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Home » All About Dogs » Dog Gear » Does Your Dog Need Musher’s Secret? Plus, Dog Paw Wax Alternatives
A dog paw wax like Musher's Secret can protect a dog's paws from harsh elements.

Does Your Dog Need Musher’s Secret? Plus, Dog Paw Wax Alternatives

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Harsh weather conditions like snow and ice, heat, or rough surfaces like sand can burn, tear, or cut your dog’s paws. Dog paw wax provides a barrier between your dog’s paw and the surface, protecting them from damage.

Musher’s Secret is the most well known paw protection wax, however there are a host of others available on the market that do the job just the same.

What is Musher’s Secret?

Developed in Canada for sledding dogs, Musher’s Secret is a natural paw protection wax that eliminates the need to use dog boots. 

The paw wax protects dog paws from a variety of harsh elements including:

  • Salt residue
  • Ice melt
  • Snowball build up between paws
  • Sand
  • Abrasions from rough terrain
  • Hot pavement
  • Chemicals found in lawns and on sidewalks

The wax works by forming a semi-permeable shield on your dog’s paws allowing perspiration to escape normally through their paw pads. 

Made from 100% Natural Ingredients

Musher’s Secret is a 100% food grade wax-based moisturizing paw cream contains safe ingredients like White and Yellow Beeswax, Carnauba, Candelilla Wax, Vegetable Oils, and Vitamin E.

It does not contain nut, soy, or flax seed oils and all ingredients are non-toxic, non-GMO, and gluten-free.

Is Paw Wax Safe for Dogs?

The paw waxes referred to in this article are 100% safe and natural for both dogs and humans. 

They are also safe to use on:

  • Snout
  • Ears
  • Elbows
  • Hot Spots
  • Other animals, including cats, horses, chickens, etc.

Since dogs tend to lick strange substances on their bodies, these natural waxes are designed to be licked by dogs without worry of toxicity or stomach issues. 

Does My Dog Need Paw Wax?

Not all dogs will need to use a paw wax like Musher’s Secret. Depending on the terrain, exercise, and mileage your dog encounters, they may develop more calluses on their paws that act as a natural protector. 

Other dogs have more sensitive paw pads that are prone to drying and cracking more easily. Fur in between the toes can attract ice balls, while other dogs have less fur and don’t tend to collect snowballs.

Check paw pads regularly after your dog’s first few times hiking in any of the following terrain:

  • Snow
  • Sand – including dunes and beaches
  • Pumice stone
  • Rocky hikes
  • Sandstone

If you notice cuts, scrapes, dry pads, or ice balls, then consider using a paw wax.

Using paw wax in the sand can help prevent chafing between your dog's toes.

When Are Dog Paw Protection Waxes Most Used?

Because Musher’s Secret was developed for sled dogs, the assumption may be that paw protection wax only needs to be used in the winter. However, is can be used throughout the year.

Winter

Cold weather conditions certainly make dog paws more susceptible to painful symptoms from outdoor activities. Think about your own hands and what season they tend to crack and bleed: winter.

If you plan to regularly get outdoors with your dog for winter endurance activities, then start with a short test hike in the snow to see how your dog’s pads fare.

Walking with ice balls stuck in between the toes can feel incredibly painful to your dog. If you notice them limping, that is the likely culprit.

Summer

Temperatures above 75°F can toast the pavement. Do a pavement test by putting the back of your hand on the ground for five seconds. If it’s too hot to keep your hand there, then a paw wax is one way to keep your dog safe in hot weather.

Sand

Like the pavement, sand can reach scorching temperatures. Haven’t you ever danced across a sandy beach when you’ve forgotten your flip flops? It hurts!

Further, the sand can get caught between the toes and cause chafing. With the mix of wet from the water and abrasive sand, it can create the perfect environment for paw damage.

Rough Terrain

I trail run regularly with my dogs, so their pads tend to develop the strength to withstand long hours out in rough terrain, however, if you’re new to running or distance hiking, particularly over abrasive terrain, then it could do a number on your dog’s paws.

I once took my 100-lb nephew dog for a hike and about a mile from the car on the return, he began to limp. His paw was cut and torn since he wasn’t used to hiking.

Trust me, you don’t want to have to carry a 100-lb dog back to the car.

The hike doesn’t have to be long to cause damage. It all depends on the dog and what they’re used to.

Protection from Pesticides

Another instance where you may want to consider paw protection is if you live in an apartment complex or another building where the lawn is maintained using fertilizers and chemicals. A paw wax will help prevent absorption in the pads.

