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Yorkie Skin Problems


Healthy Yorkie skin will be a whitish pink color with good elasticity and be free of any irritation. It will be rather smooth, without cracking, flaking or red bumps.

Problems can arise quickly if there is even a small issue with Yorkie dry skin, as it can quickly snowball into a larger concern. 

Small areas of irritation can rapidly spread and this can cause a wide range of symptoms including hair loss.

Luckily, there are many ways to treat this Yorkie skin problem and most can be done from home with great success. When a Yorkie has dry skin, the sings can be 1 or a combination of the following:

• Obvious signs of peeling and flaking (may look like dandruff)

• Flakes are falling off onto the coat

• Area(s) of white or pink skin that is rough to the touch

• Redness

• Swelling

• The dog has a tendency to chew at or nibble at the site

• This can be all over the body or it can be only on certain areas (also known as hot spots)

Let's look into some of the issues that can affect the health of the skin...
Yorkshire Terrier healthy skin
***To see the specific products recommended for the relief of Yorkshire Terrier dry skin ailments, look to "Grooming" in the Yorkie Specialty Shoppe
One of the elements that can cause this issue is when the dog has a long coat hairstyle. On some Yorkies, it is just too much hair due to a combination of their particular body structure and the sensitivity level of their skin. Therefore, the hairs, when left very long, cover too much of a surface. This blocks air flow to the skin which is needed to keep it healthy.

If this is what is triggering the dry skin you can:
  • Routinely groom to free the coat and allow for airflow
  • Opt for a Puppy Cut hairstyle
Sometimes, even with regular brushings, dead loose hairs remain in the coat…They tend to gather down at the base, close to the skin. The best method to allow proper air flow without cutting the coat, is to remove dead hairs that are trapped down near the surface of the Yorkshire Terrier’s skin.  

Using a soft slicker brush, one should make a full motion, of down, through and out. It is essential to feel that you are reaching the skin without using so much vigor as to cause discomfort. As you swish out, look at the brush and see if it has caught dead hairs. If not, you will need to practice brushing a bit deeper until you find the right rhythm. Once you do, it will be as easy as pie.

Grooming in this way should be done every 3 days or so. If an owner allows too much time to pass in-between sessions, this is what causes the block of air flow which is needed for health skin…And it will lead to tangles and additional complications.

Another component that also adds to Yorkshire Terrier skin problems is bathing techniques. There are 2 parts to this: The shampoo and the temperature of the water.
For the first factor of the shampoo…There are 2 things to keep in mind when giving your Yorkie a bath:

• The kind of shampoo used
• How it is rinsed out

A high quality canine shampoo should always be used. Most formulas for people have a Ph balance that is not meant for canines and can cause dryness.  

If your Yorkie already has itchy skin, you will want to use an oatmeal based formula which can be very helpful, along with other treatments, in fixing the problem.  

You can make your own oatmeal/ water mix in the following way:

1. Place plain, dry oatmeal into a blender
2. Blend it until it has the consistency of flour
3. Place that substance into cheese cloth or even pantyhose (3-4 is best for baths in the tub, 2 for baths in the sink)
It is best to hold the dog under the running water and then place him or her down into the bottom of the tub or sink.
Yorkie being dried after bath
Another factor is the suds. It sounds like such as simple thing, but if not rinsed out completely, the remaining residue can cause terrible dry skin issues.

It is best to use a spray nozzle as opposed to simply pouring water over the coat. Since this dog is tiny, baths can be given in sanitized kitchen sinks, allowing you easy access to a nozzle sprayer.  

The water itself can be triggering problems. What may interpreted to be warm to you, may feel hot to your little one. Typically, your goal would be to give baths with warm water. When your Yorkshire Terrier has dry skin, your goal should be to make sure that the water is on the cool side. Do be sure to not compensate so much that the water is cold… Use the inside of your wrist to check the temperature. Think about what you would want if you had sunburn …cool water would deliver relief, warm to hot water would only escalate irritation.

When a Yorkie has healthy skin and a healthy coat, baths should be given every 3 weeks. When a Yorkie has an existing problem, baths can be given 1 time per week with the oatmeal solution to provide relief, and only when done with the above stated proper bathing and temperature of water.

