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Common Yorkie Skin Problems and How to Prevent Them

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Whether you’re a novice Yorkie owner or an experienced one, you must know that Yorkies are prone to various skin issues. Over 21% of dogs suffer a skin problem at some point. That said, it’s essential to look after your dog’s coat and hair to detect these problems as early as possible.

Yorkie with long hair and red bow

Speaking of Yorkies, they’re notorious for their long beautiful coats. However, their coats don’t provide much protection against skin infections. On the bright side, with knowledge and proper care, you can recognize and deal with your Yorkie’s skin conditions.

In this article, we’ll share with you the most common Yorkie skin problems. We’ll cover everything from simple allergies to severe infections. So let’s dive in!

Why Are Yorkies Prone to Skin Conditions?

It’s not uncommon for Yorkies to develop skin conditions. While their coats are long and distinctive, they’re also an easy target for germs and pests that might damage their delicate skin.

That’s because their coats don’t allow proper airflow to their skin. Genetics plays an important role in skin diseases as well. For example, a weak immune system will make your dog more prone to reactive skin diseases, like allergies and dermatitis.

What Causes Skin Infections in Yorkies?

Most common skin infections in Yorkies are caused by allergens, parasites, fleas, and poor diet. Yorkies with allergies can be sensitive to certain ingredients in their pet food or environmental allergens such as pollen or grass. Besides, parasites, fleas, and infections can also cause skin problems by biting or irritating the skin.

Finally, an unhealthy diet can be a contributing factor to skin issues too. That’s because it affects the skin’s natural oils, leading to skin dryness and other complications.

Common Skin Problems in Yorkies

Let’s take a closer look at the most common skin issues in Yorkies.


These little pups are at risk of having allergies that manifest as skin irritations. Their long and thick coat can easily trap allergens, which cause dryness, irritation, itching, burning, or scaling.

For instance, environmental allergens like pollen, smoke, or dust can cause skin problems in Yorkies. Since there’s no way to control these allergens, the only solution is to brush your dog’s hair regularly and wash their body every few weeks with a shampoo made for dogs with sensitive, itchy skin.

That way, you remove any entrapped allergens that might irritate your pup’s skin. Contact allergies are also common in Yorkies. Any material that your dog comes in contact with can eventually trigger an allergic reaction. This includes brushes, shampoos, floors, carpets, and detergents.

Finally, your Yorkie might be sensitive to some food ingredients, which is known as a food allergy. Your dog may be sensitive to soy, eggs, flavorings, or any other food component.

Food allergies might not manifest as skin irritations only, but as hair loss, upset stomach, or breathing problems as well. The only way to prevent a food allergy is to do a detailed food allergy test on your dog.

How to Spot Allergies in Yorkies

yorkie face with red around eyes and nose

Unfortunately, there’s no one answer to this question. You have to examine your dog’s skin thoroughly for any swelling, redness, bumps, or cracks.

Common allergy sites include paws, ears, eyes, nose, and belly—but allergies can occur anywhere. A normal healthy Yorkie should have whitish-pink skin. If you notice any discoloration, it could be a sign of an allergy.

Mites and Fleas

Parasites like mites and fleas can easily infect your Yorkie. That’s because their long silky hair can easily entrap them. Ear mites that feed on earwax and dead cells are also common in many toy breeds, including Yorkies.

These parasites cause severe itching and hair loss when left untreated. It would be best to use preventive measures, like topical antiparasitic sprays, to keep the parasites away.

Dry Skin

It’s common for Yorkies to have dry skin. It usually happens due to a lack of adequate moisture and natural oils. Dry skin is often accompanied by small white flakes, irritation, and itching.

Frequent bathing, cold weather, improper diet, and using inferior bathing products can all lead to the skin losing its natural moisture. Untreated skin dryness can lead to dandruff, which is much more complicated to deal with and can eventually lead to hair loss.

Skin Tumors

Yorkies are prone to developing skin tumors, especially as they age. There are different types of skin tumors that Yorkies are prone to, such as benign tumors like lipomas and malignant tumors like mast cell tumors.

These tumors can cause a range of symptoms, including itching, swelling, and redness. It’s important to regularly check your Yorkie’s skin for any lumps or bumps that could be tumors. If you suspect your Yorkie has a skin tumor, it’s important to take them to the vet for diagnosis and treatment.

Yeast Infections

Yorkies are also prone to developing yeast infections, which can cause a range of skin problems like itching, redness, and inflammation. Yeast infections are caused by an overgrowth of yeast on the skin, which can be triggered by factors like allergies, stress, or a weakened immune system.