How to Apply Paw Wax to Dog Paws

Simply take a pea-sized amount and rub into your dog’s paws 2-3 times per week. The heat from your hand will help melt the wax.

During the winter months, you may need to apply more often. Check your dog’s paws for cracks and dryness.

If your dog attracts snowballs in between their toes, apply in between the toes, as well as the pads. Be sure to do this every time you go out in the snow.

Apply during the evening to allow your dog’s pads to absorb the maximum amount of balm overnight.

If you notice stains on your carpet or paw prints on the wood floor, that’s a sign that you’re applying too much.

Tips for applying Paw Balm

Some dogs may not like their paws handled. Start out slowly, showing them the container and rewarding for interaction, such as sniffing or nosing. Then open the container and allow them to sniff.

Touch their paw for a second and reward and praise when they permit you to do so. Increase handling duration over time. You may need to begin waxing one paw at a time until your dog gets used to you handling their paws.

You can also use a lickimat, treats, or peanut butter on a spoon to distract your dog while you apply the paw wax.

Applying at night time when your dog is more relaxed may result in easier application, plus it will allow for absorption overnight. A belly rub or massage before applying may help calm your dog as well.

Eventually, this could turn into a bonding opportunity and something that your dog looks forward to several times per week!

Can’t I Just use Vaseline?

Technically, yes, Vaseline is an option, however it can cause upset stomach or diarrhea when ingested in large amounts. That said the amount you will use on your dog’s paw probably won’t be enough to cause stomach issues.

The slight risk of tummy woes aside, Vaseline doesn’t work the same as a moisturizing paw wax. It doesn’t really moisturize at all, in fact. Rather, it traps whatever moisture is already by blocking the natural oils and dirt contained in pores. What this does is create the perfect environment for yeast and fungus.

Also, as Vaseline is a petroleum-based product, we recommend a more eco-friendly alternative like the many paw waxes listed below. 

Best Natural Waxes for Dogs

Protective paw waxes for dogs are generally made using the same ingredients. Most are beeswax based, while a couple on this list are made using only plant-based and/or organic ingredients, if that is important to you.

A few use avocado oil, which may have you wondering about avocado toxicity in dogs. Avocado pulp is not toxic to dogs (I give it to my dogs often when I have leftover smoothie). The toxicity comes in the high concentration of persin in leaves, skin, and pits. Avocado oil is completely safe for dogs, as it does not contain persin.

All of the products listed here will do the trick of protecting your dog’s paws from ice, snow, sand, and hot pavement. Some that contain coconut oil may stain if they do not absorb into the paws quickly. Others include essential oils meant to deter dogs from licking.

This list includes dog paw waxes found on both Amazon and Only Natural Pet.

Musher’s Secret Pet Paw Protection Wax

Musher's Secret is a well known paw protection wax for dogs

The most well known paw protection wax for dogs, Musher’s Secret is known to work in even the most harsh conditions, since it was developed in Canada for use with sledding dogs.

Size: 60g, 200g, 1lb

Ingredients: White and Yellow Beeswax, Carnauba and Candelilla Wax, Vegetable Oils, Vitamin E.


Baely’s Paw Shield

Baely's Paw Shield Paw Protection Wax

Made in Atlanta, GA, Baely’s Paw Shield is made to quickly moisturize dry paws and add a protective barrier between surfaces. The ingredients solidify at room temperature to eliminate stains on floors, including carpet.

Size: 4 oz

Ingredients: Beeswax, Vegetable Oils, Shea Butter, Kokum Butter, Essential Oil


I ❤ Pet Head Oatmeal Paw Butter

Made in the USA with completely safe ingredients, I ❤  Pet Head Oatmeal Paw Butter is an eco-friendly solution to cracked paws. It also works on noses and protects from hot and cold surfaces.

Size: 2 oz

Ingredients: Shea Butter, Oatmeal, Mango, Vitamins E and F, Coconut Oil, Olive Oil, Aloe Vera


PetSupply Organic Paw Shield

PetSupply Organic Paw Shield protective paw wax for dogs.

All the ingredients used in this paw balm are organic and safe for dogs. The product is easy to apply and absorbs quickly to prevent licking and staining of floors.

The blend of ingredients are immediately soothing to your dog after abrasion and designed to absorb right after application to prevent licking.

