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Are you looking for a home remedy for treating a dog elbow callus? Here is an all-natural, DIY elbow butter for dogs recipe with essential oils.

A dog elbow callus may appear as black bumps on your dog’s elbows, your dog losing hair, developing dry, scaly skin, or even forming black scabs where they shouldn’t.

Imagine there was a home remedy that could prevent these calluses from getting worse.  

Would you be interested in learning how to treat and prevent them from the comfort of your home?  Now you can!

In the first post of this series about Large Dog Elbow Calluses, I posed the questionAre they Inevitable or Preventable?

My belief was and still is that my dog’s elbow calluses do not have to be the necessary evil that many people believe they are.  While we may not be able to prevent them entirely in ALL big dogs, they can and should be treated. 

I outlined these in Dog Elbow Calluses: Are they Inevitable or Preventable?, but wanted to start this post with a few tips on how to prevent elbow calluses BEFORE sharing with you my homemade elbow butter for dogs.

Stick with me…

4 Proven Ways to Prevent Calluses on Dog Elbows

You might be asking, why do dogs get dry elbows and how you can prevent calluses from forming?

Here are four proven methods for preventing them…


Calluses on a dog’s elbows are caused, in part, by pressure on bones and joints.  Reducing that pressure with quality orthopedic bedding is key.

Ensure your big dog has access to ample and proper bedding to lay on.  A few of my personal favorites for reducing dog pressure sores and elbow calluses are beds and a cooling mat.

what to put on a dogs dry elbows - Dog Elbow Callus Home Remedy
Big Barker Dog Beds – Perfect for Large and Giant Breed Dogs!
DIY Elbow Butter: A Dog Elbow Callus Home Remedy [That Works!] Are you looking for a home remedy for treating a dog elbow callus? Here is an all-natural, DIY elbow butter for dogs recipe with essential oils.
The Green Pet Shop Cooling Pet Pad


Reduce the amount of time your big dog spends on hard surfaces and those that create a lot of friction like concrete and carpet.

Carpet is often overlooked when it comes to calluses, but the friction it generates can be minimized easily with a bed or soft blanket.

The use of elbow pads is another method many people use to reduce friction on a dog’s elbow.  These are generally elbow pads that are slipped on and worn by the dog. 

This not only cushions but prevents the aforementioned friction on the elbow as well.


Consider your dog’s genetics or the genetics of a puppy you are considering buying.  In my experience, certain lines (pedigrees) are more prone to hock and elbow calluses than others. 

Some dogs have ancestors that never had issues with calluses, whereas others have a significant family history of dogs with large, pendulous elbow calluses and callus infections (callus pyoderma). 

Consider this when purchasing a puppy.

Not that I would bypass a puppy from a line prone to elbow calluses.  But if the line has a history of complications from them, it would be good to know this ahead of time.


Keep your big dog’s weight under control.  Remember that the skin on the elbows and hocks is relatively thin and sensitive, so the more pressure at these joints caused by weight against the floor or ground combined with friction against the surface is what causes the skin to dry and thicken. 

An obese or overweight dog or a puppy that is allowed to grow too heavy for his frame will be at higher risk for developing elbow and hock calluses.

[READ: Feeding Giant Breed Puppies for Dummies – The Protein Myth & More]

Home Remedy for a Dog’s Dry Elbows

We both know the problem. 

Your big dog has elbow calluses and you fear them worsening over time as he or she ages.  You know the danger posed by a dog elbow callus bleeding and cracking.  And I have said before, a dog elbow callus that is not treated can ulcerate and even become infected, leading to severe consequences. 

But what is the solution to this problem? Do calluses go away with treatment? 

In addition to implementing the aforementioned four strategies for prevention, I recommend keeping that skin healthy by using a balm, butter or salve to prevent it from getting dry and cracked.

While a dog elbow callus is not likely to go away, the goal here is to prevent them from growing and worsening. 

