Yeast Infection AGAIN? Do Something About It! Many dogs suffer from periodic yeast infections. Yeast is a product that is found on all of us in small amounts. It lives throughout the body but mostly in the skin and digestive tracts. When it grows past the normal amount is when problems arise and there is an overgrowth of yeast or a yeast infection. Many things can contribute to the overgrowth of yeast. Stress, vaccines and steroids can all contribute to yeast overgrowth. Primarily, they tend to lower the immune system therefore allowing the yeast to essentially take over. Antibiotics are a huge cause of yeast overgrowth. While antibiotics are great for fighting infection and killing off bad bacteria, they do not spare the good bacteria or beneficial flora in the gut – they aren’t that smart. When the good flora Dogs with big heavy ears can often be susceptible to yeast infections if not fed the correct diet and given proper care. in the digestive tract is compromised, it can give yeast the foothold it needs to ‘take over’ resulting in a yeast infection. A huge factor in yeast infections and overgrowth is diet. While diet can indeed cause a yeast infection, it also can make the climate right for yeast to completely take over. Yeast needs to eat to survive and its favorite foods are sugars. Carbohydrates turn into sugars in the body. This means any grains, as well as some veggies and fruits, will help to feed the yeast. While a poor diet can indeed be the cause of yeast overgrowth, more importantly, it can help a yeast infection to grow and thrive. Symptoms of a yeast infection include gunky, itchy, swollen red ears, red or scaly skin, chewing and licking of paws and an itchy or red genital/anal area. In many cases there is also a smell, that to the practiced nose, is yeasty. Often misdiagnosed as allergies or a bacterial infection, many people find themselves treating the symptoms of an infection but never discovering the underlying problem. This usually will result in multiple yeast infections over time – the problem was never actually solved so the problem persists. There are a few things you can do to eliminate a yeast overgrowth or infection and actually keep future ones away. First, and most importantly, changing the diet. If you have a dog who has suffered multiple times from a yeast overgrowth, has perpetually gunky ears, has the itchies most of the time along with red skin or any number of other symptoms, a diet change is likely going to be necessary to turn things around for good as well as to get rid of the symptoms at hand. Know that while medicated baths and creams and steroid shots might help relieve some of your pet’s symptoms, in the end, they are no better than a band aid. The more you fight with the problem instead of attempting to solve the problem, the worse you will encourage it to be. Giving antibiotics and steroids may clear it up for a moment but both drugs can be the cause of a yeast problem – just how long do you think Meat, bones, organs and no carbohydrates whatsoever is the correct diet for a dog with yeast problems your band aid will hold? Diet changes should be for life. While they will help the dog recover from the problem, if you immediately go back to feeding grain and sugar filled food, you will find yourself right back in the same place again. All dogs, but especially dogs susceptible to an overgrowth of yeast, do best on a species appropriate natural raw diet. No grains, no sugars, no fillers. For a dog who is actively suffering from an overgrowth, avoiding any fruits and veggies until they are completely stable is a smart move to make. This means feeding a diet that consists of meat, bones and organ. That’s it. Give the ‘yeasties’ nothing to feed on and they will be under control relatively quickly! If you are unable to feed raw, home cooked would be your next best option as only with these two diets are you able to decided exactly what is that your dog ingests, otherwise you are at the mercy of the ingredients that someone else decides on. Grain free kibble is the most appropriate kibble to feed but understand that while grains may be eliminated, ingredients in these foods generally include starches which are necessary to keep the molded kibble stuck together. They also tend to include fruits and veggies that may not be optimal for your yeasty dog. While better than feeding kibble with grain, you may not actually solve your dog’s problem as quickly or as completely since you are, still, feeding that yeast. Supplements to enhance immune function and replace the good flora in your dog’s digestive system is the next step. Adding something such as Digestive Enhancer to their food can go a long way. Chock full of probiotics, prebiotics and digestive enzymes, this product is something that should grace the home of any dog owner. By including all the good Bright shiny coats, clean healthy ears – the portrait of a raw fed pup with NO yeast issues. Diet is perhaps the most important thing to consider! bacteria that one could want, our Digestive Enhancer is a perfect weapon against yeast and, in fact, is the perfect foil to combat the use of antibiotics. If used when a dog is put on antibiotics, a good probiotic can chase away any chance of a yeast problem occurring by ensuring that all of the beneficial bacteria that are killed are quickly and efficiently replaced. When a dog has an existing overgrowth problem, a probiotic can give their body the tools its needs to fight off and control the yeast. In combination with removing grains and carbohydrates from their diet, it provides an excellent method for healing. Cran-Tri-C is another beneficial supplement for dogs with a chronic or acute yeast issue. Part of the reason the yeast can so easily take over is due to a compromised immune system. The vitamin C that is found in Cran-Tri-C can help too boost your pet’s immune system and give them the tools to naturally reject and recover from a yeast problem. Many things can cause our dog’s immune systems to fail them. Stress, infection, poor diet, illness of any sort just to name a few. Boost them up and over the top just like you would yourself if you had a cold. Vitamin C can make the difference! Stress has been mentioned several times in this article in conjunction with immunity depression and yeast issues. Remember, just because we are humans doesn’t mean we corner the market on stress. While generally caused by different triggers, dogs get stressed all of the time! Changes in circumstances like moving or a new person coming around a lot, vacations, trips to the vet, fireworks on the 4th of July, thunderstorms, a trip to the dog park, divorce, ‘people’ fights – all of these and more can cause stress in your pet. Try to eliminate the stresses in your dog’s life to keep him happy, healthy and mentally well balanced. While a trip to the vet is a good idea for a definitive diagnosis of a yeast issue, there are plenty of things you can do at home that are natural and easy to help both heal and prevent yeast overgrowth. Be proactive, know what is going on with your pet. Check their ears periodically for redness. Look between their toes and on their bellies for redness or scaliness. Minimize stress inducing episodes and keep your pet calm and happy. Perhaps most importantly of all – watch what they eat. Diet can be the cause of SO MANY problems. Conversely, it can be the SOLUTION for so many problems. Putting half as much thought into what you feed your dog as you do in what you feed yourself or your kids, can make all the difference.