Understanding Yeast Infections in Dogs: Diet & Solutions

Greasy, itchy skin, head shaking, licking, hair loss and odour are all signs that your pup may have a yeast infection. 

Yeast infections, medically known as canine yeast dermatitis, are a common skin issue in dogs. While yeast is a natural inhabitant of a dog's skin, an overgrowth can lead to discomfort, itchiness, and inflammation. Beyond medical treatments, diet could play a significant role in either contributing to or helping manage yeast infections in dogs. In this article, we'll delve into the relationship between diet and yeast infections, exploring evidence-based insights and potential dietary solutions.Dog with itchy skin rolling

Understanding Yeast Infections in Dogs

Yeast infections occur when the balance of yeast and bacteria on a dog's skin is disrupted, leading to an overgrowth of yeast. Factors such as humidity, warm weather, allergies, and compromised immune systems can contribute to yeast infections. Symptoms often include excessive itching, redness, greasy or smelly skin, and ear infections.

It is important to note that yeast infections can be secondary symptoms to other diseases or conditions and if your pup is experiencing issues with yeast infections, and/or additional symptoms, we highly recommend getting them in to see their veterinarian.

The Role of Diet

Diet can influence the development and management of yeast infections in dogs in several ways:

  1. Carbohydrates: Yeast feeds on carbohydrates, particularly sugars. Diets high in refined carbohydrates or sugars can potentially contribute to yeast overgrowth; however, there is a lack of evidence to support that dietary intake of carbohydrates causes yeast infections. 
  1. Allergies: Food and environmental allergies or sensitivities can weaken a dog's immune system, making them more susceptible to yeast infections. Further, itchy skin from allergies can cause lesions that allow for yeast infections to develop. Identifying and eliminating allergens from the diet can reduce inflammation and improve the overall health of the skin.
  1. Nutrient Balance: Providing a balanced and nutritious diet supports a dog's immune system and skin health. Essential fatty acids, such as omega-3 fatty acids, have anti-inflammatory properties that can help manage skin conditions, including yeast infections.
Evidence-Based Dietary Strategies

1. A complete and balanced, highly digestible diet can be beneficial for preventing and alleviating yeast infections and keeping a healthy skin and coat! Check out Our Menu for complete and balanced, gently cooked meals.

Complete and balanced dog meals
2. Ingredients rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties
, such as fish oil (omega-3 fatty acids) and turmeric, can support skin health and reduce inflammation associated with yeast infections.

3. Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that could help restore the balance of microorganisms on a dog's skin and in the gut. A balanced gut microbiome can contribute to a stronger immune system and improved skin health.

3. Ensuring your dog stays hydrated can support healthy skin and reduce the likelihood of dry, irritated skin that may be more susceptible to yeast overgrowth.

Consulting a Veterinarian

If you suspect your dog has a yeast infection, it's crucial to consult a veterinarian for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. A veterinarian can help determine the underlying cause of the infection and recommend appropriate medical treatments, which may include antifungal medications, topical treatments, and medicated shampoos.

When considering dietary changes to manage yeast infections, it's essential to work closely with a veterinarian or veterinary nutritionist. Every dog's nutritional needs are unique, and a professional can guide you in selecting a balanced and appropriate diet that aligns with your dog's health condition and requirements.

In conclusion, while diet alone may not completely eliminate yeast infections in dogs, it can play a significant role in supporting skin health and managing the condition. A combination of a balanced diet, anti-inflammatory ingredients, and probiotics can contribute to a healthier skin barrier and immune system, potentially reducing the occurrence and severity of yeast infections in dogs. Always prioritize professional guidance and evidence-based practices when making dietary decisions for your furry companion.

Written by: Hannah Godfrey
Animal Nutritionist
BSc.H. | MSc. Animal Nutrition