Yeast Infection in Dogs: Symptoms, Causes & Treatment

How To Get Rid Of A Yeast Infection In Dogs Naturally

Is your dog licking and chewing on his paws? Does he have skin redness or a smelly odor? These uncomfortable symptoms can be a sign of a yeast infection in dogs. When a dog's natural balance of yeast, bacteria, and fungi is disrupted, it can lead to overgrowth and various symptoms like skin and ear infections. With a diet change and Ask Ariel's natural supplements, you can give your dog fast relief from the itching and irritation of chronic yeast.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Dog Yeast Infections?

Dogs with yeast infections have symptoms that are similar to those caused by allergies and bacterial infections. Dogs will itch, lick, chew, scoot and scratch to relieve their discomfort. Common signs of yeast dermatitis may include:

  • Licking paws, chewing on fur
  • Pungent smell or a musty odor like corn chips or moldy bread
  • Brown or yellow ear discharge
  • Chronic ear infections
  • Ear scratching - dog has itchy ears
  • Licking genitals
  • Head tilting, pawing at the ears or shaking head and ears
  • Red skin, rash (yeast rash on the skin) and inflammation
  • Dark skin in armpits and abdomen (areas of dog that are moist). May appear greasy or crusty.

Dogs will lick until the skin is raw and inflamed. This can cause hot spots and lead to infection. Butt scooting is another attempt to calm the itchiness. Long-term dog yeast infections may result in blackened skin, also called “elephant skin.”

Brown ear discharge that resembles coffee grounds is usually a symptom of ear mites, not a yeast infection. Ear mites are contagious from one dog to another. Since yeast infections come from the inside, the good news is that they are not contagious to other pets.


"This spring my 1 1/2 year old Siberian husky/Malamute mix Willow suddenly developed several “hot spots” of intense itching on her body. She ripped the hair out of 2 “hot spots” on her body and frantically itched other places. The vet said it could have been bug bites, allergies to her food, environmental or something unknown.

I looked at changing her to very expensive hypoallergenic food, steroid shots, special baths, etc. and none of that sounded like feasible (or healthy) solutions. I had noticed she smelled “yeasty” even though the vet discounted that. This site seemed to really know their stuff so I ordered K9 Yeast Defense and Power Probiotic right away. Willow did itch worse the first week, and then her itching was magically gone. She’s not sitting and panting anymore and she doesn’t itch now (other than normal dog itching). She also no longer smells. That smell went away now - and I have not given her a bath!

I am totally sold on this product. So grateful it’s out there! It is so easy to give to her and it works!" - Jessica, Montana

How Is Yeast Dermatitis in Dogs Diagnosed?

The clinical signs of yeast dermatitis are quite evident. Candida species (i.e., Candida albicans) are the most common cause of yeast infections in dogs. Malassezia pachydermatitis is another common fungus responsible for yeast dermatitis in dogs. To confirm a diagnosis, most vets will perform a cytology or culture. A cytology includes looking at skin cells under a microscope. A culture is performed by rubbing a swab across the skin and sending it to the lab for analysis. A culture test can also determine which medications will be effective in treating the specific fungus. Yeast and fungal growth from a culture can take time, so most vets prefer cytology for faster results.

What Causes Dog Yeast Infections?

Yeast, bacteria and fungi are naturally found on the skin and in the gut of your dog. These organisms are often referred to as the microbiome. When present in a healthy amount, they play an important role in your dog’s overall health. A balanced immune system will keep all of the organisms in check. If the immune system becomes weak or compromised, the yeast will overpopulate in the gut and the effects start to spread to the skin. The skin is your dog’s largest elimination organ. As the body is trying to push out the yeast, the result is stinky, itchy skin. Yeast infections are not contagious; your dog did not get this infection from another dog. Yeast infections in dogs often recur unless the underlying allergy or skin condition is controlled. Here are some of the most common causes of dog yeast infections:

  • Antibiotic and Steroid Use - Yeast symptoms commonly occur along with a bacterial infection, so antibiotics and steroids are often prescribed. Antibiotics kill off the bad bacteria as well as the good bacteria needed for a healthy immune system. Prescription antifungal medications can also create an imbalance. Steroids (i.e. prednisone) calm yeast infection symptoms by reducing inflammation and suppressing the immune response. These medications can upset the microbiome and create a vicious cycle of dog yeast infection symptoms. Once antibiotics and/or steroids are stopped, the symptoms will usually return.

  • Food and Environmental Allergies - Allergies in dogs can be caused by environmental allergens such as grass, pollen or dust mites. Dogs will have a similar type of allergic response to food allergens. Common food allergens can include things such as poultry, dairy or peanut butter. Allergies create inflammation and red, itchy skin. When dogs scratch themselves, they open the protective skin barrier. Tiny scratches or lesions become the perfect breeding ground for bacteria, fungi or yeast to cause infection.

