Finding the best food for yeast infections in dogs

Updated 29 May 2024
Read time: 11 mins
article author
Written by Corinne Homer

If your pooch seems agitated within their skin, often itching and scratching their ears and paws, they could have a yeast infection. There are plenty of causes for an unpleasant, irritating yeast infection - but they can be caused, or at least greatly influenced by the food your dog eats. So what's the best diet for keeping a yeast infection at bay?


If you’re itching to know, read on - we’ve got the lowdown on the best food to feed your dog in order to curb and soothe those nasty yeast infections.


What are yeast infections in dogs?

Firstly, what even is a yeast infection? Sometimes called yeast dermatitis, it’s a broad term for when there’s a build up of fungal yeast in your dog’s body. This could be down to simple genetics (dogs with lots of skin folds, for instance, are more at risk of getting yeast infections), an imbalance of bacteria, an ongoing illness, allergies, a weakened immune system, or because of too many yeast-promoting foods in their diet.


A yeast infection usually presents as itching and physical irritation in your dog, but full symptoms can include:


  • Irritation/itching/redness (particularly in ears, paws, groin area and bum)
  • Recurring ear infections
  • Foul odours (usually from ears)
  • Black spots on the skin
  • General fidgety behaviour, such as excessing licking and scratching
  • Greasy or oily coat and skin
  • Thinning coat where they’ve over-scratched themselves
  • Low mood

Does diet help to manage yeast infections?

Though yeast infections can occur for a variety of reasons unrelated to diet (sometimes just genetic), diet can certainly play a very important role. Certain foods can either soothe or exacerbate symptoms of an ongoing yeast infection, or even be the motivator of a yeast infection occurring and reoccurring.


There’s some evidence to suggest that common food allergens, such as grain, could be responsible for yeast infections in some dogs, alongside other food triggers such as dairy or sugar.


In any case, there’s a big chance your pooch’s condition could be improved by experimenting with their diet and adding supplements, especially if you’ve been regularly feeding your dog quite high fat or sugary foods.


Nutritional requirements for dog food for yeast infections

When figuring out a new diet for a dog who gets yeast infections, you’ll want to stick to the following guidelines:


  • Food with a low glycemic index, such as non-starchy veggies and legumes. It’s important to avoid sugars and simple carbohydrates, which have a high glycemic index - as these are more likely to produce yeast and feed the problem.
  • High-quality proteins. Lean, nutritious proteins will maintain your dog’s physical health and support muscle maintenance and growth, without promoting yeast production.
  • Healthy fats can help reduce inflammation in your pooch and contribute to healthy skin. Examples include the omega-3 fatty acids of salmon, a recommended food for yeast infections.
  • Probiotics work wonders in balancing the amount of healthy bacteria in the gut, therefore improving immunity, boosting digestion and promoting general equilibrium in the body (= a reduced chance of yeast infection). Check out why probiotics are so good for dogs.
A dog bowl filled with chicken, lots of coloured vegetables, and a supplement pill, against a yellow background

    What food can I give my dog with a yeast infection?

    So what should you feed your pooch to ensure they aren’t at constant risk of developing or worsening a yeast infection?


    • Nutrition is key to building up their immune system and fighting off the infection, so choose a premium-quality, commercial dog food formulated for dogs with health conditions. Ideally it should be labelled for managing yeast infections. Unlike cheap dog foods on the market, specialist dog food for yeast infections will be made up of beneficial, non-triggering ingredients that will nourish your pooch without aggravating or adding to a yeast overgrowth problem.
    • Some pooch owners opt for a homemade diet. This can be the preferable option for those who like to know exactly what their dog’s eating, however it can be tricky to get the nutritional balance right when you need to specifically avoid yeast-promoting ingredients. If you choose to take the DIY route, make sure this is under the guidance of a vet or pet nutritionist.
    • Consider more raw food, or food that’s only been gently cooked. This minimises your dog’s processed food intake and reduces the risk of their body being upset or triggered. Remember, this has its own downsides - though raw food retains a lot of nutrients, it needs to be completely safe in terms of bacterial contamination risk and digestibility (raw meat for example, isn’t recommended, and raw potatoes can be toxic to dogs). As always, chat to your vet about this first.
    • Get some dog supplements, especially probiotics or anything that promotes balanced gut health. As keeping yeast under control is often about maintaining bacterial harmony in the body, probiotics can help support that.

    Dog food for a yeast infection

    Dogs who suffer from yeast infections can thrive on a grain-free diet as it’s best they avoid common allergens, which can disrupt the delicate bacterial harmony in their gut and bowels. This is why Pooch & Mutt dog foods contain zero grain, alongside a range of nutritious, gently digestible ingredients that are easy on the body.


    • Our Skin & Coat recipe, for instance, is packed full of herring, collagen and probiotics to support healthy, comfortable skin.
    • Our Health & Digestion range includes lean, easy-to-digest ingredients so the body averts a build-up of troublesome yeast.
    • Our vet-approved Sensitivity Dog Food for Allergies is made up of tasty, non-triggering foods for pooches that are easily aggravated by food allergens.
    A Doberman dog, standing behind a bag of our Soft & Shiny food, against a mustard-coloured background

    Ingredients to avoid:

    Even if your dog’s yeast infections are genetic, there are foods that will likely exacerbate or contribute to yeast overgrowth in your pooch. Here’s a reminder of foods to stay clear of…


    • High-fat and high-sugar foods. Fat and sugar are some of the worst culprits for build-up of yeast in the body; they also contribute to a lowered immune system, making it harder for your dog’s body to protect itself. Cut out human leftovers and fatty or sugary treats, including cheese and fatty meats, and lean into health and nutrition for your dog (they’re worth it!).
    • Common food allergens for dogs. Allergens that lots of dogs are sensitive to, such as grain or dairy products, could be responsible for triggering their yeast infections. Going for a grain-free dog food and/or avoiding dairy products and other common allergens entirely will likely help.
    • Cheap dog food full of artificial preservatives. It goes without saying, but cheap dog food that hasn’t been designed for targeted health conditions is only going to exacerbate your dog’s infection. These cheap dog foods are not only more likely to contain high-fat ingredients, but also preservatives, sugars and artificial nasties that will trigger or aggravate their symptoms.

