"Coping with Atopic Dermatitis in Yorkshire Terriers

"Coping with Atopic Dermatitis in Yorkshire Terriers

Health & Safety

Yorkshire terriers are delightful little dogs that boast huge personalities but like many breeds, Yorkies are prone to suffer from certain health issues. This includes skin conditions like atopic dermatitis which can cause these cute little canines a lot of irritation and discomfort. It is a genetic skin disorder that needs to be treated as soon as any symptoms become apparent because otherwise, your pet may well scratch themselves red raw.

What is Atopic Dermatitis

Atopic Dermatitis is a skin disorder that causes Yorkies that's characterised by incessant scratching and itchiness. You may notice that your pet suddenly experiences bouts of itching that literally preoccupies them to such an extent they become totally obsessed with scratching themselves. This could be a sign that your little pooch is suffering from atopic dermatitis and that the condition has reared its ugly head because your pet has had an allergic reaction to something they may have ingested or it could even be something their environment.

If you find that it's the environment that's the cause of the problem then it could be because there are the following allergens around which your dog has had a reaction to:

  • Dander
  • Bugs
  • Dust Mites
  • Pollen

Dogs when exposed to allergens will absorb them through their skin and they naturally breath them in through their noses too and this could be the root cause of their skin condition. So it's important to find out as soon as possible by taking your vet along to the vet for them to carry out a variety of tests.

Signs & Symptoms to Watch Out For

Yorkshire Terriers seem to be most affected by atopic dermatitis around their faces and on their feet. The thing to bear in mind is that itchiness is not the only symptom there may be a problem. Other signs and symptoms include the following:

  • Red and inflamed skin
  • Persistent chewing of their feet
  • Nasal discharge – not all dogs will however have this particular symptom
  • Discharge from their eyes – not all dogs will have this particular symptom

If you notice any of the above symptoms, you should take your dog to the vet as soon as you can. You need to get on top of the condition quickly so that your pet does not have to suffer lots of discomfort from the itchiness and constant scratching or chewing on an area of their bodies might result in an infection setting in.

What is the Treatment for Atopic Dermatitis?

The vet will want to make your little Yorkie as comfortable as possible by giving them antihistamines as well as treat them with antibacterial and immunotherapy medication. However, there are other ways that vets can treat atopic Dermatitis and the course of medication they administer does depend on the severity of the condition.

Both male and female Yorkshire Terriers are prone to this skin disorder and it usually develops when dogs are anything from 1 to 3 years old. As soon as you do notice there could be a problem, you should seek veterinary advice and never try to use any type of ointment or creams on your pet without first discussing this with your vet because you could end up making the condition even worse.

Living & Management

It goes without saying that if your little Yorkshire Terrier does develop the condition then you would have to find out what the root cause is and then make sure you put this right if you can. It would be no good treating your pet if they have developed this skin disorder due to something in their environment – namely any allergens they have had a reaction to. Once the root cause has been identified, with the help of your vet you should be able to do something about it.

However, if it is a type or types of food that are the root cause of atopic dermatitis, the vet would typically do a lot of tests to eliminate which particular food could be causing the problem. It may take a little bit of time for all the tests to be carried out but once the problem has been identified, then you can be sure your pet's life will be a lot more comfortable and their itchiness will dissipate pretty quickly over time.

Some Other Breeds That are Prone to Atopic Dermatitis include the following:

  • Boxers
  • Labrador Retrievers
  • Chihuahuas
  • Irish Setters
  • English Bulldogs
  • Wire Fox Terriers
  • Pugs
  • West Highland White Terriers
  • Golden Retrievers
  • Miniature Schnauzers
  • American Cocker Spaniels


If you have just got a Yorkshire Terrier and you notice they suddenly have bouts of uncontrollable scratching and itchiness, then you should make an appointment with your vet so they can make a correct diagnosis and then recommend a course of treatment to get on top of the condition as quickly as possible. Atopic dermatitis can quite literally drive your poor little pooch mad, the condition makes them so uncomfortable they will not stop scratching and chewing on themselves until the areas affected are red raw and very sore. This naturally means the condition just gets worse and worse with a very high risk of an infection setting in.


Other health issues Yorkies are prone to suffer from include the following:

  • Hypothyroidism
  • Dental Disease
  • Liver Shunt
  • Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease
  • Collapsed Trachea
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