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Yeast Infection in Dogs - Dog Ear Infection

Updated on August 2, 2010
Whitney05 profile image

Whitney has over 10 years of experience in dog training, rescuing and dog healthcare.

Canine Yeast Infection

Ear infections are common among certain breeds of dogs, but they can occur in any breed of dog if the conditions are right.

If you think that your dog has a yeast infection in his ears, you need to have him diagnosed and treated, as if left untreated, your dog can suffer inner ear infections, which can cause equilibrium problems, as well as deafness.

Dogs with floppy ears, hair in the ear canal, and dogs with allergies to pollen, foods, cleaning agents, smoke, or anything else, care more susceptible to contracting a yeast infection. Otherwise, yeast infections can also occur due to other conditions, to include:

  • Allergies
  • A trapped object
  • A ruptured eardrum
  • Bacterial infection
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Tumor or polyp within the ear canal

Causes of Canine Yeast Infection

There are some dog breeds who are more susceptible to ear yeast infections, such as Cocker Spaniels, Basset Hounds, Golden Retrievers, and other dogs that have floppy ears. Dogs with hair in their ears, such as Schnauzers, Poodles, and man Terriers, and dogs who have allergies to are also susceptible to yeast infections. Dogs with narrow ear canals, like Shar Pei's are also prone to yeast infections in the ear.

But, in general, because the dog's ear canal plunges downward and away from the ear opening, it creates the ideal condition for yeast to grow and flourish. Dogs can develop middle and outer ear yeast infections. Outer ear infections (otitis externa) is the beginning step to a yeast infection, where the infection only affects the outer portion of the ear, extending from the earlobe to the eardrum. Middle ear yeast infections (otitis media) are generally associated with an outer ear infection where the infection has gone untreated and spread, and if it's continued to be left untreated, it can spread to the inner ear, where it will affect balance, position, and potentially cause deafness.

A yeast infection is basically caused by moisture in the dog's ear, as the yeast easily flourishes in the warm, dark, and moist environment. When your dog gets a bath or swims, water and debris can get trapped within the ear canal, which can be the beginning of a yeast infection. When you give your dog a bath or after he goes swimming, you want to take cotton balls and carefully dry the outer and middle portion of your dog's ears.

Other common causes of yeast infection in dogs, may include:

  • A grain based diet
  • Hyperactivity
  • Improper diet without proper probiotics and supplements
  • Over vaccinating
  • Stress and anxiety
  • Use of certain antibioitics
  • Use of certain flea chemicals

Signs of Yeast Infection in Dogs

There are many different signs that you may notice that may alert you to the notion that your dog may have a yeast infection. The most common sign is constantly rubbing his hear on the floor or furniture.

Other signs may include:

  • Brown, yellow, or bloody discharge
  • Crusted skin on the ear flap
  • Head shaking or tilting
  • Loss of balance
  • Loss of hair around the ear
  • Loss of hearing
  • Odor in the ear
  • Redness or swelling
  • Scabs around the opening of the ear
  • Unusual eye movements
  • Walking in circles, indicating changes in equilibrium
  • Waxy residue

Your dog may develop a yeast infection in other areas of his body, other than just his ears, such as the skin. If your dog has a yeast infection on his skin, it will cause scabs and reddening. Your dog will probably scratch and chew at his fur and skin, as it will be quite itchy. You may also notice your dog's eye may become quite watery, frequent sneezing, coughing, and abnormal nasal discharge.

In some cases, dogs may experience

  • Anal sac problems
  • Bad breath
  • Bladder infections
  • Fatigue and lethargy
  • Food allergies
  • GI problems (bloating, gas, diarrhea, vomitting, consitpation)
  • Joint pain
  • Malnutrition due to the inability to absorb nutrients
  • Urinary Tract Infections

Dog Yeast Infection Treatment

If you think that your dog may have a yeast infection in his ear, you want to see your vet so that your dog can be properly diagnosed and begin treatment soon.

After looking into your dog's ears, and probably taking a sample of the gunk, he may diagnose him with a yeast infection, and in this case, he'll more than likely prescribe a topical ointment or cream. Most vets will prescribe Miconazole and ketoconazole, which are the two most common antifungal medicines.

If there is an infection of the middle ear, your vet may prescribe an oral medication or an injection. For yeast infections of the middle ear, it typically takes at least 6 weeks to treat, and sometimes more tests or even surgery may be required.

Natural Yeast Infection Treatment

If your vet has diagnosed your dog with a yeast infection, you may not want to jump on conventional treatments right away, as they can cause side effects for your dog. Make sure to discuss the potential side effects to any topical or oral treatment before you set your dog on this treatment path.

