Recipe: homemade dog paw wax
Today is my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary. I’d say that is a pretty impressive accomplishment for any time in history, but especially now. Jeremy and I will be heading out to celebrate with them in the spring since the week before Christmas is a pretty terrible time to travel or do anything for that matter. I scanned a few photos from the early years of their courtship and marriage, because it’s fascinating and touching to look back on those days. Another place, another time. My parents were younger than I am now in all of these photographs. I’m glad they made it to 50 years and I hope they log more years to come. Happy anniversary, Mom and Dad. I love you.
i think this was college – ah, young love
early 70s (i’m the little fat one being held)
a day at the beach (probably winter)
When Jeremy and I agreed to bring Kaweah into our family, all I could think was, “We’re getting a puppy!” She was my first dog and I had no idea what to expect. There were some things we did right and some things we did wrong. We learned as we went and I discovered that loving that dog – my sweet Kaweah – for all of her 15-plus years was one of the best things to have happened to me in my life. Once we decided to make Neva a part of our household, I didn’t dwell too much on her puppyhood (aside from the sleep-deprivation and training), but focused my sights on her doghood. After all, she’s only a puppy for a blink of an eye, but she’ll be a (good?) dog for her lifetime. The puppy stage was the time to introduce her to life as a Colorado mountain dog. We have mapped it all out for her: hiking, trail running, skiing, SUPing, swimming, backpacking, maybe even mountain biking. Kaweah is our reference point and Neva seems to be following right in her footsteps and then some.
But Kaweah learned the Colorado mountain dog life as a strong and athletic adult. Neva is still developing into her adult stage. So when we took her ski touring in a foot of powder a few months back, I was surprised that she experienced some trouble with her paws in the snow. I’m still unclear if it was from ice balling under her paws or if the snow was just too cold for her footies. Whatever it was, this was new for us because Kaweah never had these problems out west. Of course dogs like Banjo with longer hair between their footpads are practically guaranteed to get ice balls forming underfoot on powder days which can be painful. Erin (Banjo’s person) uses a combination of dog booties and Musher’s Secret (dog paw wax) to protect Banjo’s paws. I got Neva a couple sets of dog booties, but stopped short of buying Musher’s Secret because it’s spendy. That’s when I looked into making it myself and you know what? It’s not only cheaper to make it yourself, but it is ridiculously easy. First, you need to find a place that supplies what you’ll need.
rebecca’s herbal apothecary in boulder is awesome
There are plenty of great online stores where you can source the ingredients, but I wanted to keep my business local if possible. Thankfully, Rebecca’s Herbal Apothecary makes that possible. They have a physical shop in Boulder and an online store for orders to ship. The store carries a wide selection of butters, salts, oils, teas, waxes, herbs, and so much more. I went in finding everything I needed as well as getting some great advice on shea butters and making sure the ingredients were safe for ingestion in case Neva decided to lick it off her paws.
all you need: olive oil, shea butter, beeswax, coconut oil
cutting up the beeswax
Shea butter has a definite scent to it, but refined shea butter doesn’t have an odor. So I opted for the refined shea butter since I didn’t want to give Neva more reason to view her dog paw wax as a delicious snack which she’d lick off before we even hit the snow. Also, in the future, I’ll buy the beeswax pearls instead of the bars, because they cost less, will melt faster, and I won’t have to chop them up (that’s the thing that takes the most time). I used the organic olive oil and organic coconut oil I already had in my pantry. You don’t have to use olive oil – you can use sweet almond oil or sunflower oil. I was told sweet almond oil has a (yummy) scent to it, too, which is why I opted for olive oil. The only thing that I couldn’t get “unscented” was coconut oil. And you don’t have to go organic. I just figured that this balm was either going in her mouth, into her paw pads, or onto the trails – so organic would be the least offensive to each.
To make the dog paw wax, you simply melt everything together in a saucepan over low heat then pour it into your vessels. That’s it!
place it all in the saucepan
melt it over low heat
pour into jars
Pouring the dog paw wax into glass jars (with wide mouths, please) makes for very pretty gifts. I gave one to Neva’s daycare owner because she has a lot of pups who get ice balls on their paws in winter up here. But if you want to be practical about it, a plastic container is probably best for dogs who hit the trails and the backcountry. Why? Well, first off, plastic is lighter than glass which is a bonus for anyone who has to carry it into the backcountry where pups usually need to have a reapplication of the paw wax. Secondly, glass breaks very easily when you drop it and plastic is a little harder to break (but not impossible, especially in sub-zero temperatures). I like to tuck a small plastic container of it into my pack just in case. And it’s not solely for winter months. When paw pads get dry and cracked in summer, the paw wax will soothe puppy pads and help heal the cracks. You can apply this to kitty paws, too – if they’ll let you!
my tiny plastic container is perfect for backcountry and travel
How does it work? Well, Neva thinks it tastes all right, but it’s not so delicious that she’ll ignore the snow in favor of licking the paw wax. The minute she sees the trailhead, it’s all systems go! Hopefully she’ll get used to it and leave it alone. When we apply the paw wax to her pads, she doesn’t have any troubles with snow on her feet. I’m in the process of getting feedback from Banjo and other longer haired pups to see how well it works for them. The wax is hard at room temperature, but melts if you rub a warm finger or two over it. If you need it softer, then increase the amount of shea butter by a tablespoon or more. These make great little gifts for the pups in your life and they’ll have happier feet for a lifetime of outdoor fun!
this is a dog with happy paws
Homemade Dog Paw Wax
from The Crazy Dog Mom
2 oz. (4 tbsps) olive oil (or sunflower oil or sweet almond oil)
4 oz. coconut oil
4 oz. shea butter
4 oz. beeswax
Place all ingredients in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir until everything is completely melted. Pour into containers and cool. I recommend plastic containers if you plan to carry paw wax with you into the backcountry. To use, warm the paw wax with your fingers and rub it onto your dogs paw pads. For winter use, rub the paw wax on the paw pads and on the fur between and around the pads. Use within 1-2 years. Makes 14 ounces.
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