That Frito smell your dog has, is not because he just came from a basketball game concession stand. That corn-chip smell is most likely yeast.
The first question to ask is if they have any other signs or symptoms. Do they have a really red or scaly rash? Do they scratch non-stop until the skin is broken and bleeding?
They are likely suffering from a yeast infection!
What is yeast and how does it affect my pet?
First, let’s address the elephant in the room… The yeast infection your pet has on his or her skin is NOT the same as the yeast used to make bread! Oddly enough though, a yeast infection can have a very “bread-like” odor to it!
The scientific term for a diagnosed yeast infection on the skin is cutaneous candidiasis. It is caused by a “yeast-like” type of fungi called Candida. When this microbe grows too actively on the skin, it causes a red, scaling, itchy rash that can be extremely bothersome and painful.
Where does it come from?
Candida fungi spores love warm, moist places, but you can find them just about anywhere. They’re on the ground, on plants, and floating in the air; they live on our pet’s skin as well as inside their intestinal tract just like in humans. Most of the time, they’re not a bother because the natural bacteria within our bodies keep the candida in check.
Pets tend to be a little more susceptible to candida overgrowth because of their proximity to the ground and their bathing frequency. Breeds that have loose skin and wrinkles are especially prone to yeast infections because the areas between the skin folds stay warm and moist. If you don’t clean them frequently, then the fungi grow out of control and an infection occurs. Even dogs and cats that don’t have loose or wrinkly skin commonly get these infections in their groin area, inside the ears, and between the toes.
How do I get rid it?
If you suspect that your pet has an infection of any type, we always recommend that you consult your veterinarian first, especially before using any type of new products on your pet. If your vet agrees that it is indeed yeast, then there are a few options available.
For yeast in the ears:
If your pet has very “gunked” up ears and you notice a foul odor, there is a pretty good chance that your pet may have yeast in their ears. First, you need a really good ear cleaner, something that is alcohol-free and does not further irritate the skin. You need to make sure that you clean inside the ear flaps really well and try to remove any wax or debris that is visible. DO NOT stick anything into your pet’s ear past the point of visibility. You don’t want to injure the eardrum. That is why we recommend using LIVELY PETS Ultra Otic Advanced Plus Ear Cleaner, or something similar. You simply put the desired amount into the dog or cats ear, massage the base of the ear for about 20-30 seconds to ensure that the solution gets all the way down into the ear canal, and then let your pet shake his or her head to dislodge any debris.
Why it works:
Our ear cleaner contains a compound known as EDTA. It is a slime dispersant and has been found to be highly effective in reducing bacterial growth. This means that when the solution enters the ear, it is very effective at quickly breaking down ear wax that can hold on to bacteria, mites, and fungi living in your pet's ears. The liquid easily reaches the inside of the ear that you can’t see and helps to eliminate the harmful microbes hiding in there. After application, take a wet washcloth or cotton ball and very gently wipe the inside of the ear FLAP. DO NOT stick anything into your pets ear canal!
Now, one application may not be enough. If your pet has some seriously funky ears, we recommend using 2 times per day for about 3 days, then decrease to 1 time per day for 4 days. The ear cleaner should begin to remove the built-up layers of ear wax.
After your pet's ears are clean, you will need an antifungal. While our ear cleaner certainly helps to inhibit the growth of fungus, viruses, and bacteria, it is made more for prevention of infections. It will stop an infection from growing, but it may not get rid of it all together. We recommend using our Derma-Soothe Advanced Plus XL Medicated Wipes. They contain Ketoconazole and Chlorhexidine which are both powerful antifungals and antiseptics. They are made much larger than the competitions so that they are easily wrapped around the finger to clean the visible ridges just inside of the ear flap. They are also great for skin infections, minor wounds, and hotspots.
If it truly is a yeast infection, these methods should have your pet's ears looking and feeling better in no time!
For yeast infections of the skin:
Candida or “yeast”, loves any area of skin that is warm and moist. If your pet has a really red, scaly or raised patch, then odds are its yeast. Dogs or cats that are especially wrinkly or have loose skin are very prone to getting yeast infections in the skin folds. Even pets that don’t have all that loose skin commonly get yeast infections on their bellies, groin, and between the toes.
The first thing you’ll need to do (after consulting your vet of course) is getting a good medicated shampoo. LIVELY PETS Derma-Soothe Advanced Plus Medicated Shampoo is a great choice. It contains both Ketoconazole and Chlorhexidine to kill any fungal spores on the skin. The irritated skin will be a breeding ground for not only fungal infections but also bacterial infections that can get into tiny inflamed pores and cause even bigger problems than just yeast. LIVELY PETS medicated shampoo is a great antiseptic and antimicrobial that will kill off those harmful bacteria. Make sure you lather up the infected areas really well and let the shampoo sit on the skin for a minute or 2 if possible (We have pets too. We know that they generally aren’t really fond of baths).
NOTE: Make sure you scrub your pet's feet and toenails really well. Candida can live under the toenails for a very long time and even if you treat the skin infection, your pet will likely get reoccurring yeast infections every time they scratch themselves and more candida spreads back to the skin.
After you have bathed your pet, getting all those yeasty places really well, then the next thing you need to do is keep your pet from scratching. The odds are, there is probably some yeast left somewhere on your dog. If your dog is continually scratching, then he’s going to spread the microbes across his skin again.
For itching, we recommend LIVELY PETS Derma-Soothe Anti-Itch spray with Pramoxine. Pramoxine is very similar to a mild form of lidocaine. It slightly numbs the skin (not completely, but enough that it will stop the itching). This will keep your pet from scratching and spreading yeast on his or her skin.
You will probably have to bathe your pet in the medicated shampoo about once per day for a few days to make sure all the yeast fungi are gone.
If your pet has wrinkly skin folds, we recommend using the LIVELY PETS Derma-Soothe Advanced Plus XL medicated wipes. You can easily wrap them around the finger to get into those face folds and between the toes. They make a great addition to the medicated shampoo regimen. You can bathe your pet once in the medicated shampoo, and use the wipes daily for the next few days to ensure that the fungi do not start to grow again.
So as always, if you suspect that your pet has some sort of health issue going on, always consult your veterinarian first! We want happy, healthy, pets and owners too!