Typically, adult dogs have 42 teeth. That’s 42 teeth either spaced out along the jawbones of a Great Dane, or crammed into the small mouth of a Yorkshire terrier. Yorkie’s are not only cute and good sports about bows in their hair, like many small breeds they are prone to overcrowding teeth and dental disease.
According to veterinary research, 68 percent of all dogs over the age of 3 have a form of dental disease. Although there is not a set age or schedule for when a Yorkie should get a dental cleaning, owners should schedule the first professional cleaning between 2 and 3 years of age. When Yorkie puppies begin cutting their adult teeth, it is not uncommon for them to retain a few of their baby ones, especially the canine teeth. If this happens, the baby teeth can be removed at the time of spaying or neutering, which is usually around 6 months of age.
Periodontal disease is the most common oral problem in dogs and especially in Yorkshires. Periodontal disease is an inflammation or infection of the gums. Excessive tarter buildup is a common factor, and if left untreated, it can cause serious health issues. Not only gum recession and tooth or bone loss, but also the bacteria can seep into the blood stream affecting the heart, kidneys or liver.
Watch for Signs
Bad breath tends to be the most noticeable sign there's a problem, especially when those kissing licks simply aren’t as fresh as they once were. Tarter buildup typically begins on the back molars, and because of the location it often isn’t seen right away. Get into the habit of checking your Yorkie’s back teeth on regular basis and watch for red or swollen gums. Also, periodontal problems can be painful. Watch for signs of your Yorkie having trouble chewing or being reluctant.
George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images
Chances are your Yorkshire will need to have more than one professional dental cleaning in his lifetime, but there are ways you can help. Brushing your dog’s teeth is extremely beneficial. If your dog is an older fella, he may not like you starting it now, but if your dog is younger, the sooner you get started the better. Your veterinarian is happy to demonstrate the best way to approach brushing, and never use human toothpaste. It can be toxic. There are diets that claim to help with tarter buildup, but talk to your vet about these as well. They may have more calories than your dog needs.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.
Slone Wayking worked as a professional in the veterinary field for 20 years. Though her interest in animal health led to this path, Wayking initially studied creative arts. She has been article writing for more than a year and is currently working towards her degree in multimedia. Her certifications include business writing and basic web design.