Friday, 10 June 2016

Homemade Natural Dog Paw Balm

Paw balm is handy for helping dry cracking, scrapes and cuts from fun at the beach and on our rocky trails, tenderness from playing a little too hard, or a little extra paw TLC in hot/cold conditions.  Many dogs (ours included) will lick tender paws, so keeping things natural makes me a little more comfortable.  All the more so since our dogs will actively try and lick any cream or lotion that we apply, no matter how good/bad it might taste or what's might be in it!  In addition to paw-repairs, balm can be handy for other doggy dry spots.  Our dogs don't suffer from dry noses, but old boy Oli does have senior dog callouses, and despite his abundance of beds he still loves sprawling in the garden and, in warmer weather, on cool floors.  Massaging his elbows with balm has done wonders.

My first attempt at making paw balm was based upon how I would make homemade lip balm.  It came out lovely, but too firm at room temperature for jar application (great for tubes though!)   After some experimentation, we settled on the following ratios.  We don't use paw balm for routine conditioning, just for extra care as dogs need tough paws for life's adventures! A little balm goes a long way and lasts a long time.  For this reason, ingredients are listed by parts (volume) not specific measures so you can easily scale ratios for as large or small a batch as you wish. 

In a small pot or double boiler, combine:

2 parts Shea or Mango Butter I use one part of each shea and mango butter.
2 parts Coconut Oil
2 parts Olive or Sweet Almond Oil 
3 parts Beeswax Save effort cutting/grating by buying as pellets or pastilles.

Stir together over low heat until melted to combine.  Add a small quantity of Vitamin E oil (optional) and pour into small tins or jars. Cool at room temperature until firm, check consistency (you can remelt and adjust if needed), cap, and enjoy!
  • My paw balm parts ratios noted above are by volume (e.g. tbsp, cup, etc.) not weight.
  • Consistency will vary with ingredients and your ambient conditions, but not to worry - you can remelt and adjust at anytime if needed! I've had to do this myself in the past when working to come up with a blend that works for me and the dogs. You can also melt the residuals of an almost empty paw balm container from your last batch into your new batch if you wish.
  • If you prefer a looser creamier mixture, you can re-liquify and add a little more butter/oil or less beeswax. For a firmer mixture, use less butter/oil or add more beeswax. Easy peasy!  Make a note of your preferred custom mix for future batches and please do feel free to share in the comments here for others who might be looking for different textures or ingredient swaps. Thanks! :)
  • Ambient temperatures will affect your consistency, especially for the coconut oil.  You may prefer a firmer mix for summer and creamier/looser mix for winter, especially if you are using the balm in outdoor conditions, such as camping or hiking.
  • To avoid spills, take care not to store in hot places (parked card, hot tent, etc) unless you are using well-sealed jars or store upright as the balm will, of course, re-liquify.  

These supplies may be available from your local grocery or natural products store, or you can source them online through local specialists or large suppliers, such as Amazon. Reuse containers where you can to reduce waste and save money. Win win!  If you don't have any of the ingredients, it may seem like an expense, but it is very affordable in the long run and you can use the ingredients for tons of other neat DIY care/beauty products - human or dog.  Why not make yourself a little extra and use it as your lip balm or foot rub?  It smells nice au natural (perhaps a little too fab when made like mine using a mix with natural beeswax as the dogs seem to like it, too!), but you can add some essential oils to your human balms, such as peppermint for tired feet - feels and smells awesome!

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