Whitney has over 10 years of experience in dog training, rescuing, and healthcare.
Canine Yeast Infection
Ear infections are common among certain breeds of dogs, but they can occur in any breed of dog if the conditions are right.
If you think that your dog has a yeast infection in his ears, you need to have him diagnosed and treated, as if left untreated, your dog can suffer inner ear infections, which can cause equilibrium problems, as well as deafness.
Dogs with floppy ears, hair in the ear canal, and dogs with allergies to pollen, foods, cleaning agents, smoke, or anything else, care more susceptible to contracting a yeast infection. Otherwise, yeast infections can also occur due to other conditions, to include:
- A trapped object
- A ruptured eardrum
- Bacterial infection
- Tumor or polyp within the ear canal
Causes of Canine Yeast Infection
There are some dog breeds who are more susceptible to ear yeast infections, such as Cocker Spaniels, Basset Hounds, Golden Retrievers, and other dogs that have floppy ears. Dogs with hair in their ears, such as Schnauzers, Poodles, and man Terriers, and dogs who have allergies to are also susceptible to yeast infections. Dogs with narrow ear canals, like Shar Pei's are also prone to yeast infections in the ear.
But, in general, because the dog's ear canal plunges downward and away from the ear opening, it creates the ideal condition for yeast to grow and flourish. Dogs can develop middle and outer ear yeast infections. Outer ear infections (otitis externa) is the beginning step to a yeast infection, where the infection only affects the outer portion of the ear, extending from the earlobe to the eardrum. Middle ear yeast infections (otitis media) are generally associated with an outer ear infection where the infection has gone untreated and spread, and if it's continued to be left untreated, it can spread to the inner ear, where it will affect balance, position, and potentially cause deafness.
A yeast infection is basically caused by moisture in the dog's ear, as the yeast easily flourishes in the warm, dark, and moist environment. When your dog gets a bath or swims, water and debris can get trapped within the ear canal, which can be the beginning of a yeast infection. When you give your dog a bath or after he goes swimming, you want to take cotton balls and carefully dry the outer and middle portion of your dog's ears.
Other common causes of yeast infection in dogs, may include:
- A grain based diet
- Improper diet without proper probiotics and supplements
- Over vaccinating
- Stress and anxiety
- Use of certain antibioitics
- Use of certain flea chemicals
Signs of Yeast Infection in Dogs
There are many different signs that you may notice that may alert you to the notion that your dog may have a yeast infection. The most common sign is constantly rubbing his hear on the floor or furniture.
Other signs may include:
- Brown, yellow, or bloody discharge
- Crusted skin on the ear flap
- Head shaking or tilting
- Loss of balance
- Loss of hair around the ear
- Loss of hearing
- Odor in the ear
- Redness or swelling
- Scabs around the opening of the ear
- Unusual eye movements
- Walking in circles, indicating changes in equilibrium
- Waxy residue
Your dog may develop a yeast infection in other areas of his body, other than just his ears, such as the skin. If your dog has a yeast infection on his skin, it will cause scabs and reddening. Your dog will probably scratch and chew at his fur and skin, as it will be quite itchy. You may also notice your dog's eye may become quite watery, frequent sneezing, coughing, and abnormal nasal discharge.
In some cases, dogs may experience
- Anal sac problems
- Bad breath
- Bladder infections
- Fatigue and lethargy
- Food allergies
- GI problems (bloating, gas, diarrhea, vomitting, consitpation)
- Joint pain
- Malnutrition due to the inability to absorb nutrients
- Urinary Tract Infections
Dog Yeast Infection Treatment
If you think that your dog may have a yeast infection in his ear, you want to see your vet so that your dog can be properly diagnosed and begin treatment soon.
After looking into your dog's ears, and probably taking a sample of the gunk, he may diagnose him with a yeast infection, and in this case, he'll more than likely prescribe a topical ointment or cream. Most vets will prescribe Miconazole and
ketoconazole, which are the two most common antifungal medicines.
If there is an infection of the middle ear, your vet may prescribe an oral medication or an injection. For yeast infections of the middle ear, it typically takes at least 6 weeks to treat, and sometimes more tests or even surgery may be required.
Dog Probiotics and Supplements
Natural Yeast Infection Treatment
If your vet has diagnosed your dog with a yeast infection, you may not want to jump on conventional treatments right away, as they can cause side effects for your dog. Make sure to discuss the potential side effects to any topical or oral treatment before you set your dog on this treatment path.
If you want to consider holistic and natural treatments for dog yeast infection, consider the following ideas:
- Clean the ears with diluted white vinegar. Dilute the vinegar with water, (1 part vinegar to 3 parts water) and pour a small amount in your dog's ear and massage the outer portion of the ear, so that the solution gets all the way through the ear canal. Wipe away any extra around the outside of the ear. You'll want to continue this treatment once a day for few weeks, and then on a weekly basis for future prevention. Consider using a dropper, as it may be easier so that you don't put too much in the ears.
- Consider different herbs to help cure and prevent yeast infections. Rosemary and tea tree oil are good topical pain relievers that will aid inflammation and wound disinfecting. Vitamin C is a good anti-oxidant that can help regulate yeast growth.
- Acidophilus can be found in pill and liquid forms, as well as a yogurt. It will help promote healthy bacteria in the stomach and intestines, which will help prevent overgrowth of yeast bacteria.
- Ear Dr. contains natural ingredients that can help treat and prevent
yeast infections in the ear. Just drop a few drops in the ear canal,
massage the liquid into the ear, and the solution helps treat the yeast
and clean the ear to prevent future infections. PetAlive is a popular all natural brand that creates many treatment and preventative options for pet ailments; they offer an Ear Dr. remedy (as seen below).
