Yeast Infections: Symptoms and Treatment. Read on or download a free copy of our fact sheet here.
It is a normal inhabitant of your dog’s digestive tract, and it helps him/her digest food. Yeast is normally held in check by friendly bacteria in your dog’s gut by the liver, but when the liver is sluggish, fatty or your pet has dirty blood, then all manner of diseases arise. Good bacteria compete with Candida for food and attachment sites, and this keeps the yeast numbers down.
Two species of yeast in particular can be a significant problem for your dog when it overgrows, these are Candida Albicans and Malassezia.
Where will you find Malassezia pachydermatis? This yeast/fungus likes to grow in moist areas of a dog. It's generally found on the paws, ear canals, armpits, jowls, anal area, and any skin folds that your pooch may have. The problem is when yeast is allowed to overgrow your dog will start to suffer from what is essentially a fungal infection. Out-of-control yeast can irritate the cells lining in your pet’s gut. When this happens, yeast and toxic by-products
can exit the digestive tract and enter your dog’s blood.
Yeast infection has a few key signs you need to look for:
- Chewing or licking at their paws a lot. Dogs sweat from their paws, so it's the paws that contain a moist wet environment that yeast loves. You can usually tell if a dog has yeast on their paws by the pungent smell;
- Dark rusty-red hair between the toes. Their saliva discolours the fur making it a rust colour. You will notice this on any areas that they lick, including the hair between their toes;
- Black skin (often with hair loss);
- Bad smell and greasy hair (seborrhoea);
- Ear infections or head shaking. The ears will also be an area that you can easily detect yeast. Dogs with yeast in their ears will be itching and scratching at their ears. They will also be shaking their heads a lot. But the biggest clue is you should be able to see yeast in the ears.
- Speckles on the underbelly;
- Hair loss on the tail and upper back;
- Greyish or rust colour around the genitals;
- Seasonal allergies;
- Secondary bacterial infection.
It’s important to know these signs because the longer your dog’s yeast infection goes untreated, the harder it will be to resolve.
Managing yeast infections in our pets can be is tricky because once the fungus starts to overpopulate, it can be difficult to get under control. Fortunately, you can manage most yeast cases at home. It just requires a change of diet, some specific supplements and a few lifestyle changes.
The most effective way to rid yeast is to support the liver, treat the digestive tract and skin simultaneously AND ensure the immune system is working optimally. The gastrointestinal (GI) tract accounts for 70% of the immune system. As mentioned, above, yeast starts to grow out of control when the immune system is compromised because the liver is not working optimally (read our Liver Rescue fact sheet).
There are five (5) simple steps you need to follow:
Step 1: Support the liver. Yeast among other diseases is a symptom of a distressed liver (read our fact sheet on Liver Rescue). In other words, yeast lets you know your pet’s liver is under duress. Giving your pet a high potency liver supplement such as Dishy Dogs Liver Pet, liver supporting foods, a specific yeast fighting supplement such as Dishy Dogs Yeast Pet and the minimisation/elimination of toxins are paramount to killing the yeast infection.
Step 2: Ensure the digestive tract has all the essential nutrients it needs to work efficiently. Adding a supplement that contains beneficial amounts of omega-3 and omega-6 such as Dishy Dogs Omega Pet is a good start. Both omega-3 and omega-6 are essential fatty acids (EFAs) that are essential to dogs and support a healthy immune system. Please note: be sure that the omega’s you are adding have been tested for heavy metals.
Step 3: Stop feeding the yeast. Yeast has two different forms, which makes it a dimorphic organism. The conditions the yeast lives in can change it from one form to another. When yeast is benign, it’s a single celled organism that lives peacefully alongside bacteria. In this form, it does not pose much harm to your dog. But when yeast is allowed to grow out of control (for example after antibiotic use), it’s because there are not enough gut bacteria to compete with it and it becomes a super yeast! It changes from a single cell structure to a larger and more complex multi-cellular fungus. When this happens, the yeast needs more and more food, and it gobbles everything up around it. This aggressive super-yeast releases over 60 different toxins that can travel anywhere in the body. These toxins irritate the gut lining and travel to your pet’s organs. So, it is important to stop feeding yeast infections!
