The Best Way to Treat a Yeast Infection in a Dog’s Paw [Vet Advice]

how to treat a yeast infection in dogs paw

Thinking about yeast infection in dogs might not be the first thing that comes to mind for most people, but it’s a very real problem. Yeast is an organism that typically lives on the skin and in moist areas of your dog’s body like the mouth and ears, as well as their paws. When left untreated, yeast can cause irritation and even lead to secondary infections.

There are a number of things that can cause yeast to overgrow on your dog’s skin, including allergies, hot spots, and even antibiotic use. If you notice your dog licking their paws excessively or shaking their head frequently, it might be time to take a closer look for signs of yeast.

Dogs are one of the most common household pets in the world, and for many people, they are considered part of the family. As a result, it’s important to be proactive in taking care of their health and well-being – including preventing yeast infections from occurring in their paws.

In this article, we’ll discuss what causes yeast infections in dog paws, the symptoms to watch for, and how you can treat them using home remedies or over-the-counter medications and when to call the vet. We’ll also provide some tips on how to prevent yeast infections from happening in the first place.

This article is all about dog paw yeast infections: the causes, symptoms, and treatment. It is not medical advice and you should always consult your veterinarian about your specific dog.

How to use a snuffle mat by Ruffle ...
How to use a snuffle mat by Ruffle Snuffle

What are the symptoms of a yeast infection in dog paws?

The most common symptom of a yeast infection in dogs is excessive licking of the affected area. If your dog is exhibiting any of the following symptoms, he or she may have a yeast infection in their paws:

  • Excessive licking
  • Scratching at the paw
  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Musty Odor
  • Scaly skin
  • Hair loss
  • Pain
  • Fever

If a yeast infection has developed in the paws, they will become red and they will itch, and there may even be a brown discharge present in the nail bed of the paw. If your dog has a yeast infection in their paws, they may lick them more often than usual, and you’ll notice hair loss on the top of the paws from all the excessive licking.

what does a yeast infection look like? Examples of yeast infections in dog paws
Examples of yeast infections in dog paws

The symptoms of yeast skin infection in dogs and cats can include scratching, licking, biting, chewing, rubbing, dandruff, skin changes (redness, dark pigmentation, greasiness, or thickened skin), red-brown discoloration of the fur and claws, and malodor. 

It’s also important for you to know that a yeast infection is often a secondary problem; that is, there’s some other underlying issue that weakens the skin’s defense so that yeast grows in an unusually high number. A yeast infection usually causes red, itchy skin; discoloration; and a strong corn chip or frito smell, a musty odor.

“If this is the first time you’ve encountered this issue, it’s important to get ahold of your vet to get a diagnosis. These are easy to treat, and most of the time, you can treat them at home after the first time. The most effective treatment is antifungal shampoos.” recommends Claudine Sievert. DVM, a cat, and dog veterinary doctor from Kansas and a veterinary consultant at stayyy.com.

Paw has been excessively licked
Paw has been excessively licked

Are some dog breeds more likely to get yeast infections?

Yeast infection is one of the most common skin conditions for dogs. The most common causes of yeast infections are a lack of grooming and allergic reaction to flea bites. Some breeds are more prone to getting yeast infections than others. These include:

  • Dogs with floppy ears, such as basset hounds and cocker spaniels
  • Dogs with short faces, such as pugs and bulldogs
  • Dogs with allergies
  • Dogs with hairy paws, such as golden retrievers
  • Dogs that are frequently bathed or swim in chlorinated water
  • Dogs that are overweight or have diabetes

Susceptible breeds include:

  • Shih Tzu
  • Cocker Spaniel
  • Schnauzers
  • Golden Retrievers
  • Labrador Retrievers
  • Basset Hound
  • West Highland White Terrier
  • German Shepherd
  • Maltese
  • Dachshunds
  • Poodles

“Certain breeds are affected more commonly including the Pug, Bulldog, Frenchie and West Highland White Terrier. These dogs will regularly lick their paws and may also have red skin and allergies to things like foods, pollens and dust mites. Ear infections and anal gland issues go hand in hand with this itchy skin. Owners may notice their pet’s signs flare at certain times of the year; though this is not always the case.

In my clinic we see a large number of English Bulldogs, some of whom have longstanding and poorly managed yeast infections of their paws. The skin is thickened and discolored and the dogs are constantly gnawing at their feet. Secondary bacterial infections causing abscesses are not uncommon. These dogs can struggle to walk and you can smell them from the waiting room.” Said Dr. Linda Simon, MVB MRCVS Consulting Veterinarian at FiveBarks.

How did my dog get a yeast infection in their paw? 

The type of yeast we see on the skin and in the ears of cats and dogs is almost always Malassezia yeast.  This is a different from the yeast which causes most yeast infections in humans –  Candida.  Malassezia yeast are a normal inhabitant of the canine and feline skin. Malassezia dermatitis in dogs is usually a secondary problem due to an underlying skin disease such as allergic reaction. 

The most common cause of yeast infection in dogs is actually due to an allergic reaction to flea bites. Flea bites can lead to skin irritation and itching, which may result in scratching and picking at the area. This can leave hair follicles exposed and allow yeast to enter the bloodstream. Other causes of yeast overgrowth include:

  • Allergies to food, pollen, or other environmental allergens
  • Hot spots
  • External parasites like mites, lice, and ticks
  • Use of antibiotics or steroids
  • Stress
  • Poor diet ( although Malassezia yeast infections in pets are not affected by dietary sugar content: Source)

“Allergies can occur due to contact irritants or food allergens. Contact irritants include pollens, dust mites, chemicals, or other substances which cause an immune response and inflammation. Food allergens most prevalent in dogs are protein sources, including beef, chicken, lamb, and wheat. Other underlying causes can be imbalances with hormones or keratinization disorders. ” – Michelle Burch DVM, Veterinarian at Paramount Pet Health .

