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dog nose balms

Best nose balms for dogs

The best nose balms on the market will moisturize and protect your pup’s sniffer against dryness and irritation. Because balms are applied topically, factors like ingredients, price, scent, consistency, and more are important to consider when shopping. Using these criteria as our guide, our team reviewed and chose the six nose balms we consider to be the best on the market.

Doggie nose balms we loved

Our top pick

Our product review expert Sara Ondrako loved the texture of this balm and noted how easily it spread onto her dog’s nose. Snout Soother is vegan and made in the U.S. It can be used on dogs of all breeds and comes in either 1-ounce, 2-ounce, or 4-ounce containers.

  • Ingredients. This product contains all-natural ingredients like hemp seed oil, chamomile, jojoba oil, rosemary, and vitamin E. It also includes a natural SPF.
  • Smell. Snout Soother smells slightly of hemp because of the help seed oil it contains.
  • Lickability. Sara gave this balm a low lickability score, meaning it didn’t seem so enticing that dogs would want to lick it off their nose.
  • Application. This balm is smooth and creamy, making application a breeze.
  • Staining. Snout Soother has a low staining risk, so you shouldn’t be worried if any residue is left behind on your carpets or furniture.
  • Packaging. This balm comes in a metal tin with no plastic packaging, which makes for less waste.

What our vet thinks

Dr. Irish had great things to say about Snout Soother, especially the all-natural ingredients it contains. She noted that the before and after photos on the Amazon page are quite telling and demonstrate the effectiveness of the product. She also added that the SPF is a great feature to protect your pup against sunburns!

Our plant-based pick

Nozzle Nectar is an organic and natural nose balm that includes hydrating ingredients such as avocado oil and shea butter. This balm can be used daily and will still last more than a month. The product’s waxy texture also means it stays put and won’t get inside your dog’s nostrils.

  • Ingredients. This balm’s all-organic ingredients include safflower oil, beeswax, soy, avocado oil, cocoa butter, shea butter, and vitamin E.
  • Smell. There’s no added scent to this balm, however, our product reviewer did note a hint of a Crisco-like smell.
  • Lickability. Nozzle Nectar has a moderate lickability level, so your dog may try to sneak a taste!
  • Application. This balm is a bit thicker than the others we reviewed. It does go on smoothly but may need to be warmed up in your hands to improve its spreadability.
  • Staining. There’s a low risk of staining with this balm.
  • Packaging. Nozzle Nectar comes in a 2-ounce round tin container with no plastic packaging.

What our vet thinks

Our vet spoke favorably of the natural and moisturizing ingredients in this balm, as they’re both safe and effective. Dr. Irish said that reviewer photos are helpful for seeing improvements in dry, cracked skin. Overall, she would recommend this balm to dog owners!

Best for wrinkle breeds

Wrinkle Balm is made by the Natural Dog Company, which also makes Snout Soother, our top pick. This formula is designed specifically for dogs with wrinkled snouts, such as bulldogs. It contains no chemicals or pesticides and is made in the U.S.

  • Ingredients. Wrinkle Balm is vegan and organic. The main ingredients are avocado oil, rosemary extract, olive leaf extract, niaouli, and vitamin E.
  • Smell. Our product reviewer noted a slight medicinal smell to this balm. While there are no added perfumes, the scent could be from the rosemary extract or niaouli, which comes from an evergreen tree.
  • Lickability. This balm was rated by our product reviewer as having a low lickability score.
  • Application. This balm goes on smoothly. The company notes that it can either be applied by hand or with a cloth depending on what’s easiest for users.
  • Staining. This balm doesn’t leave residue behind, and there’s a low risk of staining should it come off on furniture or fabrics around your home.
  • Packaging. Like Snout Soother, this balm comes in 1-ounce, 2-ounce, or 4-ounce tins. Again, there’s no plastic in this packaging.

What our vet thinks

Dr. Irish likes that this product comes from a reputable company, has a safe ingredient list, and boasts favorable customer reviews. However, she notes that while the label says it fights off bacterial infections, there’s no antimicrobial ingredient listed on the packaging. That said, she would still recommend it for nourishing dry skin, especially if you have a wrinkle breed.

Our multi-purpose pick

This USDA organic balm is made with all-natural ingredients and can be used on both your dog’s nose and paws. It’s completely safe for pups that might try to lick it off and can be reapplied two or three times a day. The company even has a money-back guarantee and houses a hippo sanctuary in West Africa!

