Is your furry mate in constant discomfort, licking, and gnawing at its feet? Or have its ears turned gunky, and it just can’t stop scratching them? Also, if you can pick a foul and musty smell from the coat, take it as a possibility that your poor pooch has been infested by yeasts, an infection also known as yeast dermatitis.
It is a common “pet peeve,” especially in a hot and humid climate. Yeast is a type of fungus that is found both on the skin and in the gut of every healthy dog or cat.
Your pet’s natural defense keeps the number of yeasts in check. However, at times, a stressed immune system can lead to abnormal growth of the fungus, giving way to a yeast infection.
- Causes and Symptoms of Yeast Infection in Pets
- Home Remedies to Treat Yeast Infection in Pets
- Method 1: White Vinegar
- Method 2: Yogurt
- Method 3: Apple Cider Vinegar
- Method 4: Acidophilus
- Method 5: Tea Tree
- Method 6: Coconut Oil
- Method 7: Colloidal Silver
- Method 8: Zymox Solution with Hydrocortisone
- Method 9: Diet
- Tips to help your pet suffering from yeast infection
Causes and Symptoms of Yeast Infection in Pets
Yeast infection is primarily caused by the overgrowth of Malassezia pachydermatis yeast. A suppressed immune system can cause the overgrowth because of heavy doses of antibiotics, any allergy, hormonal factors, or your pet may be born with it. (5)
The common symptoms of a yeast infection include:
- Severe itching on the skin especially in the paw pads and ears. It can affect other areas such as armpits, necks, and anal area.
- Pink/red and inflamed skin that may feel slightly warm.
- Constantly licking the inflamed areas.
- Greasy coat and/or flaky skin.
- Black dots on the skin along with hair loss in that area.
- Smelly ears or skin.
- Head shaking and yellow, foul-smelling discharge from the ears.
- Thick skin in chronic cases.
Home Remedies to Treat Yeast Infection in Pets
While it is important to take your pet to the vet as soon as you notice the symptoms, a number of adjunct home remedies can also be used in to speed up the recovery.
Here are some home remedies you can use to treat yeast infection in dogs and other pets.
Method 1: White Vinegar
White vinegar works as a powerful disinfectant to clean the infected site and soothe the red and inflamed skin. As applying vinegar directly can irritate, it is important to dilute the vinegar first.
Vinegar can be used multi-way. You can prepare a wash for your pet’s coat and paws, or use it as ear-drops if the infection is in the ears to help treat infection in dogs and other pets.
Single-Step Treatment: Apply diluted white vinegar on the affected area
- Mix ¼ cup of white vinegar in a ¾ cup of water. Keep the ratio 1:3 when preparing a bigger batch.
- Mix the two well.
- If the infection is in the ears, use a syringe or eye dropper to pour 5 to 10 drops of the solution into its ears. Close the ear flap and massage the ear for 20 seconds.
- If the infection is on the skin, soak a cotton ball in the solution and apply it on the affected surface.
- Do not rinse the area with water. Let the vinegar air dry.
Use white vinegar 3 times a day for 1 or 2 days to see improvement in the condition. Continue doing so until your pet stops scratching its ears or skin.
Method 2: Yogurt
Increasing the good bacteria in your pooch’s gut will help raise its natural defense to counter infections. Yogurt is one such probiotic that can provide relief to your canine friend.
Yogurt contains the strains of good bacteria that help to treat yeast infection in dogs and other pets. (1)
Single-Step Treatment: Add plain yogurt to your pet’s food
- Add ¼ cup of probiotic yogurt to your dog’s food.
- Increase the quantity to 1/2 cup for a larger dog.
Feed the appropriate quantity of yogurt once daily for 3 to 4 days to alleviate the itching and inflammation. Continue feeding on a regular basis for at least 1 month to boost immunity and to prevent the infection from relapsing and help treat yeast infection in dogs and other pets.
