Treating Yeast Infections in Dogs
Yeast infections are a fungal disease that can occur in any dog, breed, age and size do not matter. It is more likely to form in your dog if you live in a humid climate, or if the weather has been wet lately as it prefers moist and warm areas on the dog to flourish. Symptoms are similar to allergies and can be misdiagnosed as such. Here we look at how to recognize a yeast infection, symptoms and where they happen, and how to treat it. The good news with a yeast infection is that there are several options and treatment is usually successful.
Symptoms and Where They Occur
Symptoms of a yeast infection include;
Itching and scratching
Licking his paws excessively
Pungent smell coming from the ears, paws or infected area
Saliva changes the color of the fur to a rust color from excessive chewing
Shaking the head of the infection is in the ears
The most common form of yeast infections in dogs is Malassezia pachydermatis, for more information on that see our separate article. The most common places affected by a yeast infection are those that get moist and warm. Jowls, paws, skin folds, armpits, anus, ears for example. Dogs with floppy ears are more likely to get a yeast infection there than those with pointy ears. Other dogs more prone are ones that like to swim or those with a lower immune system, or ones on antibiotics. The most common place for yeast to overgrow is in the paws as that is where dogs mostly sweat from.
Taking Your Dog to The Vet
If you observe any of the symptoms above in your dog you should take him to your vet for a proper diagnosis. He or she will ask what you have observed and will perform a physical exam. There are several other tests he can perform to confirm it is a yeast infection including a biopsy for lesions, urine test, scraping, and more. Once they can confirm it is yeast and not a bacterial infection, allergies or something else they can recommend a course of anti-fungal treatment for your dog.
Treating Your Dog for a Yeast Infection
There are two approaches to treating yeast overgrowth, topical treatment which is using a cream or ointment or shampoo on the infected area, or oral treatment which presumes the yeast infection started in the digestive area.
Using an Anti-Fungal Shampoo on Your Dog
Anti-fungal shampoos require you to bathe your dog regularly as part of his treatment. It helps reduce the yeast and will give the dog relief from itching. His whole body should be washed with the shampoo to make sure nowhere else becomes vulnerable. Be sure to use a shampoo with natural ingredients as chemicals will strip the natural oils from his skin. For dogs with a severe yeast infection bathe them once or twice a week. As the symptoms ease do it once or twice a month. In between baths there are anti-itch sprays you can use on his paws and behind to stop the scooting and chewing.
Treating his Paws
You can use an anti-fungal spray on his paws being sure that it goes deep in between the toes. You can also use a homemade dip. There are several home remedies for mild yeast infections you could try.Dip Recipe –
1 gallon warm water
2 cups of white vinegar
1 cup of hydrogen peroxide
Mix together in a bowl you can dip his paws into. Small dogs can be put into a sink with the dip in it. Pat dry after dipping. Do not use for ear infections.
Treating his Ears
When dealing with yeast infected ears it is important to be careful. Your vet may prescribe an anti-fungal ear drop or there are home remedies for the ears too. Use half water and half white vinegar in the ears to change the pH of the ears so that it is no longer the right kind of breeding grounds. Just clean his ears first and dry them, without sticking anything down it, then use the mix as drops twice a day.
Treating Other Areas of his Body
Other areas like skin folds, arm pits and so on can be treated with a skin spray, anti-fungal cream or a home remedy. The anal area should use the dip method.
Food Changes and Supplements
Avoid the following in your dog's diet as the yeast feeds on it;
Supplements you can add to help overcome yeast overgrowth include;
Give the gut some friendly bacteria which can help rebalance the gut and remove yeast and bad bacteria. Make sure it is probiotics that are okay for dogs to take though.
Canine digestive enzymes –
Boost the immune system of your dog with this supplement but do it gradually to avoid upsetting his digestive system.
Apple cider vinegar has anti-fungal properties and can be used internally as well as topically though it can dry the dog's skin.
Salmon oil –
Add to his dog food and is good for his skin as well as fighting yeast.
Omega-3 Fatty acids –
Fish oil will not only improve his skin’s health it will help with the itching.
Preventing Yeast Infections
Floppy eared dogs should have cotton balls in their ears whenbathing to prevent water getting in them
Cut down on a diet high in carbohydrates and try more protein
Dry them after swimming or bathing
Make sure they have any supplements they might need
Bath often and dry properly
Keep his bedding clean and dry