  • Ingredients. The ingredients in this product are all organic and vegan. It includes hemp oil, shea butter, rosemary extract, calendula extract (known to accelerate healing), St. John’s wort, carnauba wax, and vitamin E.
  • Smell. Sara noted a slight hemp scent in this balm due to the hemp seed oil.
  • Lickability. This balm is slightly lickable but contains no chemicals or toxins to be concerned about. Simply reapply when your pup is distracted or even asleep!
  • Application. 4-Legger is not as smooth in consistency as some of the other balms we tested, however, it does go on evenly when it’s rubbed in.
  • Staining. This balm can leave a slight residue on fabrics. However, it washes off easily and shouldn’t cause any stains.
  • Packaging. 4-Legger comes in a small jar with a screw-top lid and contains almost 2 ounces of product.

What our vet thinks

Dr. Irish has an overall favorable view of this product. She notes that the ingredients are safe, and the company even offers a money-back guarantee. While she does recommend this product, a few pet owners did note that their dog experienced diarrhea after using this balm on their nose and paws. This could be a coincidence, but it’s something to watch out for.

Most affordable

This product by Burt’s Bees is a lotion rather than a balm, so the consistency will be different from some of the more waxy formulas we reviewed. That being said, this lotion can be used for long-term upkeep on your dog’s paws and snout to help them get through the colder months. The formula is pH-balanced for dogs and doesn’t contain any fragrances or sulfates.

  • Ingredients. The main hydrating ingredients of this product are olive oil and rosemary. It also contains water, coco glucoside, glyceryl oleate, decyl cocoate, glycerin, xanthan gum, honey, beeswax, bilberry extract, jojoba seed oil, potassium sorbate, and sodium benzoate.
  • Smell. Our product reviewer noted that this balm had a light, fresh scent. This lotion doesn’t contain perfume, so the scent might just be from the combination of ingredients.
  • Lickability. Sara said the Burt’s Bees lotion was fairly lickable, meaning dogs might be tempted to lick it off their nose and paws.
  • Application. This lotion is easy to apply and goes on lighter than other balms due to its consistency.
  • Staining. This product left no residue and didn’t stain any of the fabrics we tested.
  • Packaging. Burt’s Bees is packaged in a bottle rather than a tin and arrived in an extra plastic bag, most likely to prevent spillage during shipping.

What our vet thinks

Dr. Irish noted that Burt’s Bees has a good track record of healthy and safe products for both pets and people. Because this is a lotion and not a balm, it might fade away quickly as your dog does everyday activities. But it can always be reapplied as needed. And since this lotion is super affordable, dog owners can use as much as their pup needs.

Our best-smelling pick

With a nice vanilla scent, this pick from Doggie Dew is the best-smelling balm we tested. The smell is a plus for humans but a potential downside for dogs, since they might be tempted to lick this one off their nose. However, you shouldn’t be concerned if your dog licks Hydro Snout since it only contains organic ingredients, and the smell comes from natural vanilla — not a perfume.

  • Ingredients. The all-natural and super hydrating ingredients in this balm include beeswax, candelilla, shea butter, castor oil, sweet almond oil, olive oil, jojoba oil, avocado oil, moringa oil, and natural vanilla.
  • Smell. The natural vanilla scent of this balm comes through nicely and isn’t overwhelming.
  • Lickability. Sara gave this balm a moderate to high lickability score due to the delicious scent.
  • Application. With a smooth and creamy consistency, this balm is very easy to apply.
  • Staining. This balm doesn’t have a risk of staining should it be rubbed off by your pup.
  • Packaging. Hydro Snout comes in a 2-ounce metal tin similar to many of the other balms we tested. It also arrives wrapped in plastic that needs to be removed before you can open and use it.

What our vet thinks

The ingredients in this product have a high standard, and Dr. Irish was happy to see that SPF is included for sun protection. She noted that the vanilla scent could cause dogs to want to lick the balm off, so that’s something to keep in mind when choosing this product for your pup.

Our research process

Why you should trust our reviews

  • Dr. Erica Irish helped us formulate this list — Our veterinarian looked through the list of balms we put together and gave her honest feedback on each product. She ranked her favorites and gave pros and cons for each, ultimately saying whether or not she would recommend them.
  • We ordered and paid for these products — None of these products were sponsored or gifted. We receive no commission on our reviews of these balms and lotions. This ensures our objectivity in reviewing each product.
  • We sent them off with our product researcher to test in the field — Our product review expert reviewed and tested each of these products on her own dog. 
  • We trialed and tested these products in The Lab — Our team tested these products against our review criteria. Seeing and feeling each product in person gave us the ability to compare them and provide pet owners with accurate, up-to-date information.

How we picked

Dog testing nose balm

Our dog proudly testing out Snout Soother, our “top pick.”

