January 31st, 2017
A week before the holidays, I was cruising the recent posts of a Newfoundland Dog Facebook group that I had joined shortly after getting Bailey. One of the members had shared a YouTube video on how to make natural paw wax for dogs. It intrigued me. I had been giving some thought as to ways to protect Bailey’s paws from the build-up of small ice balls in between her feet pads. Bailey is not the “bootie” kind of dog. The instructions were simple – place the four ingredients in a pot and heat until melted then pour into containers. The ingredients were natural – 3 ounces of bees wax plus 3 tablespoons each of the following; avocado oil, coconut oil and calendula oil. None of these things were harmful to our sweetness. This paw wax promised to moisturize, reduce inflammation and soothe while offering paw protection from salt, dirt and ice balls. I was willing to give it a try and Bailey was the guinea pig.
Finding the 4 items in town was not possible. Fortunately, my friend was out for the holidays in a bigger centre where these items were available. She returned with the required stuff and the chemistry experiment began. My husband and oldest son were easy to recruit into making it. The hardest part was breaking off a 3 ounce chunk of wax from the 1 pound block. After putting the four ingredients into the pot and turning the stove element onto medium heat, they patiently stirred waiting for everything to melt. The kitchen smelt really good – like honey. My guys were busy being the worker bees and I, the queen bee, kept checking on them. They didn’t need me and I annoyed them. I went in search of containers to hold the paw balm. Mason jars seemed to be the perfect choice. The hot oil would not melt the glass and I could easily extract the balm from the jar. Finally, the paw balm was completely melted and ready to pour using a funnel. It was split between two small jars. One for my friend who did a super job of tracking down the organic ingredients and one for me. The trusty labeller came out. Now, all we had to do was to wait for the paw balm to solidify and cool. I suggested putting it in the fridge. But, my husband warned that it would be too hard to use. I listened and waited. It took about one hour.
It was time for the “guinea pig” to try out her paw balm. Bailey knew something was different. She saw her nightly spa towel was on laid out on the entry rug. It was not night time. With some prodding, she lay down on her side. I gently began taking small amounts of paw balm and rubbing it between her pads. I moved from paw to paw until each one was well-covered. The entire time, I felt the urge to sample it. If I was feeling hungry from the smell of honey then Bailey was going to enjoy cleaning her paws. So, did it work? I think so. She definitely does not lie down on the trail as often to pull ice balls off. However, I need to get better at making sure each paw is adequately covered. Bailey’s pads are less rough and the redness of the skin between her pads has disappeared. After more applications, Bailey is starting to fully appreciate her paw balm rubs – closing her eyes and stretching each paw out in anticipation of the massage. I have raided her balm supply for my own personal use. These days, the two of us smell like two black bears that have gobbled honey from a bee hive.