How to Buy Pup Paw Balms

by K Marie Alto June 17, 2021 6 min read

How to Buy Pup Paw Balms

Always remember that your fur baby trusts and relies on your sound judgment to make purchase decisions on his/her behalf. In support of our corporate mission, here are a few considerations to help you make the best decisions for them.

Before you purchase the first dog paw balm you find, you may want to keep in mind the Momma Knows Best® 8 golden rules of paw balm buying:

Table of Contents

1. Always be aware that labeling a product as “Natural” does not automatically make it safe for your fur baby. 

Some dog paw balms are known to contain natural ingredients and herbs that are not safe for your fur babies. Did you know that aloe can cause liver damage to your dog and cat? Or that 99% of essential oils if ingested can cause damage or worse, death to your kitty? Even if you only apply it to your dog, odds are your cat will come into contact with these ingredients just by walking around your house. And these are just a few examples. Check out our blog for more information on this topic. Momma Knows Best® dog and cat balms are made only from 100% safe ingredients for both cats and dogs.

2. Endorsements and third-party certifications are important - "organic" is not the same as "USDA Certified Organic." 

In the world of self-reporting where sellers can easily make any unsubstantiated claims on their products without fearing repercussions, it is important to make sure claims such as "organic" can be verified.

Many unscrupulous sellers will greenwash their products making "organic product" claims. You should stay away from products that claim "organic" status without disclosing their certifying body.  Certifying bodies require that products disclose the name of their certifying body somewhere on their product label.

A statement such as "certified by PCO" should be visible on the product. Products that claim USDA organic without disclosing this information are likely to be sold by unscrupulous seller seeking to mislead pet parents. Likewise, products that claim organic product attributes without a third-party certification (such as the USDA) are likely to be anything but organic, beware!

3. If your dog paw balm does not indicate that it's hexane-free, do not use it! 

Unless it uses virgin or unrefined oils, most oils used in the manufacturing of balms go through an insane amount of processing with chemical solvents, steamers, neutralizers, de-waxers, bleach, and deodorizers before they end up as an ingredient in your dog paw balm. 

Neurotoxic hexane (used as solvent) is a cheap byproduct from gasoline production, that’s a serious occupational hazard and a toxic air pollutant. Rest assured that Momma Knows Best® dog paw balms use only unrefined, virgin USDA certified organic oils and butters.

4. If the country of origin is not easily identifiable on the product itself, there is a reason, and it’s not a good one.

Wouldn’t you hope that the manufacturer would want to effortlessly display the country of origin if the product was made in a country with high manufacturing standards? Momma Knows Best® dog and cat balms are handmade in small production batches in the USA with 100% USDA certified organic ingredients.

5. If your dog balm says, “Made in the US with Globally Sourced Ingredients," you can reasonably assume that most if not all ingredients are sourced from China. 

And, so you may want to stay away from them. These dog paw balms may even display a “Made in America” logo on their products. I feel very comfortable knowing that our lawnmower was made using globally sourced parts and components. I totally get it, it's called globalization. However, if for some random reason my favorite restaurant should decide it's a good idea to update their menu to read "globally sourced salmon" instead of "Alaskan salmon," I would leave and never come back. Plus, I would take pictures of their menu to share it with all my family and friends to educate them about the risks of eating salmon of dubious origins.

By the same token, we believe no pet parent feels comfortable feeding their dog's largest organ (the skin) with ingredients of dubious origins. See, China has become the largest ingredient manufacturer in the world and this has opened up opportunities for "formulation creativity" for manufacturers seeking to make a quick buck from trusting and unsuspecting pet parents.

More often than not, the "globally sourced ingredients" claim is used for getting away with masking the Chinese origin of ingredients. But, why would a manufacturer want to mask the Chinese origins of ingredients? I'm glad you asked, very simply put: they know you'd be scared to buy their products. And so, fancy expressions do the trick. Do you really think that if their ingredients were "globally" sourced from Europe, South America, or any other part of the world they would choose to claim "globally sourced ingredients"? We believe not. Most probably they would deliberately avoid vagueness and choose specificity.

At this point, you may be thinking, hmm but many ingredients are not native to the US and so they need to be imported, right? And that's correct. That's why we deal exclusively with carefully screened, vetted, and selected US suppliers that abide by US standards, laws, and FDA regulations as opposed to seeking to reduce costs by buying directly from unregulated Chinese suppliers. We do not cut corners for profit, we only cut out harmful ingredients.

6. The “Made in the US” claim is not a guarantee for safety or a lack of non-toxic ingredients. 

Even if your pet balm shows this label, you should be cautious as many commercially available dog balms are made in the USA using raw materials sourced from countries in Asia where chemicals and acids are considered safe for use in manufacturing organic products.

Always ask where the materials are sourced from for your own peace of mind! Momma Knows Best® dog and cat balms are made in the USA with 100% USDA certified organic ingredients.

7. Product badges are used as a marketing plot, can be misleading, and may not mean what you expect. 

Be cautious in assuming the “Best Seller,” or the “Product Choice” badges translate into safety or harmlessness for your fur baby. Be aware that these badges only mean that a given product makes the most money in each category. In many cases, these badges are “earned” by savvy sellers that solely focus on revenue and not quality.

Some widely known tactics include fake high popularity driven by review manipulation and consumers' lack of knowledge on the subject matter. Do your due diligence and only get what is best for your fur baby.

8. Beware of “greenwashing” and hard selling tactics. 

Many commercially available dog paw balm brands will greenwash their products by using terms like “Natural,” “Eco,” “Sustainable,” “Vet Approved,” “Premium,” “Vet Recommended,” or “Made with Organic Ingredients.” However, they will use ingredients grown in and sourced from China, or “Organic” but “certified” in China where formaldehyde and dioxin are liberally used in the production of organic products.

Momma Knows Best® dog and cat balms are made in the USA with 100% US sourced ingredients. We work exclusively with carefully screened, vetted, and selected US companies that abide by US laws, regulations, and FDA standards. For us, safety is first.

Just our two cents, for the long life of our fur family members!

Did you enjoy this guide?  You can check out many more dog and cat care guides here.

K Marie Alto
K Marie Alto

K. Marie is an animal lover, wife, kitty mom, dog auntie, writer and co-founder of Toe Beans, a proud American family-owned online boutique pet supplies store focused on the improvement of the life of furry family members via pet parent education, better products, and advocacy. She has over 20 years of experience as a pet momma. She loves sharing her personal journey and experience as a pet parent via her blog and Facebook page where she currently has more than 19K followers (@furrytoebeans) and counting :-).

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