A DIY, Lickable Salve For Minor Cuts And Grazes: No More Worries About Your Dog Licking Antibiotic Cream!
Dog paws have to put up with a lot: hot tarmac in the summer and freezing pavements in the winter, as well as different terrain, such as gravel, or even thorny plant cover. It’s no wonder that sometimes we need to have a good dog paw balm or salve for when they get cuts and grazes or cracked paws.
It’s not just their paws that need a balm either. My crazy pair often get minor scrapes and scratches running around all the time. This DIY, lick-safe paw balm can be used on skin too.
Why you need a skin and paw salve
Not long ago, my younger dog gave me a whopper of a graze down my leg (note to self: don’t play rough when you’re in shorts…). I spent the next week rubbing antiseptic cream on it to aid healing, keep it clean and stop it itching.
A few days later, my older dog grazed his paw. I couldn’t put antiseptic cream on him as I knew he’d just lick it. So what can you do when you need to give your dog’s cut or graze a little extra help, without poisoning him?
You can make a fabulous dog paw balm for him! It’s incredibly easy and quick to make (seriously – in under 10 minutes). What’s more, the next time I play chase in shorts and my girl scratches me, I can use the same salve on myself! It helps keeps the skin supple whilst the scars heal and makes the whole process less itchy.
Learn how to make this 100% natural paw and skin salve in the recipe below. It’s very quick and simple to prepare.
DIY, dog paw balm with essential oils recipe
This makes around 65ml of salve – enough to fill one small jar but this quantity will last quite a while. It has a very gentle scent that I personally find very soothing. I use this on myself all the time now!
- Olive oil 30ml
- Sunflower oil 30 ml
- Beeswax 7 gr
- 10 drops Vitamin E (optional- this functions as a natural preservative)
- 6 drops Ravensara essential oil
- 5 drops Lavender essential oil
- 5 drops Geranium essential oil
- On a low flame, gently heat the olive oil, sunflower oil and the beeswax in a double boiler/ bain marie (one smaller pan inside a larger pan, the larger pan has water in it, the smaller pan contains the ingredients).
- Stir continuously until the beeswax has melted
- Remove from the heat
- Add the Vitamin E if using
- Leave to cool for 3-5 minutes. It begins to solidify quite quickly.
- Before it sets, add the essential oils
- Pour into whatever jar you will be using, leaving the lid OFF
- Once fully set and cool, put the lid on
Why these ingredients for a dog paw balm?
Lavender essential oil (lavendula angustifolia) has many therapeutic properties. It is anti-bacterial and regenerative, and so it is useful for healing skin conditions.
Ravintsara essential oil (cinnamonum camphora), also called Ravensare Aromatica, has antiviral and antibacterial properties. It is dog-safe, unlike tea tree oil which has similar properties.
Geranium essential oil (pelargonium graveolens) has anti-fungal properties, and so is useful in the treatment of fungal infections and skin ailments. It’s also effective as a tick repellent.
Beeswax. I get my beeswax in pellets. It’s soooo much easier for melting down in recipes. I used to keep my own bees and back then I had to grate the blocks of beeswax that I’d harvested from the hives. Pellets are much less like hard work.
Tips for preparing the oils
When using a double boiler / bain marie system, make sure the bottom of the smaller pan floats in the water rather than sits on the bottom of the larger pot. This prevents the beeswax from melting unevenly or scorching.
Many recipes for paw balm instruct you to pop a mason jar in a stock pot full of water. It can be quite tricky to hold a mason jar in place while you stir the ingredients, at the same time trying to keep the jar off the bottom of the stock pot. I find it easier to melt the ingredients in a saucepan with a handle – that way I’m less likely to burn myself. But hey, at least I’d have a nice, healing salve to use on the burn!
I have also seen some paw balm recipes that instruct you to microwave the ingredients to heat them. You could of course try this, though it’s worth noting that olive oil does not heat well in microwaves (Ref). It may take slightly longer and it involves more washing up afterwards, but I think it’s worth melting everything together properly in a double boiler / bain marie system.
Other DIY formulas for dogs using essential oils
There are so many fantastic, natural products we can prepare for our dogs using essential oils. Take a look at some of the other formula recipes you could try, such as essential oils for dog shampoo, formulas for flea and tick control, or a massage oil for dogs. It’s not complicated to give a simple massage to your dog and there are many benefits – learn how to do it here.
Commercial healing balms for dogs
Of course, if you like the idea of using a natural salve but don’t have time or interest in making one, there are some great commercial options, such as Dr Dobias’ Skin Spray.
Further reading and resources:
The information about the essential oils used in the formula above comes from the fantastic Holistic Aromatherapy For Animals book, by Kristen Leigh Bell. I can’t recommend it highly enough. It’s approachable and easy to understand.