You have probably come across or currently own a dog of this adorable, lively family breed. Without exaggerating, Yorkies are some of the most popular dogs around the world. Although we hate the idea of our pets dying, it is important to know what is the normal age when this happens. Yorkies life span is, on average, 12.8 years (almost 13). That is not bad, considering the general lifespan of dogs is 7 to 12 years.
The good news is that you can definitely exceed that time with good quality of life and proper care of your Yorkie. We will outline how to do that in this article.
Some important reminder: Yorkies, like other dogs, start to be seniors at about 7 years of age.
How can proper nutrition extend yorkies life span?
There is no Only-for-Yorkies food, but high-quality regular dog food will do the trick (commercial or homemade), the better if recommended by your veterinarian or pet nutritionist. Just make sure that you match your dog’s age with the recommended age on the food label.
how much food should a Yorkie eat?
Yorkies tend to become overweight or, worse, obese if the daily calorie count is too high.
The answer to how much food a Yorkie should eat will vary depending on your dog’s weight, level of activity, and age or conditions like pregnancy or being a senior Yorkie. Good quality food for your Yorkies will have approximately 27-30% protein, 15-17% fat, and 5% fiber. Check the label for this data. Assuming this composition, this table will guide you on how much food to give your Yorkie daily, considering the body weight and particular situations or conditions:
For convenient unit conversion go here
Treats are Ok, especially when you want to use them for training your Yorkie through positive reinforcement. Still, consider the treats’ number, size, and nature when counting daily calories. Low calory treats are highly recommended (broccoli, carrots, for instance) with the plus of adding many beneficial vitamins and minerals to your dog’s diet.
Provide clean, fresh water freely available for your Yorkie (this is usually overlooked).
You can check how much fresh water you should offer to your dog in the following water daily consumption table for a Yorkie:
Use only high-quality food-grade bowls and recipients to feed your dog and clean them daily (dishwashable bowls are great).
Following the above suggestions will help you increase your dog’s lifespan with a fairly good quality of life. Good nutrition translates to lowering metabolic age, which means your dog’s chronological age is, let’s say, 7 years, but internally your dog’s metabolism is as if being 5 years old.
How can good quality exercise extend Yorkies life span?
Yorkies life expectancy, as in other dogs, can be extended with proper weight management and daily exercise. In this case, life span extension occurs in part because exercise induces the production of well-being substances in the body, such as good-feeling endorphins, and lowers stress levels. In addition, as dogs enter old age (from 7 years on), they will cope better with osteoarthritis and other health issues when they exercise regularly.
Even though Yorkies are in the group of small toy breeds, they do require daily exercise. Yorkshire terriers will benefit from 30 min daily exercise, including walking or playing. You can even split this time and make it two short daily walks.
What are some of the Yorkies health issues?
Yorkies have a predisposition to some conditions. If you know what these conditions are in advance, you can prevent them or be prepared when you see signs or symptoms that your dog is starting to suffer from one of them.
Some Yorkshire terriers have cardiovascular conditions like a persistent ductus arteriosus (an abnormal communication of the heart’s main artery and vein) and chronic heart valve disease, both discoverable by a veterinarian during routine examinations.
Yorkies’ skin is delicate. Dermatological conditions include problems in hair development like short-hair syndrome of Silky breeds. This is a condition of unknown cause, usually appearing in Yorkies between 1 and 5 years of age.
Yorkies can also suffer congenital hypotrichosis (degeneration of hair follicles and areas of short or scarce hair), a condition already present at birth, or developing during the first month of life, mainly in males.
Oddly, sometimes Yorkies will develop blood vessel inflammation and hair loss at the injection site 3 to 6 months after rabies vaccination.
In addition, subcutaneous injections in Yorkies may cause local areas of alopecia (hair loss).
Yorkshire dogs are sensitive to drugs of the group glucocorticoids. The most frequent side effects after the administration of glucocorticoids are polydipsia (the dog is very thirsty and will drink a lot of water) and polyuria (urinating in high volumes). These side effects potentially lead to a continuous feeling of thirst and urinary incontinence. Vomiting and diarrhea may also be present. Your veterinarian should be aware of Yorkies’ susceptibility to this family of medications and will probably suggest alternatives.
Yorkies tend to suffer from several musculoskeletal conditions, primarily joint conditions appearing during the first months of age. Knowing this fact, please prevent your dog from doing extreme movements (like jumping from high places like a high couch or table) or overexercising during this period of skeleton development. Some possible conditions include luxation of joints (elbow, knee, and neck).
