By Dr. Becker
The natural diets of canines and felines contain almost no carbohydrates, and those they do consume are primarily in the form of predigested grasses, fruits, and veggies found in the stomachs of prey animals.
Most modern-day dogs and cats, however, are fed an abundance of carbs, mostly grains and starches, in their everyday dog food and treats. While all dogs can benefit from cutting back on these unhealthy carbs, this is especially true for dogs with yeast issues.
Yeast uses sugar as a source of energy. Grains rapidly break down into sugar, so the first thing yeasty patients (human or canine) need to do is remove sugar and excess grains from the diet. In fact, dogs with yeast issues should not consume any foods or treats containing potato, corn, wheat, rice, legumes, or starch of any kind.
Even the tapioca found in many grain-free dry foods can be problematic. It may be challenging to find a commercial treat that’s safe and healthy to feed to your yeasty dog, but it’s quite easy to make one right at home.
The recipe that follows, Frozen Yeast-Buster Bites, provides food-based, all-natural, and antifungal support for your dog all year round. If your weather is warm and damp, keep in mind that this can feed irritating yeast (which is actually a common cause of itchy paws and ears during the summer).
These treats contain oregano, which is naturally antifungal, and they’re frozen, which makes them especially refreshing. I tend to see lots of yeast infections associated with allergies in dogs, and this treat is perfect for dogs with allergies, too.
Frozen Yeast-Buster Bites Recipe
- Grass-fed lean ground beef
- Oregano, fresh
- Press bite-sized pieces of ground beef onto freezer safe sheet
- Press a fresh oregano leaf onto each bite
- Freeze 3 hours
- Store in an airtight container in the freezer up to 2 months
Grass-Fed Beef Is Great for Dogs
Dogs are carnivores who thrive on meat, but many dogs rarely get a taste of the real thing. This is unfortunate, as grass-fed ground beef is an excellent source of high-quality protein and healthy fats. I stress grass-fed, as grass-fed beef tends to be higher in healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants than grain-fed beef.
A joint effort between the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Clemson University researchers determined a total of 10 key areas where grass-fed beef is better than grain-fed beef. Grass-fed beef was determined to be:1
Lower in total fat Higher in beta-carotene Higher in vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) Higher in the B vitamins thiamin and riboflavin Higher in the minerals calcium, magnesium, and potassium Higher in total omega-3s A healthier ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids (1.65 vs. 4.84) Higher in conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), a potential cancer fighter Higher in vaccenic acid (which can be transformed into CLA)
Oregano Is a Powerful Antifungal
These homemade treats combine the protein and healthy fats in grass-fed beef with the antifungal power of oregano. Carvacrol and thymol, two phytochemicals in oregano, are powerful antimicrobials, and studies have found essential oils of oregano to be useful against certain Candida yeast species, for instance.2
It’s also been found to be useful for treating yeast infections in humans, including those that are resistant to the commonly used drug Diflucan.3 Aside from its antifungal properties, oregano is antibacterial, anti-viral, and anti-inflammatory.
It also contains rosmarinic acid, which is a strong antioxidant that may support immune system health. In fact, oregano has one of the highest antioxidant activity ratings among herbs, fruits, and vegetables.4
It’s even a good source of vitamins A, C, E, and K, as well as fiber, folate, iron, magnesium, vitamin B6, calcium, and potassium, which makes oregano a veritable superfood that many pets are missing out on.
While any dog will likely adore these treats, I know it can be especially trying for pet parents to dogs with yeast issues and allergies to find wholesome treat options. Frozen Yeast-Buster Bites are an excellent alternative, providing a tasty, healthy, and grain-free snack for your dog to enjoy.
Looking for more homemade pet treat recipes? Check out my free e-cookbook, Homemade Treats for Healthy Pets: Nutritious Recipes for Your Cats and Dogs. This e-book is filled with homemade dog and cat food ideas, which are personally formulated by my mom and me, and that I’m sure your pets will love. Over 20 species-appropriate recipes – crunchy morsels, savory treats, and even pet-friendly desserts – are included for your cats and dogs.