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Apple Cider Vinegar & Dog Yeast Infection: Our Vet Explains

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bottle of apple cider vinegar with apples

This article was updated on June 24th, 2023

‘Can I use apple cider vinegar to treat my dog’s yeast infection?’ is a question I get asked a lot as a veterinarian. Well, the answer isn’t always that simple. In this article, we will review to which extent apple cider vinegar can help, and what are the best remedies to treat yeast infections in dogs.

Is apple cider vinegar an effective home remedy to treat a yeast skin infection in dogs?

Apple cider vinegar is a natural remedy that has been used to treat a variety of health issues. As it contains acetic acid, which can help reduce the growth of bacteria and fungus, it has been purported to have anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties for treating skin infections in dogs. However, while many pet owners swear by this remedy, there is limited scientific evidence to support its efficacy.

If you choose to use apple cider vinegar as a home remedy for treating your dog’s yeast infection, it is important to remember than the concentration should be diluted before applying it to your dog’s skin. Diluted apple cider vinegar can also be added to your dog’s food or water in small amounts. This may help to soothe itchy skin, reduce odors, and promote a healthy coat.

However, as mentioned above, apple cider vinegar’s effectiveness in treating yeast infections in dogs has not been confirmed through medical studies. Furthermore, apple cider vinegar can be irritating if not diluted or used properly. It may also not be effective for treating all types of yeast infections.

Finally, you should know that apple cider vinegar is not the most effective way to treat a yeast skin infection in a dog and is not a substitute for proper veterinary treatment.

Have there been studies showing that apple cider vinegar can help with yeast infections in dogs?

Some studies show that vinegar, including apple cider vinegar, has anti-fungal properties that can help reduce the growth of yeast. However, most of this research has been conducted in laboratory settings or on human subjects. There is little scientific research focused specifically on the use of apple cider vinegar for treating yeast infections in dogs.

Top home remedies to treat a dog yeast skin infection 

Natural home remedy websites often promote natural ways to treat yeast infection in dogs – including vinegar, tea tree oil, and coconut oil. However, not all home remedies are safe or effective, and some may even be toxic to your dog. Before using any home remedy to treat a skin yeast infection in your dog, consult with a veterinarian. While you are waiting to see your vet, it is safe to try the following at home:

1. Keep your dog clean and dry: Yeast infections in dogs are caused by a type of fungus that thrives in moist and dirty environments. Keeping the affected area clean and dry can help to prevent the growth and spread of the fungus.

2. Keep your dog from chewing at himself by putting an e-collar: Yeast infections cause itching. Excessive licking and chewing can cause further skin irritation, allowing infection to spread. An e-collar will prevent your dog from reaching the itchy area and causing further damage to their skin. This is essential in allowing your dogs skin to heal naturally and fight off the infection.

3. Bathe your dog with an anti-bacterial/anti-fungal shampoo: You can use a diluted chlorhexidine soap like this one here:

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Antifungal shampoos can be helpful in treating yeast infections on the skin and coat. These shampoos usually contain ingredients such as ketoconazole or miconazole, and chlorhexidine, which can help to kill yeast. These are typically effective against more superficial or mild yeast infections, and it may still require weeks of shampooing to get on top of the issue. It’s important to not shampoo too often however, as this will wash away your dog’s natural defenses.

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4. Probiotics: Probiotics help restore bacterial balance to the gut and skin microbiome. Yeast can overgrow when your dog’s natural bacteria aren’t there to fight it off. Probiotic supplements or foods that contain probiotics can be added to your dog’s diet. Probiotics should be used more as prevention than cure, but they can be particularly beneficial in dogs that have recurrent yeast infecitons.

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5. Omega-3 fatty acids: Omega-3 fatty acids help to support the skin’s natural barrier function and prevent the overgrowth of yeast. Omega-3 supplements can be added to your dog’s diet, or you can choose foods that are naturally high in omega-3s. Again, these should be thought of as for prevention rather than cure.

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6. Anti-fungal wipes: Anti-fungal wipes help prevent yeast from continuing to multiply. They are used on the feet, skin folds, and ears. These are especially useful for mild yeast infections.

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Ear yeast infection? Top remedies to treat a yeast ear infection 

Some might say you should try vinegar, tea tree oil, or coconut oil to treat your dog’s yeast infection. However, not all home remedies are safe or effective, and some may even be harmful. In fact, tea tree oil can be toxic to dogs. Read our article listing the best Home Remedies for Dog Ear Infections [Vet Approved].

Veterinary treatments for dog yeast infections

The top veterinary treatments for yeast infections in dogs may include:

  1. Antifungal medications: Antifungal medications are the primary treatment for yeast infections in dogs. These medications can be prescribed as oral medication or topical cream, depending on the severity of the infection. Common antifungal medications prescribed for dogs include ketoconazole, fluconazole, and itraconazole. Long courses of these medications are often necessary.
  2. Medicated shampoos: Shampoos containing ingredients like chlorhexidine, ketoconazole, or miconazole, reduce the growth of yeast on the skin and coat. Medicated shampoos are typically used in conjunction with other treatments and may need to be used regularly to prevent recurrence.
  3. Antibiotics: Your veterinarian may also prescribe antibiotics to address any secondary bacterial infections that may be present.
  4. Diet modification: A low-carbohydrate, high-protein diet may be recommended to help reduce inflammation and support the immune system. Dietary changes can help reduce the growth of yeast and prevent recurrent infections.
  5. Immune system support: Supplements, like probiotics, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamins may be recommended. Supplements support immune function and help reduce the risk of recurrent yeast infections.

