Yeast infections are a common but often overlooked issue that can seriously affect the well-being of your pets. These infections most commonly occur in the ears but can also be found on the paws and skin.

This article will explore what yeast infections are, why they happen, and how to effectively treat and prevent them in dogs and cats.

What Is a Yeast Infection?

A yeast infection in dogs and cats is typically caused by the overgrowth of yeast, which is naturally found on your pets’ skin. These microorganisms are generally harmless but can become problematic when they multiply uncontrollably, leading to inflammation, itchiness, and discomfort.

There are a few common causes of yeast infections in cats. Environmental allergies, food allergies, and flea allergy dermatitis can all cause yeast breakouts. Look for clinical hallmark signs of yeast overgrowth, such as pruritus (continuous scratching and itching) and black waxy debris.

Common Causes of Yeast Infection

Understanding the root causes of these infections can go a long way in treating and preventing them.


Your pet’s diet can play a significant role in the development of yeast infections. Foods high in sugar and carbohydrates can feed the yeast, contributing to an overgrowth. A balanced diet rich in nutrients can help maintain a healthy skin pH level, reducing the likelihood of yeast infections.


Environmental factors such as humidity and temperature can also affect the yeast levels on your pet’s skin. Hot, humid conditions can provide an ideal breeding ground for yeast, leading to infections.

What Causes Yeast Infections In Dog Ears?

The most common causes of yeast infections in dog ears are excess moisture and wax, which create an ideal environment for yeast overgrowth. This could be exacerbated by ear mites in pets or allergic reactions to pollen, dust, or certain foods.

Common Places Where Yeast Infection May Appear

Knowing where to look for yeast infection signs can help you catch it early.


Ear infections are common in dogs and cats and can be particularly troublesome. Signs of yeast infections in cat ears or dog ears include scratching, redness, and a foul odor. You might ask, “Why does my dog get yeast infections in her ears?” One reason could be moisture trapped in the ear canal, especially after swimming or bathing.

To treat this, you might consider shampoos for skin allergies and natural remedies for dog yeast infections in the ear.


Yeast infections can also manifest in your pet’s paws, leading to constant licking or chewing. In more severe cases, you may notice discoloration or a pungent smell.


Besides ears and paws, yeast can also affect other areas of the skin. Symptoms include redness, itchiness, and skin that feels greasier than usual.

To address these issues, various treatment options can help. This includes topical ointments for localized infections, and in severe cases, antifungal medications. How to treat yeast infections in dog ears or other areas effectively involves a combination of medical treatment and preventive measures like keeping the affected areas dry.

Remember, a yeast infection can be a sign of an underlying issue. Consult your vet for a diagnosis and appropriate treatment plan. Keeping an eye out for symptoms and catching them early can make all the difference in your pet’s comfort and health.

Symptoms of Yeast Infections in Pets

Recognizing the symptoms of a yeast infection in your pet can enable quicker treatment, enhancing the quality of life for your furry friend.

Itching and Scratching

One of the most noticeable symptoms is your pet itching and scratching excessively. If not addressed, this can lead to more severe issues such as sores or infections.

Irritated Skin

The skin may appear red, inflamed, and warm to the touch. This often accompanies the itching and is a clear sign of discomfort.


Open sores or even crusty areas of skin may develop, particularly if your pet has been scratching the same spot for a prolonged period.

Musty Odor

A strong, musty odor, particularly around the ears or paws, is a telltale sign of a yeast infection.

Hair Loss

In chronic or severe cases, hair loss can occur around the affected area, confirming the need for immediate attention.

Head Tilting and Shaking

Frequent head tilting or shaking, especially in dogs, can indicate a yeast infection in the ears.

Yeast Infection Diagnosis

A proper diagnosis is crucial for effective treatment, and several methods can confirm if your pet has a yeast infection.

Skin Scraping

This involves taking a small sample of skin cells to examine under a microscope, often used to identify the type of yeast causing the infection.

Skin Biopsy

In more severe or chronic cases, a skin biopsy may be needed to determine the extent of the infection and the best course of treatment.

Blood Analysis

A complete blood count can provide more information about your pet’s overall health and may uncover underlying conditions contributing to yeast infections.

Treatment for Yeast Infection

Once the infection is confirmed, various treatment options are available depending on the severity and location of the infection.

Topical Treatment

Antifungal creams or ointments may be applied directly to the affected areas. In the case of ear infections, topical solutions specifically designed for the ears are often prescribed.

Oral Treatment

In severe cases, oral antifungal medications may be prescribed. These can be particularly effective for tackling infections spread across larger body areas.

Natural Remedies for Yeast Infection

Some pet owners prefer using natural remedies for yeast infections, especially if the condition is mild or early.

Coconut Oil

Its antifungal properties make it an effective natural remedy for topical applications.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Diluted apple cider vinegar can help restore the natural pH balance of your pet’s skin, making it less hospitable for yeast.


Supplementing your pet’s diet with probiotics can help restore the natural balance of bacteria in the gut, potentially preventing future yeast infections.

How to Prevent Yeast Infections in Pets

Preventing yeast infections in pets is essential for maintaining their overall well-being. Here are some proactive measures you can take:

Maintaining Pet Hygiene

Keeping your pet clean can make a significant difference in preventing yeast infections. Regularly bathing your pet with [shampoos for skin allergies]( can help maintain a healthy skin balance, reducing the chances of yeast overgrowth.

Regular Grooming

Frequent grooming helps to remove dirt, debris, and loose hair that can create a breeding ground for yeast. Some attention areas are prone to yeast infections, such as the ears and paws.

Dietary Adjustments

Certain foods can promote yeast growth, while others can inhibit it. Consulting your veterinarian about your pet’s diet can provide insights into any changes that may help prevent yeast infections.


In summary, yeast infections in dogs and cats can manifest through various symptoms like itching, red skin, and unpleasant odors. Knowing what causes these infections and the common places they can appear, such as the ears, is crucial for effective treatment and prevention.

At Paoli Vetcare, we offer a range of services that can assist you in diagnosing and treating yeast infections in pets, from comprehensive examinations to personalized treatment plans. Trust us to help keep your pet healthy and free from uncomfortable and potentially harmful yeast infections.

Dr. Erin Downes VMD

Dr. Erin Downes graduated valedictorian from the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine in 1992. She and her husband, Dr. Jay Rowan are the owners of Paoli Vetcare | Main Line Vet & Animal Hospital.