Home Remedies for Dog Ear Yeast Infections

Adrienne is a certified dog trainer, behavior consultant, former veterinarian assistant, and author of "Brain Training for Dogs."

Why Do Dogs Get Yeast Infections in Their Ears?

Dogs get ear infections when yeast or bacteria over-proliferate. Yeast, or single-cell fungi, are naturally found on your dog's skin and ears in small amounts. Certain conditions lead to an overpopulation of yeast such as biological imbalances, mechanical predisposition (floppy ears), excess moisture, and certain medical conditions. What are the symptoms of dog ear yeast infections, and how are they treated?

Dog Ear Yeast Infection Symptoms

A dog affected by a yeast infection will most likely be miserable. Symptoms are as follows:

  • Head shaking
  • Pawing at the ears
  • Ear scratching
  • Rubbing ears
  • Foul, rancid smelling ears
  • Brown, waxy discharge
  • Red, irritated, and swollen ears
  • Ear discharge

Diagnosing Ear Infections

Your veterinarian should check your dog's ears in order to rule out other health problems. If the ears have a black discharge that resembles coffee grounds, your dog may have ear mites and will require a totally different course of treatment.

The best way to diagnose a yeast infection is by having the veterinarian collect a sample from the ear to view under the microscope. In some cases, a culture and sensitivity test is recommended.

Special Precautions

Floppy-eared dogs should never be left with wet ears. If you are planning to bathe a floppy-eared dog, put cotton balls inside their ears to prevent them from getting wet.

Common Causes of Ear Infections in Dogs

Yeast infections can develop in dogs' ears for a variety of reasons, and as mentioned earlier, dogs with large, floppy ears are the most prone. Below are some of the most common causes.


One of the most common causes of an ear infection is antibiotics. Antibiotics are known to kill both good and bad bacteria in the gut, and this is why yogurt is often prescribed to replenish good bacteria. Antibiotics can also kill the good bacteria in the ear.

Weakened Immune System

Dogs that are stressed or weak due to disease are more likely to develop an infection. A good way to prevent infections is to ensure that your dog is fed premium dog food (many claim raw food is the best way to go). Make sure your dog gets sufficient exercise and lives a stress-free life.

Weakened Ear Environment

If your dog's ears are already bothering them because of allergies, the constant scratching and the higher production of oil may allow for yeast overgrowth. A dog may have a bacterial infection in the ears and acquire a yeast infection on top of that because the skin in the ears has become vulnerable.

Ideal Environment

Yeast thrive in humid, dark, warm areas, so your dog's ears offer a perfect environment. Floppy-eared dogs are especially prone to these infections because their ear conformation allows yeast to thrive. Dogs with erect ears, therefore, may be less likely to get infections because their ears receive more sunlight and airflow.

Natural Home Remedies

Before using any home remedies, the ear canal needs to be well-cleaned, and your veterinarian must confirm that the eardrum is intact. Medications or home remedies will not work in dirty ears because they are unable to treat the surface of the skin directly.

One of the best home remedies for yeast infections in the ears is white vinegar (or apple cider vinegar). White vinegar will make the ear's pH more acidic and inhospitable to yeast. The vinegar should never be used in its pure form—it must be diluted. A 50-50 mix of white vinegar and water may be mixed well and poured into a spray bottle. Use the mixture as follows:

  1. Clean the ears.
  2. Spray the solution in the ears.
  3. Dry the ears with a cotton ball.
  4. Perform the cleaning twice a day.

The condition of the ears should improve within 48 hours. If you do not see an improvement, you may need a stronger prescription from your veterinarian.

Learn About Yeast Imbalance in Dogs

© 2009 Adrienne Farricelli

caleta allen on March 13, 2019:

try a diet of raw hamburger meat my little dog has improved 90 percent she is blind because of yeast

and is doing so much better on raw hamburger and vegetables. she loves it

Andrea Ito on March 23, 2018:

Is there tea tree oil shampoo especially for dogs? Can I use a human tea tree oil shampoo?

Honeypots on October 17, 2017:

I have a German Shepherd that is a rescue Dog when i got him the point of his ears was molded to the inside of his ear the infection was so bad it took me well over 8 weeks to clean all the crap out of his ears, I took him to vet and they gave him multiple meds, pain, steroids,antibiotics which helped very little, the ears cleared up somewhat during this time, but then once off the meds here we go again, its been 7 months now 6 vets later and still same issue i have tried everything on the market there is and he has been on numerous antibiotics , the last vet i took him to i insisted they change his medication and do a biopsy which none of the others had done, at this point I'm frustrated i do not know what to do his ears stay infected and the dog can not live on medicine the rest of his life without anyone being able to help. Please if there is a Vet or someone with knowledge out there let me know. i am to take him back to the vet again, where the tip of ear is underneath is badly infected and i feel they need to crop the ear off or something but they say oh I'm sorry we need to get the infection under control first ok well your remedies of antibiotics, steroids and pain meds only work while he is on the medicine, so PLEASE someone help i want him better so i can have him out playing ball etc. he has had yeast infections as well I'm at ends wits trying to get this baby help from someone with sense !

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on April 01, 2012:

First off, there is nothing like a German or American rottweiler, they are all rottweilers regardless of where they were born. According to Vetinfo, "We advise using a mixture of white vinegar and water, using either a 1:1 ratio or 1 part vinegar to 2 parts of water (1:2 ratio). It is not a good idea to do this when the ears are sore or ulcerated, as it will sting".

