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What to Do About a Dog Nail Yeast Infection

small dog paws in human hands

Yeast produces spores that are almost everywhere on a dog’s body. However, the amount of this fungus is relatively low in a healthy dog. A yeast infection occurs when an excessive amount of yeast accumulates in one area. If the infection is localized in your dog’s paw, it can be called the Dog Nail Yeast Infection. Keep reading to learn more about the causes, symptoms, and treatment of this infection

What Causes a Dog Nail Yeast Infection?

The yeast that lives on a dog’s skin is known as Malassezia. It is naturally occurring and is usually kept under control by your dog’s immune system. However, if the yeast grows out of control in a location, it can cause irritation and inflammation in that region. Some of the most common causes of dog nail yeast infection are discussed below.

Excess skin oils – A common cause of excessive oil production (from a dog’s skin) is seborrhea oleosa. The infections caused by this condition are often accompanied by skin allergies. The accumulation of too much oil in one place is the perfect breeding ground for yeast.

Genetics – According to Pet MD, the genetic structure of certain breeds makes them vulnerable to yeast infections. The breeds that are more susceptible to dog nail yeast infection include Spaniels, Terriers, Poodles, and Basset hounds. However, these infections are not limited to these breeds and any dog can get affected.

Weak immune system – Dogs affected by immune deficiency are unable to fight off yeast infections efficiently. A canine who is undergoing a treatment that involves the use of immunosuppressive drugs is highly likely to develop yeast infections.

Symptoms of Dog Yeast Infection

Brown and white dog biting its paw sitting in grass outdoors

The following are some of the symptoms of dog nail yeast infection.

  • Itchiness
  • Thickened skin around nails
  • Red, swollen nailbeds
  • Bad odor from paws
  • Flaky skin on the paw
  • Fluid discharge from nailbeds

If your dog is constantly licking or chewing at its paws, check for the symptoms of yeast infection. According to many pet owners, the infected paws smell like corn chips.

How is Dog Nail Infection Diagnosed?

dachshund on exam table at vet

VCA Hospitals suggest that samples of the yeast from the infected area are needed to diagnose these infections. There are multiple methods for obtaining these samples. Some of the most popular among them are as follows.

Skin Scraping – This is probably the easiest method to collect the yeast organism from the infected dog. In this technique, a small blade is used to scrape the infected area.  In certain cases, using a blade may be dangerous and other methods are used.

Impression Smear –  It involves the pressing of a microscope slide against the infected skin to collect the fungus.

Cotton Swab Method – This technique is quite similar to impression smear. The only difference is that a moist cotton swap is used to collect the sample.

Skin Biopsy – This method is also quite common for diagnosing dog nail yeast infection. It involves the removal of a small piece of skin from the infected area. This is the most invasive diagnostic test, but it is also the most accurate one. It provides a lot of diagnostic information about the infection.

How to Treat Canine Yeast Infection?

variety of pills and creams on black surface

Fortunately, there are many treatments for canine yeast infection. Other than the medical treatment, a range of home remedies are also quite effective against these infections.

Professional Treatment for Yeast Infection

A dog nail yeast infection can be treated using oral as well as topical methods. In some cases, a combination of both methods may prove to be more effective. The selection of the method is largely dependent on the severity of the infection.

The topical treatment involves the use of medicated shampoos to cure the illness. These shampoos remove any grease from the infected area, and then slowly eradicate the fungus. The shampoo is usually used every 3-5 days for twelve weeks.

For oral treatment, over the counter anti-fungal medications are recommended. Usually, they are used along with antibiotics to prevent any further infections from happening. The duration of the treatment depends on the severity of the infection.

Home Treatments for Dog Nail Yeast Infection

Yeast infections can also be treated at home using several methods. Let’s take a look at some of the most effective home remedies for dog nail yeast infection.

Clean the Paws of Your Dog

black and white dog in bath with suds on head

Your dog’s paws can get extremely dirty, even if he/she stays inside the house. All of the filth that accumulates in the paws and nails exacerbate yeast infection. Therefore, you should wash your dog’s feet daily, especially after a walk, to prevent fungal infections.

Alternatively, you can make some shoes for your dog. Yes, you read that right! Dog shoes are actually real and can be used to prevent dirt from accumulating in the paws of your pup. They also help to fight off yeast infections by keeping the paws dry. Moist or wet paws are extremely suitable for yeast organisms to grow.

Change Your Dog’s Diet

Certain foods increase the chances of yeast infection in your dog. The food items that contain simple carbohydrates are major culprits in this regard. If your dog’s diet revolves around such ingredients, you should consult your vet to change the diet slowly over time.

Many dog treats are loaded with refined carbohydrates and corn syrup. You should cut down on such treats to keep many problems at bay.

Coconut Oil

You can also rub coconut oil over the infected areas to assist the recovery process. Coconut oil contains antioxidants, such as vitamin E and K, that help the skin to recover. It also heals scratches and acts as an anti-aging serum (prevents wrinkles).

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