Dog Facts

Why Do Dogs Lick Feet With Athlete’s Foot?

by Karen Parquet

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Are you one of those unlucky souls who have to deal with athlete’s foot? Your furry best friend might have more than just a penchant for foot-licking. Letting your dog constantly lick your feet when you have athlete’s foot can have dire consequences for their health.

But why do dogs seem to have a weird fascination with this bodily odor? Dogs lick feet with athlete’s foot because they are attracted to the smell of the fungus. The fungus emits a foul odor that is similar to that of rotting meat. This attracts dogs, who then lick the feet to remove the odor’s source.

But what effect does this have on your feet? Will this negatively impact your dog’s health? Read on to find out.

What Is Athlete’s Foot, and What Causes It?

Athtletes foot

Athlete’s foot—no, it’s not a condition limited to athletes! In reality, anyone can suffer from it. This condition is a common fungal infection that affects the skin on the feet and toes, leading to itching, burning, cracking, and general discomfort. The fungus thrives in warm and moist environments, such as shoes worn all day, causing it to spread quickly.

What Do Dogs Have to Do With This Common Condition?

While it may seem weird, there is some discussion that dog saliva can help athlete’s foot though there is no scientific evidence to back this up. Though this isn’t a proven remedy, some believe that dog licks may help dry out the skin and reduce inflammation of the area commonly seen with athlete’s foot.

So while there’s no guarantee that having your furry friend lick away your ailment will do the trick, who wouldn’t appreciate a few extra cuddles instead—no thumbs required!

Is There Any Truth to the Myth That Dogs Can Cure Athlete’s Foot?

The jury may be out on whether dogs can actually cure athlete’s foot, but that hasn’t stopped this centuries-old myth from persisting despite having effective athlete foot treatments out there. While there is some evidence supporting the idea that letting your pet lick your feet might shorten the duration or severity of symptoms, it’s far from a sure bet.

Plus, there’s no guarantee that it won’t possibly result in other health issues; it may not be good for your dog to lick your feet! So while many sufferers of athlete’s foot make use of this old wives’ tale as a remedy, it really is best to stick with proven treatments such as antifungal medications or keeping your feet clean and dry as a preventive measure.

Reasons Why Dogs Lick Feet Affected by Athlete’s Foot

Dog licking mans feet at home

Dogs licking feet affected by an athlete’s foot is a bad behavior for dogs that is seen in many pets. While it may seem odd, there are some potential causes of why they would target your stinky feet in particular.

One of the most popular theories involves the belief that dog saliva could help dry out and reduce inflammation caused by an athlete’s foot. While this isn’t proven with scientific evidence and isn’t recommended, dogs often seek sweaty feet or stinky feet that are salty, smelly, or otherwise gross things to lick all the time.

Why You Shouldn’t Let Your Dog Lick Your Feet

As tempting as it may be to let your furry friend “help” relieve your athlete’s foot symptoms by licking your feet, it’s essential to understand the potential harm it can cause to your dog. For starters, athlete’s foot is a fungal infection that can be transmitted to your dog through their saliva. There are plenty of other foot remedies out there to be tried that are safer for you and your pet.

This means that letting your dog lick your feet can actually exacerbate the problem, as the infection can spread to other parts of your dog’s body, particularly their mouth and digestive tract. this is especially true if you have a severe outbreak or broken skin.

It’s important to note that some of the anti-fungal medications commonly prescribed to treat athlete’s feet can be toxic to dogs if ingested. This means that if your dog licks your feet after you’ve applied it, they could inadvertently harm or poison themselves.

Ways to Prevent Our Dogs From Licking Athlete’s Foot

The dog jack russell terrier licking feet

While it may tempt you to let your dog lick your feet affected by athlete’s foot, it’s essential to prevent this behavior. One way to do this is to keep your feet covered with socks or shoes, especially when around your furry friend. This will not only protect your feet from further irritation but also discourage them from licking.

Another way to prevent your dog from licking your feet is to provide them with an alternative, such as a toy or treat, to redirect their attention. This can help satisfy their urge to lick without resorting to your feet. Make sure you reward them for a job well done when they redirect their attention toward the toy or whatever else you’ve given them for a distraction.

What Are Other Natural Remedies for Treating This Condition?

For treating athlete’s foot, there are a variety of natural remedies available. Some treatments involve soaking your feet in warm water with apple cider vinegar or tea tree oil which have anti-fungal properties. For those who have bad fungal infections, applying diluted white vinegar or hydrogen peroxide to the affected area may also be helpful.

Eating yogurt or drinking cranberry juice can help support a healthy microbiome in the body. Finally, it’s important to avoid wearing shoes that make your feet sweat, and keeping them dry throughout the day can help cure athlete’s foot naturally.


Dogs are known for having a strong sense of smell, so it’s not surprising they can detect an athlete’s foot. When your feet get sweaty and smelly, it can create an environment conducive to the growth of fungus—the cause of athlete’s foot. When a dog licks your feet, they’re likely trying to get rid of any fungus present there.

It’s also worth noting that licking is a natural behavior in dogs that often signals love or comfort. So when a dog licks your feet, they may just be offering you some comfort, even if your feet may not smell the best (at least to you)!

Ultimately, it’s important to remember that dogs are animals with their own personalities and behaviors; what one dog does may not show all dogs’ behavior. If you have concerns about why your dog may lick your feet, it’s always best to bring either your dog to the vet or yourself to the foot doctor.

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