Welcome To Our Complete Guide To Yeast Infections In Dogs.
If You Are Worried That Your Dog Might Have Picked Up A Yeast Infection In Their Paws, Belly Or Even Private Parts (!) There Is Plenty That Can Be Done To Help.
Whether You’ve Returned From The Vets Feeling Muddled, Or Are Waiting For Your Appointment, Here’s Everything You Need To Know About Yeast Infections In Dogs.
By learning more about the ailments effecting our dogs we can help ensure they get the best care possible.
So, what causes yeast infections in dogs?
And, how do our vets treat them?
First, let’s look at the different kinds of yeast infection.
Types of yeast infection in dogs
Yeast is the name we give to a number of different tiny fungi.
These microscopic organisms are more closely related to mushrooms than they are to bacteria.
But just like bacteria, they cause some nasty health problems to crop up.
Yeast organisms are enthusiastic. They will establish a population wherever they can eek out a living.
It’s not surprising that they are therefore responsible for several complaints in dogs.
Yeast, and funguses generally, can effect a dogs ears, skin, paws, genitals, stomach and nervous system.
Ear infections are a common complaint, and yeast is often the culprit.
Let’s look first at how a dog ear yeast infection comes about.
What causes yeast infections in dogs ears?
A daunting number of microbes can threaten our dogs ears.
Often these are caused by a species of the mallesezia fungus.
This fungus is one of the many yeasts that exist around us.
When it, or another yeast, causes an infection it’s known as a yeast infection.
Healthy dogs’ ears are likely to be covered in different species of microscopic fungi, including yeast like malessezia.
Usually these cause no issues at all.
Your dog’s immune system will generally keep on top of things pretty well.
But changing environmental conditions, or lowered immunity, can lead this normally harmless population of fungus to spiral out of control.
Once the yeast is numerous enough, even a dog with well a healthy immune system will struggle to shake the fungus off.
Ear infections can be very painful.
If your dog is pawing at his ears, this can be a sign that an infection has taken root.
When they spread deep enough they can also cause issues with balance, and a fever.
If you suspect your dog has an ear infection it’s best to take them to the vet.
Aside from the obvious discomfort, yeast will open up the floodgates to more dangerous microbes.
The same fungus that causes ear infections frequently causes dermatitis too.
Dog yeast infection skin
Skin conditions are no fun for dogs, or anyone for that matter.
Itchy and inflamed skin, also called dermatitis, can make dogs constantly uncomfortable.
This discomfort can lead to a lack of sleep, but inflamed skin can also lead to more infections developing.
Cracked and damaged skin is a prime target for any secondary bacterial infection that might want to take hold.
If your dog is persistently itching it’s best to take him to a vet.
His skin may also appear reddened, but this is hard to see under fur.
Is a yeast infection different when it’s on a different part of the dog?
Let’s look at yeast skin infections on dogs’ paws.
Dog yeast infection paws
Though technically still yeast dermatitis, infections on the paws can have different effects.
Your dog’s paws are one of the most likely parts of him to be exposed to bacteria.
This means the risk of secondary infections is increased.
We have to be careful to keep our dogs paws clean if they’re compromised in this way.
This is largely the same as when humans have athlete’s foot.
Yeast thrives in damp environment so it’s also very important to keep our dogs feet dry to reduce the changes of yeast infection in dogs’ paws.
But what about other areas of the body?
Can yeast infections affect dogs’ bellies too?
Dog yeast infection belly
Yeast infections can take hold on dog’s bellies. Both on the outside as with the paws, but also on the inside!
A different species of yeast, candida albicans, is usually responsible for this ailment.
In a healthy dog a small population of this fungus is spread throughout the gut and respiratory system.
As with the yeast that can cause skin infections, they usually don’t cause a problem.
Changes in the gut, and lowered immunity, can cause the yeast to overpopulate.
Overpopulation can also be caused by broad spectrum antibiotics.
This condition is known as candiasis.
The most common symptom of candiasis in the belly is diarrhea.
The overgrowth of yeast irritates the lining of the gut.
Occasionally this overgrowth may spread to other parts of the body. At this point it becomes much more serious.
If your dog has diarrhea for any long period, it’s a good idea to see a vet. This symptom can cause dehydration in and of itself.
A huge range of conditions can cause diarrhea so it’s good to make sure the right one is identified.
You may have heard about yeast infections in humans. This usually seems to be to do with their private parts, and that word candiasis might be ringing a few bells with you from the medicine cabinet.
Dogs can be affected in the same way.
Female dog yeast infection
Female dog yeast infections are much the same as female human yeast infections.
Candida albicans is again the usual suspect here.
Naturally present, as in the gut, it has the capability to overgrow.
This is usually caused when something upsets the balance of microbes in the vagina.
A course of antibiotics can have this effect.
Female dog yeast infection symptoms mainly consist of irritation.
When a female dogs genitals become irritated and inflamed this is called vaginitis.
It’s worth pointing out that this type of yeast infection is actually quite rare in dogs.
This is one example of why it’s best to have a vet diagnose the condition before we jump to treatment.
No we’re fully familiar with the range of different yeast infections that can affect our dogs.
Let’s look at how to cure yeast infections in dogs.
Dog yeast infection treatment
Happily, there are good treatment options for a yeast infection in dogs.
When vets look at how to treat yeast infection in dogs, a few factors are considered.
