yorkie food allergy

Yorkie Food Allergy: 101 Things To Know & How To Help Your Dog

Choosing the right diet for your Yorkie is one of the first things to do when bringing him/her home. Since they belong to small dog breeds, their stomach and skin react more sensitively to certain food ingredients. That’s why we decided to reveal everything you need to know about Yorkie food allergy, how to recognize it and how to treat it.

yorkie food allergy

Common Food Allergies in Yorkies

I don’t know if you’ve ever heard for the fact that small dog breeds can’t eat cheap dog food. You simply can’t grab the first dog food bag you spot in a local supermarket. These dogs are different. Their skin can react very sensitive to artificial flavors, colors, and other additives. Besides, did you know that diarrhea in Yorkies usually occurs due to food intolerance and not because something else is going on?

Well, now you know. Here are the things you have to keep in mind when dealing with Yorkie food allergy.


Proteins are vital for your Yorkie’s growth and overall health, but they can also be a common allergen. Chicken, beef, and soy are frequent culprits that can trigger allergic reactions. Besides, some Yorkies can be allergic to eggs. So, before including them into their diet, make sure you include it gradually.


Grains like wheat, corn, and barley are often found in dog foods and can cause allergies in some Yorkies. It’s important to identify if grains are the cause and seek alternatives. In case you didn’t know, grains can also cause flatulence and gasses in your dog. Therefore, if you notice that your Yorkie’s belly is hard in touch or look bigger, then you should avoid feeding your dog with grains.


Dairy products can lead to allergies in Yorkies, manifesting as skin irritations or gastrointestinal problems. Limiting or avoiding dairy in their diet might be necessary. 

Additives and Preservatives

Sometimes, the problem lies not with the primary ingredients but with the additives and preservatives in dog food. These chemicals can provoke allergic reactions in sensitive dogs.

Symptoms of a Yorkie Food Allergy

Skin Issues

One of the most common signs of food allergies in Yorkies is skin problems, including itching, redness, and rashes. Continuous scratching can lead to more severe skin conditions. If your Yorkie starts to develop bald spot on his/her body and hot spots, then you’ve probably waited too long to treat it. These conditions often require antibiotics as well as topical treatment.

Gastrointestinal Symptoms

Food allergies can also upset your Yorkie’s digestive system, leading to symptoms like throwing up, diarrhea, and excessive gas. 

Behavioral Changes

An often-overlooked symptom of food allergies is a change in behavior. If your Yorkie seems more irritable or lethargic, it could be due to discomfort from an allergy.

yorkie harness

Diagnosing Food Allergies in Yorkies

Elimination Diet

The most effective way to diagnose food allergies is through an elimination diet, where you remove potential allergens from their diet and reintroduce them one at a time.

Blood Tests

Blood tests can help identify specific allergies, but they are not always definitive. They should be used in conjunction with other diagnostic methods.

Skin Tests

Skin tests can also be used to identify allergens, although they are less common in veterinary practice for diagnosing food allergies. 

Managing and Treating Foor Allergies in Yorkies

Diet Adjustment

The cornerstone of managing food allergies in Yorkies is adjusting their diet. This may involve switching to hypoallergenic dog food or preparing home-cooked meals with safe ingredients.

Medical Treatment

In some cases, vets may prescribe medications to alleviate symptoms. Antihistamines or corticosteroids can be used for skin irritations, while probiotics can help manage gastrointestinal symptoms.

Home Remedies

Some home remedies, like adding omega-3 fatty acids to their diet or using oatmeal baths for skin irritation, can provide relief for symptoms of food allergies. Adding ingredients such as fish oil and rewards rich in antioxidants can significantly improve your Yorkie’s skin.

Preventive measures to avoid Yorkie food allergy

Regular Check-ups

Regular veterinary check-ups can help catch and manage food allergies before they become a significant problem. These visits are an excellent opportunity to discuss any concerns about your Yorkie’s diet and health.

Choosing the Right Food

Selecting the right food for your Yorkie involves understanding their specific needs and potential allergens. Opt for high-quality dog food with limited ingredients and without common allergens. Consult with your vet to find the best option for your pet.

yorkie food allergy

What Does An Elimination Diet For Yorkies Look Like?

An elimination diet for dogs, particularly for those like Yorkshire Terriers (Yorkies) suffering from food allergies, is a methodical approach designed to pinpoint the specific foods causing allergic reactions. The process involves the following steps, focusing on addressing a Yorkie food allergy effectively:

1. Initial Phase:

The diet begins by removing all current foods and treats from your Yorkie’s diet and introducing a simple, limited-ingredient diet. This diet typically consists of a single protein source and a single carbohydrate source that your Yorkie has never eaten before. The choice of ingredients is crucial; these should be novel to your dog, reducing the risk of triggering an allergic reaction. For example, if your Yorkie has always eaten chicken-based food, the elimination diet might include a novel protein like duck, venison, or fish, paired with a carbohydrate such as sweet potato or pumpkin.

2. Duration:

This strict, limited-ingredient diet should be maintained for a period of 8-12 weeks. It’s important during this time not to give your Yorkie any additional treats, human food, flavored medications, or anything beyond the prescribed diet. This period allows the body to clear itself of the previous allergens.

3. Observation:

Throughout the elimination diet, closely monitor your Yorkie for any signs of improvement or worsening of allergic symptoms. Improvement can signify that the eliminated foods were the cause of the allergy. Key signs to watch for include reductions in skin irritation, less itching, better digestion, and overall improved energy levels.

4. Reintroduction Phase:

After the 8-12 week period, if there’s a significant improvement, you’ll begin reintroducing the old foods or introducing new foods one at a time, each for a period of 2-3 weeks. This step is critical to identify which food causes the allergic reaction. If symptoms return upon reintroducing a specific food, you’ve likely found the allergen.

yorkie food

5. Final Diet Adjustment:

Once the allergens are identified, you’ll adjust your Yorkie’s diet to avoid these ingredients permanently. This may involve continuing the limited-ingredient diet, switching to a hypoallergenic dog food, or preparing home-cooked meals that exclude the allergens.

It’s essential to undertake an elimination diet under the guidance of a veterinarian or a veterinary nutritionist. They can provide recommendations for the initial limited-ingredient diet, help you monitor your Yorkie’s progress, and advise on the best dietary adjustments after identifying the food allergens. Addressing a Yorkie food allergy through an elimination diet can significantly improve your pet’s quality of life, alleviating uncomfortable symptoms and promoting overall health.

Yorkie Food Allergy: Conclusion

Yorkie food allergies can be challenging to navigate, but with careful observation, a proper diet, and veterinary support, you can manage your furry friend’s allergies effectively. It’s all about understanding what triggers their allergies and taking the necessary steps to avoid those triggers. By doing so, you can ensure your Yorkie leads a happy, healthy, and itch-free life.

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