Mammal Mondays: Sherman’s Yeasty Feet

As part of the regular procedure at Sherman’s annual check up this morning, the receptionist asked if I had any concern’s with the speckled one’s health or behavior. Distracted a little bit by Sherman’s apparent interest in Jester the rabbit, who was snuggled on the lap of the lady next to me, I answered that he had no issues at the moment. For the rabbit people out there who are worried about a big(ish) dog and sweet wee bunny interaction, Sherman’s way of showing interest in Jester was to inch forward on his belly a teeny bit at a time, maintaining the “down” I’d asked him for but slowly gaining proximity to the critter in question. While I highly doubt he would have harmed Jester, I was careful to not let him even get within licking distance.

Actually, Sherman has been chomping and licking at his hind feet lately, but he’s generally willing to give up on his toes when I ask him to leave them be. The Electrician and I thought poor Sherm might be suffering from mosquito bites on his pads, since the little biters prefer the soft parts like his feet and snout. Much to my surprise, Dr. Steele found that Sherman has a mild yeast infection between the pads of his feet. Cue the collective “Ick!” in the crowd.

I have heard of dogs having yeasty ears, but I didn’t know yeast can grow on a dog’s feet. Apparently, it has something to do with feet being moist for extended periods of time. I guess that him licking his feet all the time doesn’t help the problem, and now the poor guy has itchy, angry feet. He chews to deal with the inflammation caused by the yeast, which just causes more irritation in between his doggy toes. It’s a vicious cycle, and now I’ll be bathing his feet in epsom salts to cure the infection.

Do you remember being a kid and having someone tell you that a dog’s saliva is good, that it cleans their wounds and heals sores because it’s so clean? I have a clear memory of a dog, I don’t remember whose, licking my scuffed knee, and me being told to let it keep licking because it would heal my scrape. I think it’s a common misconception. Dog saliva is filthy, if the things dogs eat, lick, and sniff are any indicator, and in Sherman’s case, his saliva has aggravated the condition of his feet. If you don’t believe me, go read about dog mouths at and get more facts than I provide.

Besides, if that old wives’ tale was true, you’d never see a dog wearing the dreaded cone following surgery or injury. I bet Sherm would have love to heal his own bo-bo after I had him neutered, but he too wore the plastic lampshade and felt like a tool for the first week. He got over it. I doubt he remembers the cone, and I’m certain he’s long since forgotten his testicles, too.

We’ll be bathing four pup feet around here for a while, but I’m looking forward to a pup who doesn’t gnaw his own toes. Maybe his breath will stop smelling like feet now.

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4 Comments Add yours

  1. FL Liz says:

    Dogs: it’s always something. My first trip to the vet with our new puppy was only 3 months into her joining us. She likes to lay on a glider swing out back. I went to check on her because she had stayed out longer than usual, and when I got to her she looked like a boxer after a 13 round bout. All covered in hives and eyes swollen. Never figured out what caused the allergic reaction, but she had to receive a big dose of anti-histamine and stay at the vet for a couple hours. It’s been a series of odd-ball things since, but only once a year or so.
    Hope Sherman enjoys his paw baths and is back on his feet soon.

    1. Kay at Blue Speckled Pup says:

      Oh, your poor baby. I wonder if she got stung and had a bad reaction. I think our best hope with dogs is that our vet visits are for inexpensive, easily resolved problems.
      Paw baths start today; I will, of course, keep you posted.

  2. Cinderella says:

    Poor Sherman! I had no idea that epsom salts would eradicate a yeast infection! So maybe I didn’t read right – do you still have to keep the cone on him now for it to be dry enough to get better, Kay?

    1. Kay at Blue Speckled Pup says:

      Nope. He doesn’t need a cone, but we saw another doggy at the vet who had chewed her foot incessantly and needed to be lamp shaded.

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