Yeast Infection in Dogs

Yeast Infection in Dogs

While when you first hear ‘yeast infection’, you may think of an itchy complaint that women face from time to time, it can also affect your dog. Yeast infections in dogs are more often than not caused by Malassezia pachydermatis, and it is found on their skin. It usually isn’t something to be alarmed about, but you should know that it does have the ability to reproduce quickly and cause more complicated health concerns. This is why you should be aware of the condition.

Where Yeast Infections are Most Often Found in Dogs


Yeast infections are most commonly found in or around the ear canal, in the areas between the toes, near the anal sac or vaginal area, or around the rectum of your dog.

Diseases and infection caused by yeast infection can occur in dogs of all ages and all breeds, but there are some dogs that are more prone to this type of infection.

These breeds include:

  • Cocker Spaniels
  • Shih Tzus
  • Terriers
  • Basset Hounds
  • English Setters
  • Maltese
  • German Shepherd

Causes of Yeast Infection in Dogs

Any time the conditions are right for yeast to grow, it will. That is because the Malassezia sees an opportunity and it strikes. They often come about during the hot summer months when the humidity is high. Sometimes the infection may even persist into the autumn months. If your dog has any sort of hereditary disease that weakens their immune system, they may be more prone to a yeast infection.

Here are a few of the risk factors that can increase the possibility of your dog getting a yeast infection:

  • bacterial dermatitis
  • allergies
  • skin irritation
  • increased oil in the skin
  • increased ear wax
  • prolonged use of medications, such as antibiotics

Signs and Symptoms of Yeast Infection in Dogs

Most of the time, the first sign of a yeast infection is itchy skin. Your dog will likely scratch their skin when they develop the condition, causing it to spread and get worse. Yeast may be more localized to one area, or it may spread to multiple areas. In really severe cases, it can spread to the whole body.

Dogs that have a yeast infection will likely have some of the following symptoms:

  • smelly skin
  • oily skin
  • scaly skin
  • itching
  • licking
  • redness
  • hair loss
  • hyperpigmentation
  • thickening of the skin
  • head shaking
  • ear discharge

If you notice any of these, talk to your veterinarian right away. This will help them to rule out any other possible causes of the symptoms, and give a diagnosis for a yeast infection.

Diagnosis and Treatment Options

Diagnosing yeast infections in dogs is not really all that difficult. The best way to get a diagnosis is to have the veterinarian swab the area for testing. These lab cultures can help to identify the organism that is causing the skin irritation, and if it can be positively identified as Malassezia it will be easy to start a treatment plan. The problem is that it is normal for the Malassezia to be present, even for healthy dogs, but your vet will be able to tell if it is the root cause of the skin condition.

Treating yeast infection in dogs starts by identifying the underlying cause. It can be caused either by bacterial infection, allergies, or other problems that weaken the immune system. Attacking the root cause is always the best way to go. Typically, your veterinarian will start by giving a topical treatment, such as a shampoo or cream that will make the environment unsuitable for the yeast to continue to thrive. If the yeast is found in the ears, there may also be ear drops that can remedy the problem.

As you can see, yeast infection in dogs is more common than you would think. It isn’t what you think of when you hear the words yeast infection, but it can be serious and should be treated right away. If you suspect a yeast infection, make an appointment to see the veterinarian right away.



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I've been a dog lover since the day I was born but it's the current four legged love of my life, Phoebe who inspired me to create the Munch.Zone.

We moved together from Israel to New York in 2013, love hiking together, and never pass up a trip to the dog park. Watching her over the years sparked so many questions about dog behavior and health needs, and it wasn't always easy to find answers. Thus, the Munch.Zone was born.

On any given day you'll find me watching Netflix originals, eating popcorn, and thinking about how to get into house flipping.

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