Bandit the Dog — Itchy Ears and Frito Feet

The Problem

Bandit the Dog, our lovable…emotional…exuberant…Chocolate Lab, has “Itchy Ears” and “Fito Feet”. “Bubby” (our pet name, for our playful pet) has been miserable. He has had an ongoing bout with digging at his ears, a light rash on his underside, and a bit of a smell (Whew!) that requires frequent baths. We have been treating him for ear mites for several months without success. So the other night I was determined to try to find some information about his symptoms, and give him some relief. I went online looking for a solution.

Finding a Solution 

I was surprised to find an answer in only a few minutes. Yeast…that’s right yeast…of all things! I have never heard of this being a problem in dogs before. I listened to the veterinarian talk about it. She detailed the symptoms, told how to treat it, and explained what causes it. It turns out that animals and humans, have yeast that grows on their skin. Humans bathe regularly, and wash it away, and in turn we smell nice and remain healthy. The Vet said that people will say, “Dogs smell doggy.” But that our dogs should not have a bad smell (Really???) If they do, then the dog needs our help to fix the problem. She went on to say that dogs sweat on their nose, and through their feet. They can have yeast build up there, and in crevices such as between their toes, under their armpits, in their groin area, and around the rectum. Some animals don’t have much of a problem with this. Others have a problem for two or three months in the summer. Some have problems with it all of the time. She called these dogs, “yeasty dogs”. The yeast has an odor that you can smell. It smells musty, cheesy, or like Fritos. Some people refer to their dogs as having “Frito Feet”. And the Vet said that their ears can be “soupy”. It is very important to remove the yeast that has died. If it remains on the skin, and especially in the ears, the layers of dead yeast can cause lots of problems.

Shampoos and Rinses

Old dog shampoos used to have tar in them, and you weren’t supposed to bathe your pets too often with them. But that has changed. The dog shampoos today are mild enough, that if you wanted to use them on your dog everyday, you could. After shampooing your dog, rinse him from the neck down, with a vinegar and water solution. Use 1 gallon of water, with one cup of vinegar in it. This will make your dog smell nice. If you want to use lemon juice–1 Cup squeezed from lemons instead, your dog will smell wonderful! You can also use peroxide and water, however if your dog has dark fur, this will bleach his fur. Give special attention to the ears, and wipe them out, with a vinegar (or lemon juice) and water, witch hazel, or peroxide. You can use a wash-cloth and cotton balls inside the ears, but do not use Q-tips. Clean them until they are thoroughly clean, and there is no dirt, wax or residue, and they smell clean. Repeat cleaning ears out everyday or two if needed. Check your dog daily, especially smelling ears and feet. If your dog begins to have any odor, give him only a rinse, with the vinegar  and water solution. You can do this in your bathtub. The Vet recommended doing it outdoors, and getting a large square Rubber-maid container, and mix the rinse in that. Have the dog stand in it, so he can soak his feet for several minutes, making sure you wash between the toes. With larger dogs, you may have to use a bucket. Wash dog’s ears, and the other areas that have odor. Then dry the feet on a towel, drying between toes.


I have given Bandit a nice bath, and since then he had a slight odor 3 days later. I tried the rinse outdoors, the first time. I had 1 gallon of water mixed with 1 Cup of vinegar, in a cleaning bucket. I washed his ears first with a wash-cloth, then washed under each leg, tummy/groin area, and rectum. Getting him to put each foot into a bucket, one at a time, was like doing a jig with a really bad dance partner. I broke out the bag of tiny treats that we use for training him, and used a small rubber ball that makes a squeak, to lure him in and keep his attention. I can see that it would be much easier to get a square rubber-maid container, as the Vet suggested, when doing this outside. Even if I had to get two of them and put them together, so that the dog could put front feet in one and back feet in another, it would make washing the feet much easier. Since our dog is three years old, he will stand still and let us give him a bath pretty well now. Finally, I poured the vinegar water slowly over the dog from the neck down to the end of his tail. Ideally it would be great to have everything stored where it could be easily pulled out and put way, like in an outdoor shed, or near a potting shelf. The second time, I rinsed him in the tub, and that was quicker. Probably because he is used to getting baths in the bathtub. Both times it only took about 10 minutes total, from spot cleaning and rinsing, to towel drying– not nearly as long as a full bath, where we really lather him up. The rinse worked well, and Bandit smelled fresh. The vinegar smell went away quickly and he just smelled clean. He has had trouble with one ear, and after doing the rinse, he still had a slight smell in this spot only. I put some anti-bacterial soap on a wash-cloth, and washed that ear out. Doing that, got rid of the smell.

