Why is My Yorkie Throwing Up?

Nobody likes a sick pup. What do we do when our dog is sick? Why is my Yorkie throwing up?

It’s gross, for one thing. But it’s also distressing to think that there might be something wrong with your cuddly canine companion.

why is my yorkie throwing up
Why is my Yorkie throwing up?

This is especially true with our beautiful Yorkshire terriers, seeing as how they’re already known for being excitable and… a touch demanding.

Their delightful but occasionally eclectic personalities can make it tough to tell whether unusual behaviors like throwing up are due to normal factors or whether they’re a signal that they don’t feel well.

Relax though!—There are many reasons why your Yorkie might be throwing up, and once identified they can be easily fixed.

Reasons Why Your Yorkie Might Be Throwing Up

black and tan yorkie
How is this for a pose! A black and tan Yorkie

Before we take a deep dive into the different subgenres of barf you might find sullying the floor of your home (don’t worry, we’ll get to that part of the lesson soon enough), it will be helpful to go over some of the most common causes of “cookie-tossing” in Yorkies.

I consider myself something of an authority in this area, having dealt with just about all of them.

Too Much Food

We all know dogs love to eat. But some breeds really love to eat, and Yorkies are one of them. The problem is that their little stomachs aren’t big enough to hold a whole lot of food, and in their hectic hunger, they sometimes get a little too gung-ho come feeding time.

Best Food For Yorkies
Choosing the best food for Yorkies? Make the right choice

When this happens, one result might be involuntary regurgitation. Luckily, regurgitation is a generally benign behavior that all dogs display from time to time. It can also happen when your Yorkie gobbles up their dinner a little too quickly. Either way, there’s no need to panic.

Solution: Start your Yorkie on a new food regimen of three or four small meals per day to make sure you’re not feeding her too much at one time.

Too Little Food

It may sound counterintuitive, but if it’s been a while since you last fed your Yorkie, there’s a chance that she’s throwing up because her stomach is empty.

You see, all dogs produce a steady stream of stomach acid and bile so that they’re ready to break down their next meal when it comes. When it doesn’t come for a while, these fluids can accumulate to the point where the animal expels them more or less automatically.

Again, no sweat—provided there’s nothing unsettling about the color or consistency of what comes up. If it’s clear, never fear.

Solution: Remember to feed your Yorkie frequently! If she’s gone most of the day without a meal, she’s probably famished.

Food-Related Queasiness

yorkie height
Yorkies truly are small dogs. They often stand as small as 8 or 9 inches to the shoulder when fully grown.

Like people, dogs sometimes eat things that don’t agree with them. Whether your Yorkie has gorged herself on greasy table scraps or fished some unidentifiable substance out from under the fridge, it might prove to be too much for her digestive system to handle. When this happens, the outcome is usually upchuck.

[Did you know that dogs should probably NOT eat tuna, CAN eat salmon (particularly salmon skin) and need to be cautious with eggs and pork?]

As long as it doesn’t happen repeatedly (and isn’t accompanied by any other perturbing symptoms), this sort of retching isn’t a particularly big deal either.

Solution: As tempting as it may be, don’t make a habit of feeding your Yorkie people food. Instead, find a high-quality, nutritionally balanced dog food that she enjoys and stick to it. Also, be sure to keep an eye on her to make sure she’s not chowing down on things she shouldn’t be.

Gastritis/Intestinal Blockage/Parasites

a parti yorkie held to the sky
A Parti Yorkie looks skyward

Now we’re starting to get into worrisome territory.

Gastritis is inflammation of the stomach lining. Intestinal blockages occur when food or other, less edible objects get hung up deep in the digestive tract. Parasites can be picked up from contaminated food or water, dead things, or other infected dogs’ poop.

All of these conditions can produce similar sets of symptoms, all of them are bad news, and all of them warrant a trip to the animal clinic.

Solution: If you notice that your Yorkie doesn’t seem interested in eating, seems tired all time, appears to be in pain or reacts sensitively when you scratch her tummy, take her in for a check-up at your earliest convenience.


puppy at the vet with owners one adult one child
A cute puppy enjoying a Vet visit

I’ve saved the most troubling possibility for last. Parvovirus is a serious canine illness characterized by tell-tale viral symptoms such as diarrhea, fever, uncontrollable trembling, lethargy, reduced appetite, or unexplained weight loss.

This ailment can affect dogs of all ages, sexes, and breeds, but inquisitive, high-energy breeds like Yorkies tend to be especially susceptible to it because of their curious nature, along with the fact that they’re not always discriminating when it comes to what they put in their mouths.

Solution: If your Yorkie is exhibiting any of the aforementioned symptoms, get her to the doggy doctor for treatment pronto. A brief course of antiviral medication should knock it out, but you want to avoid potentially serious complications like dehydration and malnourishment at all costs.

Telling Good Puke From Bad Puke

yorkie in a grass field
Yorkies love to get outside and play. They will get knots, eye stain, and sometimes smelly ears.

Okay, so there’s not really such a thing as “good” puke. But some kinds of vomit are definitely a less discouraging sight than others.

As icky as it is, the following information will hopefully give you a better sense of when to shrug and reach for the paper towels and when to load up the kennel and head for the pet hospital.

  • Clear, odorless fluid is typically water, saliva, mucous, or some combination of the above. It has a way of appearing when your Yorkie hits her water bowl a little too hard on an empty stomach.
  • Thin, yellow, foam-flecked fluid is caused by built-up bile and stomach acid. Believe it or not, you should be relieved to see leakage of this description because it ordinarily just means that your Yorkie is hungry and needs to eat.
  • Chunky vomit full of undigested bits of food, while disgusting, is likely nothing more than a sign of overeating or a mild bout of food poisoning. It can, however, be a sign of a congenital deformation of the throat or esophagus (which is not uncommon for Yorkshire terriers), so be on the lookout for similar messes in the future.
  • Dark red or brown vomit should be considered a cause for concern, especially when accompanied by diarrhea. These colors can indicate the presence of blood in the digestive tract, which could be there owing to any number of severe conditions.
a yorkie puppy
Even super cute Yorkie puppies can act hyper

Avoiding Sickening Scenarios 

The old saying is true—an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

With that in mind, I strongly recommend getting your Yorkie on a veterinarian-approved hypoallergenic diet, refreshing her drinking water regularly, keeping her out of particularly foul places, and monitoring her eating habits and other activities closely whenever possible. And, of course, if you’re ever in doubt, call your vet. That’s what they’re there for.

Even if your Yorkie doesn’t thank you, your carpet will. Trust me on this one.