Chronic overgrowth of yeast can result in a bad smell from a dog’s skin and chronically infected ears causing terrible discomfort and hair loss, as well as digestive issues. Unfortunately it can be very challenging to treat. Healing from yeast takes time and a whole body approach. Two key parts of the solution are to remove what’s feeding the overgrowth of yeast and to heal and support the lining of the gut, as this is where 80% of their immune system lives. Antibiotics, immunosuppressive drugs like prednisone, and anti inflammatory drugs can help some symptoms of itching temporarily, but can actually create chronic yeast overgrowth and start a vicious cycle by damaging the lining of the gut and the good flora normally found within it. Without beneficial bacteria and a healthy gut lining, the yeast can take hold and grow out of control quickly. Here are some quick tips:
Diet Tips for Chronic Yeast
Eliminate as many carbs as possible
Yeast is fed by starchy sugars – a fresh raw diet is ideal as it doesn’t need the starchy binders that all kibbles use, and it will best support healing of the skin. Find a balanced raw food that focuses mainly on meat, bone and organs without a great deal of additional veggies and fruits (perhaps something like Vital Essentials or Answers brand) Get tips on making a safe balanced diet at home here. Starve that yeast!
Supplement Suggestions for Chronic yeast
Quality probiotics are key: For for larger dogs, the Answers Cow’s Milk Kefir is a perfect match for chronic yeast issues (try the cultured goat’s milk for smaller dogs). We especially recommend these Answers fermented products (the Kefir or the Goat’s Milk) due to their added whole food benefits, rich in Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) to help heal the gut lining and the skin. These beneficial bacteria help to strengthen the immune system and out-compete the yeast. A great tasteless probiotic powder by Wholistic Pet could be a good recommendation if you can’t find the Answers brand near you. When looking for a good probiotic, look for one made for dogs (not humans) with multiple strains of bacteria (Dr. Karen Becker recommends at least 10 strains and over 20 million beneficial bacteria per serving – the more the better.
Fish Oil is an excellent supplement that helps to reduce inflammation in the body and support the health and healing of the skin from the inside. Our favorite is Nordic Naturals, but any fish body oil high in Essential Fatty Acids will be beneficial. Keep it in the fridge to protect it from oxidation.
A Handy Supplement from Pet Wellbeing: Derma Support Gold Tincture
Here’s a testimonial from the Pet Wellbeing’s Derma Support Gold page: “My young dog has battled yeast problems for some time now. She was smelly, had dry fur that fell out and would scratch herself constantly until she had nasty hot spots. I have changed her diet and added some supplements that have helped but it was still there, always seeming ready to flare up if something triggered it. I have had good success with other Pet Wellbeing products so I ordered Derma Support Gold in hopes that this product would be our answer. I gave it to her as directed for three weeks and I am amazed at how much she improved in that time. She lost that stinky, yeasty odor, her skin is clear and calm, no more red, itchy, bumpy spots that turn into hot spots, and no more itching and scratching in general. Maybe the occasion scratch here and there, just more like what any normal dog would do. I am so happy to see how much better she feels now, it’s a huge relief for both of us! I will keep this product on hand now to either use occasionally as a preventative or in case of a flare up since yeast in dogs is often a long term battle”. Read more about yeast and this tincture here (click on “description”). (For other causes of itchy allergies, check out Itch Support Gold )
Colostrum can be very useful in supporting the immune system and helping to heal and seal the gut lining, making probiotics more effective. Read more here
Organic Green Alternative from Animal Essentials is a wonderful supportive nutritional supplement for yeasty dogs. Garlic is a natural antifungal, nettles have a natural antihistamine effect which helps the itching, Burdock is a good blood cleanser that can help to detox, and spirulina is incredibly nutritious, providing antioxidants, loads of vitamins, all of the amino acids and all trace minerals. This would be a great supplement to add to any diet, especially if you’re making it at home.
NOTE: It’s a good rule of thumb in life to make one change at a time, especially with a health compromised animal. Start with diet to kickstart the process, introducing it slowly to transition. Follow with one new supplement at a time, introducing a small amount at first and increasing the dose to the recommended amount. (The only exception might be to combine probiotics with new foods to aid in the transition). You may not need all of the products listed, but we hope it gives you some good suggestions for what to try. It would be wonderful if you could find a good holistic veterinarian to help you with this journey.
For a more comprehensive article about Chronic Yeast Overgrowth, please read this article By Holistic Vet Dr. Karen Becker