There are some pet owners who believe their pets should have a bad odor and scratchy skin, but they fail to understand the underlying causes. Several allergies and infections can cause your furry friend to scratch and odor relentlessly. Yeast infection—the most common of all—can catch hold of your pet 3-4 times a year. Here you can learn the yeast infection dog symptoms, and what to feed a dog having yeast infection.
Yeast Infection in Dogs
Yeasts are spore-producing fungi commonly present on a dog’s skin as a part of its natural flora. Yeast can lead to minor or critical infection when its production is somehow increased. It is a prevalent infection in dogs, especially in crevices and folds of skin where moisture and coolness stay longer. Yeast thrives in hot and humid seasons; therefore, the summer season is the prime time for the yeast to grow.
Yeasts reproduce through common apomixis (asexual reproduction) —Budding. When it finds optimum conditions, the rate of reproduction increases, causing yeast infection or Malassezia Dermatitis. In addition to yeast infections, it is also possible for dogs to have hypersensitivity reactions to the fungus on their bodies, which can lead to them scratching relentlessly. Two main types of yeasts cause infections:
- The fungus Malassezia pachydermatis causes Malassezia Dermatitis, a skin condition that mostly affects moist areas such as ears (otitis), but also affects the neck, lips, paws, groin, neck, facial folds, or tail.
- Candida yeast has over 200 species. It’s the most common type of fungal infection in pets and can target any part of the body.
Breeds at High Risk of Dog Yeast Infection
Yeast otitis in dogs is common with floppy ears. Dog breeds that are highly susceptible to a yeast infection in ears are:
- Basset Hounds
- English Setters
- Cocker Spaniels
- Golden Retrievers
- Labrador Retrievers
Dogs with allergies or skin-related diseases are also prone to infection. Other possible conditions are steroid consumption for a prolonged period or if they’re on antibiotics. Regardless for yeast infection is dog’s ears, you must regularly clean your pet’s ears with the solutions like dog ear cleaner for yeast infection.
What Causes Yeast Infections in Dogs?
Yeast overgrowth is often associated with low immunity, as well-fed and healthy dogs are at lesser risk of skin infection. These infections are often secondary, and disruption of yeast-fungi balance can be a result of underlying problems such as:
- Good or environmental allergies.
- Underlying skin disease, mainly atopic dermatitis, or flea allergy dermatitis.
- Hormonal disorders or imbalances.
- External skin parasites.
- Tumor or polyp within the ear canal.
- Recurrent bacterial infection.
- Endocrine diseases, such as diabetes, hypothyroidism, and Cushing’s disease.
- Overuse of antibiotics and steroids.
- Ruptured eardrum.
- Carbohydrates or sugar in the diet.
- Low hygiene and sanitation.
- Naturally oily skin.
Symptoms of Yeast Infection in Dogs
One of the earliest dog yeast infection symptoms is a foul odor. Dogs can feel itch and scratch for several reasons, such as pest infestation, mange, allergies, etc. In order to distinguish yeast infection from other diseases, one can easily distinguish them by taking note of their smells.
Otitis externa is easily identifiable as the outer layer of the ears are infected. Scratching and shaking of the head are the most common signs of yeast infection in dogs ears. Some yellow-brown discharge can be seen if the yeast affects the middle to the inner ear. The ear will appear to be greasy.
They are always sweaty, which makes them a good place for yeast to grow; the paws are likely to smell pungent in case of infection. The yeast gets transferred to other body parts as the dog licks any other area after licking the paws. One major identification of dog paw yeast infection is the discoloration of fur in areas being licked. They turn rust-red. There can also be discharge from the nail bed.
Wrinkles and skin folds are comfortable homes for yeasts to proliferate. Dog skin yeast infection early signs include reddened and scaly skin. Over time, the affected areas can see flakes and hair loss.
Overall symptoms are:
- Increased itching and scratching.
- Pungent odor.
- Excessive grooming at the affected site.
- Licking, biting, or chewing at paws.
- Tilting and shaking head and scratching at ears.
- Crusty, red skin.
- Regional hair loss.
- Scattered rust-colored fur.
- Inflammation of the toes.
- Leathery and darkened skin.
- Discharge from ears.
- Discolored (grey, black) skin.
- Loss of balance or hearing (in critical cases).
- Disoriented circular movements.
How to Treat Yeast Infections in Dogs?
Pets with an underactive immune system, identified by IgA, IgM, and IgG testing, and pets with overactive immune systems and allergies can both be affected by chronic yeast. The primary step to cure yeast infection is to ensure that the underlying diseases are under proper treatment and the immunity is improving. Simultaneous treatment of the skin and digestive tract is essential to successfully eradicate infection. The vet uses different methods to cure the infection based on its location.
