We use yeast everyday, or at least it’s usually in what we eat, but a yeast infection in dogs can be not only uncomfortable for your dog, but grow into something worse. This time of year when everything seems to be damp does not help.
Some of my clients, as well as so many of the rescue dogs I see coming in have ear infections, usually caused by a yeast overgrowth. Antibiotics do not help this sort of infection. It is not bacterial, but fungal. So, here are some natural remedies for treating and helping to relieve the itch of yeast infections, primarily for the ears and paws. Oh and if you’re wondering if your dog might have an overgrowth of yeast, try giving them a sniff. Some people say it smells moldy or musty, but there could also be a popcorn or Frito type smell, as well. A vet can tell you for certain by taking a skin culture and testing it.
Diet: Naturally I’m going to address this first. The proper diet can manage so many issues that people commonly think require medication as a first option. Fungal infections are no different. Yeast thrives and grows on sugar. That means cutting all sugar products and by-products from your dogs diet. Ideally, a raw diet would be best, including muscle meat, organ meat, bones and non-starchy vegetables, although the veggies really aren’t necessary. It also means carbs, because carbs convert to sugar. Illminating white and sweet potatoes, corn, rice and wheat is a good start. Read those ingredient lists!!
Disinfect: If you just keep putting anti-fungal creams on your dogs sore ears or other areas and not removing and cleaning the area, you just get old yeast piled on old yeast which can become a bacterial infection fast! A common disinfectant wash that does not need to be rinsed after use is a gallon of water to one cup of hydrogen peroxide and one cup of white vinegar. This wash is especially good for feet and should be used everytime your dog comes in. Mixing it in a washtub and having them step into it is the best way. There is no way to “wipe” the yeast off of a dog’s feet effectively. Be sure to dry well after.
To disinfect ears, Witch Hazel on cotton balls works really well. Witch Hazel is also an anti-inflammatory.
Essential Oils: Two in particular are really good anti-fungals. Oregano and Bergamot. Both should be diluted with a carrier oil before applying.
Baths: Using the abovementioned essential oils in your dog shampoo is helpful, but there are also a few commercial brand ready-made anti-fungal shampoos on the market. They are listed in no order of preference.