Eye and Teeth Problems

Eye and teeth problems are more common among small breeds, including the Yorkshire terrier. Fortunately, eye problems are not as common among Yorkies as other toy breeds, and tooth problems can generally be prevented with a good dental care routine at home. As long as you stay on top of your Yorkie's general health, most major problems can be easily avoided.

Eye Problems

The Yorkie actually rates as quite healthy in the eye department, compared to other toy dogs. Remember that the standard calls for eyes “medium in size and not too prominent.” Hence, the Yorkie avoids the problems faced by breeds with more bulging eyes. The Yorkie's eyelids don't usually cause problems with rolling inward or outward either.

Retinal dysplasia can be inherited in Yorkshire terriers; see Chapter 12 for more information on this condition. All dogs may develop cataracts as they age. You'll see a cloudy often bluish spot in the eye. Some interfere with sight. They can be surgically removed. Finally because a Yorkie is no bigger than a cat, a swipe from a cat's claws may connect with the Yorkie's eyes and scratch the cornea.

Teeth Problems

Dental health can be a weak point in many toy breeds. The smaller jaw still has to accommodate the same number of teeth as larger muzzles, and in order to fit, teeth often overlap or shift sideways.

Dogs don't tend to get cavities as humans do, but their teeth do build up tartar and plaque, which can inflame gums, ultimately leading to tooth loss, and may even cause disease in internal organs. Brush your Yorkie's teeth as often as you can, and have them cleaned by your veterinarian when necessary.

Yorkies can fracture teeth by chewing on bones or other hard objects. Tug is not an advisable game to play with Yorkies because it's too easy to injure their teeth and mouths. Instead, play fetch with soft, squeaky toys, and let the Yorkie “kill” the toy by shaking it.

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