Someone asked us at a recent AKC dog event why they can’t just use Vaseline on their dog’s paw pads and nose instead of Paw Balm or Nose Balm? We get this question a lot and thought an explanation would be helpful.
What is Petroleum Jelly?
In the mid-1800s, a substance called “rod wax” would coat and foul oil rigs. In 1859, Robert Cheesburg took this rod wax and through a process of distillation and filtration, created a product and company called “Vaseline”.
Today, you can look in almost any medicine cabinet and see a container of petroleum jelly, or as most people call it, Vaseline.
Why is Petroleum Jelly Potentially Harmful?
According to dermatologist Dr. Alan Dattner, the founder of HolisticDermatology.com, the components of oil removed during the making of petroleum jelly are, in some cases, canceer causing. While Vaseline itself, is highly refined and purified and classified as non – carcinogenic, the same is not known about all other brands. Dr. Dattner states: “Vaseline supposedly has all of these compounds removed, but there are probably plenty of imitators and one doesn’t know the extent that they’re removed.”
A study by a German watchdog group in 2015 found high levels of Mineral Oil Aromatic Hydrocarbons (MOHAs) in cosmetics that contained mineral oil, with Vaseline containing the highest levels of MOHA of all products tested. The European Commission lists MOHAs as potentially genotoxic and carcinogenic.
Effects on Skin
Petroleum jelly provides an occlusive barrier that will seal in moisture already in the skin, but adds no moisture and does not allow moisture or oxygen to be absorbed from the atmosphere, essentially making skin drier over time. When applied to your dog’s paw pads or nose, it does not allow the skin to breathe. This can prevent healing and encourage an environment that encourages the growth of harmful fungi.
What Should I Use?
Our recommendation is to find a balm containing natural and non – toxic ingredients. Some of the more popular paw waxes make the claim of being natural and safe, but do not list their ingredients. It’s important to find one that does list their ingredients.
Do Our Balms Work?
This is an email we received this morning:
“I received my order and thank you so much for throwing in a gift! My poor German Shepherd pup, Chief, gets really itchy in the winter and chewed his paw raw. I’ve been using the paw balm on him and noticed an improvement in only a couple of days!! This stuff is amazing. I’ve tried numerous other products that haven’t worked nearly as well. I will definitely be purchasing from you again and will recommend you to friends and family.”
Thank you again,