How to Dodge the Secondary Skin Infection Bullet with Povidone Iodine

Ever gotten a splinter or chigger under your skin?

Then you know all about how your body’s going to work overtime to expel the foreign object. Now think about your poor dog. Mites. Clogged pores & follicles. Toxins. Inflammation. Yeast. Bacteria. Waste. Detritus. Yuck. It’s no wonder secondary bacterial and yeast infections go hand in hand with mange.

A dog with mange is a pretty huge target for secondary yeast and bacterial infections, particularly one with Demodectic mange. It’s actually quite common for a dog to have them both, right along with mange. Ideally, you want to stop problems before they start, which is where diluted povidone iodine comes in. If an infection is already present, by all means, take immediate action to keep it from becoming a major problem. Left untreated, your dog could become seriously ill and wind up on antibiotics, which is something best avoided. (Antibiotics ultimately lower immune function and stress your pet. And your wallet.)

The best treatment is always prevention. A simple, effective disinfecting process can save you and your dog a world of hurt.  By disinfecting regularly, you stand a much better chance of staying ahead of the microorganisms that cause infections.

If a secondary infection happens to your dog, you don’t necessarily need to drop everything and race to the vet! This post covers your at-home treatment plan for yeast and bacterial infections.

Povidone iodine is your new best friend.

Did I hear you gasp when you read iodine? Well, relax. Povidone iodine is not the same toxic, irritating product of years ago. Povidone iodine is an organic iodine solution. It’s safe, non-toxic, antifungal, antibacterial, and anti-yeast. Povidone iodine is generic surgical scrub and is the world-leading antiseptic. Compared to other microbicides, only povidone iodine has the capability of killing all classes of pathogens responsible for nosocomial infections including gram-positive, gram-negative bacteria (including antibiotic-resistant strains), spores, fungi, viruses, mycobacteria, and protozoa. If you want the short version, it’s wonderful stuff that’s extremely effective at killing germs. And best of all, it’s inexpensive!

Povidone iodine is a wonderful gift to any dog with paw mange. Paws are breeding grounds for yeast overgrowth and infection because they are a natural source of moisture because they are the only place a dog sweats, plus dogs lick them and traipse through moist areas. And that moisture gets trapped because paws have little to no ventilation. Toes, folds, nail beds, and the crevices between the pads trap and hold moisture where yeast breeds. A yeast infection is bad enough but where there is yeat, there are mites. Demodectic pododermatitis (better known as paw mange) is the most difficult type of mange to cure but you have a secret weapon. Povidone iodine paw dunks are great for helping prevent yeast and/or bacterial infection. If an infection is present, povidone Iodine will sterilize the skin, killing surface pathogens to help speed recovery and make your dog a lot more comfortable.

You can’t overdo it with paw dunks. After your daily full body wipe-down with diluted povidone iodine, saturate those paws with a good dunk then pat dry. If your dog’s suffering with paw mange it’s a good idea to follow up with a Mite Avenge dunk to help banish paw mites, which tend to be the most deeply embedded and resistant mites.

When diluted as we recommend, povidone iodine is non-toxic so if your dog licks it you have nothing to worry about. When diluted, skin staining is minimal (if at all) and will fade away naturally. It’s non-irritating and almost odorless the way we recommend using it. You may be able to find it at a drug store near you under the brand name Betadine, and we carry an affordable generic version in our online store for your convenience.

How to disinfect your dog in 10 minutes or less

  1. In a small container, dilute 10% povidone iodine with water. Water it down to the color of iced tea. There is no scientific formula or need for exact proportions (if you feel the need for a formula, start with 8-10 parts water to 1 part iodine). If it comes up too light, just add a bit more of the iodine. If it’s a bit dark, add more water. Mix only what you’ll need.
  2. Soak a clean washcloth in the povidone iodine solution. Gently wipe down the entire body (spraying does not work). Pay special attention to sores, bumps, eruptions, flaky areas or areas where yeast is suspected. Treat the healthy skin too to help stop problems before they start.
  3. Rinse the washcloth, wring well and dip it in the diluted iodine again. Do one more pass just as before. Don’t worry about rinsing. Just pat your dog dry and apply praise liberally. Now get ready to do the Paw Dunk.
  4. Dunk the paws as follows: Put enough of the diluted povidone iodine into a cup or container just large enough to submerge a full paw in. Dunk each paw individually, submerging deep enough to cover the entire foot. Leave it covered for 15 seconds if you dog will let you. You want to keep each paw submerged long enough for the liquid to make its way up into the folds and crevices of the pads. If your dog will let you, part the pads open to allow the solution to penetrate deeply.
  5. Remove and pat dry. Do not ever allow moisture to remain on your dog’s feet.

It is important to do this disinfecting process every day. Twice a day if possible. If you have just done a Mite Avenge treatment, wait 3 hours before doing any wet treatment to allow Mite Avenge to do its job.

If your dog has particularly yeasty areas (think feet), it’s not a bad idea to spot treat them with Mite Avenge after a povidone iodine treatment. A good dunk in both helps banish paw mites (once they settle in, they tend to be the most deeply embedded and resistant mites). Always be sure to pat those feet dry afterward to thwart problematic moisture buildup. If you plan to dunk often with Mite Avenge, read about half-way down this page for information about how to store it so you can get multiple treatments out of a bottle without it losing potency.

Providone iodine wipe-downs have effectively resolved the skin infections of many dogs and prevented the need for antibiotics. Just look at the pictures of Buster’s feet! It is also a good preventative measure to stay ahead of potential infection. Always be sure to pat those feet dry afterward to thwart problematic moisture buildup.

If your dog has aggressive yeast you should really read this post if you haven’t already.

Give povidone iodine a try.

If your dog has demodicosis it is essential that you sterilize pathogenic bacteria and surface yeast. Bad bacteria is, well, bad. Mite infested skin offers easy points of entry and a dog with a compromised immune system has few resources to stop an infection from throwing a monkey wrench into an already bad situation. A yeast infection is arguably worse. It’s dangerous on its own and the yeast overgrowth is an unlimited supply of mite food. It is immunosuppressive. It stinks, is miserable, can prevent healing and more. Povidone iodine does a fantastic job of reducing surface yeast. It’s practically odorless and does not hurt the way vinegar does. Even if yeast is not currently an issue, it usually becomes one at some point in the progression of demodicosis. So doing daily wipe-downs and dunks are a brilliant preventative measure. And I can’t stress paw dunks enough. Yeasty paws are an open invitation to paw mange — which can be miserably persistent.

You have nothing to lose. Good luck and happy healing!

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