This post may contain affiliate links, please check out our disclosure policy for more details.

Photo by Elina Sazonova from Pexels

Imagine what life would be like if you had to walk barefoot everywhere — whether you’re hiking, jogging, casually strolling on the beach, around the block or yard, in the snow, or on the sidewalks.

Doesn’t the mere thought of it make you cringe?

Unfortunately, that’s what dogs (and outdoor cats) have to go through every week. Their paws are built to carry them everywhere.

However, it is up to us as pet parents to keep their paws healthy and damage-free so they can enjoy walking around as much as we do.

One of the best ways to achieve this is by applying paw protectants on their paw pads regularly to heal any injuries, soothe pain, and prevent damage.

But, what’s the best paw protectant that can do exactly what we just listed – heal any injuries, soothe pain, and prevent damage?

We’ll take a brief look at 7 paw protectants that can maintain your dog and cat’s paw pads in tip-top shape. 

1. 100% Natural Vet Formulated Paw and Nose Balm Wax for Dogs and Cats. 

The first paw protectant on our recommendation list is Dr. Joseph’s Natural Paw and Nose Balm for cats and dogs with irritated paw pads or hyperkeratosis on their noses.

It contains Shea butter, Sunflower Seed Oil, Vit. E, Coconut Oil, Aloe and other ingredients that seem to heal cracked or irritated paw pads overnight.

The best part is that it has no scent (that, or our sense of smell is too weak to perceive it). However, most dogs just can’t help licking the balm off of their paws or nose.

The fast healing properties of this paw and nose balm makes it perfect for dogs with cracked nose and paws due to summer allergies or exposure to salted snow.

If your dog loves to run on everything whether grass, snow, mud, sand, or concrete, this is the best you can do to protect him from hurting his paws.   

2. Natural Dog Company PawTection Dog Paw Balm.

Another paw pad protector that works wonders is the Natural Dog Company PawTection Dog Paw Balm.

As at the time of publishing, this paw protector was not available on amazon.

Its all-natural organic formula contains Mango Butter, Vit. E, Sunflower Oil, Rice Bran Oil, Carnauba Wax, and Rosemary Extract that helps restore paw pads in dogs and cats that occasionally get dry, rough, and cracked paws.

Meaning there are no harsh chemicals in the product.

That makes it an awesome choice for dogs that are always walking on concrete or asphalt and outdoor cats that you do not have the slightest idea where they are all day.

This paw protectant is not just a restoration product; you can as well use it to prevent the paw from getting dry in the first place. Especially when you’re preparing your dog for a walk, run, or hiking a new trail.

My only gripe is with the price. At just 2 oz. the container and content are quite small for the price. But hey, since it is small you can fit it into a small bag, pocket, or purse if you need to carry it with you.

3. Musher’s Secret Dog Paw Wax (2.1 Oz): All Season Pet Paw Protection.

Here’s another fantastic paw protectant that does an exceptional job.

Musher’s Secret Dog Paw Wax (available on Amazon|Chewy) provides all-season pet paw protection.

That means this paw protectant has got your pet’s paw covered whether you are both walking on pavement or asphalt in the summer, walking on sand, in the rain, or on snow.

The formula contains 100% natural waxes (proprietary food grade, plant based waxes) which helps to moisturize, heal wounds, and keep paws healthy. 

Though the ingredients are a secret (which explains the product’s name), Musher’s Secret is a  fantastic choice for pet paws that become sensitive or irritated from walking on cold and icy grounds or when the pavement is really hot – we’ll talk about hot pavements later.

The product is viscous, less messy, and with a consistency that can only be described as… awesome. At 60g (2.1 oz.) the paw protectant can last a long time depending on how you use it.  

4. Pet Head Oatmeal Natural Paw Butter 2oz.

I remember when my parents told me that drugs are bitter because they save lives – not entirely true.

Going by that logic, how is a paw protectant that smells soo… good such a life paw saver?

If you have a dog or cat that has cracked paws and just can’t keep his/her mouth away from the paw, then Pet Head Oatmeal Natural Paw Butter could be the remedy you’ve been looking for.

It contains Oatmeal, Shea butter, mango, Vit. E & F, jojoba, Coconut oil, Olive oil, and aloe vera. And, although it smells so good, it seems the formula contains something bitter.

