There’s a quick diagnostic trick for checking to see if your dog is yeasty: smell him.
If he smells like corn chips and he’s itchy, there’s a good chance he has an overgrowth of yeast. It could be on his ears, paws, armpits, all of the above or somewhere else.
While there are certainly things you can do to help resolve it, a yeast overgrowth problem is usually a sign of an imbalance in the body due to some underlying condition or issue like allergies, antibiotic overuse, immune system dysfunction, etc. So that will definitely need to be addressed as well.
But you can start dealing with the yeast at hand with these 6 tips.
Say No To Sugar
There’s one simple rule about yeast that will go a long way to keeping it in check: sugar feeds yeast. You’ll want to go through your dog’s diet and remove all the sugar and high carb content from what your dog’s eating. That includes things like honey, molasses and plain sugar, but also white potato and sweet potato.
“If your dog has a significant yeast problem, I recommend you go entirely sugar-free,” said Dr. Karen Becker in her blog. “Feed low-glycemic veggies. Eliminate potatoes, corn, wheat, rice—all the carbohydrates need to go away in a sugar-free diet.”
The Honest Kitchen’s Brave all life stages minimalist dog food falls into this category.
Since the yeast problem often presents itself on the skin, natural topical rinses, sprays and shampoos can help. Becker recommends bathing your dog with a natural anti-fungal shampoo containing tea tree oil or other anti-yeast herbs (avoid oatmeal because it’s a carb) at least once a week. You can try her recipe of one cup of vinegar or one cup of lemon juice mixed into a gallon of water, then used as an after-bath rinse or sprayed on during the day (spot test it first to make sure it doesn’t sting irritated skin). Note that lemon juice can lighten fur, so you might want to use the vinegar mix for darker coated dogs.