  • High-Carbohydrate Diet - Dog foods and treats that are high in starchy carbohydrates, sugars and grains can help yeast to grow. All carbohydrates, including soy, corn, potatoes, wheat, peas and rice, are some form of sugar. When there is too much sugar in your dog’s body, it provides food for bad bacteria and yeast to grow. Sugar is the ultimate fuel for candida yeast. Dry kibble, even a high-quality grain-free brand, is extremely high in carbohydrates and fillers. Carbohydrates convert to sugars during digestion. Vegetables such as sweet potatoes and potatoes are used in most grain-free dog foods. These should be avoided by dogs with yeast infections. Sweets (honey, molasses, corn syrup) and breads should also be avoided.

  • Heat and Humidity - Yeast thrives in warm, moist environments. Dog yeast infections occur most often in the warm summer months due to higher humidity levels. Try to keep your dog indoors when the humidity is high. Many dogs love to swim in the summer. Wet skin and ears can create an ideal environment for yeast growth. Make sure to dry your pups, especially in the groin and ears, after they swim.

  • Genetic Predisposition - Certain breeds seem to be genetically more likely to suffer from yeast infections. These breeds include cocker spaniels, basset hounds, West Highland white terriers, Malteses, shih-tzus, Lhasa apsos, Chihuahuas, dachshunds, German shepherds, boxers and poodles.

Your dog’s skin contains a wide variety of bacteria and fungi. It sounds gross, but your dog has Candida albicans, staphylococcus, Malassezia pachydermatis and streptococcus canis on its skin. These organisms coexist and do not normally cause a problem until something creates an imbalance. Once there is an imbalance, pathogens will take advantage of the opportunity to proliferate. Yeast infections are one of many possible opportunistic infections.


"At 16 years old, Denali is running, playing with our other dogs and still enjoys being the boss of the house. Denali has beat the odds and is our doggie miracle. She was rescued by Husky Haven of LA who saved her from death row at the shelter. Husky Haven saved her again when she found out her adopter gave her away (grr!) because she needed a life-saving surgery to remove a 4-pound tumor from her liver. Denali wasn't expected to survive that surgery 7 years ago, but she continues to thrive thanks to Ask Ariel's supplements. She uses Power Probiotic, K9 Yeast Defense and Olive Leaf Extract For Pets. The combination of the products helps to calm her tummy and control yeast. The recent addition of the Olive Leaf has really helped to control the "cheesy" odor and clear up some blackened skin." - Jason, California

How Do Veterinarians Treat Dog Yeast Infections?

Traditional veterinary treatments for yeast infections can be topical or oral. For chronic yeast infections, which often include concurrent bacterial overgrowth, a combination of both is used. Topical treatment includes the use of medicated antifungal shampoos. For ear yeast infections or skin hot spots, topical ointments may be prescribed. Oral antifungal medications are often effective in treating yeast infections and Malassezia dermatitis, but they must be given for months at a time. Corticosteroid medications and plant sterol supplements can be used to reduce inflammation.

Dogs are treated with antibiotics if they have developed a secondary skin infection. The use of antibiotics and antifungal medications carry the risk of potential side effects. Antifungals can have adverse effects on the liver, especially if used long term. The FDA has issued several warnings regarding the safety of certain antifungal medications in humans, as it carries the risk of severe liver injury and adrenal gland problems. The FDA does not mention whether the same effects on the liver and drug interactions would occur with dogs, but if your dog is using this medication, please contact your veterinarian. Our K9 Yeast Defense is an all-natural alternative to prescription antifungal medications. It is a blend of herbal antifungal ingredients scientifically proven to fight yeast. Reliance on prescription drugs can further upset the microbiome balance and immune response. Using probiotics along with these medications can lessen the impact on beneficial gut bacteria.


"Several weeks ago we bought your dog yeast infection home remedies for our sixteen-year-old poodle/terrier Maurice. He had been just miserable. We would like you to know that Maurice's life has changed dramatically thanks to your products and diet for dogs with yeast infections. Maurice is no longer itching and biting himself. He is able to totally relax for the first time in months. This has restored his vitality and he is now playing with his toys again. Maurice's yeast skin rash is gone and his once smelly ears are no longer oozing with discharge. We are thrilled to say the least!!!!" - The Hager Family

What To Feed When Your Dog Has A Yeast Infection

Dog licking is due to itchiness and irritation from the INSIDE. While topical lotions and shampoos will help to treat sores and skin infections, in order to stop the urge to lick and chew, you must control the itching and discomfort that is causing it in the first place. By changing your dog's diet and adding natural, veterinarian-approved supplements, you can give your dog fast relief from the itching and irritation of chronic yeast and ear infections by balancing your dog’s microbiome.