Method 3: Apple Cider Vinegar
Similar to white vinegar, the anti-fungal content of apple cider vinegar can also kill the fungi causing yeast infection in your pet. It also contains enzymes that help boost your pet’s immunity.
Apple cider can be used topically as well as can be mixed into your pet’s drinking water for internal healing. You can also mix apple cider vinegar and yogurt to treat bladder infections in dogs or spray it on your dog's coat to treat mange.
Single-Step Treatment: Spray diluted apple cider vinegar on affected areas
- Take a small spray bottle half-filled with water.
- Fill the remaining half with raw and unfiltered apple cider vinegar.
- Shake well and spray it on all the itchy areas of your pet. Let it air dry.
- For an ear infection, spray the solution into his ears; let it sit for a few minutes, and then wipe off excess moisture with a cotton ball.
Use it 2 to 3 times every day for 4 to 5 days to get rid of the yeast infection.
Additionally, you can add apple cider vinegar in your dog’s water. Choose the quantity according to your dog’s weight. Take 1 teaspoon for small dogs and 1 tablespoon for medium-sized and large dogs.
Not only will this aid the healing process but can also be used to treat internal yeast infection.
Method 4: Acidophilus
Acidophilus is a healthy bacteria that can prevent your pet’s gut flora. A number of naturally occurring probiotics such as yogurt, kefir, and sauerkraut contain acidophilus.
You can also opt for acidophilus supplements. Purina (fortiflora) and Nutramax Proviable-DC are the two most popular brands for pets. (2)
Single-Step Treatment: Give acidophilus supplement to your pet daily
- The daily dosage for dogs and cats is 20 to 500 million CFUs on the basis of your pet’s weight.
- After consulting with your vet and according to your dog’s weight add the contents of the capsule/sachet directly to your dog’s food.
Give the acidophilus supplements daily to get rid of the yeast infection in 1 week. The duration of recovery will vary based on your pet’s digestive health and the degree of infection.
Method 5: Tea Tree
Tea tree oil is a powerful antifungal agent that has proven its worth to treat various skin maladies in humans.
Tea tree oil can also be used to provide relief from the itching and inflammation of external yeast infection. As it is a concentrated oil, mix it with a carrier oil (coconut or olive oil) before applying on your pet’s skin.
Things you’ll need:
- Tea tree oil (anti-fungal) – 1 or 2 drops
- Olive oil (carrier oil) – 1 teaspoon
Single-Step Treatment: Apply diluted tea tree oil on the affected areas
- Add 1 or 2 drops of tea tree oil to 1 teaspoon of olive oil.
- Blend well and massage it onto the affected skin of your pet. Do not use it on open wounds as it will hurt your pet. You do not want to aggravate your pupper’s pain.
Apply the tea tree oil blend twice daily for 1 week to improve the skin condition. Continue using until your pet stops scratching its skin.
Method 6: Coconut Oil
As coconut oil is anti-bacterial and antifungal in nature. However, this remedy has no scientific evidence to support the claim; it has been used by pet owners to deal with minor infections.
Coconut oil can be added to your pet’s food as well as applied directly to the problem areas to get rid of the yeast infection. The healthy fatty acids present in the oil are also anti-inflammatory and, hence, reduce the itching and irritation almost immediately.
Single-Step Treatment: Rub coconut oil on the affected areas
- Clean the area with white vinegar solution as described in Method 1. This is optional.
- Allow the vinegar to dry.
- Take some extra virgin coconut oil and rub it on the affected skin patches of your pet.
- The oil is pretty light and will absorb quickly into the skin.
Coconut oil will stop the itching instantly. However, continue to apply it twice every day for 1 week to cure the infection and prevent it from coming back. This will help treat yeast infection in dogs and other pets.
If adding the oil to your pet’s food, opt for extra virgin coconut oil only. Add 1 teaspoon per 10 lbs of your pet’s weight. Repeat it once daily for 1 week to get rid of the internal infection.