The Root of the Problem

It is important to find the root of the problem. When a dog has problems with yeast, it is connected to his immune system. If he has a underactive immune system, and his immunity is low, he will have problems with yeast. Likewise, if he has an overactive immune system, he will have allergies. This will cause problems with yeast. Often he will be given antibiotics or steroids, which will shut the immunity off, making it under active, and there will be problems with yeast again. Sounds like a vicious cycle, doesn’t it? To solve problems with immunity, the owner must look at the food the dog is eating. Look to see if foods contain honey, sugar, gluten, high fructose corn syrup, any kind of sugar, corn, potatoes or sweet potatoes. The dog with the problems I have talked about, needs to have a diet with no sugars or starches. Over time, this should allow the dog’s immune system to become balanced, and he should become healthy again, and the symptoms should go away. When you look on the package of any dog food product, you can see the ingredients. The item that is listed first, will be the largest percentage of what is in the product. When I checked Bandit’s food, the first item was corn. So his food had a lot of corn, and there was also wheat, gluten, and sugars.

Dog Food Recommendation

I went into one of my favorite stores TSC, to see if they could help me. I asked the salesman there, if there was a dog food, that didn’t have corn, potatoes, sugars, and a lot of starches in it. He knew exactly what to tell me. He recommended the 4Health brand, made especially for TSC. Some of their choices had potatoes. Dogs that are very particular like potatoes, and may eat them with no problem. Since our dog has had a problem with yeast, I wanted to buy one without potatoes. I bought the 4Health Chicken & Rice Formula, 35 pounds for $31.99, which contains whole chicken as the first ingredient. There are 2 other choices in the dry dog foods that we can use. They are 4Health Lamb & Rice Formula, 35 pounds for $31.99, and 4Health Performance Formula for Adult Dogs, 35 pounds for $34.99. They also offer canned dog foods in Lamb & Rice, Beef Vegetable Stew, and Chicken & Vegetable Stew, that we can give Bandit for a special treat. They also offer several dry, and canned foods that contain potatoes. The cans cost .99 for a 22 oz. can. I read many reviews from people who switched to the 4Health brand, almost all of them were very pleased with the results. This is a premium quality dog food, at a great price, and quite a few people recommending it, own show dogs. When it is on sale at TSC, you can get another $5.00 off. TSC also offers volume discounts to breeders and animal shelters. Some other premium brands that people like are Blue Buffalo- 24 pounds for $53.99, and Taste of the Wild- 30 pounds for $47.99. Both of these contained potatoes. Science Diet is also popular, and 15.5 pounds of their Lamb & Rice, cost $33.99. Compared to these premium dog foods, 4Health is a steal!

What Others Have Said About 4Health Dog Food 

4Health dog food is made in the United States. It is made without any gluten products. The grains in it such as whole rice and pearl barley, are wholesome and low allergy foods. Repeatedly people shared, that after switching to 4Health, their dogs had glossy coats, shiny eyes, white teeth, and they stopped having problems with excess shedding. It kept dogs lean, but at the same time caused dogs who were too thin too fill out. This indicates that there is a proper proportion of proteins and fats. This dog food contains Vitamin E, Omega Fatty Acids, Glucosamine, and Chondroitin. Lethargic dogs showed an increase in energy right away. After eating this food for a time, allergies and skin problems cleared up. Since this is a high quality food, dogs may ate less. There was 20-30% less waste in stools, and they were more solid. Some pet owners reported older dogs with hip problems and arthritis, got around a lot better, after eating this dog food. When switching to a new dog food, the owner should mix 1/3rd of the old dog food, with 2/3rds of the new dog food for a week, so that the change is gradual. When switching to a higher quality food, the dog’s body will be getting rid of toxins. This can cause them to be more inactive, or have an upset stomach for a few days. Continue feeding the new dog food, until the dog gets used to it. If you have watched your beloved pet struggle with itchy ears, “Fito Feet”, horrible doggy odor, allergies, and skin problems like our “Bubby” has had, then I hope that this information is helpful. After 1 week of using 4Health dog food, and treating Bandit with the rinses, we have noticed a huge difference in him. He is acting like he feels better. The doggy odor is almost gone, and he is not scratching like he did before. I believe it may be the sweet smell of success!!! (By the way, 4Health also makes cat food.)

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