The most effective way to treat a yeast infection in a dog depends on the underlying cause of the infection. Treatment involves addressing any underlying health conditions and using antifungal medications or topical treatments as prescribed by a veterinarian.

Top veterinary treatments for ear infections caused by yeast:

The most common types of yeast infections in dogs include yeast skin & skin fold infections, and yeast ear infections. Commonly used ear medications for yeast infections in dogs include:

  1. Antifungal ear drops: Antifungal ear drops containing ketoconazole, miconazole, or clotrimazole are to treat yeast infections in the ears. These drops are typically applied directly into the ear canal and are prescribed by a veterinarian. These should only be used once your vet has diagnosed the presence of yeast in your dog’s ear – this is typically done by examining a sample of earwax under a microscope.
  2. Corticosteroid ear drops: Corticosteroid ear drops can be prescribed to help reduce inflammation and itching associated with the yeast infection. These can also be used to address the symptoms of an allergy. However, corticosteroid ear drops should only be used under the guidance of a veterinarian as they can have side effects.
  3. Antibiotic ear drops: If a bacterial infection is contributing to the yeast infection, antibiotic ear drops may be prescribed. These ear drops can help eliminate the bacterial infection and reduce the growth of yeast. Many of the ear drops your vet will prescribe will be both anti-biotic and anti-fungal.
  4. Ear cleansers: Ear cleansers containing salicylic acid, chlorhexidine, or acetic acid, help remove debris and excess wax from the ears. This can help reduce the growth of yeast and prevent recurrence of the infection.

How Much Does it Cost?

The cost to treat a yeast infection in dogs varies depending on several factors. The severity of the infection, the chosen treatment method, and the geographic location of the veterinary clinic, affect the cost. In general, the cost to treat a yeast infection in dogs may range from $100 to $500 or more.

Some of the expenses that may be incurred during the treatment of a yeast infection in dogs include:

  • Veterinary consultation fees
  • Diagnostic tests, such as skin scrapings or ear swabs
  • Medications, such as antifungal medications, antibiotics, or corticosteroids
  • Medicated shampoos, ear drops, or other topical treatments
  • Procedures that involve sedating to clean your dogs skin or flush their ears out.
  • Follow-up visits to monitor progress and adjust treatment as needed

It’s important to consult with a veterinarian to discuss treatment options and associated costs. Additionally, pet insurance may help cover some of the expenses related to treating a yeast infection in dogs. 

FAQ about apple cider vinegar and yeast infections

Is apple cider vinegar safe to use on dogs?

Apple cider vinegar is generally safe for dogs when used in moderation. However, there are potential adverse effects that pet owners should be aware of. These include:

  1. Gastrointestinal upset: Apple cider vinegar can irritate a dog’s digestive tract, leading to diarrhea, vomiting, and other gastrointestinal symptoms. If they show these symptoms then stop administering apple cider vinegar immediately.
  2. Burns and irritation: Applying undiluted apple cider vinegar to a dog’s skin can cause skin damage burns and irritation.
  3. Tooth erosion: The acidic nature of apple cider vinegar can erode a dog’s tooth enamel over time if used regularly.
  4. Electrolyte imbalances: Ingesting large amounts of apple cider vinegar can lead to electrolyte imbalances. Electrolyte imbalances can lead to other health problems.
  5. Interference with medication: Apple cider vinegar can interfere with the absorption of certain medications, potentially reducing their effectiveness.
  6. Skin Damage: Applying apple cider vinegar to the skin can lead to skin damage. Especially, if the skin is broken or damaged or if the concentration of apple cider vinegar is too high.

While apple cider vinegar can often be used without consequences, its effectiveness is unclear. If you have any hesitation about using it in your dog, then don’t. Furthermore, waiting to see if apple cider vinegar has any effect could further delay the veterinary treatment that your dog really needs.

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Authors

  • Dr Alex Crow, Veterinary Surgeon

    Alex Crow, VetMed MRCVS, is an RCVS accredited Veterinary surgeon with special interests in neurology and soft tissue surgery. Dr Crow is currently practicing at Buttercross Veterinary Center in England. He earned his degree in veterinary medicine in 2019 from the Royal Veterinary College (one of the top 3 vet schools in the world) and has more than three years of experience practicing as a small animal veterinarian (dogs and cats).

  • Kate Howard, Vet Tech

    Kate Howard lives in Upstate New York, and received her degree in Veterinary Technology from Alfred State College of Technology in 2010. She has been a veterinary technician for 13+ years, and spent her career working primarily in general practice and veterinary emergency care. Kate has 3 dogs, a cat, and keeps a small flock of backyard poultry.

Disclaimer: This website's content is not a substitute for veterinary care. Always consult with your veterinarian for healthcare decisions. Read More.

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