Summer is nearly here, the flowers are out and a more outdoor life has returned. Barbecues, long walks, lots of fluffy clouds, etc. but for some dog owners, this may not actually be a blessing.
Warm weather makes for an even better growing environment for yeast. Not that a dogs ear needs much encouragement. Both of my dogs used to suffer terrible yeast infections, normally simultaneously and it used to cost a heck of a lot to treat it. Worse still, although the treatment worked temporarily, it invariably kept returning.
The problem I found when I looked into this issue of returning ear yeast infections was a lack of getting to the root of the problem. There was a lot of “let’s get rid of this for now” but not a lot of “let’s find out why this is actually happening.”
Now, over a course of time and with the help of a canine nutritionist, I found three methods I discovered worked very well and below are the best solutions I found to work on my dogs. All of these solutions contain ingredients you commonly find in your kitchen or at your local shops. They are natural too.
They work so effectively because all three of these solutions kill yeast on contact.
It is, however, extremely important to follow two basic rules.
- Whatever happens, take your dog to a vet to make sure that what your dog has is, in fact, an ear yeast infection. It could well be dermatitis, ear mites, debris, etc. It’s very important, for your dog especially, to get a correct diagnosis. (In my case after six attacks, I was pretty clued up on diagnosing this.)
- Make sure you follow the instructions, and use common sense. Some attacks are very mild, but may range right up to seriously painful and very sore attacks. If it is very sore you will need to go to a vet as it may have turned into a secondary bacterial infection which will need antibiotics and not the treatment below for a yeast infection.
The important thing here is to make sure you know for sure this is a yeast infection and to be careful. The vinegar solution below will sting; if you have a volatile dog, you may not wish to use this first, though it is the most effective solution.
Below are three solutions I’ve had a huge amount of success with, for treating yeasty dog ears.
- Buy organic natural yoghurt, it must be both and must state on the tub that it contains active strains of bacteria. Apply a small amount to your dog’s ears and rub in well. This contains natural bacteria to kill the yeast and is soothing for your pets ears. I tend to advise people to use this first. It gets the issue under control fast but does so without causing your dog too much discomfort. When my dog’s ears were looking less sore, I’d move onto the second solution which works far more rapidly.
- To actually kill off the yeast infection you need to purchase some apple cider vinegar and make a solution of 5 parts water and 1 part vinegar. This needs to be put in a container so it can be “dropped” into your pet’s ears. Three drops in each ear twice to three times a day. If you get ear drops from the vets, it’s basically the same thing but less chemically, and monstrously less expensive. Note, if your dog has red raw ears and a severe infection this will sting his/her ears so it’s best to wait or reduce the solution so there is much more water than vinegar. Personally, if it has gotten to this stage, as I mentioned earlier, it may now be a bacterial infection now and will need to be taken to the vet. Only ever use natural organic apple cider vinegar.
- Another tip is to crush a garlic clove and put it in about two tablespoons of organic olive oil and leave for a few hours. Drain the oil through a sieve or tea strainer to get rid of the crushed garlic. Then get a syringe or a clean ear dropper and put 3-5 drops three times a day in each ear and rub in well. Always remake a new batch for each application.
An ounce of prevention
It’s important to note that you need to look after your dog’s ears even when they’re not having an attack. I use the vinegar solution at 10 parts water to one part vinegar solution to clean my dog’s ears every couple of weeks or after they have a rough and tumble in the mud. It’s this maintenance that is very important. The solutions and maintenance are part of a three pronged attack to getting rid of this for good.
Root causes of yeasty dog ears
Sadly, as I mentioned before, this will save you a lot of money but it won’t get to the root of the problem. Yeasty dog ears normally boil down to one of two things:
Environment and/or an allergic reaction.
The environment is a very hard one to remedy, unless you move to an environment more in line with your dog’s bodily wishes. Often in this case the best thing you can do is make sure you maintain a healthy set of ears in your pets. Using the second solution on a fairly regular basis will create an environment in your dog’s ear that yeast simply can’t survive in.
An allergic reaction is a bit easier to remedy. Now I’m going to annoy a few people here but most dog food is fairly awful. Not all of it but most mass manufactured stuff is. Did you know it was only in the last ten years in the UK that food manufacturers were obliged to point out the fact their food had Trans fats in them? If they can leave things off human ingredients, you can bet your bottom dollar they do the same with dog food.
Would you eat dog food?
Funny how they seem to like ours though.
The point is, if many yeast infections are caused by an allergic reaction, it stands to reason that in a vast majority of cases, that food is the culprit. It was when I began changing my dog’s diet that both of my dogs showed an improvement. Now a lesson in what foods to feed your dog’s isn’t possible in an article like this but I’ll let you know how I managed it.
At first I went along blindly, but just getting them off the dog food showed an immediate difference; both of their coats improved. It was after a few months I realised there are a number of anti-yeast foods and a lot that are best to avoid when trying to get rid of this ailment. The secret here is to feed your dogs a balanced diet of the anti-yeast foods. These are not only far healthier for your dogs but make it almost impossible for a yeast infection to develop, especially with the cleaning maintenance you’re now doing.
It’s been over eight years since either of my dogs has had an attack and I hope this article goes some way to helping you solve this highly frustrating (for dog and owner), not to mention very repetitive and expensive problem. Good luck!
He is also the author of “A guide to curing your dogs ear yeast infection.”