Yeast infection in dogs | Causes and Treatment

Yeast infection in dogs

Yeast infection is a common concern for dog owners. This infection can affect the skin on different parts of the body, the paws, and the ears. 

This fungal skin disease manifests through more frequent scratching, red patches on the skin, hair loss where the skin is affected, and a different body odor.

It’s particularly important to check the dog’s ears when the scratching is too frequent and maintain good hygiene to avoid ear infections.

What causes yeast infections in dogs

Some dog breeds are more exposed to this type of infection due to their skin type and the way their skin folds, creating humid dark areas where yeast can find a favorable environment to grow.

Yeast naturally occurs in living bodies, and it is kept in check by friendly bacteria (flora). When this flora is affected due to a temporary weakened immune system, the yeast tends to grow in number and affects the skin. 

This can happen after a long illness, especially if antibiotics were used during a recovering injury period.

Sometimes, a dog’s diet can affect yeast’s growth in the body, leading to its spread that ends affecting the skin.

Humidity and heat mixed together increase the risk of yeast growth on the body’s surface.

Yeast infected dog

Areas of the body affected by yeast growth

This fungal infection will start by spreading inside the body, then leading to signs on the epidermis:

  • Yeast infection on the skin – red patches of skin due to constant scratching. The dog will become restless, will start scraping the area affected. Patches of fur might be removed in certain cases; when the dog is particularly sensitive and treatment hasn’t been given.
  • Ears affected by yeast growth– ears are a sensitive part of the body, prone to infections. Ears affected by the yeast will look notably redder, and the dog will scratch them repeatedly. Also, the owner will be able to see some residue on the lobes.
  • Dog paw yeast infection – the paws could look a bit sore, and there would be a strong, unusual odor (typical to yeast infections). They might be itchy, and the dog would try to scrape them on different surfaces (rough areas around the house/outdoors). Continuous licking of the paws is another sign that this area must be observed.
  • Genital yeast infection– a far rare type of infection, more common in female dogs, affects the intimate area by irritation and swelling.
Dog paws

How to treat yeast infection in dogs

Yeast infection is not a problematic condition; however, it needs to be avoided to benefit both dog and the owner.

Prevention is the best tool to fight the spread of germs, bacteria, and fungal infections. 

  • good hygiene routine, especially during the hotter periods of the year or in humid areas, is the best way to avoid this complication. Grooming must be done periodically; the coat of fur should be brushed regularly to spread the natural skin’s oil evenly on the body’s surface.
  • Use a medicated shampoo to clean the dog’s fur and skin. It will relieve the unpleasant itchy sensation and reduce scratching. Some companies have a special dry shampoo formula that can prove useful when time is of the essence or a full bath can’t be arranged.
  • Changing the diet by introducing foods with added enzymes and probiotics, avoiding sugary snacks to reinforce the friendly bacteria’s growth and stop yeast spread.
  • After an illness or medical treatment that included antibiotics, the vet will most certainly recommend probiotics in order to restore the gut’s equilibrium and keep the yeast at optimal amounts.
  • Cortizone or a topical cream could also be used to treat the affected skin. A vet must recommend this; however, other creams can be used to alleviate the discomfort.
  • Antifungal cream or gel would be used to treat yeast infection. This is a medicated item, and a veterinary specialist will prescribe it if necessary.

Dog owners must pay attention to any changes in their pet’s behavior and take note of any signs of distress. To avoid the spread of this infection, and others that might affect a pet, a visit to the vet is always recommended. In this way, proper care and attention are given to any health issues in a timely manner and reduce the amount of time needed for a full recovery.