There are two common ways you can unknowingly feed unwanted yeast:
- Yeast LOVES starch and sugar. So, if you remove carbohydrates and sugar from your pet’s diet, you can start to starve the yeast. The thing is, your pet’s body converts carbohydrates into sugars, and this feeds the yeast living in your pet’s gut. In the wild, the foods your dog’s ancestors ate (as well as the foods that our human ancestors ate), contained only about 4% starch. But most commercial pet foods have over ten times that amount! Even grain-free foods are usually full of potatoes, sweet potatoes or tapioca and have just as much starch as other kibbles. Sources of carbs and sugars in pet foods include:
- Potatoes and sweet potatoes
- Wheat and corn
This is why a raw diet is best for pets with yeast infections. It doesn’t have the large amount of carbohydrates that commercial foods contain. So, if your dog is fed a diet of kibble, you will need to switch him to a raw diet or a cooked diet that doesn’t use grains. Don’t concern yourself about the sugar in fruits (fructose). In fact, fruit is one of the foods recommended for healing the liver. Add some fruit (blueberries, apples, bananas etc) to your pet’s diet and your pet’s liver will love you for it.
2. Yeast LOVES “heavy metals”: You might not know it, but yeast has a special affinity for heavy metals, especially mercury. Some metals have important functions in the body, like iron and zinc. As long as they are only present in small amounts. But large amounts of metals like arsenic, cadmium, chromium, lead, aluminium and mercury are toxic to your dog and us.
Heavy metals not only generate harmful free radicals, which can damage cell membranes and cause serious health issues, they also feed VIRUSES such as EBV (epstein barr virus), canine parvovirus and canine influenza virus, just to mention a few. This damage is called oxidative stress and it builds up like rust in the body. Heavy metals are so toxic, they can even change your dog’s proteins and DNA. Your pet’s immune system does not do a good job of removing heavy metals. So heavy metals stay in your pet’s body, build up over time, and start causing health problems.
Heavy metals get into your pet system in several ways:
- industrial waste;
- herbicides and pesticides such as glyphosate;
- tap and poor-quality water;
- fish, especially shark, tuna, swordfish and marlin;
- pet foods (especially kibble).
Research shows that Candida and other yeasts bind to heavy metals in the intestines. This is good news, as yeast grabs the heavy metals before they enter the body. But heavy metals are toxic to the beneficial bacteria that also live in the gut. As the mercury and other heavy metals kill off the competing bacteria, the yeast has less competition and can grow out of control. So, if you want to kill yeast in your dog, you have to reduce the number of heavy metals. Here are some things that will help:
- Avoid vaccinations whenever possible, ‘titre’ test your dog instead;
- Don’t give your pet fluoridated water, instead, give your pet filtered or spring water;
- Minimise/avoid feeding fish and low-quality fish oil;
- Feed organic food when you can (glyphosate is loaded with heavy metals);
- Avoid GMO foods as they a full of heavy metals;
- Regularly do a “heavy metal” detox. It is important that you use a high potency supplement such as Dishy Dogs Detox Pet as it has the five key ingredients that work together in synergy to pull heavy metals and other toxins such as radiation out of key organs (read our Heavy Metals fact sheet).
Research shows that detoxing the body from heavy metals can help prevent most diseases including kidney disease, heart disease, liver disease, cancer and neurological diseases such as seizures. So, there are compelling reasons to get heavy metals out of your dog.
A note about yeast-die-off: As yeast start to die, they can release a toxic substance called acetaldehyde. Acetaldehyde is the by-product from digesting alcohol, and it’s thought to be the toxin that causes hangovers. Yeast also produces a toxin called gliotoxin that can harm your dog’s liver. So, your dog can get hangover-like symptoms from yeast die-off. To avoid gliotoxin make sure your support the liver with a high potency liver tonic such as Dishy Dogs “Liver Pet”.
The symptoms of yeast die-off can include:
- Worsening of symptoms
- Discharge from eyes, nose, skin and ears.
- Joint soreness
These symptoms should only last a few days to a few weeks. Your dog should start looking and feeling much better.
