Saturday Paws: Smoothing Out the Ruff Spots

The bright green square tin with the red flowers has been in my life since very early on.  Now when I need a new tin of  Bag Balm I can simply stop by the Costco Pharmacy and pay a small price, but when we had horses or farm animals we would have to drive to a Feed & Grain Store.

For those of you unfamiliar with this product let me give you a little back story: Bag Balm was used in the late 1800’s, maybe even earlier, when a Vermont dairy farmer saw how much it helped relieve his dairy cows from the irritation of frequent cold weather milkings. Applying this lanolin based product to the milking cows’ udders–the teats–resulted in softening while still making them stronger. “Ahhhh,” mooed the cows, “Much better!” Pretty soon the farmers noticed their hands were softer, too, not all cracked and painful! “Ahhhhhh,” said the farmers’ wives and kids, and the cows mooed right along.  In no time at all people were finding all kinds of uses for Bag Balm!

What's in the green can, Mom?

So, here we are 2012—Yes! Can you believe that? And I use Bag Balm on my dogs, also. Many dogs get calluses as they lay on concrete, decks, ground, kennel rock—hard surfaces. Our dogs are just like us! We get rough elbows and knees, and my dogs get toughened skin spots, too!

Some of my dogs’ pals tell me of another reason to break out the Bag Balm! Winter is very rough on paws! Walking out on cold, icy and salted walkways can leave paws in need of comfort.  Many trails here in our moderate weather will toughen up those paws as well. Sandy beaches and ocean water are so fun for dogs but rough on the paws and those skin spots.

What have you got there, Mom?

Mae-be Baby likes it when I give her the ‘down‘ and ‘show me your belly’  commands. She trusts and knows that a treat is nearby and the Bag Balm does NOT smell funny to her. As I rub into those tough spots on her body I  look for scratches that she might have while also putting Bag Balm on the ones that are healing. It is a good time for both of us and we both get softer in the process. And Mae-be doesn’t moo like those dairy cows but she does give a big relaxed exhale, as only a dogs with flews can do!

Not so easy to find those spots on Ruffles! That hair on a Soft-Coated Wheaten can cover up or cushion her body, and sometimes I do think she feels left out. So, we have more treats all around, and a tug-a-war—or even a dance contest.

When life has given me some of those rough and tough spots I sure do wish I could just open up that handy green tin and apply the contents directly to my heart or my spirit—Oh, that soothing balm! Lately, in these times, whether with my dogs…


…with my human friends, or maybe with a blog post or in prayer, I feel like I AM smoothing out. “AAAHHHHHHhhh,” and exhale.

Some people do not like using lanolin, but there are many available products. Use something agreeable for you and your fur-baby– something that works. Because “LIFE IS TOUGH” , and as my Pastor Joe said last Sunday “Rough Roads Ahead” is a sign that should be given to every newborn child! Whew!

Blessings, Beth & the Girls

37 thoughts on “Saturday Paws: Smoothing Out the Ruff Spots

  1. Your blond baby looks JUST like my childhood dog Hew! Oh!! How sweet! What wonderful memories it brings up!

    Pastor Joe? You wouldn’t be talking about Pastor Joe Schimmel would you? Now that would be weird and cool … 🙂 Long shot I’m sure there are tons of Pastor Joe’s out there.

    Loved this! I usually put a homemade balm on my dogs paws but I don’t think it’s moisturizing enough. I think bag balm is in store for our two labs 🙂

    1. Your Hew must of been a good pal! I know Ruffles is! Pastor Joe McGowen is the one I mentioned here–but I agree that would be cool! And yes I have used Bag Balm on Labs- their elbows and paw pads can get very dry and hard! Tell me what you think of it– and your own hands will feel pretty smooth, too! 🙂 Blessings, Beth & the Girls

  2. Dear Beth,
    I’m glad to learn about this more-than-a-century old product and also to learn where I can purchase it. I’m going to start using it on some of the dry-skin patches on my arms and back.
    The three cats with whom I live don’t go outside, but I suspect they’d still like to have their paws rubbed with the lanolin. Thank you for sharing this info.


    1. Hi Dee, How nice to hear from you! How’s the cats doing? You know you may find yourself purring as you rub this Bag Balm in 🙂 ! It does work wonders quickly–I like it for dry heels and rub spots on my feet from shoes. By the way, it is good to rub into shoes that have been in the yard or rain–use an old piece of cloth and rub well! Ruffles & Mae-be send friendly sniffs to the cats! Beth

    1. Oh and Andra- once you get some you will be finding many uses for it!! I can’t wait to hear what you try it on! And I think the tin is decorative! I’m glad I could take the mystery out og it for you! Blessings, Beth & the Girls

  3. I wish I had heard of this product for one of my previous dogs. I used to put little boots on his paws before we went for a walk or I’d end up carrying him after going only about 20 feet. Max, on the other hand, has never had any such problem. He seems to be much like your “Mae-be Baby” in that he’ll sit patiently while I administer to his needs. I’ve never owned a dog as trusting as this one.