Firstly whether it is an internal of external issue.
External yeast infection treatments
Where the infection is, what it is, and what other health conditions your dog might have.
Dog skin yeast infection treatment often consists of using a medicated shampoo.
These generally contain an anti fungal agent like chlorhexdine, miconazole or ketoconazole.
These chemicals can kill the yeast that is causing the infection. After being treated with a dog shampoo for yeast infections, recovery is fairly quick.
Dogs usually stop feeling itchy in around a week.
When vets are looking at how to treat yeast infection in dogs’ ears, they can use similar agents.
Usually the composition is slightly different.
This medication generally comes in the form of dog ear drops for yeast infection.
Internal yeast infection treatments
Vets treat internal yeast infections a little differently.
The principle is still the same though.
We need medication that will seek out and destroy this rogue population, without harming our dogs.
Fluconazole and the earlier mentioned ketoconazole are both available as oral medicines.
Entering the dogs blood stream, these chemicals can sweep through any colony of yeast in our dog’s body.
Which medicine is chosen will depend upon the type of yeast that has taken root.
These oral medicines can also be used in the same way for external yeast infections, and as a dog ear yeast infection treatment.
A lot of the decisions vets make will be based on your dog.
A puppy yeast infection, for example, may require a different course of treatment to that of an adult dog.
But going to the vet is big deal – so is there a dog yeast infection treatment home remedy that is effective?
Dog yeast infection home remedy
There are more proposed home remedies for canine yeast infections than anyone could list.
Sadly, most of these natural remedies for yeast infection in dogs don’t seem to have any science behind them.
Some do have a basis and deserve a closer look however.
For skin and ear yeast infections, some people recommend using apple cider vinegar. There is method to this madness though, although you might not want to try it.
Vinegar has demonstrated anti fungal properties in studies.
Sprays for cleaning of mold, a type of fungus, off walls sometimes contain vinegar.
Unfortunately, the research is insufficient to say anything conclusive about dogs. We just don’t know if vinegar is a reliable dog skin yeast infection home remedy.
One common home remedy for humans with internal yeast infections is to eat yoghurt.
The main reason this is thought to work is the bacteria Lacto bacillus.
Lacto Bacillus has been shown to stabilize the population of bacteria and fungus in the gut and vagina.
This won’t work as well for dogs as lactose rich yogurt can irritate a dog’s stomach.
Using the bacteria alone may be a way around this.
Research is still ongoing, but studies have shown benefits to giving lacto bacillus supplements to dogs.
One problem with home remedies is a lack of dosage information. The amount of any remedy we give to a dog will alter the outcome.
Pharmaceutical medicines have been tested to find the ideal safe dose.
The other problem is misdiagnosis.
Your vet is the best person to tell you what is definitely wrong. If your dog doesn’t have a yeast infection, you may fail to treat the actual condition.
And if you treat it incorrectly you are leaving them suffering for longer than necessary, which is inhumane.
This is why a diagnosis from a professional is very important.
Best dog food for yeast infections
Diet alone won’t usually be enough to shake off a yeast infection.
It can certainly help recovery, and limit damage though.
This is especially true when it comes to skin infections.
Fatty acids can play a huge role in how a dog maintains his skin.
These nutrients have also been shown to be effective in reducing the symptoms of dermatitis.
By making sure a dog has a good amount of fatty acids in his diet we can make a yeast infection less unpleasant.
Nowadays quite a lot of foods have fatty acids added in.
If not, choosing a food with a high fat content will generally have the same effect.
Stronger skin can also help prevent yeast infections.
Studies have found that dogs with existing skin conditions are more likely to develop yeast infections. This makes sense.
Dry cracked skin will develop hiding places for a population of yeast.
Let’s take a look at what we’ve learned about dog yeast infections.
Yeast infections in dogs
Yeast is all around, and all over, us and our dogs.
It’s important, however, not to jump to conclusions.
Yeast infections can look, to the layman, exactly like bacterial infections.
If we assume the cause and treat accordingly we could be wide off the mark.
Only a vet will be able to diagnose the cause of your dog’s discomfort.
By getting this diagnosis, you will know exactly what to do.
Your vet will advise treatment options that will work.
Yeast infections aren’t usually dangerous, but they do have a small potential to cause major harm.
So if you suspect your pup has one, get to the vet as soon as possible.
What’s your experience with dog yeast infections? Let us know in the comments below!
- Yeast dermatitis in dogs E. Ward DVM
- Fungal Infections in Dogs MSD Vet manual
- The Microbial Environment of the Ear Canal in Health and Disease J. Kowalski DVM
- Systemic candidiasis in a dog J. C. Heseltine
- Candidiasis J. Taboada
- Diet and skin disease in dogs and cats T. D. G. Watson
- The anatomical distribution and antimicrobial susceptibility of yeast species isolated from healthy dogs H. S. Erika et al
- Factors associated with elevated cutaneous Malassezia pachydermatis populations in dogs with Pruritic skin Disease R. Bond et al
- Effects of a probiotic Lactobacillus acidophilus strain on feed tolerance in dogs with non-specific dietary sensitivity. M. Pascher
- Vinegar as an antimicrobial agent for control of Candida spp. in complete denture wearers M. Telma
- Malassezia pachydermatis W. Oldenhoff
- Ear Infections in Dogs (Otitis Externa) E. Ward DVM