Itchy, smelly dog? Could it be a yeast infection?

Does your dog itch and scratch all the time and smell stinky? Stinky, itchy dogs are usually a sign of a yeast infection. We look at how you can spot the symptoms of a yeasty dog and clear recurring, stubborn yeast infections.

What is a yeast infection?

Just like  humans, animals also have a normal amount of healthy yeast that occurs naturally in their bodies. .  A common type of sugar-digesting yeast called Candida forms part of the normal flora which can be found in an animal’s ears, nose, mouth, gastrointestinal and genital tracts.

Candida is opportunistic and will attack or invade the damaged tissues in animals, especially if their immune system is weak and compromised. This yeast infection may be localised and only affect a specific part of the body or it can spread throughout the entire body.
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How to spot a yeast infection?

The symptoms of yeast infections in dogs may vary depending on the location of the yeast infection. You will be aware that your pooch smells really bad! It is not the normal “doggy smell” that you are used to smelling.  Yeast infections have a very distinct, pungent, musty odour which is often likened to cheesy popcorn, mouldy bread or corn chips.

Itching and scratching is usually a sign of yeast overgrowth. Very often you will notice your pooch has itchy ears and itchy paws. Your pet will lick his paws, shake or scratch the head, develop ear infections, hair loss, hyperpigmentation and thickening of the skin. Open sores, drooling, fever and ‘butt scooting’ are also very common.
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How do you clear a yeast infection?

There are a few things you can do get rid of a yeast infection:

1. Diet Changes

If your dog has a yeast infection, it is very important that you make certain dietary changes to treat this condition effectively.  As you know sugar feeds yeast overgrowth, so the first step is to remove sugars from your pet’s diet. Read your dog’s food and treat labels carefully and speak to your vet about recommending an anti-yeast diet. Add good bacteria to your pet’s system to eliminate the overgrowth of yeast in the body – you can use a probiotic supplement or add some plain yoghurt to your dog’s food.

For dogs with recurring yeast infections, it’s best to go completely sugar-free! Your dog’s diet should contain low-glycaemic veggies which mean NO carbs at all – remove potatoes, corn, rice and wheat to keep the normal flora levels healthy and balanced.

At Feelgood Pets PetAlive, we have 100% natural and organic foods that can help to treat your dog’s yeast infections. Grandma Lucy's Artisan ChickenDoggoBone Active Raw Food and Vondi’s Cooked Foods are available in a variety of flavours and packed with all the essential nutrients to keep your pooch yeast-free. A definite improvement is noted when feeding your dog natural food.

These ready-made meals are convenient and fuss-free, and perfect for pet owners on the go! Visit Feelgood Health at Unit 6, Westlake Lifestyle Centre, Westlake Business Park, Cape Town or call 021 797 0193.
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2. Clean and treat your pet’s skin

Wash your dog  using a natural anti-fungal shampoo to control the yeast growth and soothe the skin. Use natural remedies such as Skin & Coat Tonic and Allergy Itch Ease to treat underlying skin irritations and yeast infections. Skin & Coat Tonic contains herbal ingredients which treat various types of skin conditions such as itchy skin, eczema, hair loss, bacterial and yeast infections. This remedy acts as a healing tonic for the skin, thereby promoting a healthier, glossier looking skin and coat.

Allergy Itch Ease is the perfect remedy to address itchiness and scratching. It is a 100% homeopathic remedy which relieves and soothes itchy skin quickly after just a few doses!

For pets that are prone to allergies and also develop yeast infections, use AllergiClear Pets. This herbal remedy acts as a natural antihistamine keeping your pet allergy-free all year round.
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3. Keep ears and paws clean and dry

Another very important step in preventing recurring yeast infections in your pet, is to make sure that you clean and disinfect their ears and paws. Yeast tends to thrive in moist areas of the body, for example in the crevices of the ears and paws. Keep your dog’s ears clean by disinfecting them with Natura Pet All Natural Ear Cleanser, a natural disinfectant from the Feelgood Health shop. Using a swab and a bit of Natura Pet All Natural Ear Cleanser, clean in and around the ear area to remove wax build up and dirt. 

If your pet develops an ear infection, our Ear Dr is a soothing remedy available in an olive oil base. Ear Dr also contains Tea Tree Oil – an excellent natural anti-fungal.

Disinfect your dog’s paws with Silverlab Colloidal Silver Gel and dry thoroughly. Check your pooch’s paws regularly - especially if you notice licking and chewing of the paws. If you notice any nicks or cuts, apply a topical cream such as Natura Pets Snout & Paw Balm. Natura Pets Snout & Paw Balm heals, soothes, and protects wounds and prevents infection. Keeping the paws clean and dry will also help to prevent and reduce recurring yeast infections.
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