A Yeast Infection in Dogs can Cause a Myriad of Issues…
Many people see a dog constantly scratching his ears and go looking for something they can put IN to stop it happening when actually, more importantly initially, is what you take OUT. In this way you need to step back for a second. Is what you’re looking at the symptom of a yeast infection in dogs? Or something else? If you are at this moment unsure of what’s causing your dog’s recurring skin, ear or gut condition, then please note that the majority of maladies in dogs clear up with the following simple advice:
- Remove all dry food and pet store treats.
- Remove any and all sources of wheat and dairy
- Feed an appropriate raw dog food,
- Remove all unnecessary chemicals (flea and worm treatments, boosters etc).
No matter what the issue (allergies, anal glands, arthritis, colitis, diarrhoea, ear infections, gum disease, hot spots, hyperactivity, itch, kidney disease, obesity, weepy eyes), you must do these things first before you consider anything else in your dog, largely as this advice very often clears up any and all of the above. For more information on any of these conditions please check out our comprehensive health issues in dogs section.
Sometimes, when the immune system is really antagonised, some dogs struggle to get back to the full 100%. We then need to focus on other causes of recurring issues in your dog. Top of the list, if your dog is dry-fed, is a food sensitivity. Thus, step 2 would be that you need to tweak their fresh diet, focusing on giving him hypoallergenic raw dog food.
However, if you’ve tried the above and your dog is still not right then it’s highly likely your dog has an internal candida over-bloom, a result of being sick for a while, often after repeat prescriptions of antibiotics have been given, which upset the delicate internal flora, allowing candida to bloom without check. Here’s what to do.
Symptoms of a Yeast Infection in Dogs
- Intense itchiness
- Skin irritation and inflammation (usually around ears, between the paw pads and digits, vulva).
- Crusty skin
- Red, swollen ears with lots of head shaking or head tilting
- Stinky, dark yellow discharge from the affected area
Treating a Yeast Infection in Your Dog
Step 1 Remove all sources of sugar
Yeast cells are sugar junkies. In fact, a diet high in sugar is one of the main causes of the issue in humans. Now look at dogs, trying to live on dry kibble diets or cans containing mostly cereal, meaning a diet containing 50-60% rapidly digested carbs (a.k.a. sugar to the body). Every meal. This is a huge sugar intake, particularly for an animal that does not need any carbs whatsoever in their diet whatsoever. Even their treats are laced with sugar so they will eat them. Asides all the other issues a diet such as this will cause in your dog (including obesity, pancreatitis, kidney stones, rotten teeth and likely problem behaviour), yeast loves sugar. In fact, yeast needs sugar to live. It cannot metabolise protein or fat. This means no cereals (wheat, corn, potato, rice etc and anything made on them such as pasta, bread, dry dog food and pet store treats). You also need to remove all fruit and sweet/ starchy veg such as carrots, peas etc. Everything. Luckily, dogs do not need any of that stuff anyway, so win win.
Feed a simple raw meat and bone diet with perhaps a little dark green veg if you wish (sulfur in these can help). As most pre-made raw dog foods contain added fruit and veg bits (Paleo Ridge do a range that has no carbs whatsoever and would thus be suitable here), you may need to make your own dog diet and tailor it to your yeasty dog. You can also add in the treatments (below) to the mix to save you remembering each meal.
Step 2 Treat the Yeast Infection Topically
If the yeast infection is in the ears only there are lots of natural ways to kill it off. One of the best ways is Apple Cider Vinegar (Braggs is probably best as it contains the “mother”, the cloudy bits on the bottom, find it here on Amazon). ACV essentially extract the water from the yeast cells, killing it straight away. It’s also a great anti-bacterial, which can often get into little scratches made in the ear from the dog scratching at his poor ears.
Make up a 50/50 mix of ACV with warm olive oil. The warm oil helps to soften the wax (we do not use water as it will feed the yeast, it needs water to thrive). Use a cotton make-up remover pad, soak it in the solution and gently swab out his ear canal. Never go from ear to ear with the same swab.
Colloidal silver is another great ear wash for yeasty ear infections in dogs.
Or, if you want to go for the whole body approach, pick up a natural anti-fungal shampoo. The one below seems very popular, and natural, which is the way we like it! The ingredients are simply peppermint (which is cooling, hence in our spray), teatree and clove (the latter two being particularly anti-fungal). Either that or Botanica, which is another highly popular natural product which began life for use on the skin of horses but is now used extensively in the treatment of various skin conditions in dogs including fungal infections. Made in Ireland but available globally via Amazon
Step 3 Treat the Yeast Infection from within
Most yeast infections in dogs come from within. You’re simply looking at the symptoms, the tip of the iceberg so to speak. You need to tackle the yeast internally too. This idea was passed to me from a natural vet who found it on Raw Fed Yeasty Dogs, an American Facebook page (that I couldn’t find myself, let me know if you do!). It’s all about using and switching around anti-fungal treatments. The switching bit is key, which is not something I was aware of.
This idea was passed to me from a natural vet. The key, apparently, is switching around anti-fungal treatments.
The protocol is simple: give them apple cider vinegar (ACV, recommend Braggs) and a good quality canine probiotic such as Hyperbiotics (Amazon). Dogs will not like eating ACV so you can drop it into their food. Also, you need to add two drops of oregano extract on every meal (oregano oil is a powerful anti-fungal, to make it more appetising you can mix the 2-3 drops into a teaspoon of coconut oil or olive oil and then mix in). Oregano oil is a powerful anti-fungal, it’s also a “hot” herbal inclusion, meaning it doesn’t taste nice and too much could cause an issue. Read our article on oregano oil in dogs for more.
You do this for two weeks then stop and switch to Grapefruit Seed Extract (4 drops twice daily, ideally in food) for two weeks.
This is the best advice so far from a natural perspective that I have seen. If it doesn’t work you can call your vet. They will swab his ears to check for a fungal issue and then give your some drugs. I would advise including the canine probiotics in the background while this drug was going in, if your vet is OK with it.