Did you know that paw yeast infections are one of the most common problems for dogs? At least once in every dog’s life, they will suffer from a yeast infection.
Below is everything you need to know about yeast infections in your dog’s paws …
What is a Yeast Infection?
Yeast is a microorganism found in all parts of the world. There are more than 800 species of yeast present on earth, and they perform different roles, from beneficial to harmful in the ecosystem.
Yeast infection can cause skin diseases in dogs and is very common. Yeast dermatitis is typically found on the ears, skin folds, dog paws, and other moist areas of the body.
Moist and humid conditions provide an excellent place for yeast to grow, and there is a lot of moisture on a dog’s paw.
Why do dogs get Yeast Infections?
Yeast infection most commonly occurs in those dogs that have a weak immune system or whose immune system has been weakened by the overuse of medications. It is most common during allergy season when your dog is on steroids or antibiotics.
When your dog takes steroids, its immune system is weakened and this often allows the yeast to grow. Similarly, when a dog is taking long-term antibiotics, the normal microflora of the gut will be damaged. As a result, yeast will proliferate and cause infection in dogs.
Another common cause behind the development of yeast infection is the genetics or body traits of dogs; for example, it is more common in those dogs that have excessive skin folds.
Are some dog breeds more likely to get Yeast Infections?
Certain breeds (and mixtures thereof) are more vulnerable to yeast infections compared to others are. These breeds include:
- Cocker Spaniel
- Shih Tzu
- German shepherd
- Basset hound
- West Highland terrier
Furthermore, some health conditions, including allergies and hormonal imbalances, may also increase your dog’s chance of getting a yeast infection.
Certain dogs may also end up experiencing recurrent yeast infections because of some larger imbalances. In such cases, it is important to treat the underlying problem in order to get rid of the yeast problem.
What does a Yeast Infection look like on a dog?
There are several symptoms that are observed during the presence of yeast infection, and most of the signs that are seen are:
- Greasy skin
- Swollen, inflamed, or red nail beds
- Thickened skin
- Musty odor coming from the paws
- Discharge from the skin or nail beds
- Crusty, flaky skin on the paws
- Swelling of the infected area
Itching is the basic sign that appears as a result of yeast infection. When a dog suffers from a yeast infection, he continuously bites and licks his paws, and when you look closely at it or smell it, it smells like rotten corn chips. The name ‘Frito Feet’ was given because of this smell.
The symptom of yeast infection occurs in different parts of the body, and yeast infection in different parts of the body has different symptoms. But our main focus is on the dog paws, so a dog that has a yeast infection elsewhere on the body won’t show paw symptoms.
For example, a dog suffering from urinary tract yeast infection will not have any signs on the paw pads. Instead, the dog will urinate more frequently.
How is it diagnosed?
Yeast infection on dog paws is very easy to diagnose, the diagnosis is based on the complete and detailed history, inspection of the infected area, and the presence of a cheesy odor which is the main characteristic of the yeast infection.
Sometimes veterinarians undergo further tests to confirm yeast infection. There are several techniques that are used to diagnose the presence of yeast infection, and one of the most common and simple methods is to collect a skin scrap from the infected dog paw. These skin scraps are further tested under the microscope for a definitive diagnosis.
What to do first
The first thing to do when your dog suffers from any itchiness on the paws is to contact your veterinarian. It is important to get your dog to the vet as soon as possible, especially if he hasn’t seen such a problem before.
However, if you know about yeast infection and your dog has had it in the past, you can start treating it yourself.
Once a yeast infection on the dog’s paws is diagnosed, the next step is treatment. There are a number of steps you can take to help treat and prevent yeast infections.
In general, treatment begins by prescribing antifungal medications. Antifungals are available in different forms, including topical creams, medicated wipes, and oral medications. Your vet will prescribe one of these based on the severity of the yeast infection.
Bacterial infection can also occur in conjunction with a fungal infection, so antibiotics can also be used. Sometimes yeast infection can occur due to allergies to flea bites, so be sure to provide your pup with preventive flea medications.
You may also be able to treat minor yeast infections at home…
Home Remedies for Yeast Infections
People often recommend home remedies for yeast infections, however, most do not work.
There is no research to confirm that giving your dog any of the following foods will actually work.
- Coconut oil
- Yeast-free dog foods
- Fermented vegetables
- Apple Cider Vinegar
There is also no scientific evidence to confirm that the topical use of any of these is helpful in eliminating yeast infections:
- Witch hazel
- Coconut oil
- Herbal Shampoo
- Tea tree oil
- Essential oils
Apple Cider Vinegar
However, Apple Cider Vinegar does have scientific data to back up the claim that it can help treat yeast infections in dogs. However, the correct dilution is very important to avoid irritation.
Apple Cider Vinegar helps to alter the pH of the dog’s skin making it less appealing for yeast.
How to Prevent Yeast Infections
Follow these steps in order to prevent yeast infections…
1. Wash your dog paws
Dog paws come into contact with dirt and filth on a daily basis, and there is no doubt that there can be a lot of yeast in them. Therefore, it is best to wash your dog’s paws when he returns from a long walk, especially when your dog is jumping and running in dirty places. You can also use doggy boots to keep your dog paws clean.
2. Keep your dog’s paws dry
If your dog likes to swim, always make sure that when he gets out of the pool, he dries up well because a wet condition can stimulate yeast growth. Dry the places like between toes, crevices of pads, and other crevices. As you know, the sweat glands of dogs are located in their paws, so it is beneficial to clean their feet after playing in the dirt.
3. Examine your dog’s diet
Take care of your dog’s diet because some foods increase the chances of yeast infection, hot spots, or cysts in dogs. Carbohydrates are primarily considered the culprits, so choosing a grain-free diet is best if your dog is suffering from yeast infections. It is also recommended to keep your dog away from unhealthy treats and table scraps, especially those that contain whole corn syrup and carbohydrates.
4. Use a shampoo
Bathing your dog with antifungal shampoo is also a good idea. There are various antifungal shampoos available in the market, and these shampoos not only prevent yeast infection but also eliminate it if any infection is present.
Is a dog’s yeast infection contagious to humans?
The short answer here is no, the yeast cells can not be transmitted to you if you come in contact with an infected dog. Additionally, they can’t be transferred to another dog.
However, it should be noted that a yeast infection can bring about a secondary fungus or bacterial infection such as ringworm, which could be contagious.
Dogs have an immune system in their body that helps keep microorganisms at bay. At some point, the immune system gets compromised, which can cause a yeast infection.
Yeast infection on dog paws is very common, and its growth is rapid due to many factors. Fortunately, by following certain preventive measures and treatments, you can protect your dog from this infection and return to a healthy life.