    1. Hi John, Your dogs are so lucky to have you— and boots can be so tricky! A dear friend who lives in Palm Springs says they have to use boots there because of the heat! Oh goodness! Your Max knows he is loved deeply and that gives him courage and trust in you! Ahhhhhh that is as soothing as any balm! Thanks for visiting-Beth & the Girls

  4. Jackie Paulson

    Awe..thanks for sharing your dogs and the stories behind them…I can put a lease on my cats and walk them and a tiny t shirt made for’s so adorable but we don’t allow them in the cold and snow being indoor cats… I love the nature and in the summer enjoy the walks but get nervous of dog walkers as my cat doesn’t get to speak. LOL Thank you for always commenting on my blog and being such an inspirational writer with photo’s. Touching everyones lives who stop here.

    1. Oh ,thank you, Jackie for your kind words and encouragement! I really wish I could figure out how to capture the Girls in action!! I would love for you to see Mae-be do “the Pogo Stick”. She throws herself straight up in the air, all four paws off the ground and ‘bounces’ wild & free! Not easy for a good size Boxer-but she does it! 🙂 Blessings to you! Beth & the Girls

    1. Hi–You might find it in your hardware store. I know you can find it in some catalogs and you might try Costco online. The address on the tin reads: The Dairy Association Co., INC, Lyndonville, VT 05851- maybe you can order it directly. Or, maybe the hardware store would order it for you. It would be so good for your dog–like a barrier to that snow and ice. Let me know if you find it and what you think. I bet you will find many uses once you get some! Beth & the Girls

    1. Isn’t it fun to find something new! It works quickly on me- so I bet it will for you ! The girls seem to just light up the camera! And they love it when I tell them that they are making people smile! 🙂 Thank you & Blessings, Beth

  5. So much I don’t know about dogs and how to treat them (but then I am not a dog owner – although wish I had time for dogs) I have never heard about Bag Balm, but it’s amazing that it’s been existing since the late 1880’s. What I know, though, is that I like the pictures of your dogs, particularly the one of Ruffles on two legs. I like the movement – such a dynamic picture.

  6. EXCELLENT, as you know i will be milking in the spring and I am going to be looking for this Bag Balm, sounds good for just about everything. I make a lip balm with honey, beeswax and lanolin which is pretty good too. I shall look out for the Bag Balm though, fancy me dropping in on the very day that you are introducing something I NEEDED to know about! wow.. c

    1. Isn’t that awesome how we do that -this connectivity thing is amazing! Oh I like that a “Milker” is going to use for sure! We used it on the nursing mares and so many other uses! Your lipbalm sounds yummy! Thanks-Beth & Girls

  7. What a great post. Love how much you are looking after your dogs. We don’t have a problem with cold weather and snow around here but I recently found out my dogs are allergic to grass and I have to spray a conditioning treatment on to their skin twice a week to stop them from scratching – they’re sausage dogs so very close to the ground!

    1. Oh goodness! That is tough- especially with’low riders’ !! My first home had three old olive trees- wouldn’t you know it- my Josie was allergic to Olive Trees and grass!! I was always spraying her paws! Good luck with your cuties, Beth & the Girls

  8. It’s called udder cream on this side of the Atlantic, Beth, and I have a couple of friends who have used it with great success, when undergoing a particular chemotherapy which makes the skin on hands and feet crack and become very sore.

    1. Oh I am so glad you mentioned this use! I have several friends who have some of those same skin reactions–now I will give them a small sample and see if it works for them! Thank you so much! Blessings, Beth & the girls

  9. Ann

    I was not familiar with this product. I am going to have to try it on Evee ~ Although she has the same fur problem as Ruffles so it may be challenging!!! Thanks for your great blog (as usual)!!!

    1. Hi Ann- Nice to see you visited! I know Evee would benefit from Bag Balm on some of those spots she gets! And when she comes back from your hikes! She is such a love- it will be like a foot spa! ha ha This might be a perfect gift for Ed! 🙂

  10. In our neck of the woods, the same product…different name. It’s called Corona Cow Salve here and it’s just amazing on the hands and udders. Not that I have applied it to my udders… just saying…

  11. Adorable! I remember when Bag Balm became popular for human use. It was the rage for a minute and then things settled down… I bought some for my hands too, back in the day. 😆

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