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5 Natural Paw Balms Your (Literally) Hot Dog Needs This Summer

The best paw balms, based on veterinarian recommendations.

by Avery Felman | expert review by Dr. John Iovino, DVM
July 29, 2022
A woman sitting in a chair holding a dogs paw in her hand and holding the dogs face in the other hand.
Photo: Pexels

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Summer 2022’s heat waves haven’t just affected us (and our sanity); it’s also meant scorching hot sand, heat-retaining pavement on the sidewalks, and fewer opportunities for relief from increasingly extreme weather. While it’s essential to be armed with water and a travel water bottle when venturing out with your pup, another summer prerequisite that can just as easily fit in your tote is a proper paw balm. If you’re asking yourself, What’s a paw balm and why does my dog need one?, read on. In areas facing upwards of 100 degree temperatures, these balms are paramount to your pet’s health. 

The thick ointment in paw balms heal and protect the dry, cracked skin on your pup’s paw pads. Although they may have a thick appearance and a sturdy constitution, dog paws are actually really sensitive and when damaged are subject to infection that could mean an expensive trip to the vet. We’ve always been in the camp that preventative medicine is just as essential as any other type of treatment, which is why we’ve rounded up some of the best natural paw balms that will keep your pup protected in this and every season.

Below, veterinarian and The Wildest Collective member, Dr. John Iovino, and rescue vet Dr. Rachel Warnes of the Oregon Humane Society on what to look for in a paw balm.

Btw, our editors (and their pets) picked out these products. They’re always in stock at the time we publish, but there’s a chance they’ll sell out. If you do buy through our links, we may earn a commission. (We’ve got a lot of toys to buy over here, you know?)

paw balm in peach

If you’ve had your eye out for a no-muss no-fuss balm that will protect your pup while still allowing you both to enjoy a summer of outdoor adventures, look no further than Bond Vet’s natural balm with Vitamin E. Using minimal ingredients, this balm does exactly what it claims to do, which is to soothe, soften skin, and seal in moisture. “For the most part, dogs have healthy paws that do not need anything applied to them for walks or hikes,” Dr. Warnes clarifies. “I always recommend owners check their dog’s paws after a walk or hike for foreign objects such as grass awns, and to wipe the paws off with a wet wipe to remove any excess allergens that collect.”

It’s important to cover all of your bases to prevent infection and discomfort in your pup’s feet. The best defense is a good offense.

Created by renowned veterinary clinic Bond Vet, this paw balm is formulated with only five ingredients that are all non-toxic, so they’re safe to ingest and will help you and your dog stay on the move. So, if you’re planning on doing a lot of outdoor activities this summer, you can rest assured that you’re both covered. According to Dr. Iovino, the best way to use paw balms is with “dogs who are covering a lot of territory, like in the summer — hiking, rugged terrain — it can help to keep their really thick paw pads from drying out or callusing. Dogs who are doing a ton of pavement walking in cities, too. They tend to wear down their paws.” With the healing and coating elements of beeswax and Vitamin E at work, this natural balm is a great pick overall.

$12 at Bond Vet
paw soother balm for dogs

Natural Dog Company’s Paw Soother balm promises to smooth rough and dry paw pads. Dr. Warnes has one stipulation to that claim: “It’s okay for dog’s pads to be rough or coarse. Most dogs do not need balms or creams for their paw pads.”

However, for the minority of pups who live in environments where moisture and barrier protection are crucial, this organic, plant-based healing balm is an excellent option. Plus, its twist stick applicator makes it easy to dab on your pup’s paw pads. This company has even shared their best pet-parent tips, including placing baby socks over your pup’s feet at night to encourage the balm to absorb into their pads.

In terms of application, Dr. Iovino suggests “dabbing it on lightly in a reasonable way — that way they aren’t eating it. I wouldn’t lather paw pads with all this waxy stuff.” No matter if your pup is prone to licking, all Natural Dog Company products are 100% natural, safe and edible. It’s even stated that they’ll still work even if the products are mostly licked off. It’s important to note that the Paw Soother works to treat paws, while the company’s PawTection helps prevent damage.

$18 at Natural Dog Company
musher's secret paw balm in blue

There’s a reason Musher’s is so renowned. Originally created to resist the Canadian winter subzero temperatures, ice, and snow for dog sledders (hence, the name), the paw balm has become a saving grace for pups from all regions — especially those living in climates with both hot and cold extremes. Dr. Warnes notes that when it comes to our dogs it’s “important to avoid things that will cause damage to the pads like extreme heat (especially now with our heat waves), cold, and rough terrain.” During heat waves, the sidewalk can reach extreme temperatures so she recommends that in addition to using paw balm, “dogs only be walked very early and late, for a very short amount of time.”

While summer temperatures are on the rise, this balm is just as effective at protecting paw pads from salt and other chemicals used to melt snow on city sidewalks. “Avoid rocky beaches, hot pavement, and ice. A major cause of injured paws is salt thrown on the ground after a snow,” cautions Dr. Warnes. Musher’s uses a moisturizing blend of 100% pure natural waxes, including white and yellow beeswax and vitamin E, and coats your pup’s paws. The balm creates a protective barrier while still allowing their skin to breathe. Plus, it uses a non-toxic formula so if your dog tends to lick, they can still use this balm for protection from the elements.

$26 at Chewy
the paw balm with dog logo

Skout’s Honor’s prebiotic pet balm is ideal for soothing, healing, and protecting the paws and noses of both cats and dogs. Formulated with 100% natural ingredients that are safe for felines and hounds alike, the balm, which is made with mānuka honey, provides instant relief and ongoing protection for noses and paws. Prebiotics support and feed the good bacteria that serve as a natural defense against environmental damage and inflammation, which is particularly important when the paw pad is worn down. When this happens, “eventually you’ll get to raw tissue,” says Dr. Iovino. “With the balms, the idea is to keep those situations from happening and support the paw pad.” 

While an excellent option for a multi-pet household, Skout’s Honor does have more ingredients than some of the other natural balms. Dr. Warnes recommends looking for “natural ingredients (wax, vitamin E, cocoa butter, etc)” and reiterates the age-old adage: “The fewer the ingredients the better.”

$17 at Skout’s Honor
the paw balm in blue and white

Looking for instant relief for a pup suffering from allergies? Honest Paws’ antibiotic topical balm is made of 100% natural ingredients that will help relieve skin irritations, rashes, minor cuts, and dry itchy skin. You may be wondering what caused these allergies in the first place, which is certainly something to bring up at your next visit to the vet. Dr. Warnes explains, “Dogs lick their paws which can cause an allergy flareup if pollen or grass is on the bottom. Some dogs may have medical conditions that can cause blistering, cracking, and dryness.” Many dogs also suffer from Hyperkeratosis, a condition that results in the thickening of the skin, which can be greatly improved by using the correct products to treat it.

$13 at Honest Paws

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Avery, editor at The Wildest, and her cat, Chicken

Avery Felman

Avery is an editor at The Wildest. She has written for numerous publications, including Refinery29, BuzzFeed, and V Magazine. She lives in Brooklyn, New York with her fiancé and cat, Chicken, and has high hopes that one of them will let her adopt a dog.