If your puppy or dog has dry skin, do not use a blow dryer on the coat…It should be left to air dry. 
Other Reasons for Dry, Itchy Skin

Allergies can cause skin to be dry, itchy and/or red. Sometimes, the itchiness is so intense that the dog relentlessly chews away at certain spots until there are bare spots.

Usually it would be accompanied by other symptoms including:

• Discharge of tears from the eyes
• Congestion or runny nose
• Upset digestive system, showing as diarrhea or a reduced appetite

However, allergies can cause itchy skin with no other complications. A Yorkie can develop reaction to a particular trigger at any age, consequently, they are not necessarily born with this and conversely, they can grow out of it as they mature.

When Yorkie itchy skin is the only indicator of a problem, many times it will be: Mold, dust or pollen that is the trigger.  

Moreover, the #1 most problematic allergen to this toy breed is the saliva of fleas. Many owners try to solve every other possible cause, only to realize at the end, that flea bites were the reason that their puppy suffered with itching

Fleas are very tiny and with the coloring of this breed, they can be overlooked. Owners who keep a clean home and make sure to groom their Yorkie well are often so surprised as to how fleas became involved. It can happen in the blink of an eye… They can hop from another dog to your Yorkie…up to 6 feet!
And it only takes the saliva that is released during 1 bite to cause a reaction.

Another possibility is that dry skin and itch are caused by compounds found in laundry detergent, cleansers, carpet cleaner, etc.

Commercial foods, predominantly those which contain artificial coloring and/or preservatives can terrible for the skin and coat, not to mention the digestion track and overall health. Snacks are, on the whole, the worst… as most are colored with extreme red or orange chemicals. We greatly endorse home cooking and if one is to feed commercial treats, we strongly recommend only white or cream colored ones.   

In some cases, a simple change to drinking water can help tremendously. We have seen that changing from tap water to filtered water can make a big transformation. Since this is a tiny toy breed, it is not that costly to offer bottled water to drink. Otherwise, you may elect to use a quality filter that can be connected to your kitchen faucet, filtering out excessive mineral content and other agents that can be producing the problem.

Making changes, one at a time, can bring you to finding the element that is causing the skin problem. Begin with an examination for fleas, you may wish to have your veterinarian confirm that all is fine…and stay with a prevention plan.  
adult Yorkshire Terrier dog
There are no negative drawbacks to using hypo-allergenic laundry detergents and cleaners and it can either eliminate the trigger or reduce irritation in regard to any washable surface that your dog touches. Lay soft baby blankets down in spaces that he or she rests in order to offer a comfy padding for tender spots.

Testing can be done to find out if a particular food is producing dry skin, however, if you home cook, your dog will not need to go through that procedure.

In severe and serious cases, the veterinarian can prescribe antihistamines and/or corticosteroids to reduce itching. This is a significant part of treatment if your Yorkie is nibbling at sore sites, which can lead to hair loss and bacterial infection. If spots are presently infected, antibiotic medicine will be needed. 
More Relief

Again, one should bath and brush as stated above. One should also do an inspection for any fleas and obtain veterinary care for severe cases that require prescription medication. Switching to hypo-allergenic detergents will help and proving soft surfaces to rest upon with help dogs with sore spots on the body.

Removing densely colored snacks and food from the diet will help, as will offering filtered or bottled drinking water.

In addition to the above, you can also use one of the following methods of providing relief:
Omega 3 - This supplement can deliver pronounced relief of Yorkshire Terrier dry skin conditions. This should be given each day for 3 weeks to see improvement and with sustained use, the dry skin may go away entirely. There are those who suggest adding olive oil to meals; however with Omega 3, it is not needed.

Aloe Vera gel can be softly rubbed onto hot spots that are dry and irritated.

Gold Bond medicated powder can be lightly sprinkled and then gently patted down onto itchy spots. One would elect to use this OR the aloe gel. After trying one of them, if after 3 weeks there is not a significant change, then it will be time to try the other method.
Notice: We have seen some sites that direct owners to add avocado to the diet. This is unsafe. The ingestion of this avocado can be dangerous to small animals, including the Yorkie. 
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