Vaseline can be used on dogs’ paws to keep them moisturized, prevent cracks, and protect them from cold weather. However, it’s not good for dogs to ingest Vaseline. After applying Vaseline, if you notice your dog licking its paws, direct their attention to something else.
Vaseline (petroleum jelly) is a popular personal care product sometimes used on dogs, but is it safe to use on their paws?
Many dog owners put Vaseline on the paws to keep them hydrated and protected from extreme weather.
There are pros and cons to using Vaseline on your dog’s paws. Let’s look at the facts before you apply Vaseline to your dog’s paws. By the time you are done reading this, you should know when it’s appropriate to use Vaseline on paws.
What You'll Learn
Why Some Dog Owners Use Vaseline on Their Dogs Paws
Vaseline has several uses. It can hydrate the skin, moisturize hands, and remove makeup. Vaseline can even be used on our canine family members, specifically on their paws.
Many people use Vaseline on their pooch’s paws to protect them or help heal wounds or minor cuts. It works by creating a protective layer on their paws, helping cuts heal faster and keeping out bacteria. It also helps lock in moisture, which is essential when trying to heal a wound.
The reason most people want to put Vaseline on their dogs’ paws is that they’ll be outside running around in cold weather.
It works well enough—the melting wax protects against snow and ice by keeping your dog’s paw pads warm, but not too warm.
Think of how your lips get chapped (especially in the Winter); what do we apply? Vaseline or chapstick (which is mostly petroleum jelly).
Many apply Vaseline to their dog’s paws for the same reason. When a dog’s paws become cracked from walking a lot or from the weather, Vaseline can help protect them.
Benefits of Using Vaseline on Dog Paws
Vaseline is beneficial for several reasons, including:
- Helping to heal cracked paws (note that it won’t help heal more severe injuries and cuts)
- Moisturizing their paws (Vaseline creates a barrier, keeping moisture in, so their paws don’t dry out as much)
- Preventing odor (keeping paws moisturized will prevent bacteria build-up, which reduces odor)
- Softening paw pads (this makes it easier for your dog to walk on various surfaces, reducing their likelihood of injury)
- Preventing cracked paw pads (Vaseline is a barrier, making it harder for cracks to form)
- Soothing irritation or pain in your dog’s paws
- Preventing infections from water or dirt, which can enter open cracks in your dog’s paws
- Reducing inflammation in your dog’s paws (this can help reduce pain, which will make it easier for them to walk normally)
Vaseline is also a relatively inexpensive option for protecting your dog’s paws. However, you should be aware of some dangers of Vaseline before using it regularly on your pup.
Dangers of Using Vaseline on Dog Paws
Although Vaseline and petroleum jelly aren’t toxic to dogs, you need to be careful when applying it to their paws. If misused or in excessive amounts, it might cause skin irritation and may lead to other complications.
It’s natural for dogs to lick their paws and to lick creams and other ointments off themselves—they want to clean themselves and get rid of any foreign “contaminants.”
However, if they ingest too much Vaseline, they could get sick. It could cause vomiting and diarrhea, leading to more serious issues, such as dehydration.
If you apply Vaseline to your pup’s paws and they immediately start licking them, try to deter them from doing it. If you’re unsuccessful in stopping the licking, don’t continue to apply more Vaseline. Instead, find an alternative to protect their paws.
Severe Skin Issues or Wounds
You shouldn’t use Vaseline on your dog’s paws if you’re trying to treat severely dry skin, cracks, or cuts.
Vaseline won’t help severe skin conditions such as these. Your best option is to see your veterinarian and get medication or other prescribed treatment. If you choose to apply Vaseline, only use it in small amounts—no more than a dime-sized amount per paw.
Also, if your dog seems excessively interested in licking Vaseline off their paws while awake, discontinue use immediately.
How to Apply Vaseline to Dog’s Paws
If you use Vaseline, apply only a thin layer of Vaseline to your dog’s paws. It will prevent them from having too much difficulty getting it off, leading to excessive licking.
Remember that putting any type of oil-based substance on your dog’s paws can attract fleas, so don’t apply any extra if you know fleas are present.
When applying Vaseline, place a small amount between each toe and rub it in gently. Continue until all four paws have been applied. Wait ten minutes after applying the cream before letting them lick their feet. After that period has passed, your dog should feel much more comfortable!
Make sure not to over-apply. Any oil-based substance applied excessively is going to harm your dog.
If your dog has fleas, you should not use petroleum jelly, as it will only encourage a more severe infestation. If your dog already has fleas, make sure to first treat them with flea medication.
Other Ways to Protect Your Dog’s Paws
There are alternatives to Vaseline designed specifically for dogs so they won’t get sick if they lick their paws.
Burt’s Bees, for example, has a lotion that can be applied to dog paws and noses and won’t upset their stomachs if they eat it.
An alternative solution is homemade paw balm that can be made using olive oil and beeswax. However, unlike Burt’s Bees’ version, beeswax can cause an upset stomach if ingested.
Vitamin E Oil
For those who do not wish to use petroleum jelly but still want something effective, Vitamin E oil may be the answer.
Apply it daily for several days before stopping. Vitamin E is only effective when used consistently, preferably longer than two weeks. Vitamin E oil is also safe for dogs of any age.
Get some doggy boots if you want to protect your dog’s paws from the Winter cold. Your dog may take a while to get used to wearing shoes, but with some training, they will get used to it and appreciate having cozy paws when running in the snow. Boots are also a great option if you have a long-haired dog that tends to walk through puddles or go outside in wet weather.
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