Home Remedies for Dog Ear Yeast Infections
Why Do Dogs Get Yeast Infections in the Ears?
Dogs get ear infections when yeast or bacteria over-proliferate. Yeast, or single-cell fungi, are naturally found on your dog's skin and ears in small amounts. Certain conditions lead to an overpopulation of yeast such as biological imbalances, mechanical predisposition (floppy ears), excess moisture, and certain medical conditions. What are the symptoms of dog ear yeast infections and how are they treated?
Dog Ear Yeast Infection Symptoms
A dog affected by a yeast infection will most likely be miserable. Symptoms are as follows:
- Head shaking
- Pawing at the ears
- Ear scratching
- Rubbing ears
- Foul, rancid smelling ears
- Brown, waxy discharge
- Red, irritated, and swollen ears
- Ear discharge
Diagnosing Ear Infections
Your veterinarian should check your dog's ears in order to rule out other health problems. If the ears have a black discharge that resembles coffee grounds, your dog may have ear mites and will require a totally different course of treatment.
The best way to diagnose a yeast infection is by having the veterinarian collect a sample from the ear to view under the microscope. In some cases, a culture and sensitivity test is recommended.
Floppy-eared dogs should never be left with wet ears. If you are planning to bath a floppy-eared dog, put cotton balls inside the ears to prevent them from getting wet.
Causes of Ear Infections
- Antibiotics: One of the most common causes of an ear infection is antibiotics. Antibiotics are known to kill both good and bad bacteria in the gut, and this is why yogurt is often prescribed to replenish good bacteria. Antibiotics can also kill the good bacteria in the ear as well.
- Weakened Immune System: Dogs that are stressed or weak due to disease are more likely to develop an infection. A good way to prevent infections is to ensure that your dog is fed premium dog food (many claim raw food is the best way to go). Make sure your dog gets sufficient exercise and lives a stress-free life.
- Weakened Ear Environment: If your dog's ears are already bothering them because of allergies, the constant scratching and the higher production of oil may allow for yeast overgrowth. A dog may have a bacterial infection in the ears and acquire a yeast infection on top of that because the skin in the ears has become vulnerable.
- Ideal Environment: Yeast thrive in humid, dark, and warm areas, therefore, your dog's ears offer a perfect environment. Floppy-eared dogs are especially prone to these infections because their ear conformation allows yeast to thrive. Dogs with erect ears, therefore, may be less likely to get infections because their ears receive more sunlight and airflow.
Natural Home Remedies
Before using any home remedies, the ear canal needs to be well-cleaned and your veterinarian should confirm that the eardrum is intact. Medications or home remedies will not work in dirty ears because they are unable to treat the surface of the skin directly.
One of the best home remedies for yeast infections in the ears is white vinegar or apple cider vinegar. White vinegar will make the ear's pH more acidic and inhospitable to 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 into a spray bottle. Use the mixture as follows:
- Clean the ears.
- Spray the solution in the ears.
- Dry the ears with a cotton ball.
- Perform the cleaning twice a day.
The condition of the ears should improve within 48 hours. If you do not see an improvement, you may need a stronger prescription from the veterinarian.