5 Common Causes of Yeast Infection in Dogs

Give a thought to how much you know about causes of yeast infection in dogs, especially when your pet suffers from it every now and then. All dogs carry a healthy population of yeast on their bodies. When something goes wrong with your dog’s immune system, yeast can grow out of control on some parts of his body – making him to feel itchy and smell bad. In dogs, the fungi Malassezia and Candida are the most common causes of yeast infection in dogs.

Most cases of yeast infection in dogs occur on the skin, ears, or paws. In rare cases, yeast infection occurs in the mouth nose, reproductive tract, and gastrointestinal tract. Common signs and symptoms of yeast infection in dogs include,

  • redness of the skin
  • crusty skin
  • itching
  • hair loss
  • unusual smell like that of cheese, old bread, or popcorn

Treatment of yeast infection in dogs involves getting a correct diagnosis of the condition based on the symptoms and skin scraping tests, giving oral and topical treatments, and determining its causes to prevent the condition from recurring.

No amount of treatment is enough if the underlying reasons for yeast infection are not addressed. For this reason, knowing the different causes of yeast infection in dogs should help you prevent it from happening or recurring.

Causes of Yeast Infection in Dogs #1: Allergies

Allergies are perhaps one of the most common causes of yeast infection in dogs. When your dog ingests or gets in contact with an allergen, his body may trigger an immune response. This makes his body very itchy. Your dog will then scratch these itchy areas to relieve the discomfort.

Yeast overgrowth can happen when your dog scratches a part of his skin until it becomes raw and starts to bleed. The self-inflicted wound can become infected – making it a very good breeding spot for bacteria and yeast. Your dog can also spread the infection from his ears to his face, body, and even paws.

Causes of Yeast Infection in Dogs #2: Trapped Moisture in Dog’s Skin, Ears, or Paws

Many dog owners assume that swimming causes yeast infection in dogs. This is not entirely true. If your dog is swimming in clean water, there is only a very small chance to develop yeast infection in the ears, skin, or paws. However, it is still very important to dry your dog’s skin after a bath or swim. Trapped moisture in the skin, paws, or ears can cause yeast to flourish. This leads to yeast overgrowth and infection.

Dog breeds, such as the Poodle, Dachshund, Labrador Retriever, Rottweiler, Golden Retriever, and Cocker Spaniels are more prone to ear infections because of their floppy ears. If your dog has floppy ears, make sure to clean and dry his ears regularly – especially after the bath or swimming.

Causes of Yeast Infection in Dogs #3: Hypothyroidism

Recurrent yeast infections are often a sign of hypothyroidism. Some dog breeds prone to hypothyroidism include:

  • Labrador Retriever
  • Golden Retriever
  • Dachshund
  • Miniature Schnauzer
  • Boxer
  • Alaskan Malamute
  • Siberian Husky
  • Irish Setter
  • Greyhound
  • Cocker Spaniel

If you suspect your dog has hypothyroidism, have him checked by a veterinarian.

Causes of Yeast Infection in Dogs #4: Medications

Some medications, including antibiotics and immunosuppressive drugs (steroids), can also cause yeast infection in dogs.

Antibiotics kill both good and bad bacteria. This affects the healthy yeast levels on your dog’s body – causing yeast to grow out of control. Drugs, such as corticosteroids, on the other hand, disable your dog’s body to maintain and control healthy yeast levels on your dog’s skin.

Causes of Yeast Infection in Dogs #5: Diet

Yeast needs sugar, a simple type of carbohydrate. Consumption of food items that are high in dietary sugar can cause yeast blooms in some dogs especially diabetic dogs. For dogs prone to sugar-related yeast infection, avoiding foods, such as honey, potatoes, corn, wheat, and rice, helps. Choosing a grain-free dog food is a good alternative.

Another diet-related cause of yeast infection in dogs is the protein source. Some dogs are allergic to certain meat sources, including beef, pork, and chicken. If you suspect your dog’s diet is the culprit for his yeast infection, choose a limited ingredient dog food. Try different protein sources to determine which ones cause allergy in your dog.

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