Dog Ear Yeast Infection: Causes And Treatment

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Yeast infection of the ears (otitis externa) is one of the most common skin complaints observed in dogs. Also known as canine ear yeast infection, this condition usually results from an overgrowth of the microscopic yeast, Malassezia. It is most common in breeds with long floppy ears, such as Bassett Hounds and Cocker Spaniels. However, most breeds can be affected. While this condition is usually not serious, if left untreated ear yeast infection can cause permanent damage to the ear structures, including the ear canal, making it difficult to treat.

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A dog ear yeast infection is an infection caused by a type of fungus called Malassezia pachydermatis. It commonly occurs in the ears, but can also spread to the skin and other areas of the body. The fungus overgrows, resulting in severe itching, irritation, and inflammation of the affected area.

What Causes Dog Ear Yeast Infections?

Dog ear yeast infections can be caused by several factors. These include allergies, immunodeficiencies, and underlying skin diseases. Moisture may also provide fertile ground for the growth of excess yeast. Additionally, the use of certain medications such as antibiotics can create a favorable environment for yeast growth.

How Is It Treated?

Although it can be treated at home, a vet should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment. Treatment for most cases involves topical antifungal or antibiotic ointments, alongside cleaning the ears regularly with a recommended ear cleaner. Oral medications may also be prescribed for persistent infections or to prevent recurrence. In more severe cases, surgery may be necessary.

What Are Ear Yeast Infections in Dogs?

Ear yeast infections in dogs occur when yeast, a type of fungus, grows in the ear canal. This type of infection is also referred to as otitis externa or canine otitis externa. Symptoms include head shaking, redness, swelling, and discharge in the affected ear. In some cases, the ear can become itchy. Treatment typically includes medicated ear drops and an anti-fungal medication. Additionally, your vet may recommend cleaning the ears with an anti-fungal solution. If the infection is severe, your vet may prescribe oral or topical antibiotics.

Dog Ear Infection Yeast vs Bacterial

Dog ear infections can be caused by either bacteria or yeast. Bacterial ear infections are often due to bacterial overgrowth and the accumulation of bacterial debris in the ear canal. Bacterial infections can cause redness, swelling, and discharge from the ears. They may also lead to infection of the outer ear, as well as an itchy sensation. Treatment typically involves medication and/or cleaning of the ear.

Yeast ear infections are caused by excessive growth of yeast in the ear canal. Yeast infections in the ears may cause itching, crusts, and a foul odor. Treatment usually involves the use of antifungal medication. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to remove the yeast from the ear canal.

Dog Ear Yeast Infection vs Ear Mites

Ear mites and ear yeast infections are two different types of infections that can occur in the ears of cats and dogs.

Ear mites are tiny insects that live in the ear canal of cats and dogs. They feed off of the skin oils and wax in the ear canal and cause intense itching and irritation. Ear mites are typically generically treated with ear drops, but can often be resolved more quickly with specific treatments like an ear mite powder, topical options like ivermectin, and endectocide alone or in combination.

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Yeast infections happen when the normal balance of yeast and bacteria in the ear is disrupted, allowing the yeast to overgrow. Yeast infections often occur during warm weather when the environment is more humid. Symptoms include intense itching, redness and swelling in the ear, a foul-smelling discharge, scratching at the ears, and possible hearing loss. Treatment typically involves a combination of antifungal medications, such as ketoconazole, applied topically to the ear canal, and systemic antifungal medications given orally.

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Ear yeast infections in dogs are caused by an overgrowth of a specific type of fungus called Malassezia. This fungus normally lives in the ear canal and normally does not cause any harm. However, if the conditions become favorable for an overgrowth of this fungus, it can lead to an infection. Factors that can lead to ear yeast infections in dogs include excessive moisture, allergies, age, poor nutrition, imbalanced pH levels, and hormonal imbalances.

What Foods Cause Ear Yeast Infection In Dogs?

  • Bread
  • Sweets
  • Beef
  • Soy
  • Dairy
  • Processed foods
  • Starchy foods
  • Sugary treats

Are Certain Dog Breeds More Susceptible to Yeast Infections?

Yes, certain dog breeds are more prone to yeast infections than others. These include Toy Poodles, Labrador Retrievers, Bichon Frises, Malteses, and Cocker Spaniels. These breeds tend to have skin that is more prone to infection due to their dense coat, which can trap bacteria and moisture. They also have ears that are prone to excessive wax production, which can create the ideal environment for a yeast infection. In addition, these breeds can be prone to allergies, which can further predispose them to yeast infections.

Dog Ear Yeast Infection Symptoms

  • Brown discoloration or scabbing on the outer edges of the dog’s ears.
  • A foul odor emanating from the ears.
  • Itching of the ears or head shaking.
  • Redness or inflammation in the ear canal.
  • Discharge of a yellowish color that may be waxy or have some pus.
  • Pain or irritation within the ears.
  • Loss of balance or unsteadiness.
  • Loss of hearing or muffled hearing.

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Ear yeast infections in dogs are usually diagnosed by a veterinarian performing a physical examination of the ear, including a series of tests. The vet may use an otoscope to look in the ear canal and inspect the ear for changes in the canal, including redness, swelling, discharge, scaling, and hair loss. They may also collect a sample of the discharge for analysis to identify the type of organism that is causing the infection. Additional tests can include swabbing the eardrum and checking for wax, inflammation, or other signs of infection. The vet may also suggest additional tests to explore any underlying conditions that could be contributing to the problem.

