Have you noticed that Fall is itchy dog paws season?
You may be in another room and you hear the repetitive “lick, lick, lick” that means your dog is tirelessly going after paws. No amount of training seems to help – the itch is relentless. And the paws wind up red/rusty color at the least. At worst, your dog develops sores or hot spots with loss of fur.
For years, we were under the impression that our dogs who suffered this way had seasonal allergies, or hay fever of some kind. Now, we’re not so sure.
Research says not allergies
The more we looked into it, we discovered that dogs aren’t actually prone to as many allergies as people. What they are subject to is fungus. Particularly yeast infections.
The fungus that most people are familiar with is athlete’s foot. Which many people get when they’re barefoot in humid, damp areas. Where fungus thrives.
The most common foot fungal infection in dogs is yeast, rather than the one that causes athlete’s foot, but the itch and irritation is similar.
When you think about it, it’s completely logical that dogs’ itchy paws have similar causes. Dogs are barefoot all the time. And at this time of year, they’re walking through moldy, damp leaves, frost-covered grass, and the aftermath of a hot, wet summer.
Dry is good
It’s really interesting that most advice for dealing with itchy paws involves adding more wet. Washing the paws, epsom salt soaks, ointments or balms.
It’s more logical to us that the answer lies in keeping dogs’ paws dry. Fungus thrives in damp, moist environments.
If you rinse your dog’s paws when you come back in the house, be sure to dry them, too. And not just the dogs’ pads on the bottom. Dry off between the toes – where the constant licking keeps things dark and moist. The perfect environment for fungus.
Voice of experience
Hope’s French Bulldog Torque has been a chronic paw-licker. Until the last year or so. When she started using a medicated foot powder on him. He doesn’t like the taste, so he leaves it alone. And his paws have stayed clear of the redness and itch. If he starts licking, his paws get another dash of powder.
If you (or your vet) are concerned about the safety of an athlete’s foot powder meant for people, you can certainly use a benign, drying agent like corn starch. It’s something you probably already have around, and may be worth a try.
If your dog’s itchy paws don’t get relief with this simple home remedy, of course you should consult a veterinarian. Itchy paw season isn’t fun for either you or your dog.