How to Diagnose, Prevent, and Treat Yeast Infection in Dogs

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By: Kathryn Anderson Updated: January 25, 2018

How to Diagnose, Prevent, or Treat Yeast Infection in DogsHave you spotted your dog scratching furiously at their ear like their life depended on it? Are they constantly tilting their head to the side? Such actions could be signs that your dog has a yeast infection of the ear. Yeast infection in dogs tends to be easy to spot. Certain telltale signs include scabbing and waxy residue around the outer part of the ear.

What is a Yeast Infection in Dogs?

A yeast infection in dogs occurs when yeast begins to reproduce at a massive rate, overtaking the area where it would normally dwell in manageable quantities.

Dog lying on ground has yeast infection on skin

Dogs specifically tend to suffer from yeast dermatitis, an inflammatory skin condition that’s fairly common in pets. Yeast dermatitis occurs when the Malassezia species experience an overgrowth.

This species of yeast is typically found in the ear and mucocutaneous areas of the body

Bacterial Overgrowth: Why Yeast Infection in Dogs is Pretty Serious

Yeast infections may sound like they’re not very serious, but they could be signs that your dog is battling with far more serious underlying issues. A yeast infection in dogs can be brought on by an allergic reaction, or even an object trapped in your dog’s ear.

Even worse your dog could be dealing with a ruptured eardrum. This is why one of the symptoms of a yeast infection of the ear is hearing loss. Your dog could even be dealing with a tumor.

Yeast infection in dogs isn’t something that you should ignore. If you notice that your dog is battling a yeast infection, take them to your vet to receive a proper diagnosis from a trained vet.

Common Causes of Yeast Infection in Dogs’ Ears

Ordinarily, Malassezia is a completely normal part of your dog skin. It only becomes dangerous when it transmogrifies into a pathogen that begins to grow, invade, and irritate the area where it would normally live.

There are guesses as to why Malassezia undergoes such a transformation, but it’s ultimately not understood why this happens.

In most cases, yeast infections tend to occur in dogs that have had their immune systems compromised in one way or another. Any number of the below factors could cause a dog to experience a yeast infection:

  1. Cancer
  2. Allergies
  3. Hormonal disorders
  4. Drugs that suppress the immune system
  5. External skin parasites
  6. Prolonged use of antibiotics or steroids

Dogs who have excess skin on their faces, such as pugs or bulldogs, tend to have a higher risk of experiencing a yeast infection. Dogs who have floppy ears, such as golden retrievers, poodles, basset hounds, and cocker spaniels are also at a higher risk of contracting a yeast infection.

Other dogs that have a higher probability of contracting a yeast infection include the west highland white terriers, German shepherds, and basset hounds.

Another common cause of yeast infection in dogs is bacterial skin infections. 

As the skin produces excessive oil due to the overgrowth of yeast, the dog is prompted to itch thus causing secondary sores for the yeast to further thrive in.

9 Signs and Symptoms of a Yeast Infection in Dogs

Yeast infection in dogs symptoms isn’t difficult to spot. In fact, they can be quite obvious which can help you to identify and treat your pet as soon as you can. Symptoms include:

  1. Skin irritation
  2. Extreme itchiness
  3. Inflammation around the ears amongst other areas of the body
  4. Red skin
  5. Sores
  6. Greasy coat
  7. Hair loss
  8. Foul-smelling skin
  9. Hearing loss

When dogs experience a yeast infection of the ear, they may even develop a foul-smelling yellowish-green discharge.

Over the Counter Products for Yeast Infections in Dogs

Dealing with an infection can be pretty delicate. Not knowing what treatment to use is a common concern for a lot of pet parents. Luckily, there are over the counter products that can help your pooch right away!

Rated 4.00/5.00 by Certapet
Zymox Veterinary Strength Dog & Cat Ear Cleanser$11.99
Keep your four-legged best friend’s ears healthy and clean with Zymox Veterinary Strength Dog & Cat Ear Cleanser. An effective and non-toxic way to manage dirty pet ears, this specifically formulated ear cleanser contains a unique blend of gentle cleaning surfactants and the potent bio-active properties of lactoperoxidase, lactoferrin and lysozyme that control microbe production in the ear canal, helping to power away dirt and wax, without the use of harmful chemicals. Safe enough to use on the most sensitive of ears, Zymox Ear Cleanser also prevents the growth of bacteria, keeping unpleasant odors at bay between uses, and the specially added mild scent will leave your pet’s ears smelling fresh after each cleaning.

When choosing the right product, make sure you know the source of the infection. Since there are a wide variety of solutions out there, you want to be sure to get the most efficient one.

