Staph Infection in Dogs: Signs and Natural Remedies

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The Can Dogs Eat It Team

Staph Infection in Dogs: Signs and Natural Remedies
Reading Time: 7 minutes

joana garridoReviewed By Joana Garrido DVM

Staph infection in dogs is identified by research as one of the leading causes of canine pyoderma. Detecting this condition at its early stage and providing the necessary treatment keeps it from developing into a severe condition.

Learn how to recognize the telltale signs of staph infections in your canine companion and discover practical home remedies to provide relief from these symptoms.

What Is Staph Infection in Dogs?

Also known as staph dermatitis or staph pyoderma, staph infection in dogs causes inflammation and redness of the skin. To understand how this skin condition occurs, you need to learn about the canine skin microbiome.

Dogs are born with different species of bacteria in their mucous membranes. One of them is the Staphylococcus genus. They reside in many parts of the body, including the dog’s skin.

Staphylococcus bacteria are generally harmless and live in harmony with their canine hosts. However, when an overgrowth of this pathogen occurs, it becomes a problem since this leads to staph infection in dogs.

Studies have determined that the most common strains of Staphylococcus bacteria causing skin infections in dogs are Staphylococcus pseudintermedius, Staphylococcus schleiferi, and Staphylococcus aureus.

What Causes Staph Infection in Dogs?

In most cases, staph infections in dogs are secondary infections resulting from damage to the skin barrier. It could be due to allergies and injuries such as scrapes or surgical wounds.

The development of health issues such as hypothyroidism or Cushing’s syndrome also leads to staph infections in dogs. These diseases weaken their immune system, which allows Staphylococcus bacteria to multiply aggressively.

Staph infections are less likely to develop in healthy dogs. Older dogs, puppies and dogs with dermatological problems such as canine atopic dermatitis, food allergy, pyoderma, flea allergy are more susceptible to this health issue because of their fragile immune systems.

What Are the Symptoms of Staph Infection in Dogs?

This bacterial skin infection in canines causes incessant itching. Two of its most visible clinical signs are inflamed skin and hair loss, both of which are the results of constant licking, biting, and pawing of the affected area.

Other clinical signs of staph infection in dogs that may manifest include:

  • Low energy
  • Inappetence
  • Fever
  • Pus-filled skin lesions
  • Crusty or scaly skin

If your canine companion shows these symptoms, take him to the veterinarian for diagnosis. Most clinical signs of staph infection in dogs are similar to symptoms of other canine skin problems.

The veterinarian will conduct certain lab tests like cytology, culture, and sensitivity tests, to rule out other potential causes of the disease.

How to Treat Staph Infection in Dogs at Home

Traditional staph infection treatments for dogs include medicated shampoos, topical creams, and oral antibiotics in more severe cases, all of which require a veterinary prescription to prevent the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

If you want to try a holistic approach to resolve Staph infection in dogs, here are 3 dog-friendly home remedies that you can try:

1. Lemon Balm Essential Oil as a Natural Remedy for Staph Infection in Dogs

Lemon Balm oil

Certain strains of Staphylococcus bacteria in dogs have developed antibiotic resistance, which is a significant concern in today’s public health landscape, as it makes these bacteria more challenging to treat using conventional antibiotics.

An in vitro experiment was conducted to assess the antimicrobial activity of 11 essential oils against drug-resistant Staphylococcus pseudintermedius.

Among them, lemon balm is one of the essential oils that exhibited the strongest antibacterial activity. Researchers concluded that it can be used as a therapeutic treatment for dogs afflicted with multidrug-resistant Staphylococcus pseudintermedius infections.


  • 6 drops lemon balm essential oil
  • 1 tablespoon argan carrier oil
  • 1 tablespoon rosehip carrier oil


  1. In a small glass bowl, combine the essential oil with the carrier oil using a spoon.
  2. Use a clean cotton ball to apply this home remedy for staph infection in dogs.
  3. Administer it in small amounts to your dog’s affected skin so it gets quickly absorbed.
  4. Apply this natural topical treatment for staph infection in dogs at least three times a day.

Additional information

  • Lemon balm essential oil can aid in providing relaxation to stressed or anxious dogs.


  • In its pure form, lemon balm essential oil is too potent to use on dogs. Although it is considered dog-friendly, this home remedy for staph infection in dogs can potentially cause poisoning if not properly diluted with carrier oil.

2. Shea Butter as a Natural Remedy for Staph Infection in Dogs


Scientists carried out an experiment that investigates the antimicrobial activity of shea butter and virgin coconut oil.

Results indicate that Staphylococcus aureus was highly susceptible to shea butter than virgin coconut oil. Thus, the former can be used as a home treatment for this type of staph infection in dogs.


