The Yorkshire Terrier is known for its hypoallergenic coat, meaning it doesn't shed (or sheds very little) and is a good breed for people allergic to pet dander. That doesn't mean, however, that Yorkies don't have allergies of their own. Yorkies can suffer from skin, respiratory and food allergies.
What Causes Allergies
Canine allergies are caused by offending substances (or "triggers") that a dog either has direct contact with, inhales or ingests. These triggers may include: detergents, cleaning solutions, carpets, plants (grass, weeds, trees, pollen), household fabrics, rubber and plastics, dust and dust mites, insect bites, smoke, air fresheners, and chemicals (such as colorings and preservatives) and certain foods, including dog food. Skin problems often are caused by an allergic reaction to fleas.
Symptoms of Canine Allergies
The most common signs of allergies are skin problems and itching. However, you may also notice your dog chewing his feet, rubbing his face on a rug or furniture, rashes or hives, trouble breathing, chronic ear infections, stuffy nose, coughing, sneezing, shortness of breath, wheezing or snoring. Holistic veterinarians believe a weakened immune system underlies an allergic response; the dog's immune system overreacts to a toxin or foreign substance it should otherwise ignore.
The Sting of Allergies
Yorkies can suffer severe, life-threatening allergic reactions if stung by wasps, bees or ants. In extreme cases, a dog can go into anaphylactic shock, which targets the cardiovascular and gastrointestinal systems and can lead to death. If your Yorkie has trouble breathing, get him to a veterinarian immediately. Other reactions that may need professional attention include: a weak pulse, pale gums, an increased heart rate, fever, cold extremities, vomiting, diarrhea, trembling, wheezing and collapse.
Treating Common Allergies
Allergies are often conventionally treated with cortisone, a steroid hormone that addresses the internal and external symptoms of inflammation, the culprit responsible for your dog's distress. Veterinarians may also do tests to see which particular allergen is causing your dog's allergic reaction and may suggest shots to desensitize his immune system to that allergen. Holistic veterinarians may suggest homeopathy, Chinese herbs, acupuncture, dietary guidance and natural supplements, like fish oil, to alleviate symptoms.
Debra Levy has been writing for more than 30 years. She has had fiction and nonfiction published in various literary journals. Levy holds an M.A. in English from Indiana University and an M.F.A. in creative writing/fiction from the Bennington Writing Seminars.