There is a misconception that pet’s eating starchy foods, like potatoes, will cause yeast infections of the skin or ears. This myth comes from the belief that Candida overgrowth in people is caused by a diet high in white flour and sugars. Therefore, removing these types of foods from the diet resolves the Candida. Even if the latter were true in people, Candida is different from Malassezia. Malassezia is the species of yeast that primarily causes skin and ear infections in dogs (and sometimes cats).
Malassezia is primarily triggered by allergies. Allergies causes inflammation of the skin and the trauma from licking, chewing, scratching creates an environment for Malassezia to flourish. When Malassezia is present it makes the pet even more itchy, more itchiness means more trauma and inflammation to the skin, which then leads to more Malassezia, and the cycle continues.
A dog can have a food allergy that is making the skin itchy and leading to secondary Malassezia, but it is not the food that is causing the Malassezia, it is the itchiness and inflammation on the skin.
Can other conditions cause yeast? Yes, I have seen Malassezia in dogs with mites, hormonal disorders, like hypothyroidism, and nutritional disorders.
If your pet has been diagnosed with a yeast infection, make sure the underlying cause is being addressed.
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