Could Yeast Be Feasting On Your Best Friend?

The best friend for many of us is…your family dog! And the thought of our precious pet suffering from a painful, persistent yeast infection is something you’d surely like to avoid. So, awareness of when and how yeast attacks is crucial. How to successfully treat such an attack is of equal importance. To begin, let’s take a look at some of the causes of yeast infection:

Some causes

  • Yeast infection affects a dog’s ears more than any other part of the body, possibly due to how the ear is positioned; it is close to the head and if not properly cleaned can develop an infection. Additionally, the moist, dark, warm atmosphere within the ear is highly conducive to yeast growth.
  • Lack of good grooming and/or living in filthy environments cause dogs to become more susceptible to yeast infestation.
  • Dogs that have large, floppy ears don’t get enough circulation, which makes warding off yeast growth all the more difficult.
  • Dogs that do not get enough sunlight are more susceptible to dog ear yeast infection.
  • Allergies are another common culprit for ear infections in dogs, particularly food allergies.
  • Dogs with weakened immune systems will likely suffer from frequent yeast infections.

Symptoms of your dog being “feasted upon”

  • Common behaviors in a dog with a yeast ear infection include scratching the ear (or other areas of the body), whining, rubbing the ear(s) on the carpet or furniture, and shaking the head.
  • Take note if your dog begins moping around with less energy than usual.
  • Nighttime scratching can often be a sign that a yeast infection had taken hold in the ears or elsewhere.
  • Symptoms you might notice on the ear itself are redness, swelling, crustiness, discharge, and a foul smelling odor.
  • If you’ve noticed a brownish-pink waxy substance in your dog’s ears, then chances are he’s suffering from a yeast infection, possibly caused by allergies.


Holistic veterinarians will recommend that you attempt certain natural treatments before using a powerful OTC medication or a prescription (nature’s way is always preferable).  Here are the some of the most effective means for ridding your dog of yeast infection and restoring overall system balance and vibrant health:

  • Do whatever you can to facilitate a dry, clean ear. As mentioned above, yeast thrives in moist environments. If your dog’s ear stands up, nature will help you keep it dry, but dogs with droopy ears need more care from their owners. If your dog will tolerate it, use a headband to fold the ears back so they can be exposed for a short time everyday when the dog is resting or indoors. And regardless of your dog’s ear type, carefully trim excess hair.
  • White vinegar removes dirt and debris and restores a healthy balance in your dog’s ears. You’ll dilute the vinegar, pour the recommended amount into your dog’s ear canal (ask your vet to show you how to rinse the ear canal with diluted vinegar), allow it to soak as you massage it briefly and then wipe out the excess with a soft cloth. Vinegar evaporates quickly, drying the tissue.
  • Adding vitamin C to your dog’s diet can help invigorate the adrenal glands in dogs, which are designed to produce a natural steroid that reduces inflammation. Consult your vet on the amount you should give your pet, which will vary based on the age, weight and general health of your pet. Vitamin C is a proven anti-oxidant that can help to regulate the growth of yeast in the body. Note: Vitamin C can cause diarrhea in some dogs, so it’s best to start out with very small amounts to see what they can tolerate.
  • One remedy touted by many as a successful way to combat a dog ear yeast infection is feeding your dog a healthy, homemade diet or a high-quality commercial dog food that is free of corn, glutens, soy or wheat, additives and preservatives. Food allergies may the culprit for the majority of your dog’s yeast miseries. Also avoid table scraps, as they contain preservatives, sugar, and additives that are unhealthy for dogs.
  • 1/4 cup of yogurt with 2 capsules of acidophilus mixed into your dog’s food will help promote a healthy balance of flora in the stomach, which will help prevent the overgrowth of yeast in the body.
  • An herb called pau d’arco kills yeast infections. To use pau d’arco, mix it with mineral oil and massage it into the affected ear a few times a day for several days.
  • A mixture of turmeric & corn starch (50/50) can be used with a powder puff to dust your dog from head to toe.
  • Rosemary and Tea Tree oil work as topical pain relievers for inflammation and as a natural disinfectant for wounds caused by repetitive ear scratching. Marigold (good for the skin) and Verbascum Thapsus (commonly used in ear drops to promote ear health) are also helpful.
  • Provide lots of opportunities for exercise. Good for you and good for your dog!
  • Avoid antibiotics whenever possible. They are notorious for killing off good bacteria as well as bad bacteria. When the body’s natural balance of flora is disrupted, yeast often gains a foothold that can be very difficult to reverse.

As with any home remedy or natural approach, if you’re hesitant to try something new, consult with your pet’s veterinarian. They’ll offer answers to your questions about a dog’s ear yeast infection and point you in the right direction. Remember to treat your dog’s ear problems by keeping the whole dog healthy and clean. Then, if he does get a dog ear yeast infection, you and your vet can more effectively conquer the problem.

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