Infected paw
Infected paw


How to treat a yeast infection on your dog’s paws

Dealing with a yeast infection in your dog’s paws is fairly straightforward. There are a number of things you can do at home to help your dog, but I would always recommend asking your vet for advice as a yeast infection that is left too long can lead to other longer-term problems and behavioral issues.

There are many ways to treat your dog’s paws and get them back into shape, including antifungals, creams, sprays, and medicated shampoos. If your dog has been suffering from a yeast infection in its feet for a while or it appears to be getting worse, contact your veterinarian.

It can take up to four weeks to treat yeast infections in dog paws.

Best at home yeast infection treatments for dogs

There are a few different home remedies you can try to treat your dog’s yeast infection, including:

  • Soaking the affected paw in a mixture of warm water and apple cider vinegar
  • Applying a topical ointment or cream to the affected area
  • Taking your dog for a walk in the sun to help dry out the infection
  • Feeding your dog a diet high in probiotics

According to PetMD people often talk about home remedies for dog yeast infections, but most are not proven to be effective. So what can you do?

“I do not recommend treating yeast infections at home as complete management will not be achieved, and an owner may not be dealing with a yeast infection. For owners that want to start treating a potential yeast infection of the paws at home while waiting for their appointment, I recommend using a medicated shampoo with the active ingredient of chlorhexidine every other day and allowing them to sit for 10-15 minutes before rinsing. ” stated Birch.

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However Wooten suggests that you can treat at home,” Well, funny enough, you can treat it with OTC monistat cream that is designed for a woman’s yeast infection (miconazole is the active ingredient), however, you have to make sure your dog doesn’t lick (any) medicated cream off their feet. It helps to mix it with some hydrocortisone cream to stop the itching but remember, if your dog has a yeast infection on their feet, then there is usually something else going on as well, and it is likely to come back unless you get the underlying condition handled.”

As every case is different I would always consult with your vet when trying to treat an infection in your dog. They’ll prescribe the right shampoos, spray, wipes and lotions or systemic treatments to help your dog. Then it’s up to you to be diligent with your dog’s paw care routine and apply the appropriate medications as prescribed by your vet.

How to prevent yeasty doggie paws

The best way to prevent yeast is to keep your dog’s paws clean. That means regular baths, trimming nails, and cleaning in between the toes.

If your dog has allergies, it’s important to identify the allergen and take steps to avoid it. If your dog is overweight, help them lose weight through diet and exercise.

A healthy immune system is also key in preventing yeast infections. Make sure your dog is getting a balanced diet with plenty of probiotics.

You can also try using a topical barrier cream or spray on your dog’s paws to help protect them from yeast overgrowth. These are available at pet stores and online.

Make sure to keep an eye on your dog’s paws and if you notice any redness, inflammation, or excessive licking and scratching, take them to the vet. A yeast infection can be easily treated if caught early but left untreated, it can cause more serious problems.

“If you think that your dog has a yeast infection you can start by giving your dog a bath in antifungal shampoo. Many times you can find these shampoos at your local pet store. When bathing your dog, apply the shampoo and let it sit for 5 minutes before washing it off.  If this infection still does not go away, it would be best to see your vet. They can examine your dog and make sure that this is a yeast infection and prescribe medication to help clear this infection. ” said Sara Ochoa, DVM, Veterinary Consultant for doglab.com.

If your dog is prone to yeast infections on its paws, you’ll want to take extra steps to ensure they stay dry which can be tough during wet and wintry months. Try the tips I have here on good paw care and use this homemade paw wash when you come in from your walks outside.

It is also essential to prevent your dog from excessively licking their paws. The saliva from a dog’s mouth easily gets trapped between the toes, leading to a moist environment for yeast to thrive. Try giving your dog a lick mat instead to keep them occupied. Dogs will often lick their paws through boredom, which can then lead to a yeast infection.


A yeast infection in your dog’s paws can be a frustrating and uncomfortable condition for them to deal with. The good news is that most cases can be treated relatively easily with over-the-counter medications or sprays prescribed by your vet. You should also take steps to prevent your dog from licking their paws excessively, as this will only aggravate the condition. Finally, make sure to keep their paws dry and clean, especially during wetter months.


Prevalence of Malassezia pachydermatis in atopic dogs-50 cases

Ortalda, C., Noli, C. and Cena, T. (2016), Efficacy of an ethanol/guar/triclosan/glycerine gel on bacteria and yeast loads in canine pododermatitis: a pilot study. J Small Anim Pract, 57: 205-209. https://doi.org/10.1111/jsap.12446

Tyers MB, Haywood H. Effects of prostaglandins on peripheral nociceptors in acute inflammation. Agents and actions. Supplements. 1979 (6):65-78. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-0348-7232-4_8. PMID: 294149.

BBajwa, Jangi. “Canine Malassezia dermatitis.” The Canadian veterinary journal = La revue veterinaire canadienne vol. 58,10 (2017): 1119-1121.

Bond R. Advances in Veterinary Dermatology. Vol. 4. Oxford, UK: Blackwell Science; 2002. Pathogenesis of Malassezia dermatitis; pp. 69–75.

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