A dog’s skin and gut provide a natural home for healthy microbes which, under normal circumstances, they are harmless and may even provide health benefits to man’s best friend — yeast is a good example. However, when Fido’s yeast population feels overly at home and starts getting out of control, the harmony is thrown out of balance and an infection occurs.
Fortunately, a yeast infection is typically not serious and is easy to treat with a home remedy. Read on to learn more.
Causes and Symptoms of Yeast Infection in Dogs
The immune system does a fairly good job of keeping naturally-occurring microbes in the body under control. Under certain conditions, however, yeast overgrowth occurs — causing an opportunistic infection. Risk factors for yeast infection in dogs include:
- Breed predisposition. Genetically predisposed breeds include Australian terrier, basset hound, cocker spaniel, chihuahua, dachshund, Lhasa Apso, Maltese terrier, poodle, Shetland sheepdog, silky terrier, and West Highland terrier.
- Having skin folds.
- Hot and humid weather.
- Immune suppression. This may occur if a dog is taking an immunosuppressant such as corticosteroid or antibiotics, or has an immune deficiency. As a dog ages, his immune system also weakens.
- Skin changes. A skin allergy, seborrhea (overproduction of oil), or other changes in skin environment which provide ideal conditions for the proliferation of yeast can lead to an infection. Dermatitis and other causes of skin irritation may also lead to secondary yeast infection.
If you observe any of the following symptoms, your dog may have a yeast infection.
- Constant/vigorous scratching, chewing, and licking of the affected area/s
- Frequent head shaking or tilting may mean that yeast infection is in your dog’s ears
- Chronic ear infection
- Flaky skin
- Thickened skin
- Hyperpigmented skin, pink or red areas on the skin, or speckles on the stomach
- Musty odor or stinky feet
- Hair loss, usually on the tail and upper back
Home Remedy for Dog Yeast Infection
Firstly, if you suspect that your dog may have yeast infection, you should have him checked by your veterinarian. If yeast infection is confirmed, commonly prescribed treatments may include an anti-fungal shampoo, topical medication, ear drops, oral medications, or any combination of these.
Secondly, you should know that dog yeast infection is not contagious. So you don’t need to worry about other animals also developing the infection through close or direct contact with the infected dog.
You do need to get the condition under control. And it’s important that whether you follow a vet-recommended course of treatment or a home remedy for dog yeast infection, you should complete the treatment course to prevent a recurrence. Even when external symptoms have disappeared before the course of treatment has been completed, do not stop the treatment.
Likewise, if the yeast infection was caused by another condition, such as dermatitis, you have to treat both conditions to make sure that the infection is completely eradicated and balance is restored. However, chronic yeast infection, such as one associated with an immune condition, will require constant management.
Here are some home remedies for dog yeast infection — whether chronic or opportunistic — that can help you effectively manage the condition.
Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse
Apple cider vinegar has amazing antifungal properties to help and will also help restore your dog’s skin healthy pH levels. You can dilute ACV with water (1:1 ratio) or directly massage the vinegar onto Fido’s skin. Focus on the affected areas. This is recommended after giving your pet a bath, as yeast prefer moist or damp conditions and ACV will help dry out the affected areas quickly.
Coconut Oil Topical Treatment
Coconut oil has been scientifically proven to have antifungal properties and has been shown to help inhibit Candida, in particular, which is the most common cause of yeast infection. Mix together extra virgin coconut oil and a few drops of lavender oil and lemon essential oil. Apply the oil mixture directly on the affected areas of skin and massage gently. Do this once a day. Lavender and lemon both have soothing properties that will also help remedy the skin irritation caused by constant scratching.
Green Tea Ear Solution
For yeast ear infection, steep two green tea bags in one cup water for 5 minutes. Remove the tea bags and let the tea cool to room temperature. Use a syringe or a sponge to apply a few drops of the tea directly into Fido’s ear canal. Gently massage the base of his ear — be extra careful especially if your dog is already experiencing some pain in his ear. Do this once a day. Green tea has potent antimicrobial properties that will soon eradicate the infection.
Cut Back on Sugar
Yeast feed on sugar, and if your pet already has a yeast infection, it’s important that you limit his sugar intake to starve the yeast and get the overgrowth under control. Switch him over to a raw diet while you’re treating his infection to hasten his recovery.
Supplementing your pet’s diet with probiotics will help restore the healthy balance of his body’s natural microbes. Probiotics are not only beneficial while treating your dog’s yeast infection; making them part of his regular diet will also help prevent, or at least minimize, future yeast infections as the good bacteria in probiotics will keep other microbes in check.
CBD has anti-inflammatory properties that may offer relief from the symptoms of yeast infection, thereby potentially aiding in faster treatment for some dogs. Full-spectrum CBD oils (which contain terpenes and other cannabinoids), in particular, also have stronger antifungal effects compared to CBD isolate oils (which only contain cannabidiol). The presence of other beneficial cannabinoids boosts the effects of cannabidiol so that the full benefits of the oil are delivered.
You can apply CBD oil directly on the affected areas once a day. You can also give Fido a few drops of oil or you can opt for CBD treats to help calm him down — in case the yeast infection makes him anxious from the discomfort. Consult your vet regarding proper dosage, or follow the product’s dosage instructions.
Home Remedy for Dog Yeast Infection - Final Thoughts
It’s always best to have your dog checked by a veterinarian to confirm diagnosis of yeast infection so that he can receive proper treatment. But you can also try any of these home remedies to help manage his symptoms.
Remember to also seek your vet’s advice before giving your canine pal a new supplement. When it comes to CBD, the oil may interact with other medications your dog is taking, so get your vet’s go-ahead if you’re thinking of giving him CBD oil orally or CBD treats.
When using topical applications, make sure Fido does not lick the treated areas. You may have to put a cone on him to prevent him from doing this.