Have you ever noticed your dog licking his paws, shaking his head, or dragging his butt across the rug? These are the symptoms of the dog who is dealing with discomfort. One of the most common causes of such issues can be a yeast infection in dogs.
Such infections usually tend to develop on the skin, ears, paws, armpits, and mouth. It is also considered a fungal infection that is not contagious but can make the skin itchy.
If not properly treated, it can even get worse. Thus, it is important to look at those signs and symptoms to prevent or treat them quickly. Have a look at this comprehensive guide to get a better idea of the potential causes and risk factors.
What is a Yeast Infection in Dogs?
Yeast infection is an inflammatory skin condition. It is quite common in dogs and majorly found on the skin, ears, pads, and other sensitive areas of the body. Such a condition triggers the years to reproduce at increased rates till it becomes a major issue.
Yeast is basically a fungus that can always be found on a dog’s skin but in low numbers. Keep in mind; a yeast infection occurs when there is an excessive amount of yeast in a specific area.
The following are the dog breeds that are more prone to this health condition:
- Shih Tzus
- West Highland White Terriers
- American Cocker Spaniels
- Basset Hounds
- English Setters
- Australian Silky Terriers
What Causes a Yeast Infection in Dogs?
Yeast infections in dogs are mostly secondary problems. It means there exists some other issue or disorder that weakens the defense mechanisms of the skin. This further allows the yeast to grow in abnormal numbers.
There are many causes of yeast infection in dogs. Below are some of the common ones that include:
The first and the foremost cause of a yeast infection in dogs are allergies. Some dogs are mostly allergic to food, fleas, and other substances in the environment. While others can also develop allergic reactions to the yeast. This condition can make skin oilier and cause skin irritation.
Good bacterias are naturally present on the dog’s skin with yeast. They usually help to keep the yeast levels in balance. Different antibiotics, if used by the dogs, wipe out both the good and bad bacterias. It leads the yeast to grow in excessive numbers.
Typically, vets prescribe steroid medications to treat dogs with autoimmune allergies and diseases. These disorders can cause an overreaction of the immune system.
They weaken the immune system but also make dogs more vulnerable to yeast infections. Moreover, it affects the ability of the system to fight off germs.
Other Medical Conditions
Many people do not know how to groom a dog. There are different medical conditions such as seborrhea oleosa and diabetes that create an environment promoting yeast overgrowth.
However, no research has confirmed that the following things cause yeast infection on a dog’s skin.
- Brewer’s yeast
- Oatmeal shampoos
- Sugar or carbohydrates in food
Symptoms of Yeast Infection in Dogs
A variety of conditions can tell that your dog has a yeast infection. Here are the common symptoms and signs of a yeast infection in dogs.
- Itching skin or ears
- Scratching or licking a specific area
- Biting an area
- Walking in circles
- Scooting his butt along with the carpet
- Unusual eye movements
- Rubbing the affected body areas against furniture
- Shaking the head
- Tilting his head
- Irritating skin
- Loss of balance
- Smelly odor
- Sores from scratching
- Loss of hearing
- Discharge from ears
- Discoloration of nails
- Thickening and darkening skin
- Recurring ear infections
- Greasy coat
- Hair loss
Risk Factors to Increase Yeast Infections
Below are the risk factors that can increase the likelihood of yeast infections in dogs.
- Humid and hot climate
- Skin irritation
- Underlying skin diseases like atopic dermatitis
- Skin folds
Common Areas for Yeast Infections in Dogs
The following are the most common areas for yeast infections in dogs.
Yeast Infection in Dog’s Ears
The ear yeast infection in dogs is very common. It causes redness and brown discharge with a sweet or musty smell. Furthermore, such infections may extend to the flap of the ear, where they appear to be itchy and greasy.
Dogs with this condition usually rub the head and scratch the ears excessively. A vet may prescribe an antifungal cream or ointment to treat the infection.
Yeast Infection in Dog’s Paws
The dogs suffering from yeast infection have red and itchy paws. It can occur anywhere on the paws, but the underside skin between the pads is mostly affected. It can cause brown discharge from the nail beds.
Dogs with this infection lick their paws and may lead to hair loss. It is mostly treated by oral treatment.
Yeast Infection in Dog’s Skin
Yeast infection can occur anywhere on the dog’s skin. Such infections can be seen in the areas that are moist, such as the belly or skin folds. The affected skin may be irritated, red, greasy, itchy, with hair loss. However, the skin may darken or thicken if the infection is chronic.
Yeast Infection in Dog’s Mouth
The yeast infection of a dog’s face or mouth can lead to extreme itching or rubbing. They usually suffer from bad breath, drooling, and difficulty eating.
Some dogs also experience extreme pain with a white coating on the mouth or tongue.
Yeast Infection in Dog’s Eyes
The most common symptoms of the yeast infection in the dog’s eyes include discharge from the affected eye with swelling. They are comparatively serious and may lead to blindness. Thus, it should be treated immediately with the eye drops or medications recommended by the vet.
Yeast Infection in Dog’s Vulva
The clinical signs of the dog’s yeast infection include the licking of the vagina, increased frequency of urination, and pus or blood in the urine. Similarly, the vagina will appear red and swollen.
How to Diagnose a Dog’s Yeast Infection?
You can diagnose the yeast infection in your dog by taking him to the vet. The vet will take some samples for the dog’s affected body areas. There are several techniques that are used to collect samples.
- Impression Spear - It involves pressing a microscope slide on the skin to collect yeast organisms.
- Skin Scraping - It involves scraping the skin with a blade to collect a sample.