  1. When choosing shea butter for dogs, make sure that it is organic, unrefined, and preservative-free.
  2. Unrefined shea butter has a relatively strong nutty scent and ivory or yellowish color. It should also have a firm texture but quickly melts when applied to the skin.
  3. Look for the American Shea Butter Institute certification label to make sure that the product has undergone reliable third-party testing.
  4. To use this home remedy for staph infection in dogs, take a pint-sized amount of it with your finger. Then gently smear the shea butter on the infected spots of your dog’s skin.
  5. Apply it on his coat at least twice a day.

Additional information

  • Shea butter is good for moisturizing dry, patchy skin and paws in dogs.
  • It also has a soothing effect when applied on itchy and inflamed skin.


  • Keep this natural home remedy for staph infection in dogs away from direct heat and sunlight. Otherwise, its shelf life will drastically decrease.
  • Store the shea butter in a dark and cool place, ideally one that has a temperature ranging between 50 and 68 degrees Fahrenheit (10 to 20 degrees Celsius)

3. Herbhoney as a Natural Remedy for Staph Infection in Dogs

a jar of herbhoney

Herbhoney is a type of honey infused with different kinds of herbs. It is typically added to food and drinks to gain health benefits. However, recent studies show that it also has the potential to topically treat staph infection in dogs.

According to research, herb honey exhibited antimicrobial activity against certain gram-positive bacteria, including Staphylococcus aureus and Staphylococcus schleiferi.



  1. Fill a clear glass jar halfway with dried herbs.
  2. Pour the honey inside, but leave an inch or two of allowance to avoid overfilling the container.
  3. Stir the contents carefully with a spoon so all dried herbs are covered in honey.
  4. Firmly cover the jar and place it in an area with plenty of sunlight.
  5. Leave it there for up to one month.
  6. Once done, use a fine mesh sieve or cheesecloth to strain the contents of the jar.
  7. Using a damp cloth, apply this natural home remedy for staph infection to the affected area of your dog’s skin.
  8. Administer herb honey on your furry pal 2 to 3 times a day.

Additional information

  • The health benefits that herb honey offers will depend on the herbs used. For instance, in this home remedy, all of the herbs have antimicrobial properties that are good for preventing bacterial infections.


  • You have the freedom to pick any type of herb to infuse in this natural home treatment for staph infection in dogs. However, steer clear from plants that are considered toxic to dogs for your pet’s safety.

FAQs About Staph Infection in Dogs

1. Can a Staph Infection Kill a Dog?

Staph infection can kill a dog if left untreated and has progressed from mild to severe. Septicemia may occur, which is a life-threatening health complication.

For this reason, treatment should be done during the early stages of staph infection in dogs to prevent it from causing more serious ailments and to prevent the contamination of other animals and people.

2. What Does Staph Infection Look Like on a Dog?

a staph infection infected dog

Staph infections in dogs can either be superficial or deep. The former causes skin inflammation, redness, hair loss, lesions, and flaky skin. The latter is usually accompanied by hotspots and swollen abscesses that discharge pus.

3. Can Staph Infection in Dogs Be Treated Naturally?

Mild cases of staph infections in dogs can be treated naturally using dog-friendly holistic remedies such as lemon balm essential oil, shea butter, and herb honey.

Keep in mind that staph infections in dogs can sometimes be a symptom of a more significant issue. It can reoccur if the underlying cause is not resolved.

4. Is Staph Infection in Dogs Contagious?

Staph infection in dogs is rarely contagious, but it does happen. The Staphylococcus bacteria can be passed on from pet to pet, human to pet, and vice versa.

Minimize the risk of transmission by taking proper sanitary measures when handling a dog with a staph infection.

Make sure to wear gloves and dispose of them properly after use. Wash your hands thoroughly to get rid of any harmful microbes. Routinely disinfect items and surfaces your dog often comes into contact with.

Remember that staph infection in dogs is more contagious to those with weakened immune systems. So temporarily keep immunocompromised dogs and people in your household from interacting with dogs that have staph infection.


Staph infection in dogs is a result of a bacterial overgrowth on the skin. Using natural home remedies like lemon balm essential oil, shea butter, and herb honey can help resolve its clinical signs.

However, in some cases, staph infection in dogs is brought on by a serious illness. If its root cause is not treated, this skin condition will likely appear again. So make sure to get your dog properly diagnosed by the veterinarian.

Staph infection in dogs can cause persistent itching. If not soothed, your dog might lick and paw on the affected areas incessantly, leading to more secondary skin infections. We have “6 Natural Home Remedies for Dogs’ Itchy Skin” that can help solve this dilemma.