Do Yorkies Have Bad Breath?

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When adopting a dog, you think of all the fun things you’ll do with it. The walks, the cute kisses, and the cuddles. However, the cuddles and the kisses may seem almost impossible when your furry friend has a stinky breath that makes going close to their face challenging. You may wonder if it’s just you or, do Yorkies have bad breath?

Do Yorkies Have Bad Breath?

Yes, Yorkies often have bad breath that can be caused by issues such as periodontal diseases, teething, inappropriate food, change in food, and health conditions such as diabetes, kidney malfunction, gastrointestinal problems, and infections in the respiratory system.

A white and brown Yorkshire terrier running on a green grass field at the park

There are different smells that you are going to smell from your dog’s breath. Each distinct smell is an indication of what may be causing the bad breath in your Yorkie. They include the following:

  • A rotten smell can indicate tooth decay, gastrointestinal issues, diabetes, or respiratory disorders
  • A metallic or blood smell may indicate that the dog has wounds in its larynx or mouth
  • A fish smell can indicate gum or mouth disease or bits of food stuck in its teeth
  • A urine smell can indicate a liver or kidney problem

Causes of Yorkie Bad Breath

Some factors that can cause your Yorkie to experience bad breath are explained below.

Periodontal Diseases

Yorkies’ teeth tend to be overcrowded due to their small mouths. This means that the food they eat will often be stuck between their teeth. As the food debris builds up, its teeth start to build up plaque and develop tartar. Once this happens, gum disease and tooth decay will soon become apparent.

Periodontal diseases can destroy your Yorkies’ gums if you do not properly care for your dog’s teeth. When you notice excess build-up, take it to the vet, who will help remove tartar and advise you on toys and special bones that your dog can chew to remove plaque.  If you do not do this early, your Yorkie may lose its teeth.

Ensure you brush your dog’s teeth daily and take them for yearly cleaning by the vet. Apart from bath breath, or halitosis, there are other signs you can look out for that indicate periodontal diseases. They include the following:

  • Swollen or red gums
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Chewing from one side
  • Aggression when its mouth is touched
  • Loose teeth


When Yorkies are puppies, they have a milk-based diet that helps make their breath smell sweet. However, as they grow and are weaned off this diet, their breath can start smelling like sour milk. This smell is caused by the accumulation of saliva and blood as the new teeth penetrate the gums and the milk teeth fall out.

To keep the smell at bay, ensure you brush your dog’s teeth daily. In most cases, the smell disappears when it stops teething.

A brown and black Yorkshire terrier wearing a black collar and a ponytail shows her tongue

Inappropriate Food

Giving your Yorkie a balanced diet, enough water, and occasional treats is considered great for their health and keeps them strong. However, in some instances, you may be tempted to give it food that needs to be revised. Either because it is looking at you with eyes you cannot resist or because you feel it is something it should try out, such as human food.

While human food and snacks may be good for you, they are not suitable for your Yorkie, for example, sugar. This can end up causing problems in the stomach or the liver and kidneys, which can cause it to start having halitosis.

You should also check the expiration date of the food. It may be cheap to food its food in bulk; however, ensure that it is food that it can finish before it expires. Expired food can cause it to have stinky breath.

Changes in Food

When you change the type of food that you feed your furry friend or the brand, it can cause halitosis. Some foods are of low quality and can cause this to happen. A new diet might disagree with its sensitive digestive system and cause it to want to vomit. Because of this may start experiencing bad breath.

When introducing a new diet, do it gradually so the body can slowly get used to it. This way, you avoid issues that come with a sudden change in diet.

Health Conditions

Halitosis can be a symptom of some health conditions your Yorkie may suffer from. Some health conditions include the following:

  • DiabetesYorkies are genetically predisposed to diabetes. When it has affected your dog, it may cause it to have unusually fruity or sweet breath. Although sweet, it will not be the same sweetness as when it is teething.
  • Kidney malfunction – Urinary tract and kidney dysfunction can cause your dog’s breath to stink. The chances of whatever is causing the dysfunction getting into the bloodstream are high if the situation is not addressed early.
  • Gastrointestinal problems – When your dog has halitosis together with diarrhea, vomiting, lethargy, constipation, or is drinking a lot of water, it is a sign that it is suffering from gastrointestinal problems.
  • Respiratory system infections –  Together with coughing, wheezing, a runny nose, and fever, halitosis can indicate that there is a problem in the respiratory system.
A white and brown Yorkshire terrier facing the left side while looking outside the house

The medical causes of bad breath are serious conditions that can be fatal for your dog if not treated early. This is why you must take it to the vet to be examined so the exact cause can be known and treatment starts immediately. This can delay progress, and your dog can recover.

Related Questions

Other questions you may have are answered below.

Does Insufficient Water Intake Cause Halitosis?

Insufficient water intake can cause halitosis as food particles remain in the mouth. When it begins to rot and mixes with saliva, it produces strong bad breath.

How Can I Keep My Yorkie’s Breath Smelling Nice and Fresh?

You can keep your Yorkie’s mouth smelling nice and fresh by brushing its teeth daily with the recommended toothbrush and toothpaste, using chew toys, and canine mouthwash, and giving it quality dental chews. You can also have the vet clean its teeth and mouth when you go for check-ups.


Some things may seem trivial; however, they may indicate something wrong. You can ignore your dog’s bad breath, chalk it to something it ate, and later find out that it was a symptom of something else. This is why you must consult your vet and do your research so you do not find yourself in such a situation.