Why Do Yorkies Have Bad Breath? (5 Causes and Fixes)

Yorkies, just like any other dog breed, can experience bad breath, also known as halitosis.

There are several possible causes for this issue, and it is essential to understand them to help your furry friend maintain proper oral hygiene and overall health.

why do Yorkies have bad breath
Why do Yorkies have bad breath? Causes and Fixes Explained

In this section, we will discuss the primary reasons why Yorkies might have bad breath.

Causes of Yorkies Bad Breath

Periodontal Disease

One of the most common causes of bad breath in Yorkies is periodontal disease. This condition arises due to the build-up of plaque and tartar on your dog’s teeth, which can lead to inflammation and infection in the gums and surrounding tissue. The bacteria causing these issues produce a foul-smelling odor, making your fuzzy companion’s breath unpleasant.

light coated Yorkshire Terrier
A light coated Yorkshire Terrier with a blue background.

Here’s a “brush” of advice to help prevent this problem: regularly clean your Yorkie’s teeth and gums, schedule professional dental cleanings with your veterinarian, and provide dental chews or toys that can assist in scraping plaque and tartar.


Teething can also contribute to a Yorkie’s bad breath, especially in puppies. When baby teeth start to fall out and adult teeth emerge, a temporary bad breath might occur due to the trapped food and bacteria in the mouth. In this case, some patience and proper dental care should resolve the issue as your puppy transitions to having a full set of grown-up chompers.

Yorkie chewing toy
Yorkie is busy chewing on his toy.

Gastrointestinal Problems

Gastrointestinal issues, such as food allergies, indigestion, or an upset stomach, can lead to bad breath in your Yorkie. The smelliest of culprits might be the “silent but deadly” burps that bring up odors from the stomach or esophagus. To tackle this cause, it’s essential to monitor your Yorkie’s diet and consult with a vet to identify any underlying issues.

Yorkie side view wears collar
This Yorkie looks like it’s not in the mood to play.

Respiratory Infections

Bacterial or viral respiratory infections could cause stinky breath in your Yorkie too. If you notice other symptoms like coughing, sneezing, or nasal discharge alongside bad breath, it may be time for a vet visit to get a proper diagnosis and ensure your pooch returns to their naturally sweet-smelling self.

dog panting and looks at her owner
A Yorkie panting and looking at her owner.

Kidney and Liver Issues

Bad breath in Yorkies and other pets may indicate more severe health problems like liver or kidney disease. Although rare, these systemic issues can produce halitosis as a byproduct of their effects on the body’s metabolic processes. If your Yorkie’s breath smells unusually foul or metallic, it’s wise to consult a veterinarian as soon as possible for a thorough examination.

mother Yorkie taking a nap comfortably
A mother Yorkie taking a nap comfortably.


Lastly, diabetes is another possible cause of bad breath in Yorkies. Dogs with uncontrolled blood sugar levels may experience fruity or sweet-smelling breath, a distinct sign of this condition. It is crucial to have your pet examined by a veterinarian if you suspect diabetes, as proper treatment and management of the disease can make a world of difference in your Yorkie’s overall health and happiness.

Yorkie lying on bed
A Yorkie looks up while lying on bed.

Oral Care for Yorkies

Yorkies, just like humans, need proper oral care to maintain fresh breath and healthy dental conditions. There are several methods to ensure your Yorkie’s oral hygiene is in top shape. In this section, we’ll dive into teeth brushing, dental chews and toys, water intake, probiotics, and regular dental exams.

Teeth Brushing

Brushing your Yorkie’s teeth should be a routine practice in their oral care. Aim to brush their teeth at least 2-3 times a week, if not daily. Use a dog-friendly toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush to gently clean the teeth and gums. This will help remove plaque, tartar buildup, and keep your Yorkie’s breath smelling fresh. Fun fact: dog-friendly toothpaste often comes in flavors like chicken or peanut butter, making brushing time enjoyable for your furry friend!

Yorkie and his toothbrush
The pet owner brushing the teeth of a Yorkie.

Dental Chews and Toys

Dental chews and toys can be great additions to your Yorkie’s oral care routine, especially for those who are chewers by nature. Chewing on dental toys can help scrape away plaque and tartar, while also relieving stress. Opt for chews that are appropriate in size for your Yorkie’s mouth and always supervise your dog while they chew on these toys. Your Yorkie’s future smile will thank you!

Kong toy covered with dirt
Kong toy is a great mental stimulation tool for your dogs but just make sure to keep it clean!

Water Intake

Proper water intake is essential for every dog, and it also plays a role in oral health. Drinking water helps to wash away food particles and bacteria that can lead to bad breath. Encourage your Yorkie to drink plenty of water by keeping their water bowl clean and filled with fresh water daily.

old Yorkie drank water
An old Yorkie drank a lot of fresh water!


Introducing probiotics into your Yorkie’s diet may improve their overall gut health and help reduce bad breath. These beneficial bacteria can help balance the oral microbes and promote overall health. There are various dog-specific probiotic supplements available that can be easily added to your Yorkie’s daily meals.

Yorkie eats with bowl
Yorkie eats quietly in a bowl.

Regular Dental Exams

Finally, scheduling regular dental exams as part of your Yorkie’s healthcare routine is crucial. Veterinarians and dental professionals can thoroughly assess your dog’s teeth, gums, and overall oral health, catching any issues early and providing appropriate treatment if necessary. This goes beyond what we can do at home and ensures that your Yorkie’s mouth always stays in top shape.

Yorkie being checked up
Yorkie having check up in a vet clinic.

