You may think you don't know what a yeast infection in dogs looks like, but if you have an itchy dog, especially the ears and paws, then you may be looking at exactly that. Yeast!
How Yeast Affects your dog
Yeast is a fungus that likes to grow in moist areas. Summertime and tropical areas usually causes flare ups because of the hot and humid weather. If you notice your dog itching, licking, scooting, and paw chewing, your dog could have an over growth of Malassezia. Malassezia is the most common type of yeast that is found on a dog's skin and is usually found on paws, armpits, groin, ear canals, jowls, anal area and any skin folds that your dog may have. I have more blogs on yeast to learn more, check them out.
The most common areas that affected by yeast are ears and paws. Drop eared dogs are commonly affected with ear infections caused by yeast. You'll typically notice an unpleasant odor that is hard to ignore.
With the paws, dogs sweat through their paws, and since yeast likes a moist wet environment that is also a common area that is affected by yeast. The paws like the ears will also start having a pungent smell that smells a bit like Fritos. Sorry if I just ruined you from eating Fritos! Your dog will also be licking and chewing at their paws a lot. Their saliva discolors the fur making it a rust color. You'll notice this on any areas that they lick, including the fur between their toes. Of course, if your dog is already this color or has dark fur, you won't notice the discoloration that much.
Dogs with lowered immune systems often are affected with yeast infections more often, allowing the fungus to proliferate. Antibiotic use is also something that causes the fungus to start growing out of control. If the vet gives you antibiotics to clear it up, usually it will clear it up for a short time. Then poof it comes back and usually comes back worse and is harder to treat.
Treatment for a Yeast Infection in dogs
Yeast infections in dogs are best treated with a two-pronged approach:
1. Treat the digestive tract: Many yeast infections start in the dogs digestive tract, usually as the result of a compromised immune system, which can then leak out and manifest as skin problems. Adding liquid salmon oil, probiotics and digestive enzymes to your dog's diet and finding out if your dog is allergic to anything they're eating like grains, chicken, etc.. will help keep the yeast at a manageable level preventing this break-out from occurring.
2. Treat the local skin area: As yeast is a fungus it must be treated topically with Famous Yeast B Gone, Famous Yeast Kit or Famous Healing Salve.
1. Treating the Digestive Tract
As with many things, prevention is the key to treating the cause and treating at the root is essential. By starting with treatments at the digestive tract you are getting to the root cause of many skin issues in dogs, yeast included.
Treating the digestive tract is probably the easiest method of combating a yeast infection. Salmon oil will boost the immune system and probiotics will start to work on clearing out the yeast which, in time will stop the itching externally!
Boost Immune System
As mentioned above, yeast grows out of control on dogs that have an immune system that is lowered. Simply by boosting the immune system you can equip your dog to battle a yeast infection internally.
Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil is a fantastic supplement made by pawsome naturals that has an abundant supply of pure, natural, Omega oils that have proven abilities in boosting the immune system in dogs.
Probiotics are probably the most vital supplement for a dog suffering from a yeast infection. Probiotics are friendly bacteria that live in the gut and provide a natural defense against bad bacteria and yeast. All dogs (and humans) have a certain amount of yeast in their system, it only becomes a problem if the yeast starts to grow out of control and takes over. Probiotics prevent this from happening by crowding the yeast out. Not all probiotics are created equal and not all probiotics are suitable for canines.
What to look for in Probiotics
- Only buy probiotics that have been specifically made for dogs or pets, not humans.
- Ensure that actual strain of probiotics is one that actually attacks yeast. The best strains for attacking yeast are L.Acidophilus, B. Bifidum, and L. Rhamnosus.
- A good all round probiotic should contain at least 10 different strains of probiotics.
- Look for the one that contains pre-biotics as well as these are needed to feed the probiotics. Inulin is a good pre-biotic to look for.
- Powder forms of probiotics are best for dogs. Avoid probiotics that are baked into treats or food. The high heat used in processing these foods, destroys the probiotics in pet feeds and treats.