In the last two years, I have spent a small fortune on various products from Vasoline and Bag Balm to Blissful Dog Elbow Butter. 

But after spending a great deal of money with a little success, I was determined to learn how to make my own elbow butter for dogs at home and come up with a home remedy that would be more effective for my big dogs’ elbow calluses.   

For this not-so-Martha-Stewarty Big Dog Mom, this DIY project has been a fun challenge and very much a labor of love. 

The rest of this post will share with you the complete recipe for making Big Dog Mom’s DIY Elbow Butter for Dogs with Essential Oils home remedy and the rationale for the ingredients I use.

How to Make DIY Elbow Butter for Dogs with Essential Oils

treat dog calluses with diy elbow butter for dogs

Big Dog Mom’s DIY Elbow Butter Recipe:

4 tsp Organic Beeswax (5.3 TBS) 

2 TBS Shea Butter (1/2 cup)

2 TBS Coconut Oil (Unrefined) (1/2 cup)

2 TBS Sweet Almond Oil (1/2 cup) 

1 tsp Vitamin E Oil (1 TBS + 1 tsp) 

3 drops of each Essential Oil (12 drops of each)

** In parentheses is the amount you will need to quadruple the recipe. This is the amount I prepared in the video tutorial below. And don’t forget to grab your FREE Dog Elbow Butter Recipe Card with the complete list of ingredients and step-by-step directions before you go!  All of these products are also linked in my Amazon Shop here

The latest on Youtube:

Health Benefits of the Natural Ingredients in DIY Elbow Butter for Dogs

Organic Beeswax – Helps to maintain its consistency in warmer temperatures. 

Shea Butter – Shea butter is an intense moisturizer for dry skin and is a wonderful product for revitalizing damaged skin. It is naturally rich in Vitamins A and E as well as essential fatty acids and other vitamins and minerals.

Coconut Oil (Unrefined) – Terrific moisturizer.  It provides a protective layer for the skin helping it to retain moisture. Coconut oil is a proven home remedy to help skin conditions like hot spots, bites, stings, or itchy, dry skin.

Sweet Almond Oil – Sweet almond oil contains fatty acids as well as vitamins A and E and penetrates easily into the skin.

Vitamin E Oil Terrific moisturizer for dry, itchy skin. Vitamin E oil is also great for preventing rancidity in cosmetics, and it acts as an anti-oxidant in lotions and body butters.

Health Benefits of the Essential Oils

Calendula Seed Oil – Also known as pot marigold and is a member of the sunflower family.  This essential oil is often used to soothe and heal a variety of skin issues and is widely considered a wound healer. From minor cuts, insect bites, abrasions, or post-surgical incisions, calendula offers antimicrobial properties with soothing relief to pain and swelling.  In addition, calendula oil can be applied topically for a broad spectrum of fungal infections.  In 7 Best Ways to Stop Dog Nail Bleeding [DIY FAST!], I discuss specific wound healing properties which also apply to cutting dog nails in the event you accidentally cut them too short. 

Lavender Many folks in the Big Dog Mom Community use Lavender for their dog’s anxiety with good success.  Used topically, true lavender oil has antibacterial, anti-itch, and nerve-calming properties.  As such, it is good for many common dog ailments and problems, such as skin irritations, insect bites, cuts and burns.

Roman Chamomile Roman Chamomile is antispasmodic, pain-relieving, and nerve-calming. It is very gentle and is an excellent oil to use for soothing and calming anxious dogs. It is also effective for relief of muscle pains, cramps, puppy teething pain.

Organic Cedarwood Atlas Cedar oil is natural and non-toxic and used as a natural pesticide and insect repellent. It is anti-fungal and anti-bacterial, antiseptic, tonifying, circulation-stimulating. Good for skin and coat conditioning and dermatitis of all types. Cedarwood essential oil stimulates the hair follicles and increases the skin’s circulation. This helps the hair/fur to grow and is great for applications where there is thinning or hair/fur loss.

