Dental Health Issues In Yorkie Dogs

February 8, 2008

Two Yorkie Dogs

Some of the more common health issues seen in all types of Yorkie dogs, including Teacup Yorkies are also seen in other breeds of toy and small dogs.

Knowing what to look for and understanding the first signs of some of the more common medical conditions for Yorkie dogs is important for the owner.

Yorkie dogs will often need to go to the vet more than once a year, especially if any of the conditions described below are noted. Keep in mind that early treatment will often be the most effective way to manage or treat health conditions in Yorkie dogs.

Yorkie breeders strongly recommend that any of the different sizes or categories of Yorkie dogs be taken to a vet if they do not eat or continue to exhibit signs of dental problems for more than two days. Since these dogs are so small and moderately active, even one or two days without food can cause health concerns.

Yorkshire Terriers are prone to dental problems including excessive tarter build-up, gum disease and premature tooth loss.

These conditions can all lead to digestive problems as well as other infections in the body, so care should be taken to brush the Yorkie dogs teeth as frequently as possible. Even with very small Teacup Yorkie puppies this dental hygiene routine should be started on the first grooming day to allow the puppy to become familiar with the feeling of having their teeth brushed.

In addition to frequent brushing it is important to have your vet regularly check the condition of your Yorkies teeth at routine check-ups and vaccinations. Yorkie dogs often have trouble being anesthetized, so it is important to only complete the scaling procedure at the vets when necessary. Home dental care will minimize if not eliminate the need for the vet procedure.

While it may seem a bit strange, it is very important to care for your Yorkie dog’s teeth throughout its life. Many people mistakenly assume that Yorkie dogs will be able to care for their own teeth, much as nature intended. This may have been true if dogs only ate all natural ingredients and foods such as they would have eaten had they remained wild animals.

Puppies start to get their puppy teeth at the age of 3 to 4 weeks. They will start with 28 puppy teeth. These teeth will be replaced with their 42 permanent adult teeth at about the age of four months. Dogs have four different types of teeth:

Molars – used for chewing
Premolars – hold and break up the food
Canines – used to hold and tear the food into small pieces
Incisors – cut and nibble

Many veterinarians estimate that approximately 80% of all Yorkie dogs over the age of three have some form of gum disease. This causes problems for the dogs with chewing food, which can lead to digestive problems. Just like with humans, this also causes teeth to be easily damaged or start to fall out. This condition becomes progressively worse as Yorkie dogs age, and can even lead to fatal health conditions.

While it is not necessary to brush your Yorkie dog’s teeth daily, it is a good idea to do this at least twice a week, or every two or three days. A finger-brush is a good option as it is like a little sleeve that fits over your finger. It is texturized to provide a scrubbing action, and is much less likely to accidentally and painfully bump the dog’s gums during the cleaning.

In addition to the finger-brush you should use specially formulated doggy toothpaste. Do not use human toothpaste as it is not correctly formulated for dogs, and the taste is unpleasant for your dog.

Starting this routine when the dog is very young will help them become used to the procedure. Show dogs will require more frequent brushing to keep their teeth bright and healthy.

When you are brushing your dog’s teeth, watch for any signs of inflammation, redness or even bleeding along the gum line. This will be normal if the puppy is getting adult teeth, but is not normal in adult Yorkies after about 6 months of age.

Look for any heavy deposits of tarter along the line of the gums or extending up the teeth. It will have a yellowish to brown color, and may not come off with simple brushing. If the tarter build up is severe, the dog will need to have it removed by a veterinarian. This process is known as scaling, and requires that the dog be anesthetized, so is a fairly costly procedure.

For comprehensive help and guidance on Yorkie dogs, please visit our Yorkshire Terrier web site that that includes information on all aspects of Yorkie dog care .