Rated 3.50/5.00 by Certapet
Banixx Pet Care Bacterial & Fungal Infections Spray$13.69
Help protect your pet with Banixx Pet Care Bacterial & Fungal Infections Spray. This first-aid, fast-acting solution is made in the USA with anti-microbial properties for dogs, cats and horses. Not only does this treatment help combat dog hot spots and ringworm found in dogs and cats, but it is also frequently used by pet parents to help eliminate dog ear infections. This beneficial spray can also be used to help provide relief from scratches, fungus, thrush, itchy skin, rain rot and so much more! Recommended by veterinarians, this gentle, environmentally friendly spray is made without steroids or antibiotics and can be used around the eyes, nose, mouth and ears. Plus, it's also made with zero fragrances and won’t sting or stain! This topical formula has a four-year shelf life and can be used after long-term heat/sun exposure or after freezing.

Before you go shopping for a remedy to cure your pup’s infection, be sure to consult your vet first.

Rated 4.00/5.00 by Certapet
Douxo Chlorhexidine PS Dog & Cat Shampoo$25.89
Douxo Chlorhexidine PS is an antiseptic lathering solution with special moisturizing ingredients, including chlorhexidine, climbazole and phytosphingosine for the management of superficial and severe skin conditions.

Yeast Infection in Dogs Ears? Not Fun for Anyone!

Yeast infection for anyone is terrible and annoying and uncomfortable and painful and – you get the gist.

Yeast infection in dogs’ ears is almost worse because as a human, we can communicate, embarrassing as it is, our symptoms and immediately get treated right away. At this moment in time, dogs do not know how to communicate to us that they have bacterial overgrowth.

However, they can show signs, like the ones we mentioned above, and as owners, we can be better about recognizing these symptoms.

How to Treat Yeast Infection in Dogs

It’s one thing to learn that your dog has a yeast infection, it’s another to treat the condition.

Yeast infections in dogs should be treated the moment it’s identified. As a dog owner, it’s understandable if you’re a bit frazzled seeing your dog suffering from a yeast infection.

Thankfully there are a variety of treatment options that will rid your dog of that annoying itch so that they can get back to their usual hyper and spunky self!

Yeast Infection in Dogs Treatment

Address Your Dog’s Diet

In many cases, yeast infections are rarely located in just one area of the body.

If your dog is infected in one ear, they’re likely infected in the other ear, all of their paws, and probably the rest of their body as well.

If this is happening to your dog, a change of diet might be exactly what the doctor ordered. In other words, your dog is going to have to go on an ‘anti-yeast diet’. We’ll talk more in-depth what that exactly entails later on in this article.

Target the Ears Directly

If you want to get rid of a problem, you should go straight to the source.

Sure, changing your dog’s diet helps, but you should be heading directly to the ground zero and target the ears. 

Often, vets tend to prescribe yeasty dogs a special salve or cream to apply to the affected area. This provides an excellent short-term solution, but it also creates a situation where the yeast killed by the cream simply creates the perfect breeding ground for even more yeast. New yeast will grow upon the dead yeast, thus applying more ointment may make the problem worse rather than better.

We recommend that you forgo any creams, salves, or ointments and get down and dirty by clearing out the yeast yourself and disinfecting the skin.

If your dog regularly develops yeast infections in their ears, you may have to clean this area on a daily basis. 

Dogs that produce copious amounts of ear wax will need to be cleaned daily.

Dogs that produce ear wax less often won’t need to be cleaned as often. However, don’t use this as an excuse to be negligent. Check your dog’s ears every day!

Witch hazel works well with this type of cleaning, but if you have another type of solution in mind, you can use that as well. Apply your solution of choice to a cotton ball and clean your dog’s ears until they’re completely clean.

If you decide to use a cotton swab, be careful not to stick it directly into your dog’s ear canal. This could lead to ear problems such as hearing loss or even exacerbating ear infections.


This bulldog might have knocked them off, but there are plenty of anti-fungal shampoo brands that work great for eliminating yeast; however, it will require that your dog take a little dip in the bathtub.

Keep in mind that there are shampoos that you should be using as well as those you should avoid.

Oatmeal-based shampoos should be avoided, as these contain sugar. We’ll cover this more in-depth later on, but sugar acts as an energy source that encourages the growth of yeast. 

Herbal blend and tea tree oil anti-fungal shampoos are perfect. Wash your dog as often as needed.

What Makes a Good Dog Yeast Infection Home Remedy?

Sometimes the easiest cure is the one that you can make from home. Here are a few home remedies to treat yeast infections in dogs.

Dog Skin Yeast Infection Home Remedy

Coconut oil!

Even though this isn’t a home remedy, but is still a common household item that turns out to be super effective! More and more people are beginning to recognize the power and beneficial effects of coconut oil. 

It contains copious amounts of Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs). MCT, in turn, is comprised of caprylic acid, lauric acid, myristic acid and palmitic. Together these compounds give coconut oil antifungal properties, making it a great home remedy for treating yeast infections in dogs.

