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Both people and dogs have a normal amount of healthy levels of yeast that occur naturally on the body. On the immune system spectrum, balance is in the middle, and that's what you want your dog's immune function to be – balanced. An underactive immune system can lead to yeast overgrowth, because it can't control the balance. When a traditional veterinarian sees a dog with allergies – a sign of an overactive immune system – he or she will typically prescribe steroid therapy to shut off the immune response. When your dog's immune system is turned off with drugs, it can't do its job of regulating and balancing normal flora levels, so your pet ends up with yeast blooms. When conventional vets see dogs with allergies and possibly secondary skin infections, often they prescribe antibiotics. Another reason an allergic dog, in particular, can end up with a lot of yeast is he can actually develop an allergy to his yeast. This situation can be very problematic because the dog's allergic response can affect his whole body. So dogs with an underactive immune system or that are immuno-suppressed can end up with a yeast infection, as well as dogs that have overactive immune systems, or allergies. Definitive diagnosis by a vet of a yeast infection is accomplished either by cytology (looking at a skin swab under a microscope) or by culturing (submitting a sterile swab of the skin to the lab where the cells are grown and identified on a petri dish). But as a pet owner, you'll be able to tell if your dog has a yeast infection just by her smell. If your dog is spending a lot of time digging at herself to relieve intense itching, take heed.
If your pet is dealing with yeast overgrowth, there are a couple of things you'll need to do. But if your dog, like the majority, has yeast in more than one spot, for example on all four paws or both ears, or especially if his entire body is yeasty, you have no choice but to look at what he's eating. I encourage you to put your pet on what I call an 'anti-yeast diet.' The beauty of an anti-yeast diet is it is also an anti-inflammatory and species-appropriate diet. The second thing I recommend is adding some natural anti-fungal foods to his diet, like a small amount of garlic or oregano.
In addition to providing an anti-yeast diet and anti-fungal foods, the third thing you must do to help your dog overcome a yeast infection is to disinfect yeasty body parts.
This is actually an often overlooked, but common sense, almost-free step in addressing a yeast overgrowth in pets.
In human medicine, it is routine for internists and dermatologists to give patients with yeast specific protocols for cleaning affected parts of the body.
Typically, a vet will hand a client with a yeasty dog a cream, salve or dip, with instructions to just keep applying it to the infected area. If you check your dog's ears and they're clean, dry and have no odor, you can skip a day of cleaning. You can disinfect your dog's ears with either a store bought solution or with witch hazel and large cotton balls.
Yeast thrives in a moist environment and in crevices – between your dog's foot pads, for example, in armpit and groin creases, and around the vulva and anus. Since the only body parts that sweat on your dog are his nose and the pads of his feet, during hot humid months when yeast tends to thrive, you'll need to disinfect those paws.
Depending on the size of your dog, you can use one of those Rubbermaid sweater boxes filled with water from a hose, or if your dog is small you can just pop him in the kitchen or bathroom sink.
I recommend a gallon of water, a cup of hydrogen peroxide, and 1-4 cups of white vinegar as a foot soak solution. If your dog has yeast overgrowth on her skin, I recommend disinfecting her entire body with a natural, anti-fungal shampoo. Since carbs and grains ultimately feed yeast overgrowth, I don't recommend you use oatmeal-based shampoos. I also recommend anti-fungal rinses during the summer months, from one to three times per week after shampooing. After shampooing with, say, a tea tree shampoo and rinsing thoroughly, follow with one of these natural anti-fungal astringent rinses to knock down the amount of yeast.


