Yorkshire terriers are one of the most popular toy breeds, and these dogs have a long average lifespan, which means they can have upwards of 15 years to spend bringing their families companionship and happiness. However, this also means that making your dog’s health a priority is important to ensure their golden years are as good as they can be. Here are four tips to help you stay ahead of common issues that can occur in these dogs and keep your Yorkie healthy over the long term.
1. Watch your dogs weight
Yorkies generally weigh anywhere from 3 to 15 pounds, but even on the high end of this spectrum, they are very small dogs. This means that they also have small bone structure and joints, and even a little bit of weight can make a big difference in their mobility, joint strain, and overall health. While it may be tempting to use treats and table scraps to reward your puppy, this isn’t a good idea. Just a few treats here and there are fine, but using them regularly can contribute to excess calories and weight and an increase in health problems.
2. Make dental care a priority for your pet
While you brush your teeth twice a day for the recommended time, it’s easy to leave out this part of your dog’s routine. It may seem strange to be brushing your dog’s teeth or scheduling them annual cleanings, but Yorkshires are prone to tooth decay and loss due to their small mouths and delicate jaws. A fingertip brush with some dog-safe toothpaste makes it easier to clean your puppy’s teeth, and getting regular cleanings at the veterinarian can help stop tooth and gum issues before they start.
3. Use a harness instead of a traditional dog collar
Yorkshire terriers have very small airways, and this can make them prone to breathing problems as well as an increased risk of a collapsed trachea. You can help protect your pup by always supervising them around children or other small dogs that may play too rough and using a harness instead of a collar when walking them. A collar can put too much pressure on the trachea — especially if your dog hasn’t quite learned how to walk on a loose lead yet — but a harness distributes the pressure across the entire chest and front of the body, which is much safer for your dog.
4. Get your Yorkshire regular vet checks
All of the above things are important parts of keeping your Yorkie healthy over the long term, but nothing is a substitute for regular veterinary care. Prevention and early diagnosis are key to protecting your dog’s health and ensuring the best outcome possible in the case something is found. Yorkshire Terriers are prone to genetic problems such as Legg-Perthes disease and retinal dysplasia, as well as common issues like skin allergies. Taking your dog to their annual checkups and keeping them up to date on vaccines and flea and heartworm preventatives is an easy way to help keep your dog healthy.