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Ugly Toenails? You Could Blame the Dog

Are your toenails thick, discolored, and brittle? Have you tried nail fungus home remedies and over-the-counter creams, only to resort to wearing dark-colored polish on your toenails and avoiding open-toed shoes at all cost when none of them worked? If so, read on to learn why the family dog might be the cause of your ugly toenails. 

Specie-Jumping Dermatophytes 

Nail fungus is caused by microorganisms called dermatophytes. Dermatophytes are fungi that feed on keratin—a key ingredient in your hair, nails, and outermost layer of skin. When these fungi are feasting on your toenails, they cause nail textural and color changes, and sometimes redness and inflammation of the associated toes. 

You can contract dermatophytes from direct contact with another host, or from indirect contact with hair or skin follicles from another host. Some species of dermatophytes are anthropophilic, meaning you can only contract them from another human; and some are zoophilic—able to be passed between humans and animals. 

If you share your home with a dog, your furry companion could be the cause of your ugly toenails.

When Nail Fungus Plays Dead

Some toenail fungus sufferers misplace the blame on public places. Because anti-fungal creams can clear up the problem temporarily, they assume that they must be contracting the fungus at their public pool or gym locker rooms. While both of these places are happy breeding grounds for dermatophytes, there could be plenty of the fungi in your own home lying in wait.

Some dermatophytes can survive outside the body for up to 15 months, just waiting to come in contact with your feet so they can latch on and begin to feast. If your dog has toenail fungus and they run across a rarely-cleaned porch floor, you could pick up some of those fungi more than a year later if you walk across that floor with bare feet.

Shaking Toenail Fungus For Good

If you and your furry pal are playing dermatophyte toss and catch, it's time to take some steps to shake the fungus and get rid of those ugly toenails for good. Below are some steps to do just that.

1. Seek Medical Help. If you don't treat toenail fungus, it can lead to some pretty dangerous side effects. If you've been dealing with this problem for some time, it's important that you get it taken care of as soon as possible.

Schedule an appointment with your doctor to discuss treatment options and ask your vet to check your pup's toenails for signs of a fungal infection. By treating both yourself and your dog at the same time, you have a better chance of defeating the problem.

2. Protect Your Feet. Until you're sure that both you and your dog are no longer capable of transmitting dermatophytes, keep your feet protected at all times. Keep plenty of slippers handy around your house, and consider investing in some dog booties, if your dog will tolerate them. 

3. Clean. In order to limit the spread of toenail fungus during treatment, you've got to be extremely diligent in your cleaning efforts. Wash your bedding and sweep and mop your floors regularly. Clean your shower with an ant-fungal cleaning spray weekly. 

Unsightly toenails are usually a sign of a fungal infection, and some fungal infections can be passed back and forth between humans and their pets. If your toenails are thick, discolored, or brittle and you have a dog, it's time to get serious about nail fungus treatment for both you and your pet.

Visit your doctor for more info and assistance and take your pup to theirs for treatment, and take precautions around your home to prevent prolonging the condition by passing it back and forth between you and your dog.