World's Grossest Cure For Athlete's Foot: Dog Saliva?

In America, we love to pamper our pets. Yet, it’s not always good that dogs get whatever they think they want. Case in point: the dog who wants to lick his master’s athlete’s foot. As gross as it sounds, there are actually people who claim their dogs’ tongues have miraculously cured their foot fungus when no other cure worked. We’ll tell you all about this “natural remedy for athlete’s foot”… and why it’s a bit misguided!

dog saliva cure

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Owners Say Dog Saliva Cured Their Athlete’s Foot

“Our Westie has cleared up my athlete’s foot completely,” claims one person who wrote in to the Athens Banner-Herald. “The sensation was a little odd at first as the dog licked both my feet. Still, it’s better than suffering with this fungal infection. This worked better than the creams and potions I’ve bought through the years. Has anyone else ever had this experience?”

Another person explained that an uncle had his athlete’s foot cured when a small terrier dog licked his feet all over, between the toes, after he returned home from work. According to the letter, “After about three months, he noticed that the athlete’s foot, which had plagued him for most of his adult life, had gone away!”

dog licking paws

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Is The Dog Lick Cure For Athlete’s Foot Safe & Effective?

The People’s Pharmacy responded to these claims in the Athens Banner-Herald, stating that they have heard this testimonial dating back to the 1950s. They admitted that dog saliva “may have some anti-fungal properties,” but added that dogs carry bacteria in their mouths, which could be a problem when the saliva touches the broken skin of athlete’s foot. American Family Physician states that you can actually get athlete’s foot from a dog, cat, or farm animal.

According to Oprah, more than 200,000 Americans get the stomach flu after ingesting campylobacter, a common bacterium found on a dog’s rear end. Dogs also easily transmit salmonella and poison ivy. However, ringworm is “one of the most common infections dog pass to people,” the article says. “A fungus like jock itch and athlete’s foot, ringworm spores can lurk on a dog’s coat or muzzle.” Every year, 2 million people are infected with ringworm contracted from their pets. For this reason, vets recommend washing your hands after petting Fido… and doing your best not to allow saliva on bare, broken skin.

athlete's foot dogs

Image Source: CynthiaCudaback.org

The People’s Pharmacy also quoted a vet tech who said this “ridiculous” treatment could be dangerous to pets because dogs and cats can get fungal infections from humans. This fungus can then be transmitted back to humans or other pets as well. The vet tech concluded, “Treating pets for fungal infections can be costly and time-consuming. If you love your furry friend and want to keep him/her healthy, please don’t recommend this remedy.”

The Bottom Line:

EW, people… EW! If you truly love your pets, do NOT let them lick your foot fungus! You may find some odd comfort in the sensation, once the overall weirdness subsides. And it may feel good knowing that your loving, doting animal senses you have a health issue and desperately wants you to get better. However, it’s not sanitary or safe — for you or your pet! So if you think you have athlete’s foot, visit a podiatrist to receive the best possible care. Also, invest in a SteriShoe UV shoe sanitizer to sanitize your shoes nightly and limit the possibility of contracting foot fungus again — from a contaminated shoe.

3 replies
  1. Aaron
    Aaron says:

    This is BS. Millions of people had their athletes foot and wounds healed after their dogs licked it. Why deny the fact that a dog’s saliva has anti-bacterial properties? I had athletes foot since I was in elementary school. Nothing would ever cure it, and lamisil and other products would only cure it for a short period of time. One time, my dog licked my foot, the exact spot where my athletes foot is, and just a week after, it was gone and until now it never came back.

    The only problem I see here is when your dog eats poop, or licks it rear, but my dog never does that anyway. My dog is clean and safe, and so I will let him do whatever he wants.

    • Sherri
      Sherri says:

      Aaron…..I agree 100%. Me and my daughter have both had experience with athlete’s foot NOT responding to traditional methods. For some unknown reason, our dog was attracted to ‘whatever’ if we itched the area affected, so…..we would let him lick that area. And I’m telling you, not only did it completely remove the incessant itch, but if he licked the affected area more than once over a period of time, it took it away completely. Now? Every time I feel a bout of athlete’s foot coming on, I call my dog over!

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