction. Bonus points if you decorate your containers with a sweet handwritten ingredients list.

DIY dog paw balm, body image, dog paw prints in sand

DIY dog paw balm “don’t”s

  • Don’t handle the balm when it is melted without oven mitts or a cloth. That liquid is H-O-T. It can definitely burn you if it is improperly handled. Use a plastic spatula designed for cooking if you need to scoop it out of your pan or scrape the sides.
  • Don’t forget to let it set. If you don’t wait for the balm to cool, it will be a gooey gloopy oily mess. I like to leave my paw balm overnight to harden.
  • Don’t store the paw balm in glass or plastic. Plastic isn’t great, because you will be pouring a very hot liquid into it before it sets. Glass and dogs don’t go together. You want this to be safely portable too, so you can stash it with your gear easily on that hike.
  • Don’t let your pup lick it all off. It might be tempting, and it’s totally okay if they do get in a few licks. But, the moisturizing benefits will all be left out if it all ends up in Fido’s tummy. And that’s kind of the whole point right? Distract your dog with a treat or mealtime, or apply socks or booties if you see them enjoying the flavor.
  • Don’t let the balm rub off on the floor. This balm can leave oily streaks and may stain carpets or furniture. Apply outside, or put on some socks or booties to avoid a mess.
  • Never ever use cocoa butter instead of shea. If the only thing you take away from this article is this, I’m okay with that. Seriously. Cocoa butter is very dangerous for dogs. Like chocolate (which comes from the same plant) it can cause seizures, and even be fatal. Never apply a product to your dog that contains this. You should even be careful if cocoa butter is an ingredient you use on your own skin. If you have it in your bathroom, make sure that it is inaccessible to your pets.
  • Don’t add essential oils. I know this one sounds weird. But hear me out. Essential oils, even when diluted with a carrier oil or water, are tricky. Certain ones, even when in diffusers, are toxic to pets.Certain ones, even when in diffusers, are toxic to pets. It’s hard to keep track of which ones are the safe kinds, so I completely avoid them altogether. Essential oils in their pure form should never ever touch skin, human or animal. It horrifies me that these days some people even cook with ‘em. Don’t believe that multi-level marketing lady who lives up the street. Essential oils are absolutely not safe for human or animal consumption.

DIY dog paw balm, body image, blonde curly puppy held by woman in white shirt

Natural dog paw balm recipe

What you will need:

    • A jar or glass bowl you don’t mind getting a bit messy (it’s hard to remove the wax after it melts)
    • A saucepan
    • Water
    • Refillable containers
    • Apron
    • Oven mitts or protective hand coverings of some kind


Directions for DIY dog paw balm:

  1. Take all your ingredients and combine them in the jar or bowl.
  2. Fill up the pan with water.
  3. Place the jar in your pan, and boil the water until it is all melted.
  4. Still with a heatproof spatula.
  5. Once the ingredients are all properly combined (you should see an even texture and color) remove from heat.
  6. This took me about 9 minutes, but the timing may vary depending on how hot your stove gets. (You can also melt them in the microwave for short intervals if you prefer to do it that way).
  7. Put on your oven mitts, or hold a cloth around the jar or bowl. Watch out! This stuff is hot. Carefully pour the liquid into your containers.
  8. You’re all set, let it sit overnight to solidify.

Do a patch test on yourself and your dog and wait for 24hrs just to be safe. If you are confident you and your dog has not had a reaction to any of these ingredients in the past, it’s probably okay to skip this step. Do not proceed if you or your dog have any kind of redness or itching after the patch test application.

Massage into your dog’s paws. You will instantly see an improvement in any dry or cracked skin.

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