    Transitioning to a diet that avoids yeast infections

    When you’ve decided upon your dog’s new food, it’s important to transition them slowly into their new diet.


    • Gradually introduce their new food. If your dog’s new food is drastically different, switching it out straight away can shock the system and cause tummy issues. To be safe, mix new food with some of their old food for a few days at first, and monitor how they react to it. If appropriate, eventually you can completely phase out their old food.
    • Try a limited ingredient diet. To identify a food allergy or if there’s a specific trigger to your dog’s infections, you might want to strip down their diet and slowly reintroduce ingredients until you’ve discovered the offending food. This is also called an exclusion diet - here’s more about identifying a food allergy in your dog.
    • Check your dog’s behaviour for any changes in symptoms following the food switch - keep note of both improvements and if things have worsened (increased itchiness, soreness, changes in energy levels etc.).
    • Check-in with a vet to update them on how things are going - they can offer advice if the food switch isn’t having the desired effect on your dog. Vet guidance is essential for managing a dog’s yeast infections, as there are many potential causes and it’s vital to get the right diagnosis.
    • Tailor their diet. Some dogs get very familiar with their old foods, and it’s harder to introduce them to new flavours and textures. If you’re having trouble getting them to eat, your vet can help tailor their diet to suit them.


    • To sum up, there are lots of reasons your pooch may develop yeast infections - it could be a food allergy, the effects of medication, or they may be genetically predisposed to getting itchy. In any case, diet is extremely important in managing symptoms and keeping future yeast infections at bay.
    • To create a superpowered diet that curbs yeast overgrowth: cut-out high fat, high sugar ingredients and instead focus on lean proteins, nutritious low-glycaemic foods and a boost of probiotics. Common food allergens can also exacerbate or cause yeast infections in dogs - so you might want to try an exclusion diet to identify the trigger; or consider going grain-free. You may want to consider integrating raw or gently cooked foods into your pooch’s meals too.
    • A vet should guide you throughout the process of treating a dog who gets yeast infections - this is really important! They can go through the various methods of diagnosis to target and treat the exact cause of your dog’s yeast infections, so you don’t end up barking up the wrong tree.



    Hopefully you should now feel more confident in choosing food for your dog’s itchy infection, but here are some final questions you might have about dogs and yeast infections.


    What happens if dog yeast infections go untreated?

    Ignoring symptoms of a yeast infection won’t help your pooch as it won’t pass on its own - in fact, the problem could get significantly worse. If your dog’s infection is quite localised, the yeast may spread to other areas of the body and skin, leaving them in a lot of continual discomfort.


    Overall, a long-term yeast infection can lower a dog’s immune system and leave them susceptible to catching other nasty illnesses. If you notice symptoms of a yeast infection, treating it and identifying the cause should be a priority as a pooch parent.


    What’s the difference between a yeast and fungal infection in dogs?

    There are similarities, but a yeast infection is caused by an overgrowth of, most commonly, the Candida albicans fungus, or the Malassezia pachydermatis fungus. A fungal infection is a more general term and can be caused by all kinds of fungus.


    When vets refer to a yeast infection, that usually means a yeast that is affecting the dog’s skin, paws and ears (and potentially groin, underarms and bum area). Contrastingly, a fungal infection can infect the internal organs and other parts of the inner body. Be sure a vet is the one identifying your dog’s particular issue - don’t try and guess on it yourself without professional opinion.


    Can dogs get thrush?

    Itchy, irritating thrush is a condition caused by yeast overgrowth that is very common for humans - and dogs get it mostly in the mouth and throat area. Your pooch might develop white spots on their tongue, throat and inner cheeks, and may drool or paw at their mouth in discomfort. Take them to a vet, and they’ll clear up the problem with an antifungal treatment, and hopefully give a diagnosis on what may have caused the thrush.


    What are the benefits of feeding my dog anti-yeast dog food?

    A dog’s body requires a delicate balance of bacteria in order to function harmoniously, just like ours - and when this balance is disrupted it can lead to a build-up or overgrowth of yeast. Yeast overgrowth is responsible for the itchiness, irritation and redness much dogs experience in their ears, skin and paws. Anti-yeast dog foods can help remedy that by supporting balance in a dog’s body, and boosting nutrition while avoiding yeast-promoting ingredients.


    What is a limited ingredient diet and how can it help with yeast infections?

    If your dog’s yeast infection is caused by food, it’s a good idea to put them on a limited ingredient diet (sometimes called an exclusion diet). Not only will the stripping down of their diet to bland, gently digestible ingredients ease pressure on the body, it’s a nifty way of ‘detoxifying’ their digestive system so that slowly, you can reintroduce potential triggers and identify what causes their yeast infection. Take a look at our article on identifying a dog’s food allergy for more information.


    If your pooch has special dietary requirements for recurring yeast infections, try our range of grain-free dog foods for a healthy gut. Our vet-approved dog food for food allergies could be perfect for your pooch, while our Skin & Coat recipe is formulated for soothed, stress-free skin.


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