That is because most dogs will lick it just once (or twice) and never lick it again.

The paw butter is easy to apply. And as soon as the formula is absorbed by the paw pads, it provides superfast healing.

Use this during winter and summer when dog paw pads get all dried up and become prone to cracking.

5. PET CARE Sciences Dog Paw Wax.

Do you have a dog that is so much in love with walking or running that not even aging or paw pad injuries can keep him indoors for long?

Then you can’t go wrong with using the Pet Care Science Dog Paw Wax as his first line of defense when going outdoors.

Who needs chemical junk when this paw protectant contains Coconut Oil, Shea butter, and Coco butter that helps protect, soothe, and repair delicate paw pads?  

Whether you’re going on a hiking trip, taking a walk on gravel or pavements, or just exploring the environment, this product will be there to protect your dog’s paws.

All you have to do before leaving is rub a generous amount on the paw pads, making sure to work it in-between the toes. And, if your dog likes sniffing everything along the way, you can apply some on his nose too.

It has a low-key vanilla scent that’s too mild to be distractive or tasty enough to entice a dog to lick it off.

6. Burt’s Bees Paw and Nose Lotion.

Another wonderful paw pad protector on our list is the Burt’s Bees Paw and Nose Lotion.

I think this product is wonderful because it is quickly absorbed by the paw pads leaving no residue for your dog to lick off.

The lotion contains Glycerin, Honey, Beeswax, Jojoba butter, Rosemary Extract and other chemicals you should definitely go through to ensure there is nothing in it that your dog might be allergic to.

It has a nice smell and it isn’t greasy. If your dog is a chronic paw pad chewer, then try this lotion for the itch before making an expensive trip to the vet.

It is better suited for restoring hard, dry, and cracked paw pads that are rough and itchy.

However, I recommend using this with a paw pad wax (one that stays longer on the pad) to protect dog paw pads from snow and summer heat.

7. Pet MD Dog Paw Balm – 3-in-1 Paw Protectors for Dogs – 2 oz.

Who would say ‘No’ to a product that does 3 things really well? 

Not me!

One such product is the Pet MD Dog Paw Balm – 3-in-1 Paw Protectors for Dogs. It protects a dog’s nose, moisturizes elbows, and protects paw pads from damage in any season of the year.

It contains Shea butter, coconut oil, olive oil, almond oil, beeswax, and cocoa seed butter.

Oh and, it doesn’t have an overpowering smell!

The formula is perfect for treating cracks and dryness in paw pads, elbows, and noses caused by snow or summer heat. It’s a bit oily, but I’ll show you the best way to apply it (all of them) so your floor doesn’t get stained.

I recommend this paw pad protectant for dogs that like to run, dig, or those that get itchy feet due to allergies.

A little piece of advice, keep this somewhere high or inaccessible because some dogs have an appetite for the product – no need to panic if yours gets to it, the ingredients are natural oils.

Bonus: Aquaphor.

Fun fact: did you know that all the paw protectants listed above can be used to soften dry and cracked heels on humans?

So, it should come as no surprise that Aquaphor, a product made for humans can help soften, protect, and heal dog and cat paw pads.

Aquaphor is identical to Vaseline, however, it contains Petrolatum (41%) Mineral Oil, Ceresin, Lanolin Alcohol, Panthenol, Glycerin, and Bisabolol that give it an extra oomph for dry and scaly elbows, crusty noses, and peeling or cracked paw pads.

If your dog doesn’t tolerate any other product on the list, he should have no issues with this since it is mostly petroleum jelly.

Make sure you get the version of the product that is clearly marked ‘healing ointment

Veterinary Clinical Care Antiseptic and Antifungal Spray. 

No, this is not a product that protects your pet’s paw from the summer heat or winter snow.

It’s an antiseptic and antifungal spray (available on Amazon|Chewy) that prevent cracked paws from getting infected.

Think of it.

If your dog’s paw is severely cracked, it is likely to get infected and that will make the crack worse.

You can combine this with any other paw protectant for the best results.

What Causes Dry and Cracked Paw Pads?

It’s best to treat the underlying cause of dry and cracked pet paw so it won’t return immediately the paw protectant is exhausted.  