Our team scoured the internet, including sites like Amazon and Chewy, for the most popular nose balms on the market. We narrowed down our list by checking for safe and effective ingredients. We also took into consideration the reputation of the company behind each product. After narrowing down our list with the help of Dr. Irish, we sent our picks to our product reviewer. Our reviewer and vet chose a “top pick,” the product that ranked the highest in all of our criteria.

At first glance

On paper, here’s a glance at how the products stack up against each other. They’re ranked by price, from lowest to highest.

Product Smell Price* Amount Price per ounce
Burt’s Bees Faint fresh scent $7.99 4 ounces $1.99
Doggy Dew Vanilla $12.97 2 ounces $6.48
Nozzle Nectar Crisco $16.99 2 ounces $8.49
Snout Soother Hemp $17.95 2 ounces $8.79
Wrinkle Balm Light medicinal scent $19.95 2 ounces $9.97
4-Legger Hemp $18.98 1.9 ounces $9.99

*price at the time of our review

How we tested these products

We worked with our product expert and veterinarian to determine the most important criteria when it comes to choosing a safe and effective nose balm. Below are the categories we thought would be most important to dog parents when choosing between similar products:

  • Ingredients. Because nose balms are applied directly to the skin, clean and safe ingredients are super important. We made sure the balms we recommended didn’t contain any unsafe ingredients and wouldn’t harm a pup that tried to lick it off their nose!
  • Smell. We sniffed each balm to determine what it smelled like. This factor can also play into whether or not a dog tries to lick the product off.
  • Lickability. How likely a pup is to lick off the balm is important to know when choosing a product. If it’s constantly being licked off and doesn’t absorb into the skin, the balm won’t be as effective.
  • Application. Our reviewer tested how easy each balm was to apply to her dog and made note of the consistency of each product. 
  • Staining. This is a big factor when applying a product to your dog’s skin. We tested whether or not the balm could stain fabrics. We also checked to see how easily a stain would wash out.
  • Packaging. We took note of the condition each balm was in when it arrived, as well as how much waste or plastic was included in the packaging. Another factor we considered was how easy or difficult the balms were to use and open.

What else should pet parents consider?

You want to look for something not obtrusive to the nose since dogs have a heightened sense of smell.

Sara Ondrako

Certified Canine Behavior Consultant

The difference between a nose balm and a paw balm

In general, nose balms are like paw balms but tend to be a bit thicker. They also tend to have a waxy consistency to help the product stay in place on the snout. Some options, like the 4-Legger balm, work for noses, paws, and sometimes even skin wrinkles. A multifunctional option might be best for pups that live in cold climates and need something to protect their paws from irritating chemicals and salt on winter roads.

Does your dog need a nose balm?

Nose balms are formulated to soothe and moisturize dogs’ noses. Just like humans, dogs can get dry and irritated skin. If left untreated, a crusty nose can lead to an infection. Things like redness, irritation, and inflammation around the snout are signs that your dog might need a nose balm. Balms aren’t likely to be needed for pups with healthy, smooth noses.

How to choose the right balm for your pup

Our product expert Sara Ondraco thinks that scent is one of the most important factors to consider when choosing the right balm. “You want to look for something not obtrusive to the nose since dogs have a heightened sense of smell,” she said. Consider that products that only seem to have a light scent to us can be stronger to dogs, especially when applied directly to their nose.

Lickibility is another important factor to consider. A balm that is less likely to be licked away will be more effective at healing your dog’s sore nose. Sara notes that this can be highly subjective from dog to dog — a balm that one pup will lick completely off another will leave alone!

Common conditions doggie nose balms can treat

Your dog’s nose balm can help with a variety of conditions, the most common of which are listed below:

  • Sunburn. Some breeds are more prone to sunburns than others. A balm can help protect against dry air and bring relief to an irritated, burnt nose. If applied to the paws, it can also protect against hot pavement during walks.
  • Allergies. A dry, itchy nose can be caused by seasonal allergies. Nose balms can soothe the irritation and itchiness that comes along with it.
  • Minor scrapes. A lot of nose balms are made with aloe vera or vitamin E, both of which are known to have healing properties.
  • Hyperkeratosis of the nose. This condition, which causes overgrown, thick, dry, or cracked skin doesn’t have a cure, but a moisturizing nose balm can help bring some relief.
  • Dry nose. We aren’t the only ones who get dry noses in the winter. A nose balm will help prevent dryness, especially in cold weather.

Dog breeds most likely to benefit from a nose balm

Brachycephalic, or short-muzzled, breeds such as bulldogs, Boston terriers, and shar-peis are notorious for their dry noses and can benefit from using a nose balm. This is due in part to the fact that many of these dogs have trouble licking their nose.

