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Banjo is my running partner. Except for extremely hot or humid days, if I’m out running, my sweet Boxer is right beside me.
We run almost exclusively on a paved asphalt trail, where Banjo has plenty of opportunities to jog along the grass on the shoulder of the trail. For the majority of our runs, though, she’s plodding along on that asphalt.
Not too long ago, I took her for a nice 10K run and noticed she was slowing considerably on our return, tugging to remain in the grass. I examined her paws and found that a couple spots had rubbed raw on the asphalt. I felt like the worst human ever.
Putting aside my shame, I started thinking up solutions. Then I remembered someone recommending a paw wax years ago called Musher’s Secret Pet Paw Protection Wax.
According to the product description, Musher’s Secret is more than just a barrier to keep your pup’s paws safe from ice, snow and salt. It protects from “hot asphalt in summer.”
I wasn’t sure if that included protection from friction, chafing and abrasions, but figured I could give the wax a try. At least Banjo’s paws would have more protection from the hot trail.
I bought the smallest size — 60 grams — and applied the wax for our first run. This was my initial impression:
- Great scent: The blend of waxes has a refreshing smell that I couldn’t quite pin down. Herbs? Eucalyptus? Whatever it is, it’s so fresh and clean.
- Smooth formula: I anticipated a thick, possibly opaque wax that might be complicated to apply. In fact, Musher’s Secret is soft and almost buttery. It glided on easily and dried quickly.
- Easy application: The smallest size comes in a container with an opening large enough to fit Banjo’s paw. I swiped it across her paw pad, then used my finger to smear it evenly around.
We all know that new products don’t really pass the test unless our pets approve. Fortunately, Banjo gave Musher’s Secret 2 paws up.
- Non-irritating application: Banjo’s not really a fussy pup, but I did expect her to protest me wiping wax on her sensitive paw pads. On the contrary, Banjo stayed on her side during the application and was only mildly curious about the new smell.
- Slippery paws: My house is almost exclusively hard floors, and since this is a wax that’s coating her paw pads, I anticipated a fair bit of slipping and sliding á la Scooby-Doo on roller skates. Banjo did slide a time or two immediately after application but pretty much kept her footing — and her dignity.
I applied the wax to Banjo’s paws every day before our runs.
Immediately, I noticed her pads became softer with continued use. They felt like puppy paw pads again. Then I noticed that she was pulling off into the grass less frequently.
Gradually, I increased our run distance, from 3 miles to 5 miles and, finally, we even got in a few 10-mile runs. I applied Musher’s Secret before heading out the door for each run.
After 3 months of continued use, Banjo has only had 1 chafed paw after a run, and it was a day that I forgot to apply the wax.
I’m confident that Musher’s Secret has helped us continue our running tradition. But I also know a lot of people use this wax to keep their dogs’ paws safe in winter conditions. I reached out to someone I know who spends a lot of time in the snow with his dog.
My dad, Ed, loves the snow, and my parents’ pup, Brodie — a Labradoodle — spends a lot of time outside with his humans. When Ed goes cross-country skiing with his friends, many of them bring their winter-loving dogs. However, spending a lot of time outside in those conditions can lead to a real problem with ice buildup around the dogs’ paw pads.
The skiers have tried 2 remedies: dog boots and Musher’s Secret. According to Ed, “boots work better, except for the fact that we’ve yet to find a pair that will stay on.”
And as far as the Musher’s Secret goes: “In cold, dry snow conditions, wherein the ground beneath the snow is frozen, MS works great on all our dogs. However, in situations where the dogs’ feet may get wet (unfrozen ground beneath the snow, creek crossings …) thickly furred pads will ice up, but the shorter-haired pads are much less affected. Trimming the fur between paw pads helps a great deal. Slathering on the MS also helps dig out the snow and ice when they do get packed.”
Watch this video review of Musher’s Secret:
A Solid Defense Against Paw Pain
Musher’s Secret won’t protect against everything, but it’s a pretty solid defense if you want to take your dog out and keep their paws protected.
In my experience, the application is easier than trying to force boots on your pup’s paws, and you don’t have to worry about the boots falling off. But if you forget to apply Musher’s Secret (as I have), you’ll be leaving those paws defenseless.
All in all, I’m happy I gave Musher’s Secret a chance and will probably pick up an extra container to keep in my car in case I forget to apply it at home.
Click to read more reviews for Musher’s Secret on Amazon.
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Update: A reader asked, “I’m wondering how you remove it, as I have heard it can get messy on the floor after the dog has worn it.” Here’s my reply: I actually haven’t had to remove Musher’s Secret. I apply it only before going for a run or walk with Banjo, so she’s primarily outside after the application. Even for the few minutes she’s inside after it’s applied I haven’t noticed any mess. The wax seems to act like a lotion. It protects her paws but also leaves them really soft afterward. When we get home after our runs, she takes her usual place on the couch and there is never any wax residue on the upholstery.