Yeast- And I’m not talking Bread

24 Sep


An overgrowth of yeast in your pet’s body can cause a variety of uncomfortable symptoms. He might constantly lick or scratch at his paws and ears until they are raw and red. Natural folds of skin may become moist, yellowish, or develop a tell-tale yeasty odor sometimes described as “cheesy” or popcorn-y. His skin might even become greasy, black, scaly or dry. A veterinarian can diagnose the problem by confirming the visual symptoms and examining cells under the microscope. If left untreated, a yeast condition can burrow through the intestinal walls and develop into Leaky Gut Syndrome.

Antibiotics are a main cause of yeast overgrowth because they destroy not only the “bad” (disease-causing) bacteria, but also the “good” protective bacteria in the gut. Overuse of antibiotics only compoundgallery-thumbnails-2s the problem, because the yeast simply multiplies until things get out of control. The other main offender is a poor diet. Sugar is the ideal food for yeast, and grains, vegetables, fruit and junky carbohydrates all convert into sugar during digestion, which causes the yeast to multiply.

Other contributing factors include stress, prescription drugs like steroids and vaccines, and environmental toxins such as pesticides or heavy metals in water. These things alter the pH balance of the gut and create a perfect environment for yeast to       thrive.

Treating Yeast Naturally

Synthetic drugs such as antibiotics and steroids can suppress your pet’s natural ability to heal, but modalities such as homeopathy, chiropractic care, Bach Flower Essences, supplements and osteopathy can help fight disease without compromising the immune system.

First, take a close look at your pet’s diet and read the labels of packaged foods and treats. Check the ingredients for any carbohydrates, fruits or vegetables, and start an elimination diet to strengthen your dog’s immune system. You might also try a detox cleanse, such as Animal Apawthecary’s Detox Blend, an herbal product that I’ve used for my own dogs. Homeopathic remedies can also help with drainage. Keep in mind that if a large amount of yeast is being killed off, the kidneys and liver will be working hard and will need extra support. Herbs such as Milk Thistle for liver support or Nettles for kidney support can be very beneficial.

Adding probiotics to your dog’s diet is another way to help with yeast elimination. Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) is a great source of probiotics. Look for Bragg’s brand, which can be found in most grocery stores. Add the ACV directly to your dog’s food or drinking water. The recommended dosage is ¼ tsp. per day for dogs under 10 lbs., 1 tsp. for dogs 10 – 50 lbs., and 2 tsp. for dogs over 50 lbs. ACV is a great topical remedy, too. For instance, put some in a spray bottle and mist your dog to rid the body of topical yeast. Or gently wipe the inside of your dog’s ears with a cloth or cotton ball that has been dampened with ACV. Be sure not to drip any into the ear canal.

Coconut oil is very beneficial. It contains medium chain fatty acids such as Lauric acid, which is extremely effective in killing yeast, parasites, bacteria and some viruses. I always choose virgin coconut oil and prefer the brand Tropical Traditions, but other good brands are available. Start by mixing a small amount of coconut oil into your dog’s food, then gradually increase it to 1 – 2 tsp. per day. Coconut oil can also be applied topically to areas that have been scratched raw.

Calendula cream is another good topical remedy, if the affected area has been cleaned well. Calendula heals very quickly, so any dirt and debris around the affected area could get sealed in and cause a secondary infection. And tea tree oil is great for bathing your dog. It’s soothing and helps eliminate bacteria and yeast.

With natural healing modalities, it’s common to see an increase of symptoms as the body detoxes. Your dog may have slightly more itchiness and inflammation, or even loose stools or gas. This is normal and can last from a day to one week. Recovery time can vary, depending on the animal’s age and history with antibiotics and other synthetic medicines. Be patient through this process, and your pet will be healthier and experience fewer, if any yeast infections.

Written by:  Brenda M. Tobin-Flood, Cert. C.N.

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With a background in Animal Science, Animal Nutrition, and Natural Health, I can help you to create a holistic wellness plan for your animal companions.  Does your pet have an acute or chronic disease? I use natural curative treatments such as homeopathy, herbs and essential oils.  Have any questions, or to schedule an appointment,  email


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