Have you owned a dog and had this happen? You keep them well-exercised and healthy. Then the excessive scratching, biting and licking all start. These are all signs that your dog is trying to make themselves feel better from a yeast infection.
Luckily for dog owners, there are a few remedies that you can try to help ease the symptoms of a yeast infection. One of the best remedies, and one of the easiest to pick up, is yogurt. You can even find it at your local grocery store or supermarket.
But how much yogurt should you feed your dog if you suspect them of having a yeast infection? And how often? Read on to find out what you should be doing to help keep your dog happy and itch-free.
What Are Yeast Infections?
Before learning about how yogurt can help treat your dog’s yeast infection it is best to know what it is. Dr. Becker with Mercola Healthy pets explains it best, but to make it easier to understand… It is like an overgrown lawn.
Like humans, dogs have many microorganisms that live in their bodies. Most of these hang around and never cause any kind of problems. A lot are even good for your dog’s health!
One of these organisms is yeast, a fungus that is usually found in your dog’s stomach or on their skin. Yeast is one of those organisms that, when in balance, promote digestion and movement of food. But a yeast infection occurs when this fungus grows out of control.
According to Pet MD, signs that your dog is experiencing a yeast infection can include :
- Red, irritated, or itchy skin or ears
- Hair loss
- A sweet or musty smell (particularly from the ears)
- Discharge from the affected site, including paw pads or ears
- Frequent scratching or rubbing
What Causes Yeast Infections?
There are actually many things that can cause an overgrowth in yeast, and thus infection, in dogs. This can be because of immune system suppression, which is often due to antibiotics. This seems a little bit weird, right?
Antibiotics, by their nature, prevent or treat infections not cause them. But the truth is the opposite can happen. Antibiotics also tend to destroy the beneficial bacteria in a dog’s guts. This, in turn, causes the natural flora to grow wild. These florae keep the yeast under control, so take that away and there is a complete overgrowth.
Yeast infections of the skin are often caused in wet or moist areas. These include the skin folds of ‘wrinkly’ dogs, between the toes and paw pads, or inside the ears. Unlike stomach-related yeast infections, skin infections are often responses to allergies or other environmental factors.
Environmental allergies suppress your dog’s immune system allowing yeast infections to arise. Allergens include pollens, mold, dust, cleaning products, mites, and even certain foods. Dog foods high in sugar and carbs more often lead to yeast infections, as this is what yeast feeds on.
Steroids or illnesses can also cause yeast infections. Since both affect the immune system, dog owners need to be aware of how they can interact with their bodies.
If you think your dog is experiencing a yeast infection because of these, contact your vet. They will be able to help either change the steroids or find out why your dog is sick. This will help their immune system get back to normal so you can focus on the yeast infection.
Yeast loves to grow in moist and warm environments. This means that dogs that are in water often will be more prone to infections than others. Being bathed too often does count as both moist and warm so keep an eye out and make sure you are drying your dog all the way.
Poor hygiene, humid weather, and the use of ear products can also change the natural environment of the ear. These all can also lead to yeast infections.
Other causes of yeast infections can be blockages. Yeast, bacteria, and other debris can become blocked inside the ear canal when not dried the right way. Blockages also include trapped wax, discharge, matted hair, or other foreign objects. Make sure you are checking your dog’s ears daily to help prevent infections, or catch them early on.
Some dogs, due to genetics or various body traits, are more prone to yeast infections than others. Dog breeds with floppy ears, excess skin folds, long or thick hair in the ear canal, or a genetic predisposition to atopic dermatitis are all at risk. These breeds include Shih Tzus, Cocker Spaniels, Schnauzers, English Bulldogs, Pugs, Bloodhounds, and more.
Can I Treat Yeast Infections At Home?
It is important to check with your veterinarian to see if your dog does have a yeast infection. Luckily there are many ways to treat yeast infections at home or head it off before it actually starts.
Making sure you are treating the cause of the yeast infection is the most important. Taking proper care of your dog and checking for food or environmental allergies is key. Even better is giving your dog’s body tools to ‘fight’ back’ before the infection gets out of control.
Luckily one of the simplest and easiest ways to help your dog combat a yeast infection is to offer them yogurt. With probiotics and ‘good’ bacteria, yogurt can help your dog’s body regulate itself. It can even help prevent yeast infections in the first place if used as a part of your dog’s diet.
What Are The Benefits of Yogurt?
One of the biggest benefits of yogurt is that it is inexpensive. Even when used as a prophylactic, it won’t break the bank to feed your dog. And even if your dog doesn’t finish it all, well you or your kiddos can polish it off.
Yogurt is also well tolerated by most dogs. As long as your dog is not lactose intolerant then they can likely eat yogurt. This means that, unlike most medications or treatments, it won’t make things worse for your dog. They’ll even enjoy the extra treat during the healing process!
Filled with probiotics, yogurt promotes a healthy gut. Yeast infections start in the stomach so keeping the gut balance is key to prevention. Probiotics also help your dog’s body absorb nutrients and boost immunity. Both of these also help prevent or heal yeast infections.
How Much Yogurt is Good to Give Your Dog?
Many factors influence how much yogurt you should give your dog. This includes activity level, other health issues, weight and size, and more. You want to make sure you are giving enough yogurt to help with a yeast infection but not too much. That might make things worse!
First, figure out the nutritional needs of your dog. Yogurt should make up no more than ten percent of your dog’s daily calories. This would mean about one spoonful of yogurt for a small dog, two for a medium dog, and three for a big dog.
Start off with less and work up to the full amount to prevent any tummy troubles. You don’t want to deal with diarrhea or an upset stomach if you are dealing with a yeast infection at the same time.
Yogurt is best when mixed in with your dog’s normal routine, whether that is kibble or raw feeding. Dump it on top or spoon it through with their morning or evening meal.
You can also make frozen yogurt treats by taking the frozen spoonfuls and letting your dog eat that way. Some dogs will even lick it out of a toy, such as a Kong, though this can be a little messy.
What are signs of a yeast infection in a dog?
Excessive itching, licking, scratching are all signs of a yeast infection. You may also notice hair loss, a sweet or musty smell, or yellowish discharge.
What kind of yogurt should I give to my dog?
Pick something without sugar in it. Non or low fat yogurt is best. Remember anything with sugar in it will feed the yeast and cause more overgrowth!
How much yogurt should I give my dog for a yeast infection?
Depending on the size of the dog you should give them between 1 and 3 tablespoons a day. Rule of thumb is 1 tablespoon for a small dog, 2 for a medium one, and 3 for a large dog.
What should I know before giving my dog yogurt?
Please check with your veterinarian for what may be causing your dog’s yeast infection. Also start slow, some dogs may be lactose intolerant and will not tolerate yogurt well.
In the end, we hope that this article has helped you understand the benefits of giving your dog yogurt for yeast infections. Or maybe you learned how to prevent one by using yogurt before it starts.
Did you know we have other healthy pet tips and tricks? Need to know how to deal with a dog that has diarrhea at night? Or maybe your dog is drinking too fast and you need ways to slow them down. Follow our blog for more!