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How Do I Treat My Dog Foot Fungus?

Dog laying on tile floor chewing paw

Have you noticed your dog licking or itching his/her paws more than usual? If your answer is yes, it could well be due to a fungal infection in his/her foot. Although these infections are not fatal, they do get severe gradually and should be treated properly. In this article, we have tried to provide you with some important guidelines to treat dog foot fungus.

Dog Nail Fungus vs. Dog Foot Fungus

It is important to determine the exact cause of dog foot fungus to ensure the appropriate treatment. Keep reading to know the key differences between dog nail infection and yeast infection.

Nail Fungal Infection

Close up of dog nails

A variety of factors can cause nail fungal infections but the most prominent one is a microbe, called Blastomyces dermatitidis. The dogs that live near wet and marshy areas, like rivers and streams, are more vulnerable to these types of infections.

Dog nail fungus is marked by the crusting of nails and surrounding skin that causes the nail to appear dull. The main symptoms of this condition include itching, excessive licking, and scratching at the affected paws. Likewise, the nails that are affected by fungus get brittle and can break quite easily. This type of fungal infection is more common in dogs with furry paws. 

Yeast Infection

Gloved hand holding dog paw

Yeast and ringworm are the most common types of fungus that may infect your dog’s feet. Foot fungus often grows when the paws are muddy and wet for a long time. Malassezia pachydermatis is what causes dog foot fungus in most cases.

Actually, this yeast exists naturally in a dog’s skin. However, it comes to the outer layer of the skin only when it overgrows. This fungus releases protease that breaks down the protein in the skin and catalysis the further growth of yeast. Dogs that are suffering from allergies or consuming antibiotics are more prone to yeast infections.

How Do You Treat Fungal Infections in Dogs?

hand squeezing ointment into another hand

The most common medical treatment for these infections is the use of antibiotics. However, if the infection is not very serious, dog foot fungus can also be managed by using the following measures.

NOTE: You should always consult your vet to design a proper treatment plan. 

Keep the Skin Dry and Clean

This is the first thing that you should do to treat (and prevent) dog foot fungus. Make this a habit to wash your pooch’s feet whenever he/she comes from outside and the paws are looking muddy. Don’t forget to dry the paws thoroughly because the fungus grows rapidly in moist conditions. You can also try dog boots to keep his/her paws clean if your canine companion is comfortable with them.

Healthy Diet

bowl of dog food spilling onto wooden floor

A monotonic diet increases the chances of yeast infection, especially if it contains a lot of carbohydrates. Ingredients, like corn syrup, are extremely unhealthy for canines and should never be included in their meal. It’s best to consult your vet and develop a healthy diet plan to fight against dog foot fungus.

Use Apple Cedar Vinegar

Vinegar contains an acid that is ideal for removing fungus (which prefers an alkaline environment) from your dog’s feet. Therefore, you should spray your dog’s coat with apple vinegar (once a week) to keep the yeast under control. Most users use a 1:1 solution of water and apple cedar vinegar.

You can also use white vinegar, but apple cedar vinegar is preferred because it contains some other useful elements for your dog’s skin.

Use Coconut Oil

Coconut oil in jar surrounded by coconut halves and pieces and coconut oil on a spoon

Coconut oil is another great remedy for the treatment of fungal infections. It contains a good combination of antioxidants (Vitamin E and K) and healthy fatty acids (myristic and caproic acid). Antioxidants protect the skin against fungus while fatty acids can heal the skin from scratches.

What About a Dog Foot Fungus Treatment?

puppy having paws washed

The following are some guidelines that can help you treat dog foot fungus, efficiently.

Remove the Debris – Start by removing any rubble or filth from your dog’s paws (with the help of tweezers). You can even trim some fur, if necessary, to have a clear look. If the piece of debris is too big, don’t try to remove it yourself because it can cause bleeding. In these cases, an immediate trip to the vet is recommended.

Soothe the Infected Paw – Once the debris is removed, make a solution by adding 8 teaspoons of salt in 8 cups of warm water. Soak your dog’s paw in this solution for about 20-25 minutes. Repeat this remedy three times a day to relieve the discomfort. Always make sure that the dog’s foot is dried thoroughly (but gently) with a dry towel to remove excessive moisture.

Use Anti-Fungal Shampoo – If the saline water remedy seems to work, you can also add an anti-fungal shampoo to it. This will help in speeding up the healing process.

Apply a Bandage – Wrap the dog’s foot in a clean bandage and ensure that your pup doesn’t chew and bite through it. Check the bandage daily and change it immediately if the bandage is damaged.

Antibiotics – If no improvement is observed after 3-4 days of this treatment, you should take your dog to the vet. This is because the infection could be a serious one that will need antibiotics.

How Can I Treat My Dog’s Toenail Fungus?

person drying beagles paws

The use of topical ointments is one of the most effective ways to treat dog nail infections. These ointments are rubbed on the affected nails and you should follow the method demonstrated by the vet to apply them.

Alternatively, Epsom salt is also quite beneficial for treating a dog’s toenail fungus. Dissolve one tablespoon of this salt in 4 cups of water to make a solution. Soak the paw of your pup in this solution for 10-15 minutes and then dry it thoroughly. Epsom salt is not only useful against fungus, but it also cures any kind of sore caused by the infection.

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