Dog Ear Cleaning Solutions
Prevent Dog Yeast Infection
A few tips to consider when trying to prevent yeast infections, may include the following:
- Boost your dog's immune system with dietary supplements
- Exercise regularly
- Keep the ears and the area around the ears clean
- Keep the dog well groomed
- Maintain a balanced diet
- Routine vet visits
If your dog suffers chronic infections, you want to consult your vet for further tests.
Also, keep in mind that ear cropping, is the lazy way to prevent ear infections and yeast infections, as if you are able to keep your dog's ears cleaned, you are doing more prevention. Do not opt straight for cropping if you haven't tried any other method of prevention. There are many people who hear, "crop the ears," and go for it without any further research. Make sure that you do your research, because once you cut, you can't go back.
Disclaimer: Please be aware that the advice in this article should in no way replace that of a licensed veterinarian. If you have any questions or concerns, you should consult a veterinarian.
Ann on June 09, 2019:
After several years of investigation as to why my Cavie was having ear infections, we figured out it’s allergies..so she gets grain free food and Allergie shot every 6 weeks year round. And it’s basically solved the problem
ShannaAnna on September 07, 2018:
My Baby doll, Luna Belle, has had a few unexplained issues for just over a year, since I brought her home! My vet, who I have been with for about 14 or 15 years now, can't find any reason /pathology for the annoyances and I hate that nothing I have tried has helped! Luna Belle was 3 months old when some despicable excuse of a person, threw her out of a car. A lady saw and tried to get the poor baby but Luna was too terrified and just bolted into a wooded area by the lady's home. Before anyone could get her, the 2016 Flood forced everyone to evacuate and my sweet baby was left all alone in this new strange place where the weather was relentless and the water was AT LEAST 6 ft deep in that area and it held for almost 3 whole days. I am convinced that this has something to do with a few issues. Anyway, sorry, it kills me to think of it! So her ears do get a bad odor, I do have hyperosmia so it may not be as strong as I experience... She scratches them and does occasionally whine. They are never dirty when I investigate or clean them. They do get very wet, and almost waxy very quickly between cleaning. Again, never once has there been any evidence of dirt, oozing or abnormal secretions. My vet and 3 different techs haven't been able to find a problem. I use antifungal ear cleaner that I got from the vet... She becomes panicked and goes into flight mode when I go to clean them. She pushes her head to the floor so flushing doesn't happen completely. I squeeze as much as I can while trying to make sure that, because her head is upside down, it doesn't pour out into her eyes. I do it by soaking a cotton ball and squeezing that in. She lets me dry clean them or use her eye /face wipes and she is fine with me sticking my finger in there when we are playing so there doesn't appear to be pain. Just the itching. She also has problems with one side of the top of her gums That shows no pathology. Why can't we help my baby doll!? So frustrating. I have used vinegar, her other ear wash is Epiklean (sp?). Anyone heard of this before? I am so sorry for the essay. I am very emotional about what she has been through of you can't tell.
Mary Immediato from HOLDENVILLE on March 16, 2018:
My mini-pin was diagnosed with a yeast ear infection. She has now started to "gator roll" uncontrollably. My Vet says it may take 2 weeks or more for her to show any improvement. Can she, at just 5 years old, have vestibular syndrome? And will the rolling stop? My Vet can't give any guarantees.
Monica on January 22, 2012:
I have two yorkies puppies that are brothers and are pretty much together all the time and they clean each other including the ears.
I clean their ears and bathe them. but they both have extreme problems with yeast infect where you can see on outter ears. :(
they're 5 months old. I can't always afford a vet bill. any suggestions. or remedies I can do Please Email.
email@example.com and put in subject. RE : commenting on yeast in yorkies. that way ill know
dbrosegroup on December 19, 2010:
Great Hub and it does a good job of exploring a more common problem than most dog owners realize. I get this question a lot at the pet stores. Coming from the pet food business, that is often my first consideration but it's true that there are many possible causes. Good Job
Whitney (author) from Georgia on November 26, 2010:
Cleaning regularly is a good way to prevent yeast buildup
Maria Cecilia from Philippines on November 25, 2010:
I always clean my dogs's ears at least once a week after bathing, I am not sure if that is enough... is constant cleaning enough to discourage yeast?
Kathy from The beautiful Napa Valley, California on November 24, 2010:
Very good information. I have dogs and cats and I have seen this condition in my indoor cats, as well. I flush the ear w/a prescribed liquid and then use Zymox Otic Enzymatic Solution which is primarily for yeast problems in animals' ears. Thank you for a very good hub.
i4u on November 21, 2010:
Being a dog lover we all must never show signs of laziness in treating our dog if anythings of this sort affects the poor guy. A great hub to open most of the dog lover's eyes.
Tirzah Laughs from USA on October 22, 2010:
My Chin has bad ears. His get cleaned weekly and in the summers, I add an allergy med. This keeps in under control if not always clear.
Barbara Badder from USA on July 31, 2010:
I wish I had the advice about the vinegar sooner when I had our Springer Spaniel. She had terrible recurring ear infections that even the vet couldn't stop, but maybe the vinegar would have worked.
Laura45 from Pennsylvania, USA on July 28, 2010:
Thanks for covering this topic in depth. As you state above, we have found feeding our Wirehaired Pointing Griffon yogurt is very helpful in keeping these infections at bay. Thanks for an informative great hub.
kaltopsyd from Trinidad originally, but now in the USA on July 13, 2010:
Thank you for an informative Hub. I guess now I have to pay close attention to my puppy's floppy ears. :)
Pamela Lipscomb from Charlotte, North Carolina on July 12, 2010:
Such great information. So many people do not understand that dogs are not do it yourself pets. They need us to properly care for them. 2 thumbs up!