Here are the main causes of paw pad injuries, crack, or dryness:

1. Extreme temperature.

Since dogs and cats do not wear shoes, they are vulnerable to the extreme temperature of the surfaces they walk on.

During summer the pavement can get uncomfortably hot. That’s why I recommend going for walks early in the morning or at dusk when the ground is moderately warm.

Before walking your dog in the summer try putting your barefoot on the floor. If you can hold it there comfortably for 9-15 seconds, then it is safe for your dog.

On the other hand, there is Winter’s extreme cold temperature. Cold weather can also burn your dog’s paw pads (cold burns) and cause the formation of blisters.

Aside from that, the salt and other chemicals commonly for snow removal may irritate your dog’s paw pad.

So, if your dog doesn’t need to tag along, then let him stay at home. – he’s safer there.

2. Allergies.

Dogs also get allergic reactions to chemicals and molecules in food, floor cleaner, grass, etc. more often than not, these allergies usually appear in the paw pads or nose.

Some allergies may simply cause itchiness in your dog’s paws, making them to obsessively rub them on rough surfaces or chew the pads.

3. Mineral deficiency.

When a dog is deficient in zinc, for instance, they may develop symptoms such as dull haircoat, cracked paws and noses, crusty skin, dry patch on the elbow, or digestive problems.

This is not meant to be used as a diagnosis. If you think your dog is deficient in some minerals, then speak with your vet.

Before we move to point the next section “How to get the best results from a paw protectant“, I have a small request.

If you’ve enjoyed this article so far, feel free to share with your friends – you never know who might need it.

Thank you!

How to Get the Best Results from A Paw Protectant.

1. Choose the right product: Paw Balm vs. Paw Wax.

Unsure whether to go with paw wax or paw balm? Even if you close your eyes and pick anyone, you will get the same result.

Both contain a combination of oils and waxes such as shea butter, olive oil, soy wax, beeswax, and coconut oil that help heal, soothe, and protect pet paws from damage.

While dog paw wax contains more beeswax than paw balm and is formulated with paw protection in mind, they both soothe, moisturize, and protect the paw from damage.  

When in doubt, choose a paw wax!

2.  Wipe Paws Clean.

Examine the state of your dog’s paws and wipe them with a damp cloth (preferably baby wipes) to remove loose skin or dirt.

3. Apply the Balm.

Smear a thin layer of paw protectant on the paw pad and slowly work it into the foot. There are two ways you can do this:

  • If your dog or cat lets you play with his/her feet you can make him lie on his back while you massage the balm or wax in.
  • If your pet doesn’t like his/her feet being touched, then you need to smear the paw protectant on your palm and rub both palms to spread the wax or balm. This way you can quickly work it into the paw pad in split seconds.  

If your dog is slipping around after application, then it means you have applied too much and you need to either wipe some off or get him/her to lie still until the paw protectant is completely absorbed.

Trust me, it’s easier to wipe the excess off than getting your pet to lie still for long.

4. Cover the Paw.

Out of curiosity, most dogs and cats will lick the paw balm or wax off. If you run into this problem, what you can do is cover the paw with a sock, apply the balm at night when your pet has slept, or apply it on the dog’s paw pads a few minutes before both of you go on a walk.

Conclusion.

Photo by Artem Beliaikin from Pexels

Caring for your pet’s paw is easy.

Take one or two seconds every couple of days to inspect your dog’s paw pad for damage. The best time you can do this while using a nail grinder to trim your cat or dog’s nails.

If you notice any sign of damage apply a paw protectant ASAP to prevent it from worsening and causing severe pain.

If your pet’s paws or nose is simply dry with little cracks, you can use the Burt’s Bees Paw and Nose Lotion to moisturize and soften them up.

However, if your pet’s paws or nose is severely damaged, you’ll need something that protects and heals. For that, I recommend Pet Head Oatmeal Natural Paw Butter or Musher’s Secret Dog Paw Wax (available on Amazon|Chewy) if you don’t want a strong smell, no matter how sweet.

While choosing the best paw protectant for your dog or cat, you need to check the ingredient list for additives or oil, or other compounds that your pet is allergic to and avoid them.

If you are unsure of your pet’s response to certain compounds, then you first have to test the paw protectant on a small area.

Finally, don’t let it get into your pet’s eyes or yours.

And, remember to share this article.