Read more: Ear problems in dogs - VetInfo

NikkiJ. on March 31, 2012:

I have a German Rotweiller who I am not sure if its ear mites or a yeast infection. I had taken her to the vet a while back, like about 5 months ago and they told me it was a bacterial yeast infection, I tried the medication they gave me for her ears, it seemed to be helping, and then bam, it was back. Does anyone have any good home remedies to try, I hate seeing her scratch at her ears all the time and shaking her head, if anyone has any suggestions that would help me I would greatly appreciate it.

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on February 18, 2012:

Happy to hear these home remedies for dog ear yeast infection helped you, best wishes!

mandyspaws on February 18, 2012:

Awesome site ... great info... you guys saved time and money but best of all helped bring relief to my "zoe bug" ausiie shep mix sooner then I ever thought possible. THANK YOU

Leah on November 02, 2011:

I have been a groomer for 16 yrs & have seen recurring yeast ear problems in many breeds including bulldogs and pinschers who don't have floppy ears. One thing that wasn't mentioned was how to keep it from coming back. For starters, its not just the ears to worry about. Your dogs bedding needs either washed or replaced. If u can wash it add a cup of white vinegar to the wash. The kennel also needs to be disinfected. Use straight undiluted vinegar in a spray bottle to get all the cracks & crevices. Then rinse in the tub with hot water. Your dogs paws and nails will also have traces of yeast. For this use an empty half gallon container with 1/4 dog shampoo, 1/4 white vinegar & the rest hot water. Shake it up and it makes a nice warm disinfecting bath. Pay close attention to your dogs back feet because those are the ones they scratch their ears with. If you can, trim the nails and file any sharp edges. Also if your dog favors a chair or the couch it will need to be treated. There are a few ways to do this, some cushion covers unzip for washing and some don't. If it doesnt unzip I recommend a anti-fungal spray you can buy at TSC in the horse section. Spray it down, wait until nearly dry and then use an upholstry cleaner. You can also use the vinegar, but it leaves a smell behind. One of the most important things is a grain free food. I use a salmon & potato food. If you think cheaper food is saving you money, just remember all the extra trips to the vet. You will save money in the long run buying a better food & will have a happier healthier pet for it. Love them as much as they love you.

Leah on November 02, 2011:

I have been a groomer for 16 yrs & have seen recurring yeast ear problems in many breeds including bulldogs and pinschers who don't have floppy ears. Love them as much as they love you.

Seriously this works!!!! on September 16, 2011:

My dog (big, hairy floppy ears) had theee worst yeast infection in his ear. Yellow discharge, foul smelling, red, bleeding for scratching, puffy. I tried the vets recommendation, meds, the ACV treatment and this carried on for two months! He was in so much pain and I couldn't take it! I tried TEA TREE OIL AND WARM WATER and within two days his ear cleared up. I also gave him plain yogurt and vitamin c boosters in his high protein dog food. He is a really big dog (80 pounds) so I did 10 drops of tea tree oil to one oz of warm (not hot) water. I did this twice a day and cleaned his ear with pet ear cleaning wipes before adding the warm water and tea tree oil....I am a true believer now.

veterinary-ear-drops on January 06, 2011:

dog ear infections can be a real problem. there are also non prescription veterinary ear drops that work to help control ear symptoms You might like to list it also from Amazon, Dr Dogs Ear Oil

ear infections in dogs always needs dog ear treatment and ear cleaners are not for that.

Good luck to anyone that has a dog suffering from chronic ear problems.

diflucan vaginal yeast infection male on December 28, 2009:

Helpful stuff, my pleasure to have come across this, when you get some more i will be more than happy to view it. Thanks for your input.

Imagine on November 09, 2009:

Very Informative Hub! Very Unique Subject but one that many people have an interest in! :))

Gypsy Willow from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand on July 18, 2009:

Timely advice as both our floppy eared dogs are joining us in the swimming pool in this heat, thank you

In Conclusion

If you were wondering what the best home remedy for dog ear infections was, hopefully you’ve been able to find a few different satisfactory answers here in this article.

It’s hard to find a clear-cut winner, as many natural ingredients and products that you can find around your home have similar beneficial properties. Commonly, they share characteristics of being antimicrobial, antifungal, and antiviral.

Green tea and apple cider vinegar are clear favorites among many pet owners for good reason, though baking soda and mullein oil also make appearances as valuable tools in the fight against itchy canine ears.

It’s important to remember that home remedies work best for milder infections of the outer ear.

If your dog has been diagnosed with an inner ear ailment, the best thing to do is to trust your vet’s expertise and provide them with the appropriate, recommended antibiotic or anti-parasitic medications.

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Symptoms of Ear Yeast Infections in Dogs

Symptoms of Ear Yeast Infections

  • Shaking head
  • Scratching at ears
  • Painful ears
  • Red or swelling inside ears
  • Odor from the ears
  • Excessive ear debris
  • Thickened ear flaps
  • Ear skin scaling
  • Drooped ear

Similar to a bacterial infection of the ear, a yeast infection usually causes a dog to shake its head and scratch at its ears. This is due to the irritation and discomfort that the infection causes. Your dog may also be reluctant to have its head and ears touched if they are experiencing ear pain or drooped ears as symptoms.

Inside the ear, redness, swelling, and thickening of the skin may be seen in a dog with a yeast infection. Scaling or crusting of the skin on the ear flap is also common, especially in severe or chronic cases. An odor that is often described as smelling like corn chips may be present alongside excessive, oily ear debris.

Getty Images/ThamKC

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