- A good delivery system is very important. Read the label to ensure that there is some kind of delivery system that guarantees the probiotics can actually get through to the intestines where it will need to colonize and do its job. Otherwise, it is likely to be destroyed by the stomach lining.
After research I highly recommend "Total-Biotics" as is meets all the criteria for an excellent probiotic.
Canine Digestive Enzymes
Most dogs will benefit from a supplement that contain digestive enzymes to aid in the proper balance of nutrients and enzymes in their body. The process of cooking commercial dog food typically destroys the delicate digestive enzymes and nutrients required to keep you dog's skin healthy and the immune system strong.
By providing a supplement rich in nutrients and enzymes you can restore your dog's skin and boost their immune system. Recommended is NWC's Total-Zymes Pet Digestive Enzymes. It has 16 different enzymes that work as a high performance digestive enzyme improving your dog's absorption and utilization of nutrients.
2. Treating the Area Locally
Now a topical approach. Bathing your dog regularly with a good quality anti-fungal shampoo will control the amount of yeast on your dog's skin and reduce the itching.
Even if your dog only has yeast on certain areas, such as the ears and paws, it's extremely important that you bathe the entire body to control the yeast.
This means you need to use a shampoo that contains an anti-fungal agent. Preferably one that is derived from natural ingredients as too many hash chempicals will strip your dog's skin of it's natural oils. And, given that you'll need to bathe frequently to keep the yeast at bay, you need a shampoo that's also kind to your dog's skin.
I recommend using Famous Yeast B Gone Shampoo.
It has antimicrobial, antifungal, and antibacterial properties so it works perfectly for yeast and other conditions that cause itching such as ringworm, hotspots, eczema and dermatitis. Plus its all organic and natural!
Frequency of baths
How often is enough? Well, that depends on your dog and how much scratching is going on. For a really itchy dog I would start by giving them a bath two or three times a week for a month. After that, scale back to once a week for a month and then finally once a month.
Basically, the frequency of baths will depend on the severity of your dog's itching. If you start out with a least a weekly bath you can increase or decrease the frequency based on your own dog's symptoms. I find that the best way to control the yeast, is to start out strong with more frequent baths and then go on a maintenance program once a month.
For extreme cases the Famous Yeast B Gone will kill the yeast on the skin. This treatment is used only in the spots that have flare ups. Usually you'll notice the skin gets really dry, flaky, discolored, and is itchy. Sometimes it will even look like ring worm. Also the if they're chewing their feet, if the yeast is really bad, you'll notice discoloration or even gunk at the toe nail bed. This treatment is only for about a week, then I would follow it up with the shampoo and lotion that the Yeast Kit has to offer.
Treating Dog's with Ear Yeast
If your dog is tilting their head to one side and cries or whines when the ear is touched, then you must take her to the vet as the ear is probably infected. Dog's will foten hold the head down on the painful side.
As the ears are sensitive it is important that you handle a yeast infection in dogs ears a bit differently. Don't use the sprays in the ears as these are too harsh for the ear canals.
If your dog's ears are affected, they'll need specific anti-fungal ear drops or spray. I like to go the natural route that is gentle yet effective.
I recommend Famous Ear Cleaner. Not only does it clean the ears and I like to use it as an everyday cleaner, but it has anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties. Instead of using it as a spray and wiping the ear out like you would do with the cleanser I spray three sprays 2-3 times a day for ten days.
Dietary Changes for Yeast Infections
If your dog has a severe yeast problem, to where it is in a large spot, has spread to different parts of the body, then you may want to consider cutting out sugar and carbohydrates entirely from your dog's diet. If that doesn't work I would look at Chicken as that turns up to be a common allergy in dogs.
Yeast feeds on sugars and a diet high in sugar will make a yeast problem worse. That includes carbohydrates as carbohydrates break down into sugar in the system.
This is really difficult if your dog is on a dry kibble diet as most kibble foods are full of carbohydrates. This includes grain free diet as they typically replace grain with potatoes which are a carbohydrate. The best way to avoid sugar and carbohydrates is to feed raw or homemade diet.
If you have a dog that is suffering from yeast and need help please feel free to contact me famousskincarefordogs.com