The initial step is to study the cells and the yeast reproduction rate affecting the area. A small sample of skin is used for the test. Further, oral drugs and topical ointments are prescribed to curb discomfort and itching. Antifungal cream for dogs paws, sprays, tubes, and shampoos are often recommended. Effective ingredients in the prescribed medications are chlorhexidine, miconazole, and ketoconazole.
Apply antifungal drops follow cytology (cell study through the skin or discharge sample), and creams on the affected area. Some vets suggest ear cleaners with a drying agent to eliminate moisture. Severe cases involve oral prescriptions as well.
Home Remedies for Dog Yeast Infection
As mentioned earlier, some breeds are more prone to yeast infections. Therefore, it’s important to list and learn dog yeast infection home remedy to prevent and possibly, treat fungal infections.
#1 Coconut Oil
It contains fatty acids – linoleic acid and lauric acid. It has anti-inflammatory and works as a moisturizer by acting as a protective skin barrier.
#2 Hemp Oil
CBD hemp or seed oil is a major source of fatty acids and Omega oils, which have antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties. They help maintain the average moisture content of the skin.
# Apple Cider Vinegar
The use of apple cider vinegar (proper dilution is extremely important) can alter the skin’s pH ever so slightly that it eliminates the risk of yeast overhead while not causing any harm. It can drastically relieve itching.
#4 Essential Oils
They can soothe the affected skin and comfort your pet. They are known to prevent inflammation. Although harmful for dogs (in large quantities), tea-tree oil is an excellent ingredient in antifungal sprays to treat specific areas.
#5 Neem Oil
The herb neem oil has natural anti fungal properties, and it is commonly used in herbal bathing shampoos. Apply the neem shampoo for dogs probably 10 minutes before rinsing it off is advisable.
Before attempting any remedy, consult your veterinarian first. These options are secondary to total prescriptions by a professional.
How to Prevent Yeast Dermatitis in Dogs?
All the treatments fail if you don’t give proper attention and care to the situation throughout the year. Hence, it is a crucial requirement to stick to safety measures.
- Regular visits to the vet.
- Frequent checks for odor.
- Examine the skin, paws, and ears for discoloration, redness, or inflammation.
- Eliminate moisture by drying thoroughly.
- Use medicated dog shampoo for yeast with natural antifungal ingredients for bathing the pets.
- Treat seasonal or clinical allergies.
- Use a damp wipe to clean the head and ears instead of soaking them wet.
- Maintenance treatment.
- Hygiene and sanitation (clipping of nails, etc.).
- Balanced diet to build stronger immunity.
What to Feed When Dog Has a Yeast Infection?
Strengthening the natural defense mechanism of the body is the fundamental step. The most successful method of doing so is including meat-based, homemade dog food for yeast infections. Supplements, like the fish oil pills for dogs and salmon (wild-caught), containing an optimum percentage of omega-3 and omega-6 in the diet are important. Low sugar and carbohydrate diet is advised, as sugar serves as food for yeast. A proper sugar-free, grain-free, carb-free diet is necessary for the patient. The following diet can be followed:
- Raw diet (including semi-cooked, steamed vegetables)
- Homemade Food Diet
- Commercial Diet (labeled ‘Limited Ingredient Whole Food’).
Other Things to Include in the Diet are:
- Yogurt: Yogurt is rich in digestive enzymes and can improve the overall health of pet-patient.
- Fresh Garlic: It is one of the easiest and natural ways to fight yeast infection.
- Thyme, Parsley, Oregano: Small quantities of herbs can build-up and nourish health.
- Probiotics: Healthy bacteria are perfect to fend off infections, they help increase the walls of natural defence, thereby, increasing immunity. So, give your pet the best probiotic for dog yeast infection.
- Coconut Oil: It is useful to fight off the micro-organisms due to the presence of lauric acid. It can improve digestive health and prevent immune disorders.
- Aloe Vera: It has excellent anti fungal properties to aid your pet recover from the infection easily.
- Fermented Vegetables: Steamed and fermented vegetables are healthy alternatives to any other commercial food to ensure sugar-free and carb-free diet.
Avoid highly processed pet food, fructose corn syrup additives, rice, potato, wheat and grains for the yeast dermatitis in dogs condition.
Eradication of yeast infection involves a series of some interdependent methods which concern professional help as well as individual alertness. People can take good care for their canines through anti yeast dog food approach as well as topical medication. Home remedies are successful, when coupled with vet prescriptions.