Symptoms of yeast infections in Yorkies include scratching, biting, and licking of the affected area. To prevent yeast infections, it’s important to keep your Yorkie’s skin clean and dry, and to avoid using harsh shampoos or grooming products.

Hot Spots

Hot spots are a common skin problem in Yorkies, especially during the summer months. Hot spots are areas of the skin that become inflamed and infected, often due to scratching or biting. Symptoms of hot spots in Yorkies include redness, swelling, and oozing.

To prevent hot spots, it’s important to keep your Yorkie’s skin clean and dry, and to avoid over-bathing or using harsh grooming products.

Environmental Factors

Yorkies can also be affected by environmental factors like pollution, humidity, and dry air. These factors can cause a range of skin problems, including dryness, itching, and irritation.

To prevent skin problems caused by environmental factors, it’s important to keep your Yorkie’s skin hydrated and moisturized and to avoid exposing them to harsh or irritating substances.

How to Prevent Skin Problems in Yorkies

When it comes to taking care of your dog’s skin and coat, prevention is key. We’ll give you a few tips to help your pup avoid these skin problems.


A balanced diet is just as important as hygiene when it comes to skin problems. That’s why you need to supply your pup with all the nutrients he needs. This includes vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids.

On top of that, it’s critical to consider a hypoallergenic diet if you suspect your pup has a degree of food sensitivity. Supplements that contain omega-3 fatty acids can also promote healthy skin and coats. These fatty acids promote healthy cell metabolism and help nourish the skin.

Avoid Excessive Bathing

Yorkshire terrier getting bath in red tub

Excessive bathing can lead to stripping your dog’s skin of natural oils, which leads to dryness and other complications. Bathing your Yorkie once every 2 or 4 weeks with a mild shampoo is enough to keep his skin and coat healthy.

Grooming Tips

Proper grooming is essential to preventing skin problems in Yorkies. To keep your Yorkie’s skin healthy and clean, it’s important to brush their coat regularly, bathe them with a gentle shampoo, and trim their nails regularly. It’s also important to avoid over-bathing or using harsh grooming products, as this can dry out their skin and cause irritation.


In some cases, Yorkies may need medications to help treat or prevent skin problems. For example, if your Yorkie has a skin infection or parasite infestation, your vet may prescribe antibiotics or antiparasitic medications.

There are also medications available to help manage allergies and other underlying conditions that can cause skin problems.

If your Yorkie needs medication, it’s important to follow your vet’s instructions carefully and to monitor your Yorkie for any side effects.

Preventive Care

In addition to treating existing skin problems, it’s important to take steps to prevent them from occurring in the first place. This includes providing your Yorkie with a healthy diet that is rich in essential nutrients, avoiding over-bathing or using harsh grooming products as we discussed previously, and regularly checking your Yorkie’s skin for any signs of lumps, bumps, or irritation.

Prevent Parasites

Yorkies are playful and energetic; there’s no way to stop them from running around everywhere. As such, it’s too easy for parasites to harbor their silky coat and infect their skin. That’s why you need to brush your dog’s hair every day and use topical treatments for parasites.

Regular vet visits also aid in detecting such issues as early as possible, offering better treatment results.

When to See a Vet

If you suspect your Yorkie has a skin problem, it’s important to take them to the vet for diagnosis and treatment. Signs that your Yorkie may have a skin problem include scratching, biting, or licking of the affected area, redness, swelling, or oozing.

If left untreated, skin problems can worsen and lead to more serious health issues. Your vet can perform a physical exam and diagnostic tests to determine the underlying cause of your Yorkie’s skin problem and recommend an appropriate treatment plan.

The Bottom Line

Because we love our Yorkies, we often get too concerned when they’re itching or losing hair. Even though skin problems are common in this toy breed, we can still recognize and deal with them early on.

Proper grooming and regular vet visits are excellent ways of detecting common Yorkie skin problems before they progress to severe conditions.

On top of that, taking preventive measures like changing their diet, using topical antiparasitic medications, and avoiding allergens can help your pup avoid skin problems.

Other posts you may want to read:

Treating Yorkie’s Itchy Skin

Yorkie Shedding

Removing tear stains

Cathy signature with Yorkie drawing
Blond woman holding a Yorkie and Chorkie sitting outside

Cathy Bendzunas

Dog Blogger, Former Dog Groomer

I have adored Yorkies for well over 50 years. As a young adult, I began to show and breed them. Now, I just write about them and have several in my little pack of small dogs.

I have had dogs all my life and have trained as a dog groomer. I also have been a kennel worker, worked in a pet hotel through PetSmart, and still am a pet sitter.

Check out my bio for more information about me.