does oatmeal dog shampoo feed yeast?

Myth or Fact: Does Oatmeal Dog Shampoo Feed Yeast?

Oatmeal dog shampoo is one of the most popular search terms pet parents look for in dog shampoo, outselling both organic dog shampoo and natural dog shampoo.

However, there's a lingering debate about oatmeal dog shampoo: does oatmeal dog shampoo feed yeast on the skin, potentially worsening conditions like yeast infections?

The debate surrounding oatmeal dog shampoo originates from the idea that oatmeal, as a carbohydrate, breaks down into sugars which yeast use as food. So, to take it to the logical conclusion, by using oatmeal dog shampoo you are potentially exacerbating yeast infections.

Let's dive into this topic to separate myth from fact.

Understanding Yeast Infections in Dogs

Before we address the main question, it's crucial to understand what yeast infections are and how they affect dogs.

While the yeast Candida is found in the dog's mucous membranes, such as in the mouth and digestive system, yeast infections on the skin are typically caused by an overgrowth of the fungus Malassezia pachydermatis.

Malassezia is normally present on healthy dog skin skin. In fact, in a healthy skin microbiome, you'd expect to see yeast, bacteria, mites, and viruses.  

Why Do Some Dogs Have Yeast Problems? 

A normally healthy immune system balances the skin microbiome - keeping the yeast, bacteria, and everything else in equilibrium.

Since the amount of yeast on the skin is in large part controlled by the immune system, which primarily resides in the gut, dogs that have a yeast over-growth typically have another issue such as allergies, compromised immune systems, hormonal imbalances, or another factor that takes the attention of the dog's immune system off the skin and on to the other concern.

This allows the fungus to proliferate excessively, leading to irritation, inflammation, and discomfort. The inflammation can lead to a bacterial infection and also excessive scratching sufficient enough to irritate or break the skin. This is why there is often a combination of yeast and bacterial infections in dogs with skin issues.

It isn't uncommon to find yeast infections in dogs that have completed  a course of antibiotics, consume treats that are full of carbohydrates (sugar), and eat high-fat, highlprocessed dog food made with low-quality ingredients, or in dogs that have been over-vaccinated.


Separating Myth from Fact

The idea that oatmeal shampoo feeds yeast on the skin is a myth.

A 2022 scientific study found that Malassezia doesn't have the genes to break down fats and metabolize carbohydrates.

Instead, this fungus is lipid (fat) dependent. Meaning, it needs lipids - not carbohydrates and sugars to thrive.

It makes sense that since yeast needs fats to live, we typically see most yeast infections where the highest concentration of

sebaceous glands are on dogs: around the ears, skin folds, and paws. 

Yeast really likes these moist areas which are food rich (high lipid) environments to thrive.

Oatmeal Shampoo: Soothing but Misunderstood

Oatmeal shampoo for dogs has been hailed for its natural, soothing properties.

Oatmeal contains compounds like avenanthramides, a group of phenolic alkaloids that have natural anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-itch, and anti-irritant benefits.

This makes oatmeal-based products excellent for calming irritated skin and providing relief from itching and dryness. 

Should Dogs With Yeast Infections Use Oatmeal Dog Shampoo? 

While oatmeal dog shampoo made with saponified oils can be very beneficial for dry skin, and it won't "feed" the yeast, it will not fully eradicate the presence of yeast on the skin. 

Instead, dogs dealing with yeast need to use shampoos that will reduce the presence of yeast on the skin while not exposing the dog to potential chemical toxins. 4-Legger's holistic alternative to medicated dog shampoo, made with tea tree and peppermint is recommended by holistic veterinarians to specifically address fungal (yeast) and bacterial conditions, This all natural dog shampoo offers an effective solution without relying on harsh or synthetic chemicals. It uses 4-Legger's organic dog shampoo base with a veterinary-safe blend of tea tree oil and peppermint essential oil. It stands as a holistic alternative for pet owners seeking natural approaches to combat yeast infections and improve the skin health of their dogs.

Dogs with yeast issues should also avoid yeast-based remedies or supplements containing yeast extract.

When Should You Use Oatmeal Dog Shampoo?

Dogs with allergies or dry, itchy skin will benefit the most from oatmeal dog shampoo. 

4-Legger's Organic Oatmeal Dog Shampoo with Lavender and Aloe is specially formulated to soothe irritated skin and moisturize dry skin. 

Unlike traditional oatmeal dog shampoos that use colloidal oatmeal, our product utilizes organic oat milk extracted directly from oat kernels, combined with a non-GMO corn-derived vegetable glycerite, ensuring the retention of its anti-inflammatory, anti-irritant, and moisturizing properties.

The formula is enriched with aloe, and organic, sustainably sourced coconut, olive, and jojoba oils, along with lavender essential oil, to gently cleanse, moisturize, condition, and soften the dog's coat.

Lavender adds a calming effect and provides anti-inflammatory benefits to help alleviate itching and irritation, promoting healthier skin.

Our all natural, organic oatmeal dog shampoo is aims to relieve and restore dry and itchy skin while enhancing the coat's condition. And as a reminder, all of the shampoos in the 4-Legger line meet the standards for organic certification as regulated by the USDA National Organic Program.  No other brand offers that level of ingredient quality and product integrity.



The claim that oatmeal dog shampoo feeds yeast on the skin is a myth not supported by scientific research.

While oatmeal dog shampoo isn't the best option to use for a dog battling a yeast infection, it does provide tremendous relief for dogs suffering from allergies or itchy skin from sources other than yeast.

For dogs with yeast infections, we highly recommend 4-Legger's holistic alternative to medicated dog shampoo!