To some dogs (especially breeds built for cold weather), there’s nothing more exciting than a romp around a snowy yard after a winter storm. But icy conditions of the yard or cold pavements can be damaging a pet’s paws.
The national breed club for the Newfoundland, a large breed built for wintery work, shared a DIY paw balm recipe with us. (For those less crafty, there are plenty of paw balms sold online and in stores.)
Recipe: DIY Dog Paw Balm
- 21-24 standard lip balm tubes OR 6 1-oz. tins
- a small digital kitchen scale, optional
- small pot or double boiler
- 2 oz. (approx. 2 tbsp.) olive, sunflower, or sweet almond oil
- 2 oz. (approx. 2 tbsp.) coconut oil
- 1 oz. (approx. 1 tbsp.) shea butter
- 4 tsp. beeswax
- In a small pot or double boiler over low heat melt the oils, shea butter, and beeswax. Stir continuously until all is melted and well blended.
- Carefully pour the mixture into lip balm tubes and/or tins.
- Let them cool on the counter until hard.
- Cap and label.
- Keep away from extreme heat.
- Apply the balm as a preventive treatment or to help soften dry paw pads or noses. Use within 1 to 2 years.
Other Paw Protection Methods
Booties: Yes, your dog might look a little silly, but dog boots are actually quite effective at protecting dog feet from snow and ice as well as de-icing products, which can make your dog sick if he licks it off his paws. These products can also burn pads and the sensitive skin between their toes, causing great pain and distress. We’ve reviewed and selected the top dog boots for all canines.
Store-bought paw balm: If you’re in a rush and don’t have time to go the DIY route, consider buying a premade paw balm.
Trimming: Keeping the paw hair short is also important as it will prevent snow and ice from forming balls that can lead to chaffing, chapping, and even cuts. Trim the hairs around the outside of your dog’s paw so that it doesn’t extend past the boundaries of the paw. You can also use a small battery-operated trimmer to shorten the hair between the paw pads. (Contact a pro if you have a fidgety dog or don’t feel comfortable doing this.)
Wiping: If you choose not to use booties on your dog, be sure to wipe their feet before they come inside to ensure that de-icing products (like salt) have been removed along with any ice balls that might have formed.