If you want to consider holistic and natural treatments for dog yeast infection, consider the following ideas:

  • Clean the ears with diluted white vinegar. Dilute the vinegar with water, (1 part vinegar to 3 parts water) and pour a small amount in your dog's ear and massage the outer portion of the ear, so that the solution gets all the way through the ear canal. Wipe away any extra around the outside of the ear. You'll want to continue this treatment once a day for few weeks, and then on a weekly basis for future prevention. Consider using a dropper, as it may be easier so that you don't put too much in the ears.
  • Consider different herbs to help cure and prevent yeast infections. Rosemary and tea tree oil are good topical pain relievers that will aid inflammation and wound disinfecting. Vitamin C is a good anti-oxidant that can help regulate yeast growth.
  • Acidophilus can be found in pill and liquid forms, as well as a yogurt. It will help promote healthy bacteria in the stomach and intestines, which will help prevent overgrowth of yeast bacteria.
  • Ear Dr. contains natural ingredients that can help treat and prevent yeast infections in the ear. Just drop a few drops in the ear canal, massage the liquid into the ear, and the solution helps treat the yeast and clean the ear to prevent future infections. PetAlive is a popular all natural brand that creates many treatment and preventative options for pet ailments; they offer an Ear Dr. remedy (as seen below).

SynergyLabs Dr. Gold's Ear Therapy; 4 fl. oz.
SynergyLabs Dr. Gold's Ear Therapy; 4 fl. oz.

It is a gentle formulation that effectively disinfects and cleans the ear canal. It is also an effectively treatment for fungus and yeast infections, as it quickly eliminates the foul smell. It does not contain alcohol.


Prevent Dog Yeast Infection

A few tips to consider when trying to prevent yeast infections, may include the following:

  • Boost your dog's immune system with dietary supplements
  • Exercise regularly
  • Keep the ears and the area around the ears clean
  • Keep the dog well groomed
  • Maintain a balanced diet
  • Routine vet visits

If your dog suffers chronic infections, you want to consult your vet for further tests.

Also, keep in mind that ear cropping, is the lazy way to prevent ear infections and yeast infections, as if you are able to keep your dog's ears cleaned, you are doing more prevention. Do not opt straight for cropping if you haven't tried any other method of prevention. There are many people who hear, "crop the ears," and go for it without any further research. Make sure that you do your research, because once you cut, you can't go back.

Disclaimer: Please be aware that the advice in this article should in no way replace that of a licensed veterinarian. If you have any questions or concerns, you should consult a veterinarian.


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    • profile image

      Monica 6 years ago

      I have two yorkies puppies that are brothers and are pretty much together all the time and they clean each other including the ears.

      I clean their ears and bathe them. but they both have extreme problems with yeast infect where you can see on outter ears. :(

      they're 5 months old. I can't always afford a vet bill. any suggestions. or remedies I can do Please Email. and put in subject. RE : commenting on yeast in yorkies. that way ill know


      God Bless


    • dbrosegroup profile image

      dbrosegroup 7 years ago

      Great Hub and it does a good job of exploring a more common problem than most dog owners realize. I get this question a lot at the pet stores. Coming from the pet food business, that is often my first consideration but it's true that there are many possible causes. Good Job

    • Whitney05 profile image

      Whitney 7 years ago from Georgia

      Cleaning regularly is a good way to prevent yeast buildup

    • Maria Cecilia profile image

      Maria Cecilia 7 years ago from Philippines

      I always clean my dogs's ears at least once a week after bathing, I am not sure if that is enough... is constant cleaning enough to discourage yeast?

    • Lucky Cats profile image

      Kathy 7 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California

      Very good information. I have dogs and cats and I have seen this condition in my indoor cats, as well. I flush the ear w/a prescribed liquid and then use Zymox Otic Enzymatic Solution which is primarily for yeast problems in animals' ears. Thank you for a very good hub.

    • profile image

      i4u 7 years ago

      Being a dog lover we all must never show signs of laziness in treating our dog if anythings of this sort affects the poor guy. A great hub to open most of the dog lover's eyes.

    • Tirzah Laughs profile image

      Tirzah Laughs 7 years ago from USA

      My Chin has bad ears. His get cleaned weekly and in the summers, I add an allergy med. This keeps in under control if not always clear.

    • Barbara Kay profile image

      Barbara Badder 7 years ago from USA

      I wish I had the advice about the vinegar sooner when I had our Springer Spaniel. She had terrible recurring ear infections that even the vet couldn't stop, but maybe the vinegar would have worked.

    • Laura45 profile image

      Laura45 7 years ago from Pennsylvania, USA

      Thanks for covering this topic in depth. As you state above, we have found feeding our Wirehaired Pointing Griffon yogurt is very helpful in keeping these infections at bay. Thanks for an informative great hub.

    • kaltopsyd profile image

      kaltopsyd 7 years ago from Trinidad originally, but now in the USA

      Thank you for an informative Hub. I guess now I have to pay close attention to my puppy's floppy ears. :)

    • 2besure profile image

      Pamela Lipscomb 7 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

      Such great information. So many people do not understand that dogs are not do it yourself pets. They need us to properly care for them. 2 thumbs up!