This includes treating candida, a type of yeast that typically lives in your belly, mouth, and skin. Skin infections in dogs are the worse. Coconut oil can definitely help to beat back yeast.

Dog Ear Yeast Infection Home Remedy

Apple cider vinegar!

Apple cider vinegar has a reputation for its multipurpose use. You can even use it as a cleaning agent! Therefore it’s not very surprising that it also has the ability to battle yeast in both dogs and humans.

It can be applied to the skin or ears after it has been diluted by water. Keep in mind that you want to purchase apple cider vinegar organic, raw and unfiltered for the best results.

Anti-Yeast Dog Food? What Does a Yeast Managing Diet Look Like?

No yeast dog food, non gluten free food, cerales grains with interdiction symbol on the middle

We love to spoil our dogs with all kinds of sweet treats. By doing so, we may be unknowingly causing our dogs to develop a yeast infection.

Yeast can only thrive if there is sugar present as an energy source.

We never truly think about counting carbs when we feed our dogs, but carbohydrates break down into sugar when they are consumed. A carb-rich diet may be the root cause of your dog developing a yeast infection (though that is debatable).

Typically, when we think of sugar, we think of the processed white sugar that you can buy at your local grocery store.

These should be avoided, but you also need to be wary of natural sugars, such as the type that can be found in honey. We can’t overlook the fact that natural sugars can benefit your pets, but they’re best avoided if your dog is suffering from a yeast infection.

Read the labels of your favorite pet food brands the next that you go shopping. You’ll want to avoid these types of foods:

  • White potatoes
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Honey
  • High Fructose Corn Syrup

Sugar can be found in practically anything nowadays. Overall, it’s best to completely cut sugar from your dog’s diet.

You should also avoid feeding your dog these foods as well (foods heavy in carbs):

  • Wheat
  • Rice
  • Corn
  • Potatoes

The list of foods that contain carbohydrates is nearly endless, but the message should be clear. 

Zero carbohydrates. 

Zero sugar. 

Your dog should be eating low-glycemic vegetables amongst other sugar-free foods. Your dog would also benefit from small amounts of oregano and garlic. These are anti-yeast/anti-fungal, perfect for a dog battling a yeast infection.

As you plan your dog’s new diet be careful of any food allergies that they may have.

What Veterinarians say about Yeast Infection in Dogs

Veterinarians take yeast infections in dogs quite seriously. They recommend a variety of effective treatment options that include:

Prescriptions and Probiotics

Zymox Otic Enzymatic Solution with Hydrocortisone

This medication specifically targets infections that affect the outer ear in dogs and cats. Zymmox supports the natural mechanisms of the body and kills yeast, fungi, and bacteria. This is a very effective treatment for acute and chronic inflammation of the inner ear.


  • Effectively treats acute and chronic outer ear infections caused by bacterial, fungal, and yeast infections
  • Naturally works with your pet’s body to react with present pus and debris to kill microbes
  • Contains hydrocortisone to reduce itching
  •  No reported side effects
  • Non-invasive, once-a-day application

Be Super Clean Shampoo

This is an excellent shampoo that battles the foul odor that’s caused by yeast infections in dogs. If you don’t mind that your pooch smells like a mix of melon and fresh cucumber, then this shampoo is an excellent choice.


  • Kills odors caused by ringworm and yeast infections
  • Safe enough for pets with sensitive skin
  • Does not remove topical flea and tick preventatives
  • Fresh cucumber and melon scent
  • Made in the U.S.A

For prescriptions, it’s best to consult your veterinarian and see what they suggest. And as always, we highly encourage you to visit the vet first and foremost if you believe your dog to have a yeast infection, as well as taking probiotics or any supplement for that matter.

Dog Yeast Infection Home Remedy

We want to reiterate what we said above in the section “Dog Ear and Skin Yeast Infection Home Remedy”.

Once you consult with your vet, they will list a few things you can do at home!

There are so many options!

  1. Apple Cider Vinegar!!
  2. Coconut Oil!!
  3. Garlic!!
  4. Whole Foods!! (we mean actual whole, non-processed foods; however, you could probably find the ingredients above at a Whole Foods, so no limits!!)

The Itch is Real! So Show Your Pet Some Love by Doing All You Can to Prevent that Nasty Yeast Infection!

Yeast infection in dogs is no laughing matter. If your dog is suffering from a yeast infection, visit your vet immediately. There are plenty of treatment options available that include probiotics, antibiotics, and even home remedies.

It would be great to say those yeast infections are easy to treat (they seem that way on the surface), but in certain severe cases you may have to completely change your dog’s diet, bath them with anti-fungal shampoo on a regular basis, and disinfect your dog’s skin with essential oils.

Help your dog get rid of that nasty itch and do everything you can to stop them from developing an infection! Your dog will love you for it!

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