One of the questions that we get asked most is what do we use to protect Chico’s feet while hiking?
Sidewalks and pavement, as we found out can be more brutal than trails, and what about snow? And hot pavement? You want your dog’s pads to be supple enough to have some give so that if they step on a sharp rock or branch, the paw doesn’t immediately crack and bleed…think of how your chapped lips crack when pulled into a smile, yet healthy lips never crack when smiling. Heavily calloused paw pads can also make it harder for your dog to sweat. We use Bag Balm.
I had been using a cheap no name wax and was planning to buy either Musher’s Secret or Paw Soother by Natural Dog when we ran out, but when I moved we were suddenly walking on pavement a lot more. One day I noticed abrasions on his paws, and went to our local low cost clinic/feed store. They recommended Bag Balm. It was half the price of the other two, and I brought it home, and no kidding, the next day noticed a huge difference. We have been using it for 6 months now, and his paws just look great. They are even much cleaner and softer looking. We use Bag Balm all the time, not just for hiking.
Bag Balm is over 100 years old, and has the same formula since 1972. I looked at the reviews on Amazon for it (http://amzn.to/1lnroHg) and people use it on their own hands, cuts, and even for diaper rash. It has 8-hydroxyquinoline which has had an excellent reputation as a topical anti-infective for many years and is listed as the active ingredient in liquid bandages. 8-hydroxyquinoline works to stop the growth of bacteria and fungi by binding to certain trace minerals on the surface of the those organisms, creating a toxic compound that poisons it. Other compounds closely related to 8-hydroxyquinoline are currently being studied as weapons against “super-bug” bacteria that have developed resistance to multiple antibiotics.
I’m not sure it will work to keep snow from building up on paws like Musher’s Secret does, from photos, it seems to have the same consistency to it, so it might. We don’t see snow where we are, but we do plan on driving to it and will test, though Chico doesn’t have long hair and won’t experience snow balls on his paws as much. Chico also has Summit Trex boots for hot pavement or really rough trails.