Your yorkie is not only cute; she is charming, intelligent—and prone to skin irritation. As with many little dogs, airborne allergens, skin contacts, and certain foods can irritate her skin. Mange is another concern. Knowing what affects her is the first step in prevention.
Mite-like spiders cause sarcoptic mange. It creates scabs that appear all over the body. Usually, you will notice it first near the muzzle, eyes and ears. Other areas are the armpits, chest and abdomen. Sarcoptic mange can kill your pup within months if not treated.
Demodectric or red mange begins as red spots and then turns to blisters. Female mites burrow under the skin, releasing a serum that eventually turns to bran-like scales and grayish crusts. Itching is intense. The result is bare skin.
Your vet will scrape the skin and analyze it. Properly fed yorkies are safe from mange. It occurs in yorkies that have unbalanced or inadequate diets.
Yorkies are prone to food allergies. Allergies are an immune response to protein (such as that found in meat, grains and vegetables). The symptoms are itching, scratching, poor coat quality and even ear infections. Your vet may suggest an elimination diet, which substitutes different proteins for the ones causing the reaction. He may also suggest a hypoallergenic diet, which contains hydrolyzed proteins broken down so they don't affect the immune system. While experimenting with different foods, keep treats out of reach. Once you know what is triggering the itchy skin, you can reintroduce food that your yorkie can eat.
You would think that your yorkie's silky coat would protect her from irritating contacts, but her less protected paws, belly area and ears are susceptible to irritants. Yorkies also do not have an undercoat to protect their skin. Finding what causes a localized skin irritation is difficult. Usually the skin irritation appears as small red bumps. Possible irritants are wool found in carpet and rugs, or material found in bedding and the sheets on your bed. Laundry detergents, carpet cleaning solutions and even your doggie's shampoo may irritate her. Stop the irritation by eliminating the cause.
Airborne, canine atopy and inhalant allergies are common names for allergens that your yorkie inhales. Common allergens include dust, mold, smoke and plant pollen. Scratching, runny nose and constant paw licking are symptoms. The skin is usually red and may be moist. If your dog has a seasonal allergy, it will appear only during certain times of the year. Dust and mold allergens are present all the time. Your vet may prescribe steroids for relief from the itching. Weekly shots are another alternative. If smoke is the culprit, keep your pup away from smokers.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.
Pauline Gill is a retired teacher with more than 25 years of experience teaching English to high school students. She holds a bachelor's degree in language arts and a Master of Education degree. Gill is also an award-winning fiction author.