How to Prevent Dog Yeast Infections

Easy
5 - 30 Minutes
1 Days

Introduction

Every summer, Mike’s Pug, Sam gets a nasty yeast infection in his skin folds. Poor Sam has smelly, red skin that itches and he is constantly scratching until Mike can get him medication. What can Mike do to prevent Sam’s summer yeast flare-ups?  

Did you know your dog is covered in tiny organisms?  Like all animals, even us, our dogs have natural microflora living on their bodies as well as bacteria--some good, some, not so much. If everything is in order and balanced, microflora and good bacteria live harmoniously on your dog, and are even beneficial, breaking down debris and harmful bacteria. However, if your dog's system becomes compromised or overwhelmed and bacteria and yeast organisms multiply, your dog can develop a yeast infection, an overgrowth of yeast organisms. The result is red, inflamed, smelly, itchy skin. 

Yeast infections can be a result of health conditions such as metabolic disorders, antibiotic use, or immune system disorder, or can be a result of dietary imbalances, or poor grooming. Taking your dog to a veterinarian to address any health concerns that might contribute to yeast infections is an important first step to preventing yeast infections. There are also grooming techniques and general daily care you can implement to help prevent yeast infections from taking hold in your dog.

Dog's Perspective

When your dog gets a yeast infection he'll be extremely uncomfortable. They itch! Your dog will respond by scratching, licking and biting, which unfortunatley, will make the yeast infection quite a bit worse. Once a yeast infection has taken hold, medication may be required to treat it. However, several routine steps can be taken to prevent yeast infections, that are non-invasive and most dogs readily adapt to, including daily brushing and inspections and regular bathing.

The Anti-Fungal Shampoo Method

Effective
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Shampoo
Dryer
Towel
Step
1
Obtain anti- fungal shampoo
Use an anti yeast shampoo, such as one containing tea tree oil or a preparation recommended by your veterinarian. If you have a large dog, dilute shampoo in water so you can spread it over your dog more effectively.
Step
2
Distribute shampoo evenly
Wet your dog down and then distribute anti-fungal shampoo evenly over your dog, starting at the neck and working towards the back. Put some shampoo on a face cloth, and gently wipe on your dog's face, avoiding eyes, nose and mouth.
Step
3
Rinse with water
Rinse shampoo off with water.
Step
4
Rinse with vinegar
Make up a rinse with red cider vinegar, dilute ½ and ½ with water. Use organic, unfiltered vinegar. You can place mixture in a squeeze bottle for future use--an old ketchup bottle works well. Apply vinegar mixture over your dog as a final rinse. The vinegar rinse can also be used if your dog swims in a lake or pond to neutralize organisms he may pick up in stagnant water.
Step
5
Dry
Towel dry your dog then dry your dog on low heat setting with a blow dryer, avoid allowing to air dry as moisture can contribute to yeast growth.
Recommend grooming method?

The Routine Care Method

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Step
1
Use topical anti-fungals
Apply coconut oil weekly to your dog's skin. Melt 5-10 oz of virgin coconut oil in a glass container. You can add lavender oil and lemon oil if desired. Allow to cool. Apply topically over your dog's skin. Make sure you distribute in skin folds. This can be done weekly. You can also apply oregano oil topically to your dog as a fungal preventative.
Step
2
Brush daily
Brush your dog daily to remove debris, distribute oils and microflora and remove dead skin and hair. Examine your dog for signs of yeast infection, which if treated at an early stage are more manageable. Make sure if you have a wrinkly dog you check well in skin folds.
Step
3
Feed appropriately
Supplement your dog's diet with anti-fungals like garlic, oregano, coconut oil, or kefir. Avoid carbohydrates, feed a high protein diet.
Step
4
Avoid overheating
Avoid allowing your dog to overheat in sun or during exercise. Walk in early morning or evening. Provide shelter from the sun.
Step
5
Clean ears
Clean your dog's ears regularly, some dogs require daily ear cleaning with a cotton ball and witch hazel. Ears can contain lots of yeast organisms which can proliferate and spread to other parts of your dog's body.
Recommend grooming method?

Caution & Considerations

  • Be sure to seek veterinary advice if your dog is experiencing repeated yeast infections as medical conditions may be responsible.
  • When rinsing with vinegar, bathing, or applying treatments, avoid the eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Use caution when introducing anti-fungal supplements to your dog's diet. Consult a holistic veterinarian or pharmacist. Add supplements in small amounts to see how your dog reacts.
  • Avoid over-bathing, which can remove beneficial bacteria and yeast.
  • Avoid allowing your dog to swim in lakes and ponds with water that may contain microorganisms that will cause an imbalance in microflora on your dog’s body.
  • Avoid parasitic infections or bacterial infections, which can contribute to yeast infection development.
  • When using antibiotics, ensure they are necessary and keep an eye out for yeast infections, as antibiotics can contribute to an imbalance in microflora in and on your dog.

Conclusion

Nobody wants their dog to have to suffer a yeast infection. They are unpleasant for your dog, and constant scratching and smelly skin on your dog is unpleasant for you too. There are several simple routine grooming and care precautions you can take to minimize the risk of your dog developing a yeast infection. Regularly bathe your dog with an anti-fungal shampoo, rinse with vinegar, apply topical antifungals, and brush daily to help prevent infections. Dietary supplements and species-appropriate diet can also help minimize yeast infection development. Be sure to address any medical conditions as well as provide regular grooming and care to prevent yeast infections.

Success Stories and Grooming Questions

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