Please note: If the yeast is killed quickly, the heavy metals may be released into your dog’s circulation. This is often mistaken for yeast die-off, and it can cause the same flu-like symptoms in your dog. You might see nausea, diarrhoea, joint pain or just a general sickness as your dog detoxifies from the heavy metals the yeast releases. This is called the Herxheimer Reaction. It usually lasts from a few days to a few weeks. To avoid Herxheimer die-off give your pet Dishy Dogs “Yeast Pet” supplement. It has a number of herbs, including Cat’s Claw. The bioactive pharma-compounds in Cat’s Claw regulate the destruction of pathogens so that it’s at a level your pet can tolerate. Also, give your pet digestive enzymes, such as Dishy Dogs Digestit Pet as they can help quickly digest and eliminate dead yeast cells.
Step 4: Destroy the yeast biofilm. Yeast cells have a protective shell made up of several layers. This tough outer shell is called a biofilm and it’s what makes yeast tough to kill. Once this protective biofilm is stripped off, the yeast no longer has a safe house to protect it from the immune system. Digestive enzymes are special proteins that help your dog digest his food. They’re also the enemy of yeast. Digestive Enzymes such as Dishy Dogs “Digestit Pet” can digest yeast’s biofilm. Even though yeast can build up immunity to some antifungal medications, they’re always susceptible to digestive enzymes.
The biofilm is mainly made of fibre, but also fats and proteins, so it’s important to use digestive enzymes that break down all three of these substances. An important addition is cellulase, a plant-based digestive enzyme. Cellulase breaks down the fibre in yeast’s shell, but your dog doesn’t manufacture it, so it needs to be given as a supplement. Dishy Dogs “Digestit Pet” is chock full of the necessary enzymes including cellulase.
It’s important to give your dog digestive enzymes between meals. If given with meals, the enzymes will digest your dog’s food and not the yeast cell walls. Enzymes will also make your dog’s digestive tract more acidic, which makes it less hospitable to both yeast and harmful bacteria. Another benefit to digestive enzymes is that they can reduce the symptoms of yeast die-off. If your dog becomes too uncomfortable, you can increase the digestive enzymes.
Step 5: Kill the Yeast with These Foods. Once you’ve stopped feeding the yeast and you’ve broken up the biofilm, you will want to add antifungal foods and supplements to your dog’s diet. Use as many as your dog can tolerate, but if your dog is showing signs of yeast die-off, go more slowly. Here are some of the top performing antiviral/antifungal foods:
- Add yeast supplements to your pet’s diet such as Dishy Dogs “Yeast Pet". This high potency blend of herbs (includes some of the herbs below) will support the removal of harmful yeast.
- Olive Leaf, is believed to break down the Candida cell membrane. Its active antifungal substance is oleuropein. This is what gives olive oil its bitter taste. Olive leaf has been shown to prevent and manage yeast in multiple studies, so, it’s a great addition to fight yeast. Dishy Dogs Yeast Pet is chock full of olive leaf.
- Goldenseal, contains a compound called berberine. This is an alkaloid that helps the plant defend itself from fungus and bacteria. It’s a well-known antifungal that has been shown to fight yeast in studies.
- Cat’s claw, is an immune system booster and will support the liver and immune system.
- Lemon Balm, has soothing properties. It has bioactive phytochemicals such as undiscovered alkaloids that calm the nerve receptors in the digestive tract so that the nerves become less sensitized and inflammation reduces. Dishy Dogs Yeast pet contains this amazing herb.
- Mullein leaf, naturally reduces inflammation and irritation.
- Turmeric: This vegetable extract has multiple healing benefits. Mostly found in powdered form, you can sprinkle the powder on the affected areas of the skin. Alternatively, you can mix turmeric powder with water to make a paste and apply it to the skin.
- Pau d’arco: This extract comes from a South-American tree. It is a great herbal remedy for treating yeast infections.
- Oregano Oil: Well-known for its antibiotic properties, oregano oil also has strong anti-fungal properties. Apply it topically or add a few drops to your dog’s food.
Once you’ve stopped feeding the yeast and you’ve added the above foods and supplements to kill off the yeast and support the liver, it’s time for the final step.