How to Clean Your Dog Ears with a Yeast Infection

  • Assemble the necessary supplies: veterinarian-approved ear cleaner, clean and dry cotton balls, a few drops of a dilute vinegar solution, a cotton swab, and a towel or blanket.
  • Place the dog in a comfortable position, such as on the floor or on your lap, and wrap the towel or blanket around the dog’s head and neck as needed.
  • Put a few drops of the ear cleaner in the dog’s ear canal. Gently and slowly massage the ear to work the solution into the canal.
  • Use the cotton balls to gently remove excess wax and debris from the ear canal.
  • Use the cotton swab to clean out the deeper parts of the ear canal and crevices. Be careful not to insert the swab too far into the ear canal.
  • Once the ear is clean, apply a few drops of vinegar solution to the dog’s ear canal. This will help to keep the ears dry and inhibit yeast growth.
  • Place the towel or blanket over the dog’s head and neck and let the solution sit in the ear for no more than three minutes.
  • Wipe off any excess vinegar solution and wax with the cotton balls.
  • Discard all used supplies and clean the ears with ear cleaner and cotton swabs on a weekly basis.
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Best Ear Cleaner for Dogs With Yeast Infection

The Pet Empire Ear Cleaner for Dogs is the best ear cleaner for dogs with Yeast Infections. This non-irritating formula contains Prime Ion Technology, which helps to clean the ear canal of debris. It is pH balanced and approved by veterinarians. It can also help to reduce the inflammation caused by a yeast infection. It is gentle and alcohol-free, providing a safe and effective solution.

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  1. Clean the Ears: Before treating a dog’s yeast ear infection, it is important to clean the ears with an ear-cleaning solution or warm water and cotton balls. Be gentle when cleaning the ears and avoid using Q-tips as these can cause further irritation.
  2. Medicated Drops: Your veterinarian may recommend medicated ear drops to be administered into the ears two to three times a day to help clear up the infection. Make sure to administer the drops exactly as directed by the vet.
  3. Yeast and Antibiotic Tablets: In more severe cases of yeast ear infection, your vet may suggest administering a combination of yeast/antibiotic tablets. Once the tablets have been prescribed, follow the dosage provided by the vet carefully.
  4. Nutritional Supplements: There are nutritional supplements such as omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which can help to reduce inflammation, reduce skin allergies and improve the overall health of the ears.
  5. Keep the Ears Dry: Keep the ears dry after bathing or swimming to prevent further yeast infections and irritation.
  6. Follow-Up Care: Follow up with your vet if the symptoms persist after the initial treatment.

How to Treat Dog Ear Yeast Infection Without Vet

  • Clean the ear gently with a damp washcloth.
  • Use a solution of equal parts water and white vinegar to gently clean the affected area.
  • Use an over-the-counter anti-fungal ear cleaner or witch hazel to help clean out the infection.
  • Administer an anti-fungal medication, such as miconazole or ketoconazole.
  • Make sure to use a drying powder or other medication that is labeled specifically for use on a dog’s ear.
  • Feed your dog a diet rich in probiotics and essential fatty acids.

Dog Yeast Infection Home Remedy

  • Clean the affected area with warm water and rinse thoroughly.
  • Apply a medicated shampoo or solution to the affected area.
  • Keep the area dry and protected from further contamination.
  • Boost your dog’s immune system by using natural supplements such as garlic, omega-3 fatty acids, and probiotics.
  • Monitor your dog’s diet and minimize giving him greasy or processed foods that could aggravate the infection.
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How to Prevent Ear Yeast Infections

  • Wipe your dog’s ears with a clean, damp cloth after every bath or swim. This will remove dirt, excess wax, and moisture that can lead to infection.
  • Use a veterinarian-prescribed ear cleaner. Some dogs suffer from chronic ear problems, and their veterinarian may prescribe an ear cleaner to help keep the ears clean and reduce the risk of infection.
  • Regularly check your dog’s ears for signs of infection, such as redness, swelling, bad smell, or discharge. If you notice any of these signs, contact your veterinarian for advice.
  • Use a vet-approved ear drop to limit the growth of yeast. Regular use of ear drops can help prevent the growth of yeast and, in some cases, clear up existing infections.
  • Talk to your vet about vaccinations. Dogs that spend a lot of time outdoors are susceptible to ear infections due to the presence of bacteria and other organisms. Vaccinating your dog may help reduce the risk of infection.
  • Keep your dog’s ears dry. Dogs that are prone to ear infections should wear a cap or scarf to keep their ears dry and protected. This is especially important after swimming.


Q. What kills a yeast infection in dogs’ ears?

A. The most effective way to kill a yeast infection in a dog’s ear is to use a medicated ear wash or solution specifically designed to treat yeast infections in dogs. Many of these products contain antifungal and anti-yeast compounds that can help kill the infection and prevent it from recurring. 

Q. What do I do if my dog has a yeast infection in his ear?

A. If your dog has a yeast infection in his ear, it is best to take them to the vet for a diagnosis and treatment. The vet may recommend prescription ear drops or pills to help treat the infection. In the meantime, you can clean the dog’s ear with a mild solution designed to help manage yeast infections. Furthermore, it is important to keep your dog’s ears clean and dry in order to prevent recurrent infections.

Q. How did my dog get a yeast infection in his ear?

A. Yeast infections in dogs’ ears are often caused by an underlying allergy, which can be caused by things such as food allergies, environmental allergies, and/or other allergies. Other causes of yeast infection in a dog’s ear may include ear infections, mites, dirt and debris, swimmer’s ear, and earwax build-up. Your veterinarian can help you determine the cause and best treatment option for your dog’s yeast infection.


Dog ear yeast infection is a common but treatable medical condition. Treatment usually involves antibiotics and antifungal medications, as well as proper cleaning and hygiene. The best way to prevent a yeast infection is to keep the ears clean, and dry, and use products specifically designed for use with dogs. It is also important to work with a veterinarian to ensure proper diagnosis and treatment. By following the advice from a qualified professional, dog owners can avoid any complications from this common condition.

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