One word of warning about using both lemon juice and hydrogen peroxide: they can bleach a black dog's fur. However, if your dog has year-round yeast problems – whether it's 90 degrees outside or the dead of winter – you should be thinking about potential immune system issues. If your dog is overwhelmed with an opportunistic pathogen like yeast, it's likely his immune system isn't operating at 100 percent. If your dog is producing healthy levels of immunoglobulins, he should be able to overcome almost any infection, and particularly an opportunistic yeast infection.
Allergic reactions occur when the immune system recognizes a substance that the body finds toxic.
Because dogs exhibit allergies through their skin and ears, flea allergy is sometimes overlooked as a cause for chronic ear infection. Many environmental allergies can cause ear infections, including various pollens, dust, cleaning products, fabrics and insecticides. Veterinarians recommend trying to eliminate offending substances in the environment as much as possible. The typical normal, healthy flora of dogs is a naturally occurring staph, as well as a light layer of naturally occurring yeast. The other end of the spectrum is an overactive immune response where allergies are present.
Antibiotics are well-known to destroy all good bacteria along with the bad, wiping out healthy yeast levels in the process, so these drugs often make a bad situation worse. Intradermal tests often reveal that a dog is having an allergic response to his own natural flora. These dogs are often red from the tip of the nose to the tip of the tail – their entire bodies are flaming red and irritated. Healthy dogs don't have a 'doggy odor.' So if your pup has stinky paws or musty-smelling ears, chances are she's dealing with a yeast overgrowth.
The way you nourish your dog is either going to help his immune system manage yeast, or it's going to feed a potential or existing yeast overgrowth situation. There are 'secret,' hidden forms of sugar that can also feed yeast overgrowth, for instance, honey.
These foods are both anti-fungal and anti-yeast and can be beneficial in helping reduce the yeast level in your dog's body. The same instruction is rarely given in veterinary medicine, which makes no sense and is really a shame. The problem with this approach is that as yeast dies off, it forms layer of dead yeast on top of layer of dead yeast.
Just as some people produce lots of earwax and clean their ears daily, while others produce almost no earwax, the same applies to dogs.
So if your Lab has soupy ears throughout the summer months, you'll need to clean them every day during that period.
Again, the amount of cleaning should correlate with the amount of debris built up in the ear. Use as many cotton balls as it takes to remove all the debris from the ears at each cleaning. Yeast lives under the nail beds and in all the creases you can't get to if the paws aren't submerged in a foot soak.
Back in the days of very harsh shampoos made from coal and tar derivatives, this was good advice.
This content may be copied in full, with copyright, contact, creation and information intact, without specific permission, when used only in a not-for-profit format. Skin rashes, itching, runny eyes, sneezing, vomiting, diarrhea, paw-licking and ear infections can all be related to allergic reactions.
The immune system sends out body chemicals to try to deal with the substance and this may cause allergy symptoms.
But the immune response to flea bites can affect the entire body of the animal, including its ears, so the possibility of flea allergy should also be considered. Most commercial dog foods, and even homemade dog foods, contain a variety of ingredients, any one of which can be the cause of allergic reactions and ear infections.


Dog owners can try to eliminate each of these agents one by one, or switch to more natural products that are known to be less allergenic.
If they suspect a food allergy, you may need to try out different diets to eliminate foods that cause allergic reactions like chronic ear infections. Learn how to spot a yeast overgrowth, how to treat a flare-up, and tips to prevent the problem from recurring.
Some people think it smells like moldy bread; others liken the odor to cheese popcorn or corn chips. If that's the case with your pet, you can probably get by just treating that ear for yeast and keeping your fingers crossed his immune system responds to re-balance his natural flora. Both MDs and veterinarians advise patients with yeast to get the sugars out of their diets. Although honey can be beneficial for pets in some cases, it does provide a food source for yeast. Eliminate potatoes, corn, wheat, rice – all the carbohydrates need to go away in a sugar-free diet. Unless you remove the dead layers of yeast and disinfect the skin, adding loads of ointment to layers of dead yeast can actually exacerbate the problem. Leaving the solution dried on your dog's paws serves as an antifungal and should also reduce licking and digging at the paws.
But there are now plenty of safe shampoos on the market that will not over dry your pet's skin or damage her coat.
Pour the gallon of solution over her and rub it into her coat and skin, focusing on body parts that tend to grow yeast -- armpits, feet, groin area and around the tail. If this is the case with your dog, the summer months are when you'll need to be vigilant about disinfecting your pet and addressing any dietary issues that might be contributing to the problem. If your dog is constantly at the veterinarian's office for treatment of ear infections, it's time to consider whether allergies is the underlying problem. Many substances can cause allergies, such as dust, mold, dander, tree pollen, cigarette smoke, fleas, flea control products, cleaning products, rubber or plastic materials, insecticides or food products. Then, the persistent scratching can set up secondary infections that contribute to the ear problem. To find the ingredient that is the culprit, you must put your dog on a diet that contains one protein and one vegetable ingredient and keep the dog on this diet for 12 weeks.
In fact, some people refer to a yeast infection of a dog's paws as 'Frito Feet.' It's a pungent, musty, unpleasant smell. So if your dog is yeasty, you'll need to carefully read his pet food and treat labels and avoid any product containing honey, high fructose corn syrup, and even white potatoes and sweet potatoes. It will grow from wax, to yeast, to a fulminating bacterial infection unless you deal with it. Talk with your vet about the possibility of dog allergies, and find out how to control exposure to the allergen. Any one of these everyday substances can cause a reaction, so you can see why it is often difficult to isolate what is causing the problem.
This can be helped with year-round flea control products on your dog and careful housekeeping practices to make sure fleas are eliminated.
If the problem persists, you change one of the ingredients, and continue the pattern until the ear condition improves.
I wish I could tell you yeast is easy to treat and avoid without addressing diet, but it isn't. Sometimes vets will prescribe steroid medications short term to reduce inflammation and allow healing.



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