Some Yorkies have a congenital condition called hydrocephalus, consisting of an enlarged head due to an accumulation of fluid in the brain
Regarding your Yorkies’ eyes, cataracts may appear, usually with gradual vision loss from 5 years of age.
Renal and urinary predispositions may include kidney stones at adult age. You may notice this if your dog shows a C-shaped back, pain to the touch in the back, or difficulty urinating.
Cryptorchidism or testis retention after birth is relatively common in Yorkies. This condition may be dangerous if the retained testis is not removed. Check our article on undescended testes in dogs. Yorkies are also at risk of testicular neoplasia.
To prevent or detect these and other health conditions early, take your Yorkie to your Vet for a once-a-year examination.
Care and grooming
Surprisingly, Yorkies’ coat contains hairs very similar to humans, with almost no shedding. For that reason, dogs from this breed are considered hypoallergenic. In addition, Yorkies’ hair is unique and different from other dog breeds in that it is very thin, and has a silky nature.
Yorkies require daily hair brushing and a bath with warm water about once a week. Keep hairs from entering the eye rims by keeping them short, and check for areas of hair loss through your dog’s body regularly. Check your Yorky’s ears now and then for signs of mites or infections. Avoid water entering the ears during the bath (you can try cotton plugs in your dog ears if they tolerate them), and dry thoroughly with a clean towel.
Taking care of your Yorky’s physical aspect is beneficial because you pamper your dog, and this lowers stress in your dog to the minimum possible levels.
Grooming your dog will help you to learn to know your dog’s body better and quickly notice if something is wrong well in advance. Also, do grooming or care sessions at regular times, thus creating a feeling of security and well-being in your dog.
Do Yorkshire terriers shed? you may wonder.
Yorkies are low shedders. If your dog starts to shed a lot, that might be a sign of skin problems or other general health issues.
Are Yorkies social?
Yorkies are very social. They tend to be open and friendly to strangers. They love to play and be around people. Good company and quality time with humans lower stress levels and make your dog happy. This is another way to extend your dog’s lifespan.
Fun quality time
Another very important aspect that positively impacts a Yorkie’s longevity.
Yorkies are intelligent and need mental stimulation. Provide your dog with an enriched environment with plenty of opportunities to play and learn. It would be best if you took advantage of Yorkies’ trait of being highly trainable.
Although Yorkshire dogs are highly adaptable, we should provide them with a safe and constant environment, to reduce their stress to the minimum level. This is one of the keys to a longer and healthier life.
Since some Yorkies can be bossy sometimes, provide appropriate training and love, so you can modulate this and other behaviors.
Yorkshire terriers like to bark, although not excessively. This behavior usually results from the need to guard and protect their homes and owners as they are constantly vigilant. Only when this behavior is excessive you may want to seek the service of a dog trainer or animal behaviorist.
Are Yorkies smart?
A common question about Yorkies is whether they are smart or how much trainable they are.
Definitely, Yorkies are intelligent dogs.
Take advantage of their almost obsessive will to please their owners (you!) to get appropriate behaviors from them during training.
Praise and treats can do wonders when teaching tricks to your dog.
Remember to use low-calorie treats for training your Yorkie, to avoid your dog becoming overweight, as we will need to treat them as we teach them new things.
Socialization for Yorkies
As with any other dog, Yorkies need socialization. Ideally, you should socialize your dog during its first three months of age.
During the process, dogs learn not to be afraid of other dogs, humans, other animals, and even noisy things such as appliances, lawnmowers, etc.
Puppy parties are ideal for dogs to socialize but be aware that before four months of age, we are not sure dogs are immune enough to infectious diseases. Therefore, go to well-established puppy class establishments where animals are required to have previous vaccinations, the premises are regularly disinfected, and the venue is not attached to a veterinary clinic.
Tip: It is not ideal for socializing dogs at dog parks.
Yorkies and sleeping
Yorkies should have a fixed, quiet place to sleep. During sleep time, dogs dream, and scientists discovered that during that time, dogs reinforce and organize what they have learned through the day in their brains. Sleep quality is a must with Yorkies and other dogs, so make sure you allow your Yorkie to have a durable and comfortable bed (unless they are sleeping in your own bed with you).
Don’t be fooled by the fact that Yorkies are considered toy dogs.
They can be trained to do many things larger dogs do, like agility, sports, and commands.
Yorkies are brave, loyal, friendly dogs with whom you will not regret sharing your life.
Follow the advice above as much as possible, and you will enjoy your Yorkie for the years to come.
Please leave a comment if you would like to have any more specific information about Yorkies or if you noticed we missed something important to enrich the life of Yorkies!