Keeping up with your Yorkie’s oral care isn’t just about maintaining their dazzling smile and sweet breath – it’s also about ensuring their long-term health. So, grab that toothbrush, pick a tasty chew toy, and cheers to the pearly whites!

Nutrition and Diet

Choosing the Right Dog Food

One of the main reasons why Yorkies might have bad breath is due to their diet. Picking the right dog food is crucial for keeping their breath fresh and clean. Always look for high-quality dog food that is specifically designed for small breeds. Avoid low-quality kibble that can lead to an imbalance in their nutrition. Just like humans, our furry friends need a good balance of vitamins and minerals to maintain overall health and avoid bad breath.

owner pouring dog food
The owner pouring dog food in a bowl.

Human Food and Yorkies

We know it’s tempting to slip a little treat under the table to your adorable Yorkie, but it’s important to remember that human food might not always be the best option for them. Some human foods can cause bad breath in dogs, and others can even be harmful to their health. If you absolutely must share a snack with your fur baby, choose options like plain cooked chicken, carrots, or apple slices – but remember, moderation is key! Sharing too much human food might lead to nutritional imbalance and worsen their bad breath.

shredded chicken for dogs
Chicken meat is an excellent source of protein for your dog’s diet.

Balanced Diet and Supplements

A balanced diet plays a significant role in keeping your Yorkie’s breath fresh and clean. Ensure they are receiving adequate protein, healthy fats, and a good mix of fruits and vegetables in their meals. If needed, consider adding supplements to their diet, but always consult your veterinarian first. For example, adding probiotics can help maintain a healthy gut flora, which can positively affect their breath. It’s also essential to provide them with clean water daily, as dehydration can contribute to stinky breath in dogs.

different vegetables for dogs
There are a lot different vegetables that dogs can safely consume.

In conclusion, remember that the key to maintaining a Yorkie’s fresh breath starts with a nutritious and balanced diet. Always opt for high-quality dog food, limit human food treats, and if needed, consider supplements after consulting your vet. With these simple steps, you’ll be on your way to enjoying those sweet puppy kisses without the unpleasant odor!

Identifying and Treating Underlying Health Conditions

Yorkie wears a collar
Yorkie stands wearing a collar and looks curious.

Allergies and Sensitivities

Yorkies, like any other breed, can suffer from allergies and sensitivities that not only cause discomfort but can also contribute to bad breath. Allergic reactions can lead to inflammation in the mouth and increased production of odor-causing bacteria. Some common allergens include specific foods, environmental factors, or even grooming products.

To determine if your Yorkie has allergies, it’s vital to identify the triggers. This can be achieved through the process of elimination and monitoring changes in their oral hygiene. In case of a confirmed allergy, a vet will likely recommend changes in diet, environment, or grooming habits to alleviate the issue. Antihistamines or steroids may also be prescribed for severe cases.

Genetic Predispositions

Every breed has unique quirks, and Yorkies are no exception. Small breed dogs, like the Yorkshire Terrier, are predisposed to certain health conditions that can impact their oral hygiene. For instance, they are prone to dental and gum issues due to their compact jaw size, which can lead to overcrowding of teeth.

As a responsible pet owner, it’s key to recognize these predisposing factors and take proper preventive measures. Regular visits to the vet can help in detecting any genetic dental condition early on. Proper dental hygiene routines, inclusive of brushing their teeth, providing dental chews, and scheduling professional cleanings are crucial in maintaining your Yorkie’s oral health.

In conclusion, bad breath may indicate an underlying health issue or sensitivity in your Yorkie. Identifying and treating allergies or predisposed conditions can significantly help in reducing foul odor and ensuring that your furry friend maintains a fresh, healthy mouth.

When to See a Veterinarian?

dog check up
Vet checking dog’s neck.

Signs of Serious Conditions

Yorkies, like any other dog breeds, can experience bad breath due to various reasons. Sometimes, it may be a simple case of needing to brush their teeth more often. However, there are situations where bad breath can indicate something more serious. It’s time to visit a veterinarian if your Yorkie shows any of the following symptoms:

  • Persistent bad breath that doesn’t improve with regular dental care
  • Swollen or bleeding gums
  • Difficulty chewing or dropping food
  • Loose teeth or tooth loss
  • Vomiting or excessive coughing

These symptoms may point to an underlying condition that requires immediate attention.

Mouth and Teeth Examinations

A veterinarian will do a thorough examination of your Yorkie’s mouth and teeth. They’ll be checking for dental issues like periodontal disease, tooth decay, and oral infections. Additionally, a vet can identify if there are any signs of more severe health issues, such as:

  • Gum disease, which can lead to tooth loss if left untreated
  • Tooth abscesses, which are pus-filled pockets caused by bacterial infections
  • Oral tumors or growths, which may require further diagnostics and treatment

Testing and Treatment

Depending on the severity of your Yorkie’s condition, the vet may perform a series of tests. This can include bloodwork, X-rays, or even a biopsy if necessary. Once the vet has identified the root cause of your dog’s bad breath, they’ll recommend a course of treatment. This may involve:

  • Dental cleaning, to remove plaque and tartar buildup
  • Oral medications, such as antibiotics, antifungal drugs, or even anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Special dental diets or chews to support your Yorkie’s oral health
  • In more severe cases, surgery might be necessary to extract heavily damaged teeth or to remove oral tumors

Remember, prevention is key. Regular dental care, check-ups, and cleanings can help avoid serious oral health issues in your Yorkie. However, if you notice any persistent bad breath or other concerning symptoms, don’t hesitate to consult your veterinarian. They’re there to help keep your furry friend’s pearly whites in tip-top shape!