Step 6: Crowd Out the Yeast. Now you need to create a gut environment that is not hospitable to yeast. There are a few ways to do this:
- add prebiotics and probiotics as they will increase the numbers of good bacteria to the gut. Prebiotics will do a much better job than just giving straight probiotics, so it important that you find a high-quality probiotic, preferably one that is not dairy based that has prebiotics built into it. There are many probiotic supplements you can choose from. Most bacteria like Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium are fragile and are easily destroyed by your dog’s acidic gut. The best Probiotics including for yeast infections are soil based (SBOs) such as Bacillus Coagulans or Bacillus subtilus which are a different class of probiotics. SBOs are spore-forming. This means they can form a protective coating that makes them resistant to heat, acid and antibiotics. It also makes them more likely to survive the large intestine compared to other probiotic strains. Dishy Dogs Probiotic Pet has pre and probiotics rolled into one high potency formula.
- Avoid gut harming chemicals. Yeast cannot grow out of control if your pet’s liver is supported, and the gut has healthy populations of bacteria. So, if you want to crowd out the yeast populations, you have to stop doing things that cause yeast to get out of control. Aside from sugar, here are common things that can harm your dog’s gut bacteria:
- Antibiotics will destroy both the bad bacteria and the good bacteria. Without the competition, yeast can take over and grow out of control.)
- Toxins (There are toxins in your dog’s food, water and environment that will damage the beneficial bacteria that keep yeast in check.
- Cortisone medications
- Thyroid medications
Please note: NEVER give/feed your pet the following foods as probiotics or to eat:
- fermented foods, such as kimchi and kombucha as they are bad for the liver;
- dairy based probiotics including yoghurt and kefir as they are not ideal for your pet’s health and dairy feeds viruses;
- liver (cooked or raw). Whilst there are many vitamins and minerals in a healthy liver the truth is, the liver of all animals is loaded with toxins.
You might think these foods would help crowd out your dog’s yeast, but you will be surprised to learn that your pet’s liver and indeed our livers do not do well with vinegars. This might seem counterintuitive since your dog needs probiotics. But fermentation happens when the carbohydrates and sugars in certain foods are eaten by bacteria and yeast. So, the prebiotics found in fermented food will also feed the yeast in your dog’s intestines!
Treating the skin externally: Whilst the majority of the work to eliminate yeast is done internally, looking after your pet’s skin on the outside is also important. Bathing your dog/cat in an antifungal shampoo may help. However, many antifungal shampoos contain Chlorhexidine gluconate which is a synthetic ingredient that can strip your dog's skin and coat of its natural oils. It also upsets the natural microbiome of your pet's skin which leads to more allergies and itchy skin. Choose instead a natural shampoo such as Dishy Dogs Pamper Pooch as it contains colostrum which is both healing and soothing to the skin. A shampoo that contains a natural antifungal agent such as Neem oil is also good. Please note: When choosing a shampoo for yeast, avoid any that contain oatmeal. Although oatmeal provides relief for dry itchy skin, oatmeal is a carbohydrate so will feed the yeast on your dog's skin.
Other supplements to include in your pet’s healing/prevention routine:
- zinc (as liquid zinc sulfate) to your pet’s food on a daily basis. Zinc is critical for liver health, autoimmune conditions, adrenal problems, arthritis, cancer, skin disorders, brain fog, diabetes, fatigue, heart palpitations, hepatitis, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, inflammation, SIBO, sinus infections, weight issues, vertigo, tinnitus, multiple sclerosis, lupus, lyme disease, thyroid problems, epstein barr virus, shingles, UTIs, candida, and every other symptom and condition;
- selenium. In addition to decreasing oxidative stress, selenium may help lower the risk of certain cancers. This has been attributed to selenium’s ability to reduce DNA damage and oxidative stress, boost your immune system, and destroy cancer cells;
- Vitamin B12 (as adenosylcobalamin with methyl cobalamin): ½ dropperful daily;
- If your dog has yeast, then add Dishy Dogs Yeast Pet as it is chock full of herbs that support the removal/elimination of yeast;
- burdock root as it has the ability to naturally purify the blood;
- yellow dock can help the detoxification process with many functions. It is effectively known as the blood cleanser, lymph cleanser and liver support.
In case of severe or persistent symptoms, it is best to seek medical attention.
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