- Cotton Swab - Here, the vet rubs the moistened swab on the skin to collect organisms.
- A Piece of Tape - It involves applying a piece of clear tape to the skin.
- Skin Biopsy - Here, the vet obtains a small piece of skin with a biopsy punch. It is the most effective way to diagnose and provide complete details of the infection.
A veterinary pathologist reviews the sample under a microscope to reveal if the dog is suffering from a yeast infection. It also helps the vet to analyze the sample of other issues.
Usually, dogs with such infections may also have other bacterial infections or skin mites. Thus, only diagnosing and treating the yeast infection may not solve the problem.
How to Treat Yeast Infection in Dogs?
There are two main types of treatment for a dog’s yeast infection.
These treatment options are discussed below in detail.
1. Topical Treatment
It includes topical products like ointments and shampoos, along with antifungal pills. The most common type of infection can be treated with a medicated ear wash. It helps to reduce the amount of yeast. Squeeze the bottle solution in the dog's ears and massage the base with a medicated shampoo, ointment, or wipes
If the skin is greasy, scaly, and oily, wash it with degreasing or antifungal shampoo. It should contain selenium sulfide or benzoyl peroxide. These are used once or twice a week to kill the germs.
You can also apply antifungal medications, cream, spray, or lotion to the affected area daily. Here are some common antifungal medications:
2. Oral Treatment
Sometimes topical treatments are not effective for dogs that hate to take bathe or have long, dense coats. In such situations, vets recommend oral treatments.
Here, the dogs have to take antifungal pills for advanced or chronic cases as it kills yeast fast. The following antibiotic pills have been prescribed by a vet for four to twelve weeks.
Although these medicines are highly effective, they can also affect the stomach and the liver. The dog owners should monitor the pet and its blood circulation during an ora treatment.
Generally, topical treatments are enough if the yeast infection is mild or limited to just one to two areas. Nevertheless, if the infection is widespread or severe, the dog may need oral medication.
Home Remedies to Manage Dog’s Yeast Infection
Some home remedies for treating dog yeast infections are also proved to be effective. The following ways are useful to prevent the condition.
Rinse the Dog With Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is the best solution to get rid of fungal infections. Just apply it directly to the dog’s coat and massage the body. It helps to restore the pH levels by stopping the overgrowth of yeast. However, it is better to apply the solution after the dog is done with swimming and bathing.
Stop Feeding Yeast to Your Dog
The owner should remove carbs and sugar from the dog’s diet to stop the growth of yeast. Carbohydrates consist of sugar molecules, and it is broken down into sugar when the dog consumes it. This sugar in return feeds the yeast.
Therefore, it is better to avoid millet, oat, rice, corn, peas, wheat, and potatoes. Instead, dogs with yeast infections should have a raw diet because it is low in carbs.
Apply Coconut Oil on the Affected Area
One of the best ways to treat yeast infections in dogs is by massaging coconut oil on the affected area. It should be applied at least once a week.
Use Green Tea for Yeast Infected Ears
You can also treat the infected ears by applying the green tea solution to the dog’s ear canal. Use a piece of sponge or syringe to soothe the skin.
Take Proper Diet
The owners can feed the below-given diets to treat infections on a dog’s skin.
- Coconut oil
- Fermented vegetables
- Yeast-free dog foods
- Anti-yeast dog foods
On the other hand, the following foods must be avoided.
- Fish oil
- Organic food
- Pet fluoridated water
- Olive leaf
How to Prevent Yeast Infection from Happening Again?
Despite all the treatments, some other ways can also prevent yeast infection from happening again. The prevention of such infections in dogs must address the underlying causes as it will reduce the possibility of recurrence.
The first way includes routine bathing with an antifungal shampoo. But keep in mind, the lather must stay on the dog’s skin for at least ten minutes before rinsing. It will make the shampoo treatment even more effective.
Gently dry the dog’s skin after he takes a bath or swims. You can also use a cleaning medicine or dry agent. Moreover, ask the groomer to trim or pluck the hair present on the skin or opening of the ears. You can also do it easily.
Dogs with skin folds need regular maintenance to keep the areas from becoming moist. It is because yeast usually develops in moist and dark body areas.
Rub the skin with a Hibiscrub for two minutes after bathing. For this, use enough water so that foam is formed. Then later, remove the foam and dry it with sterile gauze. This condition kills bacteria, yeasts, and other viruses.
Use other herbal products like tea tree oil. It has mild anti-inflammatory or antiseptic properties that should be applied externally when diluted. However, it can be dangerous for some dogs, so never apply it on a spot that your pet can lick.
Lastly, if you suspect the dog of developing yeast infections, consult a vet to diagnose and treat the condition immediately.
This detailed guide will help you understand the common symptoms, causes, and treatment of systemic yeast infection in dogs. The prognosis is generally good, but the condition requires long-term treatment.
Your emotional support animal can also suffer from this health condition. You have to be very careful about choosing a treatment option. Consulting a professional vet can help you diagnose, prevent or treat yeast dermatitis in dogs at early stages. This is how you can spend quality time with ESA.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Is yogurt good for dogs with yeast infections?
Probiotic yogurt is safe for dogs as it can help them to fight yeast infections that may cause skin or ear problems. Furthermore, it also helps them to boost their immunity.
2. How long does yeast infection last in dogs?
It usually takes up to six weeks for the infection to recover.
3. How often should you bathe a dog with a yeast infection?
The dog with a yeast infection must be bathed twice a week and the shampoo requires a 15 minute contact time.