Just like their human owners, dogs can experience dry, chapped, and irritated skin due to extreme hot or cold climates. Some may also have a condition known as hyperkeratosis, which is when the skin on their feet (or nose) thickens and cracks no matter what time of year it is. And while dog shoes or socks can provide a practical (and, well, adorable) solution, some pets are resistant to wearing them. Instead, you can offer your pup an invisible pair of booties in the form of one of the best dog paw balms. Made with 100% natural and pet-friendly ingredients, these treatments will nourish and soothe any dry or irritated areas on your pup's skin.
As you start to shop for a remedy for your pup, you'll notice a few similarities pop up in terms of popular ingredients. Oils, like coconut, olive, and jojoba, as well as shea butter and vitamin E, are often included because they are naturally-derived moisturizers that are effective yet gentle. Those who live in snowy areas may benefit from an option that borrows elements from a straightforward dog paw wax (like beeswax and/or carnauba) because those ingredients can help provide a barrier on little feet to safeguard them from cold-weather conditions when applied before a walk, though just keep in mind they aren't typically formulated for prolonged time outdoors.
While you're scanning the product labels, check for any use of fragrance or fragrant ingredients. Though it may be safe, there's a good chance your dog will try to inevitably try to lick it off, so it can be worth it to spend a little more upfront for an unscented option.
In terms of application method, whether you go with a stick or a jar will come down to personal preference, but consider that some options or more oily and emollient that they can leave greasy paw prints behind or make your dog prone to slipping or falling. So, it may be best to wait for a time when they are happily resting or distracted with a treat in order to allow time for it to dry.
With that said, take a look below at the best dog paw balms you can buy.
1. The Overall Best Paw Balm
This Pawstruck Ruff Relief balm has earned a stellar 4.6-star rating from more than 1,000 Amazon shoppers thanks to its ability to heal hyperkeratosis with only a very minimal list of organic ingredients. Among them are hydrating natural plant oils, like olive oil and coconut oil, as well as waxes (beeswax and carnauba), and vitamin E. It's also free of essential oils and as confirmed by a few users, completely odorless.
Several Amazon reviewers also mentioned that they were impressed with the "not too thick and sticky" texture, with one noting that it "absorbs into the paws immediately and does not leave a greasy residue." And while a few fans reported they have used this pick to successfully protect paws in chilly conditions — it "keeps the snow from clumping on her fur," one wrote — the brand cautions that it will only add a "temporary layer when going out in the snow" and should not be relied on for extended outdoor playtime.
Helpful review: "This stuff is unreal!!! First off the ingredients are amazing, recognizable, pure, and quality. It’s so great, I use it too. Most human products will advertise aloe, vitamin E, coconut oil; only for you to flip over and see that these are the 6th, 9th, maybe 12th ingredient. Bella’s nose & paws have been heals during the winter thanks to this balm. We put it on before and after walks."
2. The Best Paw Balm Stick
The stick applicator on this Natural Dog Company paw soother works in the same way as a stick of deodorant does, just twist it up and then glide it directly onto your dog's paws. The vegan and organic ingredients — including hempseed and jojoba oils, calendula, candelilla wax, cocoa butter, and vitamin E —will help with symptoms of dryness and hyperkeratosis by moisturizing a dog's feet, elbows, and/or noses. Just like the pick above, some users shared they were able to use it as a shield for lighter "romps" in the snow, but if you need more of a heavy-duty option, you should go for the brand's PawTection product.
This balm also notably contains a few essential oils, which means it does have a "pleasant" scent, but keep in mind, as one reviewer pointed out, "it smells so good that my dogs wanted to eat it." Finally, per the instructions, "paws will be slick right after application," so try to allow time for it to properly dry or apply it before bedtime.
Helpful review: “Definitely does the job when the dog's pads are already damaged. Pads went from dry and cracked to smooth and looking moisturized in just a couple of days. Much less mess in stick form than the moisturizing cream (different brand) we were trying to use.”
3. The Most Affordable
This Pet Head oatmeal natural paw butter is the most affordable option at nearly half the cost of others on this list. Thanks to similar high-quality ingredients (oatmeal, shea butter, mango, jojoba oil, coconut oil, vitamin E, and others) it works well as both a dry paw and nose moisturizer. However, because its texture is, per one reviewer, "more on the greasy side similar to margarine," you'll want to be extra mindful when you work it in to prevent paw prints from being left all over your floors or furniture. Likewise, that lightweight feel means this is not a good option for using before walks in the snow.
One other thing to keep in mind: This product does list fragrance on its ingredient list and there is an overt cookie-like scent that has left several Amazon shoppers divided. While a majority of fans described the smell as "amazing" and "yummy," there are a few who pointed out it's so fragrant that some dogs were too tempted by the smell to let it absorb before it's licked completely off. For such a low price point, however, it's a worthy option if you can find a way to make it work for your pup.
Helpful review: “Our miniature wiener dog didn’t go on walks much, so when we did this paw butter really helped his little feet. It smells AMAZING, both him and I like it. It’s super smooth and easy to apply, it melts in your hands similar to coconut oil but is still semi solid. Our dog also has a dry patch on his nose, and we use it for that too and it works wonderfully. Highly recommended.”
You May Also Like: A Popular Wax That Will Protect Paws From Hot Pavement & Snow
Developed originally as a remedy for sledding dogs, the Musher's Secret wax has become one of the most popular dog wax options on Amazon having earned more than 6,120 five-star ratings. Fans praise it for its ability to go one step beyond a balm and act as an additional protective barrier against discomforts like hot sidewalks, salt or ice melt products, snow buildup, and even chemical fertilizers. It's made of a combination of all-natural ingredients including vitamin E and food-grade waxes and oils (like beeswax, carnauba, and candelilla wax) and there's no fragrance included.To apply it, you'll want to scoop a small amount into your hand and dab on a light layer over your dog's paws (though for snow, in particular, make sure to get it up in between and around the pads).
Helpful review: "I have used this product on the last three dogs I’ve had. Living in the Northeast, I deal with snow, salt, ice, and blistering pavement in the summers, and this product is an absolute miracle. In the winter, I put it on her paws 2 to 3 times a week and she can withstand the bitter cold and salty walks. In the summer when the temperature is 80 and above, I put it on her paws and she can walk on asphalt without issue."