Most common health problems in Yorkshire Terriers, plus health care and feeding.


My Complete Health Care Program for your Yorkshire Terrier

If you want to AVOID health problems in your Yorkshire Terrier, you'll find my health care program very valuable.

It's called "11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy."

Raise your dog the RIGHT way, feed him the RIGHT food, give him the RIGHT vaccinations, avoid unnecessary veterinary expenses, and help him live a longer, happier, and more comfortable life.

If your Yorkie already HAS a health problem, I'm sorry to hear that. You should immediately begin my health care program, and you may be able to restore his good health – or at least make him much more comfortable. Let me help!

My best-selling dog health book


Yorkshire Terrier dog breed

Yorkshire Terrier (Yorkie) Health Care & Feeding

By Michele Welton. Copyright © 2000-2017


Quick list of Yorkshire Terrier health problems

The leading health issue in toy dogs is injury: fractures, concussions, choking on small objects, being attacked or jumped on by a larger dog.... you must keep a Yorkshire Terrier under constant surveillance and leash/arm control. Too much can happen to these little guys in the blink of an eye.

A disease called liver shunt is a very serious problem in Yorkshire Terriers. At one veterinary university, a full one-third of their liver shunt patients are Yorkies. You're taking a big risk if you buy or adopt a Yorkshire Terrier without doing a simple blood test to see if their liver is normal. Liver shunt requires special care, often expensive and tricky surgery, and the dog doesn't always make it.

Expensive surgery may also be required for (1) dental disease; (2) a weak windpipe (collapsing trachea) that causes chronic coughing; and (3) loose knee joints (luxating patella) that cause lameness and pain. Yorkshire Terriers have the 2nd highest rate of luxating patella of all breeds, with nearly 1 in 4 Yorkies affected.

Eye diseases are worrisome; lots of Yorkies are blind from cataracts. Tear duct disorders cause tears to overflow onto the face, staining it.

Several heart diseases occur in Yorkies. So do epilepsy and thyroid disease. Two degenerative hip diseases occur in Yorkies.

Chronic allergies cause terribly itchy skin and scratching. Other health issues include urinary stones and colitis (inflammatory bowel disease).

(See more health problems below.)


Preventing health problems

Some health problems are inherited. For example, if both parents of your Yorkshire Terrier have certificates proving they were tested and cleared of hereditary eye diseases and luxating patella, your Yorkshire Terrier has less risk of developing those conditions.

In addition to eyes and knees certifications on the parents, every individual Yorkie offered for sale or adoption should have bloodwork that shows a healthy liver. It can save you several thousand dollars and a ton of heartache down the road.

Other health problems can be prevented, or partially prevented, by the ways you raise your dog. If you're serious about doing everything you can for your Yorkie, my best-selling book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy, shows you how to raise your Yorkshire Terrier puppy (or adult dog) in all the right ways. It will help you be your dog's health care champion!


Here are my dog health tips for raising a healthy Yorkshire Terrier puppy or adult dog:

Obedience instructor and author Michele Welton Dog Health Care – The Sensible Way
Read my advice on daily health care so your Yorkshire Terrier lives a long, healthy life and seldom needs to see the vet.


Real homemade dog food The Best Dog Food For Feeding Your Yorkie
Food is the #1 foundation for good health. The best diet for feeding your dog is real food. Real chicken, turkey, beef, fish....these are not just "people foods" and I'll tell you why.


Natural dog foods for your Yorkshire Terrier. The Second-Best Dog Food For Your Yorkie
If you can't feed homemade dog food, here are your next-best choices.


Information on booster shots for your Yorkshire Terrier. Vaccinations and Booster Shots: Needed or Not?
How many vaccinations does your Yorkshire Terrier puppy really need? Does your adult Yorkie need yearly booster shots? The vaccination guidelines have changed! Find out what some vets aren't telling you.


Information on spaying your Yorkshire Terrier. Spaying Your Female Dog: Pros and Cons
Advantages and disadvantages of spaying your female dog.


Information on neutering your male dog. Neutering Your Male Dog: Pros and Cons
Advantages and disadvantages of neutering your male dog.


Information on choosing the best vet for your Yorkshire Terrier. The Type of Veterinarian I Recommend
Is your veterinarian really the best choice for your dog? Learn about the differences between vets who practice conventional, holistic, and alternative veterinary medicine.


Assisi Loop Assisi Loop Review: How I Helped Treat Inflammation and Pain
Does your dog suffer from arthritis, hip dysplasia, disk disease, colitis, a skin wound? My honest review of a veterinary device you can use at home to help reduce inflammation and pain.


Complete list of Yorkshire Terrier health problems

The leading health issue in toy dogs is INJURY. You must keep Yorkshire Terriers under constant surveillance and leash/arm control. Too much can happen to these small creatures in the blink of an eye.

  • Bone fractures or a concussion can occur from jumping off furniture, or falling or leaping from your arms, or being hit on the head by a thrown or falling object, or being stepped on.
  • Yorkies can choke on the tiniest object and it takes very little to overdose them with anything toxic.
  • Yorkies can squeeze through the smallest crack of a door or fence and be gone.
  • If you allow them to act foolishly aggressive toward larger dogs, their neck can be broken with a single grab.
  • If you let them off-leash, their excitable chasing instincts may send them under the wheels of a car.

Moving on to diseases, let's start with liver shunt, which is a very serious problem in the Yorkshire Terrier. At one veterinary teaching hospital, a full one-third of their liver shunt patients are Yorkies. As a prospective Yorkie owner, you're taking a big risk if you buy or adopt a Yorkie without doing a simple blood test that tests for a healthy liver. Liver shunt can require expensive and tricky surgery, and the dog doesn't always make it.

Expensive surgery may also be required for (1) dental disease; (2) a weak windpipe (collapsing trachea) that causes chronic coughing); and (3) loose knee joints (luxating patella) that cause lameness and pain. Yorkshire Terriers have the 2nd highest rate of luxating patella of all breeds, with nearly 1 in 4 Yorkies affected.

Eye diseases in Yorkshire Terriers include dry eye, cataracts (often progressing to blindness), retinal dysplasia, and occasionally progressive retinal atrophy (PRA).

Heart disease (patent ductus arteriosus, valve disease, and cardiomyopathy) is an increasing concern in the breed.

Several heart diseases are an increasing concern in the breed. So are epilepsy and thyroid disease. Two degenerative hip diseases occur in Yorkies – hip dysplasia and Legg-Calve-Perthes disease.

Hormonal/endocrine system diseases include hypothyroidism, Cushing's disease, and diabetes.

Skin diseases include allergies (which cause itchy skin and can lead to pyoderma), demodectic mange in Yorkshire Terrier puppies, and color dilution alopecia.

Other Yorkshire Terrier health issues include hypoglycemia in Yorkie puppies and in adults under 4 pounds, urinary stones, and colitis.

Yorkshire Terriers are prone to harmless episodes of reverse sneezing.


To help you train and care for your dog

book cover To learn more about training your dog to be calm and well-behaved, my dog training book is Teach Your Dog 100 English Words. It's a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will teach your dog to listen to you and do whatever you ask.

book cover My dog buying guide, Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams, will teach you everything you need to know about finding a good-tempered, healthy dog.

book cover My dog health care book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy, shows you how to help your dog live a longer life while avoiding health problems and unnecessary veterinary expenses.