Method 7: Colloidal Silver
Colloidal silver is also a powerful anti-microbial compound that blocks cellular respiration in the pathogenic cells present in your pet’s body, and thus suffocates and kills them. You can add colloidal silver either to your pet’s food or drinking water. (3)
Single-Step Treatment: Give colloidal silver to your pet daily
- Mix 5 to 10 drops of colloidal silver to your pet’s wet food or drinking water.
Repeat 2 or 3 times every day for 1 week to get rid of the yeast infection.
Method 8: Zymox Solution with Hydrocortisone
Zymox is a broad spectrum anti-microbial solution that is especially beneficial in treating an ear infection in pets. It can also curb a yeast infection in your pet’s ear and increase the natural resistance to ward off future infections.
Zymox comes with and without hydrocortisone, a compound that helps soothe inflammation and treat yeast infection in dogs and other pets.
Single-Step Treatment: Clean your pet’s ears with Zymox solution
- Put 10 drops of the Zymox solution in both the ears of your pet.
- Close the ear flap and rub the ears for 10 to 20 seconds.
- Allow your pet to shake off excess fluid.
Repeat this once every day for 1 week or until the infection clears up. You can use it for another 1 week to prevent the infection from coming back.
Method 9: Diet
Altering your pet’s diet can have a significant impact on his recovery. (4) Yeasts love to feed on sugar and carbohydrates; so, the first step would be to eliminate these two completely from the diet.
A lot of dog treats also contain carbohydrates that will only feed to the yeasts present in your dog’s body. So, choose treats wisely after reading the contents.
You can also give the following anti-yeast foods to your pets to aid recovery.
- Opt for a home-cooked meal for your pooch. Add steamed vegetables that have a low glycemic index.
- Include veggies such as asparagus, broccoli, parsley, squash, and celery.
- Regarding meats, you can go for beef, chicken, and fish.
- Add a small quantity of garlic to the food every day. Garlic is another natural antifungal. Do not go overboard as a large amount of garlic can turn toxic for pets.
- Include natural probiotics such as yogurt or kefir water in your pet’s food.
Tips to help your pet suffering from yeast infection
- Bath your pet regularly with a good anti-fungal shampoo to keep its coat clean. You can learn how to make shampoo for dogs here.
- As yeast infection thrives in moist areas, try to keep your pet as dry as possible, especially during monsoons.
- Take your pets to the vet regularly to spot any infection quickly and nip it in the bud.
- Amara AA, Shibi A. Role of Probiotics in health improvement, infection ... Saudi Pharmaceutical Journal. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4421088/. Published April 2015.
- Kumar S, Pattanaik AK, Sharma S, Gupta R, Jadhav SE, Dutta N. Comparative assessment of canine-origin Lactobacillus johnsonii CPN23 and dairy-origin Lactobacillus acidophilus. https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/journal-of-nutritional-science/article/comparative-assessment-of-canineorigin-lactobacillus-johnsonii-cpn23-and-dairyorigin-lactobacillus-acidophillus-ncdc-15-for-nutrient-digestibility-faecal-fermentative-metabolites-and-selected-gut-health-indices-in-dogs/F70F812477DF40D6963DA3442671BCE0. Published July 31, 2017.
- Lansdown ABG. A Pharmacological and Toxicological Profile of Silver as ... Advanced Pharmacological Science. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3003978/. Published 2010.
- Kadosh D, Najvar LK, Bocanegra R, et al. Effect of Antifungal Treatment in a Diet-Based Murine Model of Disseminated Candidiasis Acquired via the Gastrointestinal Tract. Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy. https://aac.asm.org/content/60/11/6703. Published November 1, 2016.
- Brilhante RS, Rocha MG, Guedes GM, et al. Malassezia pachydermatis from animals: Planktonic and biofilm antifungal susceptibility and its virulence arsenal. Veterinary Microbiology. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29885800. Published July 2018.