Niaouli 1,8 – Cineole Niaouli has powerful antibacterial properties and is used to help dogs with skin irritation and infections caused by allergies. It is an effective antiseptic oil that can disinfect and help fight bacterial infections. 

What you Need to Know Before Using Essential Oils 

Before I get a flood of comments from essential oil companies and their salespeople, I am the first to admit this. 

I am not an expert on the use of essential oils and I don’t play one on Dog TV. 

When I was doing my research on which essential oils to put in my elbow butter for dogs home remedy, these five stood out for their skin healing, inflammation-reducing, and antimicrobial properties. 

I verified all five of them would be safe for dogs, at least when applied topically in a carrier oil. But with that said, there are a few things you need to know about using essential oils before you use them.

1. Carrier Oil is a Must for Topical Use of Essential Oils

how to prevent calluses on dog elbows

Because these essential oils will be applied topically, they must be diluted in a carrier oil, like coconut oil.

The rough guideline is to add 3-5 drops of essential oil to 1 oz. of carrier oil.

Since I am treating big dogs, the amount I can use is actually much higher than this, but it is the guideline that is generally accepted as safe. 

2. Essential Oils can be Toxic if Ingested

Essential oils can be toxic if ingested.   When used in my DIY elbow butter for dogs, please be cautious of where you are applying the balm and avoid areas where your dog will want to lick.  I have used it on my boys’ paw pads and hocks without issue, but my boys really aren’t big lickers. 

3. Special Health Considerations on the Use of Essential Oils for Dogs

Essential oils should be avoided in dogs who are prone to seizures or have canine epilepsy or are pregnant.  And essential oils should not be used on puppies less than 10 weeks old.

For More Information on Dog Elbow Calluses and Essential Oils

Big Dog Calluses: Are They Inevitable Or Preventable?

Bacterial Infection (Pyoderma) of the Skin in Dogs: PetMD 

Calluses in Dogs by

Nikki White from has some great information about essential oils here

Dog’s Naturally Magazine:5 Essential Oils Your Dog Shouldn’t Be Without

DIY Elbow Butter For Dogs

All natural, homemade treatment for elbow and hock calluses in dogs. This DIY recipe is super easy to make using ingredients that will help reduce inflammation and pain and promote healing.
Prep Time2 minutes
Active Time13 minutes
Cooling Time1 hour
Total Time1 hour 15 minutes
Keyword: callus treatment, elbow butter, home remedy
Yield: 1 dog
Author: BigDogMom
Cost: $40


  • 1 3 oz metal tin 3 – 4 tins for 4x recipe
  • 1 double broiler
  • 1 candy or food thermometer


  • 4 tsp Organic Beeswax 5.3 tbsp (for 4x recipe)
  • 2 tbsp Shea Butter 1/2 cup
  • 2 tbsp Coconut Oil (unrefined) 1/2 cup
  • 2 tbsp Sweet Almond Oil 1/2 cup
  • 1 tsp Vitamin E Oil 1 tbsp + 1 tsp
  • 3 drops Calendula Seed Oil 12 drops
  • 3 drops Lavender Oil 12 drops
  • 3 drops Roman Chamomile 12 drops
  • 3 drops Organic Cedarwood Atlas 12 drops
  • 3 drops Niaouli 1,8 – Cineole 12 drops


  • Melt the beeswax, shea butter, coconut oil, sweet almond oil, and vitamin E oil in a double broiler on low-medium heat. Stir gently until thoroughly mixed.
  • Remove the pot from heat and take the temperature. Be careful to not touch the thermometer to the bottom or sides of thepot as this will throw the temperature off. Cool until at or below 75ºF (23ºC).
  • Once partially cooled to 75ºF, begin adding essential oils. Gently stir. Pour into metal tins, filling them until almost full.
  • Elbow butter should begin to harden within 5-10 minutes. Be careful to not move or turn them while cooling. A 3 oz elbow butter tin will be completely cool in 30-45 minutes. Rub onto callused skin 1-2 times per day.


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