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Vet rubbing ointment cream on dog

The essentials

  • Fungal infections are common in dogs — Yeast and ringworm are the most common fungal infections that cause skin lesions on dogs.
  • Infections are treatable, but avoid antifungal creams — Topical creams are generally not recommended or effective for fungal infections. Instead, vets will prescribe oral medications or recommend antifungal shampoos, sprays, or wipes.
  • Speak to your veterinarian before trying treatments — They can diagnose fungal infections and map out the best course of treatment, including which products to use.

Antifungal creams for dogs

If your dog has a fungal infection , it’s understandable that you want to treat it fast. Antifungal creams seem like a quick fix and were once a standard treatment, but vets have since found different, more effective ways to nix these pesky infections in dogs.

Antifungal creams are meant to be applied topically to the affected area of a dog’s skin but are only helpful if there is one small skin lesion on a dog’s body.

These creams claim to soothe and heal the infection. The problem is that most ringworm and yeast infections cover multiple areas of a dog’s body. It’s practically impossible to use an antifungal cream to cover every area affected by the infection. Dogs may also lick the cream off.

If your vet does recommend an antifungal cream for your dog’s specific situation, here are some commonly prescribed options —

  • Clotrimazole. Many vets use this as a broad-spectrum anti-fungal for a range of canine maladies.
  • Miconazole. This can successfully treat both fungal and yeast infections on your dog’s skin.
  • Econazole. This type of cream can work especially well for irritation and hot spots. It’s also considered a broad-spectrum anti-fungal.
  • Itraconazole. This cream can be applied safely to wounds and is gentle on pets.
  • Ketoconazole. This is also known as Nizoral and should be given under veterinary discretion, as it can affect the metabolism of certain other drugs.

Our expert vet, Dr. Dwight Alleyne, recommends using miconazole ointment for dogs with ringworm infections that have only one skin lesion. Antifungal ointment for dogs costs around $10 but is not worth the purchase if multiple skin lesions are present.

👉 Check with your vet before you treat your dog at home. Many skin lesions look similar but are caused by different types of infections. Don’t treat your pet at home without knowing the cause of the skin lesions first. Only your vet will know for sure with diagnostic skin tests.

Why would you use antifungal cream on a dog?

Fungal skin infections are common and can be uncomfortable for dogs. There are a few common triggers: skin mites, ringworm, or an overgrowth of yeast (Malassezia) on dogs with environmental or food allergies.


Dogs with allergies are itchy and often lick their feet and other body parts. The constant licking can quickly create hot spots, lesions, or moist areas for yeast to grow.


The other common fungal skin infection that dogs are susceptible to is ringworm. Ringworm does not refer to a parasitic worm but instead, a fungus spread by spores found in the environment, on contaminated surfaces, or by coming into contact with pets or people that have the infection. It’s named for the ring-shaped raised, red, and hairless skin lesions that form on a dog’s skin.

Yeast infections

Yeast infections and irritation caused by yeast can be successfully addressed by antifungal medication. These are relatively common infection types in dogs, which can be caused by direct contact with yeast in your dog’s environment—possibly leading to subsequent overgrowth of natural yeast on your pup’s skin. To treat, your vet may recommend the “usual dose” of Zymox topical cream or similar products, all of which can be calculated for your pet’s weight.

Breed predisposition

Certain types of dog breeds may be more prone to yeast infections than others. Generally, these breeds have heavier coats or looser skin that can trap fungal cells, debris, moisture, and yeast against your dog’s skin. Some breeds that fall into this category can include:

 👉 Sick visits to the vet may be covered by pet insurance — find out what is (and isn’t) included by reading our comprehensive pet insurance coverage guide.

When to call your vet

A vet should diagnose a pet’s fungal skin infection before you put any over-the-counter treatment in your shopping cart.

Fungal skin infections in dogs can be serious and, if left untreated, can lead to hair loss, skin lesions all over the body, and a poor quality of life as these infections are extremely itchy and uncomfortable.

⚠️ You should also alert your pet’s doctor if you notice any adverse reactions to a treatment, including increased skin irritation or redness, hair loss, or bleeding.

Alternatives to antifungal creams

Many vets may prescribe antifungal shampoos and oral antifungal medications to effectively treat a fungal infection. Oral antifungal medication can cost around $15-$50 for a month of medication, depending upon your dog’s size, and where you live. A bottle of medicated shampoo can cost $20-$25 or more. It usually takes several weeks to treat a fungal skin infection caused by either yeast or ringworm.

👉 If you use anything that leads to an adverse reaction in your dog, stop using the product immediately and consult your vet.

You and your vet may choose different treatment methods depending on the severity of the infection as well as personal preferences:

Opt for a bath or rinse — Medicated shampoos are among the most popular topical treatments, particularly for pets who love baths. They can heal infections and relieve symptoms like odor and itchy skin. Dr. Allyne suggests using an antifungal shampoo twice weekly for at least a month before following up with a reassessment with your vet.

Not sure where to start? Our experts recommend Douxo Pyo shampoo, Miconahex + Keto shampoo made by Dechra, Virbac’s Ketochlor shampoo, or a prescription shampoo called Malaseb made by Bayer.

Try an oral medication — Your vet may write you a prescription for an oral antifungal medication . These drugs are often effective for the treatment of fungal skin infections but may vary in cost and side effects.

Consider skin supplements —While they may not fully treat a fungal infection, keeping your dog’s skin and coat healthy using vet-approved supplements can help overall.

Check out wipes — Antifungal wipes can get rid of germs and bacteria before they become a problem. Dr. Allyne recommends Dechra’s Miconahex+Keto Wipes or Douxo Chlorohexidene wipes, especially for hard-to-reach places (like toes!)

Think about a spray — Sprays can help heal and relieve symptoms associated with a fungal or yeast infection, especially in the maintenance phase after initial treatment. Dr. Allyne suggests Dechra’s Miconahex + Keto spray, Vetnique Labs Dermabliss Anti-Bacterial & Antifungal Medicated Spray, or the Duoxo Medicated Mousse line for your pet.

Frequently asked questions

Is antifungal cream safe for dogs?

Use of a topical antifungal cream, such as miconazole cream, is safe in small portions when applied to a single skin lesion. However, never use a topical medication without consulting your local veterinarian first. Antifungal creams are not considered effective because fungal infections typically affect multiple areas of a pet’s body. The bottom line is antifungal creams are considered inefficient nowadays.

How to treat a dog with fungus in his nose?

Treatment for dogs dealing with a nasal fungal infection can vary depending on the disease progression. In severe cases, keyhole surgery may be done to remove fungal debris prior to treatment. In other cases, oral medication may be the first-line treatment offered.

How to prevent yeast infection in dogs?

Avoiding moisture is crucial if you have a pup who is prone to yeast infections. Try to keep your dog indoors during rainy times or during extreme heat, which can promote sweating and excess moisture buildup. Stay on top of baths and ear cleaning, and feed them a vet-approved balanced diet. Preventative and dietary management is key.

What are systemic fungal infections in dogs?

This type of progression happens when the fungi spread to other places in your dog’s body. This can look different for every dog, as infection can spread to the eyes, nose, mouth, lymph nodes, and ears (to name a few possible places).

What breed of dog has a fungus on their snout?

While any dog can contract a fungal infection in or on their nose(s), many experts believe that rottweilers are especially at risk due to genetic predisposition.