One of the biggest challenges a pet owner might have to face is an itchy dog. While there can be many possible causes for why a dog is scratching and chewing, yeast could be playing a role.
Controlling Your Dog’s Yeast Naturally
Yeast lives inside and outside of our pets as part of their natural flora, along with good and bad bacteria (which are pretty much what they sound like). When something disrupts the balance of these good and bad organisms, yeast will often take advantage of the situation and start to take over.
There are many things that could disrupt the natural flora, including feeding too many carbs, antibiotic use and immune system diseases like hypothyroidism. While it’s important to find the underlying cause of the yeast overgrowth, there are some supplements you can introduce to your dog to help fight off yeast and encourage a rebalancing of your pet’s system.
Remember to check with your holistic vet for dosing and to always start slow.
1. Coconut oil
As the benefits of coconut oil for humans have hit the blogosphere and TV health shows, pet nutritionists and conscientious owners have realized our beloved dogs and cats can also benefit.
What’s so good about it?
It contains large amounts of Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs), which in turn are made up of lauric acid, capric acid, caprylic acid, myristic acid and palmitic. All of these contribute to coconut oil’s antibacterial, antiviral and anti-fungal properties.
Since yeast is a fungus, coconut oil can help prevent and treat yeast overgrowth, including candida.
It can be incorporated into your dog’s diet as well as applied to the skin.
Derived from grains packed with vitamins and minerals, kefir offers 30 different strains of good bacteria and yeast.
Resembling yogurt in appearance, this probiotic powerhouse actually offers a lot more, including good bacteria Lactobacillus Caucasus, Leuconostoc, Acetobacter species and Streptococcus species, and friendly yeasts like Saccharomyces kefir and Torula kefir.
Though it’s typically safe, incorporate it slowly into your pet’s diet to reduce the chance of adverse reactions.
3. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar has long been known for its many uses, including everything from salad dressings to cleaning agent.
So it should be of no surprise that it has long been touted for its yeast-fighting abilities, in both humans and animals, for the skin, ears and wherever else the fungus has decided to take residence.
It can be applied topically, diluted with water, as an after-bath rinse, used to clean ears and added to food and/or water.
The important thing is to remember to buy it organic, raw and unfiltered.
4. Pau D’arco
This powerful immune-booster is actually a tree from the rain forests of South America.
Used in treating everything from allergies and infections to AIDS and Parkinson’s, it’s no wonder the herb is also recommended to help against yeast.
Pau d’arco is available in supplement form, but it’s important to find one of a higher quality.
5. Oregano Oil
Popularized for its antibiotic properties, oregano oil is also a strong anti-fungal.
It can be applied topically, put in food or diffused. A little goes a long way, especially when fed.
The oil has a very strong smell that dogs might not like, so make sure to mask only a few drops in food.
Also, since quality and processing matter with oregano oil, make sure to do your research when purchasing.
Fight Yeast With These Quick Recipes
Canine herbalist Rita Hogan of Farm Dog Naturals has a couple of tricks up her sleeve when it comes to killing off yeast.
If you have a dog that’s always in and around water (yeast loves moisture), apple cider vinegar is the answer.
After they get out of the water for the day, fill a squeeze bottle (the kind with a long pointy end like ketchup bottles at a diner) with Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar. Stick it in your dog’s fur and squeeze. Massage it around and on the belly too.
This will help restore your dog’s healthy pH levels and discourage yeast.
Then, once a week, or more if needed, massage yeasty areas with a coconut oil mixture.
Let extra virgin coconut oil melt in a small glass bottle – about 8 ounces of it. Add 10 drops of lavender oil and 2 drops of lemon essential oil. Shake to mix.
This coconut oil mix will last all summer. Store it in a dark place.