Five Tips to Heal Your Dog's Ear Yeast Infection
By MiShaun Taylor
While any tissue in a human or a dog can be affected by yeast, a dog's ears are particularly susceptible, due to their structure. Dogs with floppy ears that don't receive much air circulation or sunshine have more problems than dogs whose ears stand up straight. Yeast loves a dark, moist environment, and fresh air and sunshine are yeast's enemies. Also, the internal structure of a dog's ear allows for water to get trapped, thereby keeping the whole inside of the ear much moister. If you notice your dog acting mopey, if he seems in pain, scratches or rubs his ear excessively, or uncharacteristically shakes his head frequently, closely examine his ear. You may notice redness, swelling, discharge, and a particularly foul odor. These are signs that he has some type of dog ear yeast infection. A visit to the vet, who will examine the area and inspect a scraped sample under the microscope, will be useful in diagnosing the malady. Then you and he can discuss options for treating your dog’s yeast infection.
- Like humans, dogs are best able to avoid and recover from dog ear yeast infections if their overall immune system is healthy. To that end, you should be sure your dog eats a healthy diet specially formulated for dogs. Do not feed your dog table scraps. You may think doing so shows your love, but, in fact, human food compromises your carnivore's ability to function at an optimal level. Also, provide lots of opportunities for exercise. All systems in the dog's body will benefit from the improved lung/heart function and he will sleep better when he's pleasantly worn out. If your vet approves, regularly dose your dog with Vitamin C. And love your dog lots, as a loved dog is a healthy dog.
- Do whatever you can to facilitate a dry, clean ear. As stated above, yeast thrives in moist environments. If your dog's ear stands up, nature will help you keep it dry; dogs with droopy ears need more care from their owners. If your dog will tolerate it, use a headband to fold the ears back so they can be exposed for a short time everyday. (Don't do this when the dog is swimming or running through tall grass. Only tie the ears back when the dog is resting or indoors.) Regardless of your dog's ear type, carefully trim excess hair. Wipe the inside of the ear with a soft cloth moistened with diluted vinegar to clean and dry the tissue. Vinegar evaporates quickly, drying the tissue. Ask your vet to show you how to rinse the ear canal with diluted vinegar.
- Avoid antibiotics whenever possible. They are notorious for killing off good bacteria as well as bad bacteria. When the body's natural balance of flora is disrupted, yeast often gains a foothold that can be very difficult to reverse.
- Experiment with herbs that are anti-microbial. Health food stores often carry anti-microbials to help your dog combat his dog ear yeast infection. One herb to try is pau d'arco. However, always ask your vet before dosing your dog with any herb.
- Discuss Zymox, a non-prescription treatment containing enzymatic anti-microbials, with your vet. One daily dose of Zymox cleans, medicates, and may prevent your dog’s yeast overgrowth. Another option will be to treat your dog with Chlorhexidine 4% and clotramizole ointment.
You are your dog's best bet to avoid and recover from dog ear yeast infections. Following the above tips will keep you and your dog happy for the long haul.