Size: 2 oz

Ingredients: Shea Butter, Mango Butter, Almond Oil, Avocado Oil, Yellow Beeswax, Vitamin E, Vitamin B3, Lavender Essential Oil.


Pawstruck Ruff Relief Balm

Ruff Relief protects dog paws, noses, and other areas with a soothing formula of organic ingredients.

Made from human-grade organic ingredients in the USA, Ruff Relief is a small business based out of Long Beach, CA that can be used to soothe cracks and wrinkles all over your dog. From noses, to hot spot, and dry skin, this relief balm is designed to be completely odorless. 

Size: 1.75 oz

Ingredients: Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Coconut Oil, Beeswax, Carnauba Wax, Jojoba Wax, Vitamin E.


Quality Pet Paw Nectar 

Quality Pet Paw Nectar is a vegan alternative to Musher's Secret.

This 100% organic paw nectar is another vegan alternative for paw wax. Reviews state that it helps with paw licking from allergies and the essential oils prevent the dog from licking after application.

Size: 2 oz

Ingredients: Coconut Oil, Avocado Oil, Soy Oil, Plant-sourced wax, Shea Butter, Cocoa Butter, Aloe Vera, Vitamin E, Rosemary Seed extract, and Lavender Oil.


Peak Dog Paw Protection

Peak Dog Paw Protection is made in small batches and veteran-owned.

This veteran-owned paw balm is made in small batches in San Francisco. It comes in a stick tube to make for easy application and the addition of lavender oil prevents dogs from licking their paws once applied.

Size: 2 oz

Ingredients: Almond Oil, Hemp Oil, Coconut Oil, Beeswax, Shea Butter, Lavender Oil.


Natural Dog Company Paw Soother

Natural Dog Company uses a holistic formula to create their paw wax.

Another small batch company, Natural Dog Company uses holistic formulas that are veterinarian approved in their line of healing and protective balms for dogs. The only one on this list to use vegan ingredients, the paw soother comes in both a tin and a stick depending on your preference.

Size: 1 oz, 2 oz, 4 oz

Ingredients: Coconut Oil, Cupuacu Butter, Jojoba Oil, Calendula Extract, Cajeput Essential Oil, Chamomile, Vitamin E, Rosemary extract.


Only Natural Pet Paw Balm

Only Natural Pet Paw Balm comes in an easy to use tube.

The name brand paw balm for this sustainable company, based out of Boulder, Colorado is formulated by a holistic veterinarian and contains a host of soothing natural ingredients to help protect sensitive paws.

This balm comes in a deodorant-style tube, and allows users to apply directly to their dog’s paws. 

Size: 1.8 oz

Ingredients: Coconut Oil, Beeswax, Shea Butter, Lanolin, Mango Butter, Avocado Oil, Kukui Oil, Wheat Germ Oil, Aloe Vera Juice, Rosemary Essential Oil, Calendula, Vitamin E


Beefuddled Farms Bee-Spoke Paw Putty

Molly's Bee-spoke Paw Putty is made using just two ingredients.

Beefuddled Farms began when Jim started beekeeping to help his grandson with allergies. Eventually, his daughter joined him and together, the family learned more about bees.

The Paw Putty is made using their own beeswax, as well as other natural oils, making it completely safe for dogs.

Size: 2 oz, 4oz

Ingredients: 100% natural oil blends and beeswax


Doc’s Remedies Healing Salve

Doc's Remedies Healing Salve uses mostly organic ingredients for their dog paw wax.

Doc’s knows that dogs will lick their cuts and scrapes and designed this all natural healing salve to heal and not harm. Not only does the salve heal any cuts and scrapes, it also provides that protective base layer between your dog’s paw and the snow, pavement, or other abrasive surface.

Further, the ingredients contain anti-fungal and anti-viral properties to aid with healing and soothe cracked skin on the paw, nose, or other area.

Size: 2 oz

Ingredients: Apricot oil, Safflower oil, coconut oil*, Aloe Vera oil, Beeswax*, Calendua*, Flower Extract, Comfrey Herb Extract*, Grosso Lavender Oil*

*Denotes organic ingredient

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You dog may need paw protection wax, like Musher's Secret
Jen Sotolongo

Hello! I'm Jen. I'm a writer, photographer, dog mom, and outdoor enthusiast. When I'm not writing about awesome ways to get outside with your dog, I'm probably out for a long trail run. I also fancy myself a pretty decent vegan cook, and am always happy to whip up a batch of cookies for friends. I am based in the Pacific Northwest and I never leave home without my dogs.

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