Natural Ways To Treat Yeast Infections
When we think of yeast in the body we almost always jump to the negatives, however, yeast is actually a very normal, healthy part of the digestive and immune system in dogs and humans. In dogs, yeast lives on the skin and in the gut, along with other healthy flora as part of a balanced immune system. However, when this balance is interrupted, it can cause problems and result in a yeast infection, allergies or other inflammatory issues.
What Causes A Yeast Infection?
Yeast infections can happen anywhere in your dog’s body. A yeast infection can present itself as inflammatory skin conditions in your dog’s:
- Skin folds
- Between their paw pads
- Genital area
These infections thrive in moist and humid environments on the body and these types of environments encourage the yeast to grow and reproduce at a faster rate until it overwhelms your dog‘s body. For some dogs, yeast problems are seasonal, and when the temperature and humidity are high, problems with yeast can occur.
A weakened immune system can also make your dog vulnerable to yeast infections. This is very common during allergy season and in dogs taking antibiotics or steroids. Antibiotics decrease the normal bacterial flora in the body that acts as a protective mechanism, therefore, allowing the fungus to grow at an uncontrollable rate. And if your dog has to take steroids, they suppress the immune system, making your dog more vulnerable to yeast infections.
Are Certain Breeds at a Higher Risk of Yeast Infections?
Although it’s possible for all dogs to contract a yeast infection, it’s more common for specific breeds. Breeds with excess skin folds, floppy ears, hair growing in the inner ear canal, and those with allergies have a higher chance of getting a yeast infection.
Susceptible breeds include:
- Shih Tzu
- Cocker Spaniel
- Golden Retrievers
- Labrador Retrievers
- Basset Hound
- West Highland White Terrier
- German Shepherd
Signs Your Dog Has A Yeast Infection
There are a few common signs to look out for when it comes to knowing if your dog is suffering from a yeast infection.
- Chewing or licking the feet
- Dark rusty-red hair between the toes
- Black skin (often with hair loss)
- Bad smell and greasy hair (seborrhea)
- Ear infections or head shaking
- Speckles on the underbelly
- Hair loss on the tail and upper back
- Greyish or rust colour around the genitals
- Seasonal allergies
It’s important to be aware of these signs, as the longer your dog’s yeast infection goes untreated, the harder it will be to resolve it.
Natural Ways To Stop Itching
A yeast infection can make your pet very itchy and uncomfortable so it is important to help your pup by soothing their yeasty skin. Two natural, effective and common ways to treat your pup are with apple cider vinegar and coconut oil.
- Apple cider vinegar is a fungal fighting ingredient and works wonders for dogs. You can dilute it with water and add it as an after-bath rinse, use it to clean your dog’s ears, or add it to their food or water. The best way is to mix it with an equal amount of water, put it in a spray bottle, and spray their entire body. Allow your dog to dry off on their own without rinsing. Since apple cider vinegar is highly acidic, it serves as an excellent healing property to heal irritated skin and to fight off yeast infections.
- Coconut oil contains antioxidants like vitamin E and K as well as fatty acid compounds. The antioxidant helps protect the skin from free radicals that can cause wrinkles and destroy fungal microorganisms. There are also some antioxidants for dogs that prevent free radicals. The fatty acids in coconut oil can promote cell growth from the skin to help it recover from the yeast infection. You can apply coconut oil between your dog’s arms, toes, or skin.
Can A Raw Diet Help?
A healthy diet is key and the foundation for your dog’s good health and this is also relevant when finding the root cause for your dog’s yeast infections.
Yeast thrives in certain conditions, many of which are intensified by a poor diet. Yeast loves sugar. So avoiding foods and treats loaded with refined carbohydrates and sugars will essentially starve the yeast.
Even grain-free foods are usually full of potatoes, sweet potatoes or tapioca and have just as much starch as other kibbles. Sources of carbs and sugars in pet foods include:
- Potatoes and sweet potatoes
- Wheat and corn
The issue with these foods is that the carbohydrates they contain are complex chains made up of sugars. When your dog eats them, their body converts them into sugars and this feeds their yeast. This is why a raw diet is best for dogs with yeast infections.
Ensuring your dog is on a balanced, varied, species-appropriate raw diet will make a difference to your dog’s overall health and well being including reducing and eliminating yeast infections. Naturally, dogs have no dietary need for starch or carbohydrates in their diet and the heightened amount in the kibbles on the market today are believed to lead to serious dietary issues. If your dog is struggling with yeast infections, whether they are severe or recurring, start by looking at their diet.
You can view our large range of fresh preservative-free raw pet food products via our online shop.
If you have tried and tested all the different tips and tricks and your dog still has symptoms or is suffering from a stubborn yeast infection, then you might need to consider speaking with a holistic vet.