Does your dog have an overpowering smell of Frito Paws? If he hasn’t been secretly hoarding a bag of corn chips, that weird odor of Frito Paws may be an indication of a yeast infection.
Dogs have a normal amount of healthy levels of yeast that naturally occur on their body. The balance of healthy flora on the dog’s body is kept in check by a healthy and balanced immune system. “Balance” is the operative word. An imbalance in a dog’s immune system in either direction can lead to yeast overgrowth.
An underactive immune system can lead to yeast overgrowth. The immune system is unable to manage yeast blooms. An overactive immune system can also lead to yeast problems. When dogs have allergies or overactive immune system, they are often prescribed steroids which turn the immune system off and antibiotics can eliminate all the bacteria, they end up with a yeast overgrowth.
How do you know if your dog has a yeast infection?
Your veterinarian can determine if you pet has a yeast infection by performing a culture or cytology and viewing it under a microscope. Most people can smell the dog and immediately know he has a yeast problem because yeast has a very distinctive smell. A normal healthy dog should not smell. If your dog is itching and has a distinctive musty smell or if his feet smell like Corn Chips, or ears smell like musty mold, he may have a yeast infection.
Yeast is tremendously itchy. If your dog smells musty and is scratching at their ears, rubbing their bottoms on the ground or constantly scratching, or licking, they are probably dealing with yeast.
Dogs can get yeast infections anywhere on their skin including between toes, arm pits, folds of skin and ears. Most dogs have yeast infection on multiple parts of their body. Other signs of yeast infections are skin irritation, scratching, hair loss, scaly skin or greasy coat. Dogs are typically very itchy and this lead to scratching that results in secondary infections on the skin.
How can you manage a stinky dog?
There are two major steps in managing yeast.
Diet is the foundation of health! The most important way to address yeast infections is through diet. You cannot effectively manage a dogs severe reoccurring yeast infection without addressing diet. Your dogs diet will either help or hinder his situation. Some foods can cause the yeast to grow and exacerbate the yeast situation. To help a yeasty stinky dog, an anti-yeast diet is recommended. This is also known as an anti-inflammatory diet.
Diet that is conducive to healthy normal flora is needed to reduce the food source of yeast. Yeast use sugar as their source of energy. In order for yeast to survive, they need sugar. By eliminating sugar from your dog’s diet, you will remove their food source and the yeasts ability to survive. Therefore it is imperative to get the sugar out of your dog’s diet.
When you eliminate sugar, you will need to be sure to eliminate all of the hidden sugars and carbohydrates too. (Remember, Carbs break down into sugar!) A fresh frozen or raw frozen biologically appropriate diet is ideal to combat yeast. Answers Pet Food Raw Cow’s Milk Kefir is an excellent option to add to your dogs diet to combat yeast. The yeast cultures that are added to make kefir have been proven to help fight yeast.
In addition to diet, it’s critical that you disinfect the yeasty part of your dog and remove any yeast, wax and bacteria. If your dog’s ears are yeasty and soupy, you will need to clean his ears daily until the yeast is gone. Wax turns into yeast and yeast turns into a bacterial infection so removing the wax is critical to prevent infection. You can disinfect ears with witch-hazel or with commercial ear cleaners. Keeping your dogs ears clean and dry will help prevent yeast infections from occurring and also from a yeast infection from turning into a full blown bacterial infection.
If your dog has yeasty paws, disinfect their paws multiple times a day with an antifungal rinse until the problem subsides. The easiest way to disinfect dog paws is by dipping their feet in a foot soak using a kitchen sink for small dogs or a flat plastic sweater storage container for large dogs filled with a water, peroxide and vinegar mixture. (1 gallon of water, 1 cup of peroxide and 1 cup of vinegar). Walk your dog through the antifungal mixture several times a day being sure to cover all yeasty paws. There is no need to rinse with water, just pat dry. This solution will help prevent licking too. Since yeast love a warm and wet environment, during hot humid months, you may have to do this more frequently. Always keep your dog’s feet clean and dry.
For yeast on arm pits and other parts of the body, bath him weekly using a natural antifungal shampoo. Do NOT USE OATMEAL on a yeasty dog. Oatmeal is a grain and this provides a food source for yeast. After you have completely rinsed with water, rinse again with an antifungal rinse. (Gallon of water, 1 cup of vinegar). Towel dry without rinsing and this will help prevent yeast from replicating.
Managing your dog’s yeast through diet and baths are very effective. If you have modified your dog’s diet and constantly used the antifungal baths and rinses but your dog continues to be overwhelmed by suborn yeast, talk to your veterinarian about possible immune system testing.