Health Tips for Yorkshire Terrier Care

Proper Yorkshire Terrier care improves the chances for a long life. The Yorkie breed is susceptible to many genetic conditions ranging from fragile bones to heart disease and tooth decay to luxated patella. With an average life span of 12 to 15 years, keeping your Yorkshire Terrier healthy must be a priority.

Yorkshire Terrier Care Starts with Breeding

Before purchasing or adopting a Yorkie. Ask about the parents, if known. It may be harder to track down parentage if you're adopting your pet from a shelter.

Many health problems with the Yorkshire Terrier breed can be prevented if quality breeding stock is used. Tracking the parents' health histories, including tests to check for heart disease and deformations, can save money and heartache in the long run.

Yorkshire Terriers and Liver Shunt Health Issues

A liver shunt is a genetic health issue. With this condition, the blood vessel heading into the liver diverts around the liver delivering toxins throughout the body. Because a mother dog filters the nutrients for her puppy, the vessel into the liver only develops following birth. Most puppies develop properly. However in some puppies, the liver shunt fails to disappear causing blood to go around the liver rather than into it for filtering.

Liver shunts are becoming another health problem with the Yorkie breed. Ask for a bile acid test to be performed prior to purchasing a puppy. Even a healthy dam and sire can produce offspring with a liver shunt. Some puppies born with this problem are humanely euthanized because not every puppy responds to treatment.

While caring for your Yorkie, keep the symptoms of a liver shunt in mind. They include:

  • Depression

  • Drooling

  • Excessive thirst

  • Frequent urination

  • Frequent UTIs

  • Lack of appetite

  • Lethargy

  • Vomiting

Maintain an Oral Yorkshire Terrier Care Routine

Yorkies are known for developing tooth decay at an early age. Make sure you provide your Yorkshire Terrier with bones and hard treats that scrape away tartar and plaque. Hard kibble will also help with this.

From a young age, get your Yorkshire Terrier accustomed to daily teeth cleaning. There are toothpastes specially made for dogs that come in meat flavors they love. Using dental rinses as a routine part of your Yorkshire Terrier care plan will also help keep his teeth strong and healthy.

You should take your Yorkie to a veterinarian for yearly oral health check-ups. Yearly cleanings are often advised.

Exercise as Part of Yorkshire Terrier Care

Yorkshire Terriers are susceptible to congenital heart disease, particularly if a liver shunt has been a health issue. Ensuring they maintain a healthy weight will add years to their lives.

Exercise also helps strengthen the muscles. While extreme amounts of exercise are unnecessary, a 10 or 20 minute walk around the yard or neighborhood can help improve their health.

Yorkies and Bone Problems

A Yorkie's bones are fragile, especially if breeding stock isn't checked carefully. Dislocation of the kneecap is one of the most common health issues. Keeping joints healthy with glucosamine can help prevent this condition, but it's not a guaranteed cure. Checking the parentage is a better way to prevent the painful condition.

If you suspect your dog is in pain after play or simply walking around, contact your vet. Surgery is frequently used to ensure the kneecap remains in place.