Dogs with normal ears that appear healthy and clean are proof that the ear environment is well maintained under control by beneficial bacteria.
However, if for some reason or another, the dog’s system is disrupted, bacteria may no longer be able to protect the ears from invaders, therefore, yeast may take over the battle and begin to proliferate. This is when trouble begins.
If your dog is suffering from a yeast ear infection, you may be looking for remedies to help him feel better. But what is really yeast? What causes the yeast to proliferate in a dog’s ears first place? Why bacteria were no longer able to keep yeast under control?
Yeasts are single cell forms of fungi that resemble spores. They are naturally found on skin and ears in small amounts, but their amounts may proliferate under the right conditions and this is when dogs develop annoying ear yeast infections.
Causes of Dog Ear Yeast Infection
There are several causes of yeast ear infections in dogs. If you are scratching your head wondering why your dog developed this in the first place, here are a few possibilities.
Use of Antibiotics
One of the most common causes of yeast infections is a prescription for antibiotics. Antibiotics are well known to kill both good and bad bacteria in the gut, and this is why yogurt is often prescribed. However, antibiotics can also kill the good bacteria in the ear as well.
Weakened Immune System
Dogs that are stressed or weakened because fighting against a disease, are more likely to develop yeast infections in their ears. A good way to prevent these annoying infections is therefore to ensure your dog is fed premium dog food (many claim raw food is the best way to go) gets sufficient exercise and lives stress free.
Weakened Ear Environment
If your dog’s ears are already bothering the dog because of allergies, the constant scratching and the higher production of oils, may open the way to yeast growth. So a dog may have ear problems such as a bacterial infection and an ear yeast infection on top of that because the skin in the ears has become vulnerable.
The Perfect Environment
Yeast thrives in humid, dark and warm areas, therefore, your dog’s ears make yeast a perfect place to live and settle causing those annoying ear yeast infections in dogs. This is mostly seen in floppy ear dogs that because of their conformation it is easy for yeast to settle in and thrive. Dogs with erect ears therefore, may be less likely to get ear yeast problems because their ears are naturally more likely to be exposed to light and air.
Dog Ear Yeast Infection Symptoms
A dog affected by a yeast infection in its ears is very likely prone to be quite miserable. Symptoms of ear yeast infection in dogs may be as follows:
- Head Shaking
- Pawing at Ears
- Ear Scratching
- Rubbing Ears
- Swollen Ears Ear Discharge
- Foul Smell
Ideally, the dog should have a veterinarian check the ears so to exclude other ear problems. If the ears have a black coffee ground discharge there may be actually ear mites, which require a totally different treatment than yeast.
The best way to diagnose a ear yeast infection is by having the vet collect a sample and view it under the microscope. In some cases, a culture and sensitivity test is recommended.
Natural Home Remedies
- Before using any home remedies for dog ear yeast infection, the ear canal needs to be cleaned well. Medications or home remedies may not work in a dirty ear because they are unable to treat the surface of the skin directly.
- One of the best home remedies for yeast infection in the ears is white vinegar. White vinegar is able to return the ear’s pH back to an acidic state that makes the yeast inhospitable for yeast. The vinegar should never be used in its pure form, rather it must be diluted. A 50/50 mix of white vinegar and water may be mixed well and poured in a spray bottle.
- After the ears are clean, the solution should be sprayed in the ears and dried out with a cotton ball twice a day. The ears should improve within 48 hours.
- Over the counter ear solution Zymox is an effective product that relieves bacterial and yeast ear infections without side effects. There are many success stories on this product. If not, the dog may need stronger prescription ear drops from the veterinarian.
- Floppy ear dogs should never be left with their ears wet as this may cause swimmer’s ears in dogs. If you are planning to bathe a floppy ear dog follow what groomers do: put cotton balls inside the ears to prevent them from getting wet.
*Disclaimer: All remedies suggested are not to be used as a substitute for professional veterinary advice. If your pet is sick please refer to your veterinarian for a hands on examination. If your pet is exhibiting behavior problems please refer to a professional pet behaviorist.