The best food for dogs with yeast infections is a frozen low-carbohydrate raw novel-protein diet. Some meat proteins, like chicken, turkey, duck and beef, are potential allergens for dogs. Diets high in grains (corn, wheat, rice) can cause inflammation and skin problems in dogs. Dry food, for example, is made with starchy carbohydrates that convert to sugar, which can fuel yeast growth. Dairy products, like milks or yogurts, are very high in sugars and should be avoided. Potatoes and sweet potatoes are starchy vegetables and are not recommended for dogs with yeast. Green vegetables such as zucchini or green beans are excellent additions to your dog’s meals. They also make great treats. Include your dog’s current diet and treats on the order form at checkout, and we will include free diet tips on the packing slip that comes with your order.

How To Prevent Dog Yeast Infections

  • Feeding an anti-yeast diet is the best way to prevent yeast infections in dogs.
  • Use natural yeast prevention remedies.
  • Keep your dog active and healthy.
  • Reduce stress.
  • If you live in a hot, humid environment, keep your dog inside as much as possible.


"Our sweet French Bulldog Maestro was scratching his face and tearing his fur out. He is very sensitive and we didn't want to keep giving him prescription medications. Antihistamine medications would just knock him out and we wanted our doggie to feel better. We tried several diet changes and a few itch-relief products from other brands but nothing worked. Then, we found AskAriel. I am happy to report that after using the Amazing Omegas, K9 Digestive Enzymes, Power Probiotic, K9 Yeast Defense, Proaller and Quent, Maestro started to get better right away. He loves the Amazing Omegas on his food! A patch of fur that he kept chewing on is finally growing back. Thanks for the diet tips too. We are very happy we found Ask Ariel." - Amy, California

Home Remedies For Dog Yeast Infections

Treating yeast in dogs with natural supplements can help reduce symptoms and prevent chronic infections. Probiotics are essential in helping to maintain balance in the microbiome. Probiotics replenish good bacteria and support digestive and immune health. Studies have shown that caprylic acid can help to break down the membranes of candida cells. Herbs such as pau d’arco, oregano, grapefruit seed extract and olive leaf extract all contain natural antifungal properties that can help kill yeast and fungal pathogens.

Dogs with yeast infections can be bathed with prescription antifungal shampoos. These shampoos help eliminate pathogens on the skin and help with the pungent odor. Use caution with household items such as tea tree oil, peroxide, apple cider vinegar or witch hazel. Dogs can have adverse reactions when these are applied topically. Please consult with your veterinarian about what shampoos would be best for your dog. Bathing treatments can be used a few times a week initially and then on an as-needed basis. Yeast thrives in moist, damp environments. Make sure that you dry your dog thoroughly after bathing and avoid getting water in your dog’s ears.

K9 Yeast Defense - K9 Yeast Defense is an all-natural yeast remedy for chronic ear infections, licking at genitals, chewing on paws, facial rubbing and other yeast infection symptoms. It contains time-tested natural antifungal ingredients like pau d’arco, grapefruit seed extract, caprylic acid and oregano, that are scientifically proven to control fungal dermatitis in dogs. Helps to relieve yeast infection symptoms and restore proper balance to your dog's microbiome.

Power Probiotic - K9 Yeast Defense works best when combined with Power Probiotic to properly balance intestinal flora. When dogs take antibiotics or steroid medications, this depletes the friendly bacteria needed to control yeast overgrowth. Power Probiotic is the best probiotic for yeast infections in dogs! Backed by scientific research, this powerful, multi-strain formula repopulates the good, friendly bacteria your dog's digestive system needs. It’s pure, safe and natural. Many dogs love the taste of Power Probiotic!

Olive Leaf Extract For Pets - Olive Leaf Extract for Pets is a powerful antibacterial and antifungal supplement for dogs. Scientific research has shown olive leaf to be highly effective in treating many kinds of bacteria and fungus. Olive Leaf Extract for Pets is especially beneficial for dogs with tear-stained eyes, ear discharge, cheesy smell, licking groin, yeasty paws and fungal infections. Some clients have even reported that the supplement has helped to clear up blackened skin. Use Olive Leaf Extract along with K9 Yeast Defense and Power Probiotic for synergistic treatment of yeast infections in dogs.

NOT Anti-Infection Drops - This is a natural remedy for fighting infections and reducing doggie odor and redness. It controls harmful bacteria and restores gut flora balance, improving digestive symptoms and immune function. NOT Drops are an ideal dog skin yeast infection home remedy because they help control harmful bacteria. Since bacterial infections and yeast overgrowth frequently occur together, it’s essential to use NOT Drops along with K9 Yeast Defense.

Need Help?

Yeast infections are a common cause of itching and irritation in dogs. We always recommend consulting with your veterinarian to obtain a proper diagnosis before using natural treatments at home.

We understand how hard it is when your pet is suffering from yeast infections, and we will do all we can to help. It can be confusing to know which dog supplements would be appropriate for your pet. Please email us at [email protected]. Please note that we cannot provide consultative advice due to veterinary regulations, but we will be happy to provide articles and information so that you can make an informed decision about what's best for your pet.