DIY Paw Balm for Dogs

When winter weather comes around your pup’s paws might be in need of a little care. This DIY paw balm for dogs will heal up those rough paw pads in no time.

Today the temperature is -24. We have been in a polar vortex for almost two weeks now and I am ready for it to be done.

Our sweet farm dog, Sunny, has seemed undeterred by the cold weather, albeit more willing to head back inside after chores are done.

I’ve noticed though that she has been paying special attention to her paws lately. I took a look, and the poor pup has some rough and cracked looking pads.

Starting with my favorite diaper ointment recipe, I made some tweaks and came up with a salve for her paws.

More about Sunny, our English Shepherd, here.

dog's paws rough and tumble farmhouse

What is a Paw Balm?

First of all, let me be honest here. This recipe is more of a paw “ointment” than it is a balm.

An ointment has more of a loose texture, like petroleum jelly.

Balms tend to be solid. Think of a lip balm.

A butter is soft and creamy. Whipped butters are creamy, light, and fluffy.

Whether it is a balm, butter, or ointment, skin care recipes are formulated for specific purposes. Some might have antiseptic herbs infused. Others might have extra conditioning ingredients. Some have a sealant protective quality.

This ointment should condition, heal, and protect dog paws.

Can dogs use human lotion and moisturizers?

Hard no on that one. Dogs have different sensitivities to ingredients than humans. They are a whole different species, after all.

A butter or oil that is safe for humans might be harmful to your pet. This is especially true for fragrances or essentials oils.

The other huge factor that must be considered with ingredients for a dog paw moisturizer is whether or not the are safe to consume. People aren’t going to lick all the lotion off their hands, but a dog is likely to give at least a few licks to whatever you rub into their paws.

paw pad butter rough and tumble farmhouse

Will my dog lick this balm off?

I can’t say yes or no to this for sure. I intentionally left out any ingredients that might smell tempting to your dog.

Sunny has no interest in licking it off so I’m hoping it will work well for your dog too.

Are these ingredients all safe for dogs?

Yes. I checked each ingredient to be sure it has no negative affects on a dog either externally on skin or internally if licked off their paws.

I also chose not to add any essential oils to the recipe as there are only a handful that are safe for dogs. The scent would only be for human benefit. Dogs don’t care if it smells like vanilla and strawberries, so why risk it?

This post contains affiliate links, which means I make a small commission at no extra cost to you. See my full disclosure here.

recipe ingredients rough and tumble farmhouse

Ingredients in this DIY Paw Balm

All these ingredients are popular in many skin care products, so you can be sure they’ll get used up and not just take up shelf space.

They are all perfectly safe to use on your own skin, too!

Oat Flour

Oats are widely used in skin care for humans and it can benefit dogs, too!

Oats are incredibly moisturizing and help balance bacteria on the skin. Source. This is an added bonus for pups who have paws that get itchy in the winter.


Beeswax creates a natural protective coating on skin and paws. This helps to seal in moisture and provides a barrier between paws and the ground.

Shea Butter

In this recipe, shea butter is used because of its deep moisturizing properties. It also helps to reduce inflammation and ease irritation.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil easily absorbs into skin, helping this recipe to act fast. It is also a moisturizer. I advise getting refined so it won’t have a smell.


This oil comes from the wool of sheep. It is produced in their wool to waterproof it. Lanolin also has antifungal and antibacterial properties that help to protect a sheep’s skin. It is extracted from wool when it is being processed, so no sheep are harmed in gathering this oil. (Source)

Vitamin E Oil

This oil acts as a preservative. It also is effective in conditioning skin.

DIY Paw Balm Recipe

I recommend using a double boiler to make this recipe. If you don’t have a double boiler, you can also microwave these ingredients.

Combine in a double boiler or microwave safe bowl:

  • 1 Tablespoon Beeswax
  • 1/4 Cup Shea Butter
  • 1/4 Cup Coconut Oil
  • 2 Tablespoons Lanolin
  • 1/4 Cup Olive Oil

Once all the oils have melted together, whisk in the following:

  • 1 Teaspoon Vitamin E oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Oat Flour

Pour into a pint jar. Allow to cool, then seal with a lid.

treating cracked dog paws rough and tumble farmhouse

How to Apply a Paw Balm

If you’ve never put a balm or butter on your dog’s paws they might be a little wary of it at first.

Don’t make a big deal out of it. Keep it friendly, fun, and relaxing. If your dog seems uncomfortable at any time just stop and try again later.

With our dog, Sunny, I usually wait until she is resting. I’ll give her an affectionate ear scratch and then move to her paws.

You’ll notice that dog’s paws are kind of layered like fish scales. Try to apply the balm going with the grain of their skin, not against it. That would feel uncomfortable for them.

Massage the balm thoroughly into their paws, paying special attention to areas that are cracked.

I advise putting this on when your dog is settling in for the night. Even with rubbing it in thoroughly, there are still a lot of oils in this recipe which you don’t want tracked all over the house.

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