Have you ever wondered why your dogs paws smell like Corn Chips? Or why some still have that funky dog smell even after a bath?
Do you have a smelly pooch? Are they itchy or suffer from reoccuring ear infections? These are incredibly common doggy issues that are easy to get under control once you understand what causes them.
Four Key Indicators of a Yeast Infection or Overgrowth
#1 Your dog is always itchy
#2 He keep getting infected ears
#3 He smells and his paws smell like corn chips (or popcorn)
#4 He has red rusty stains on his fur around his toes, in his groin & under his eyes like dark rusty tear stains
Tick one or more of these boxes? Well, great news you can fix all these problems pretty easily and without spending a cent - they’ve more than likely got a yeast overgrowth throughout their entire body. While that sound pretty dire it’s not. All animals, including us humans need yeast to function, it’s when it starts to grow like weeds you will see one or all of these symptoms.
What Is A Yeast Infection?
Yeast is a fungus that lives in your dog’s intestines in small numbers. It’s a normal inhabitant of your dog’s digestive tract and it helps him digest his food and maintain a health microbiome both inside and out. But when yeast is allowed to overgrow, your dog will start to suffer from what’s essentially a fungal infection. Two species of yeast in particular can be a significant problem for your dog … Candida and Malassezia.
Most people have heard of Thrush, that painfully itchy rash that pops up in damp warm places on your body. This is Candida. Imagine having this all over your entire body!
Yeast is normally held in check by friendly bacteria in your dog’s gut. They compete with Candida for food and attachment sites … and this keeps the yeast numbers down.
But if yeast is allowed to grow out of control, it can irritate the cells lining your dog’s gut. Normally, these cells have tight junctions between them. This stops harmful bacteria, viruses and yeast from entering the blood stream from the intestines. But yeast overgrowth will cause inflammation … and this causes the space between the cells lining the intestines to widen. When this happens, yeast and toxic byproducts can exit the digestive tract and enter your dog’s blood. This is called leaky gut.
So, What Are The Signs Of Yeast Infections In Dogs?
There are a few tell-tale signs that will help you figure out whether your dog has a yeast infection, leaky gut or allergies.
Here are other signs of yeast infection you’ll want to look for:
Chewing or licking the feet
Dark rusty-red hair between the toes
Black skin often with hair loss (it’s commonly called Elephant skin as this is what it looks like)
Bad smell and greasy hair (seborrhea)
Ear infections or head shaking
Speckles on the underbelly
Hair loss on the tail and upper back
Grayish or rust colour around the genitals or belly
What are the three things yeast needs to grow out of control?
Moisture (you dogs licking)
Heat (an increase in your Dog’s body heat caused by highly inflaming foods like carbohydrates)
Three steps to containing a Yeast Overgrowth
So, you’ve ticked the boxes and you think yeast is the problem. Here are the 3 steps you need to take to stop your dog’s yeast overgrowth.
#1 Starve the Yeast #2 Clean the Yeast Die off off the Skin ## Keep your dog Dry
#1 Firstly and most importantly: Starve The Yeast Overgrowth
So, what causes yeast infections in dogs? In humans, digestion begins in the mouth. We physically break down food with our teeth, and salivary enzymes get to work.
This is slightly different in the dog. The structure of their teeth means they are equipped for ripping and tearing, and then swallowing larger chunks of foods, whereas us humans have flat surface teeth made for grinding. A dog’s saliva also has a different composition to humans. Canine saliva plays more of a role in protecting against inflammation and functioning as an anti-microbial. Dogs also have lower amounts of amylase than humans and there appears to be no, or very little, salivary amylase present in canine saliva. It is regularly concluded that because a dog is carnivorous, amylase activity in the species is not required.
The nutrition your dog receives either supports his immune system to keep yeast growth under control, or it does the opposite and exacerbates a yeast overgrowth situation. Dogs with yeast need an “anti-yeast diet,” which is also anti-inflammatory and species-appropriate.
Yeast uses sugar as a source of food, and carbs break down into sugar in your dogs mouth. So the first thing dogs with yeast infections need to do is remove all sources of starch from their diet. Never assume because you’re paying a lot for your pet food that it’s healthier.
The only way to know just how much unnecessary starch (aka sugar) is in your dry food is to do the Carb Equation. Pets need zero in their diet, so the higher the amount in that bag of food, the worse the sugar-loving, opportunistic yeast can be. Not addressing diet is the biggest mistake you can make when it comes to losing the yeast battle. No amount of medicated creams or shampoos or drugs will fix the issue if you do not first start with their diet.
Correcting your dog’s nutrition works to balance flora levels naturally, but I also recommend adding a few natural antifungal foods to the diet, for example, small amounts of fresh garlic. Adding fermented veggies to your dog’s meals can also be very beneficial, along with, unfiltered apple cider vinegar and coconut oil, which contains caprylic acid that has anti-Malassezia properties. Sprialina is also a superfood with proven results in killing these yeast spores off through the gut. Check out our Skin Soother Meal Supplement which will speed up this process
#2 Disinfect Your Dog’s Skin
If you’re looking to avoid expensive antifungal drugs, you’ll have to disinfect your pet’s skin yourself. Nothing is going to kill excessive yeast unless you begin a microbiome-balancing protocol, so you’ll also need to disinfect the affected area(s) of your dog’s body where the opportunistic yeast overgrowth is present on a regular basis.
If the infection is in the ears, dampen a cotton ball with a vet-prescribed (and possibly natural) antifungal solution (witch hazel can be used and I like Coconut Oil as it’s Anti-fungal, anti-microbrial properties make it gentle and soothing at the same time), and use as many as necessary to remove debris, keeping the ears clean and dry every day. This can help to prevent the yeast infection from worsening or progressing into a mixed bacterial infection. A vet visit will then be required to manage that infection.
For yeast overgrowth on your dog’s paws, use a foot soak to fully submerse the paws. My favorite solution for foot soaks is Betadine, which is an organic iodine solution. It’s safe, nontoxic, antifungal, antibacterial and anti-yeast, Add just enough water in your foot soak to cover your dog’s feet, and enough iodine to turn the water to the color of iced tea.
#3 An Astringant or Drying Rinse after shampooing and between baths.
Add one cup of vinegar or one cup of lemon juice to a litre of water. If your dog has a dark coat, stick with vinegar, since lemon juice can lighten fur.
Pour the antifungal rinse over your dog after a bath, avoiding her head/eyes, and rub the solution into her skin, focusing on the areas where yeast grows, such as under her armpits and between the toes. Don’t rinse off the solution; simply towel dry.
You can also keep the solution in a spray bottle and mist the yeasty areas of your dog throughout the day. Yes, they will smell like a salad!
Remember that these natural treatments aren’t a quick fix. It will take some time to see improvement. If you change your dog’s diet to be more biologically appropriate, begin a natural antifungal protocol and are diligent with topical disinfection you will see a difference, and get rid of the funky dog smell forever!