Older large breed dogs also tend to develop dry, cracked noses as they age. And according to the American Kennel Club (AKC) , some breeds like Lhasa apsos experience blocked tear ducts, which can also lead to dry snouts. All of these breeds can benefit from the use of a nose balm.

Ingredients to look for in a nose balm

It’s important to find a nose balm made with ingredients that help with moisture. Some of our fav ingredients are below:

  • Aloe vera. The humectants in aloe vera help to bind moisture to the skin.
  • Vitamin E. This essential vitamin strengthens your pup’s skin barrier and aids with moisture retention between the skin cells.
  • Plant-based oil. Natural oils — such as coconut oil, jojoba oil, shea butter oil, and olive oil — have been used as moisturizers for centuries.
  • Shea or cocoa butter. Both have great moisturizing properties, but shea butter is more deeply penetrating and is also anti-inflammatory.

How to apply balm to your dog’s nose

Applying any kind of balm or cream to your dog’s skin can be a challenge. Follow these steps for an easy application:

Use their favorite treat or toy as a distraction — Most dogs are unbothered when it comes to a nose balm, but a special toy or yummy treat can encourage them to stay put for a few minutes during application.

Clean their nose first with water or a vet-prescribed cleanser — Never use rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide, which destroys healthy skin cells and delays healing.

Use your fingers — If you’re shy about doing so, you can also use a cloth to apply a thin layer of balm.

Rub the balm into the skin until absorbed — Some balms might dry instantly, while others take 20-30 minutes. It’s best not to leave your pup unattended during this time in case they try to lick the balm off.

Reward your pup — Once all is said and done, give your dog a well-deserved treat!

A note on nose balm alternatives

Before you can get your hands on a great nose balm for your dog, you might seek out an alternative option that you already have on hand. Products like Aquaphor and Vaseline are staples in most households, and because they’re moisturizing and fragrance-free, they can be used in a pinch. They might not, however, be as effective as a dog nose balm.

If you use one of these dog balm alternatives, you should monitor your pup to ensure they don’t lick the product off their nose or paws. And remember: Human-grade lotions should never be used on pups, and a dog-safe product is always best.

DIY dog balm

If you aren’t loving any of the nose balms we reviewed, no worries! If you’re a DIYer at heart, you can easily make a doggie nose balm at home. Just make sure you test any balms on your own skin before your pup’s.

Supplies

  • 21-24 standard lip balm tubes or six 1-ounce tins
  • A small pot
  • A small digital kitchen scale (optional)

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces olive, sunflower, or sweet almond oil
  • 2 ounces coconut oil
  • 1 ounce shea butter
  • 4 teaspoons beeswax

Directions

  1. In a small pot, melt your choice of oils, shea butter, and beeswax. Stir continuously until it’s all melted and blended.
  2. Once melted, carefully pour the mixture into your lip balm tubes or tins.
  3. Let each balm cool until hard, and place caps on top.

👉 Remember to keep your balms away from extreme heat to prevent melting. It’s best to use them within one to two years.

Does your pup have dry paws? Try a nose balm

Doggie balms, whether designed for the nose or paws, tend to have many of the same ingredients: vitamin E, jojoba oil, coconut oil, shea butter, etc. If you’ve noticed your dog’s paws seem dry or cracked, especially in the winter, rub some nose balm on their paws. For frequently dry paws, it may be worth investing in a paw balm to save your nose balm just for the snoot.

👉 You might also want to check out our comprehensive guide to the best paw balms for dogs.

Frequently asked questions

What can I put on my dog’s irritated nose?

A nose balm specifically formulated for dogs will help moisturize and soothe your pup’s sore nose.

Are nose balms good for dogs’ noses?

Yes! Especially balms with natural and safe ingredients like the ones on our list.

Is it safe to put Vaseline on my dog’s nose?

Yes, Vaseline can be used in a pinch to moisturize your dog’s nose. However, for long-term use, a dog nose balm is best.

Can I put lotion on my dog’s nose?

It’s not recommended to use lotion meant for humans on your dog’s nose. This is because the ingredients and fragrances would be irritating to them.

Is it safe to put coconut oil on my dog’s nose?

Coconut oil is generally safe to use on your dog’s dry nose since it isn’t toxic if they ingest a small amount. However, it’s not likely to be as effective as a balm.

If my dog licks off the nose balm, will it make them sick?

Our recommended nose balms are made with natural ingredients that are safe for dogs. That said, it’s always a good idea to monitor your dog after applying a balm to their nose or paws.