Thinking about our beloved partner’s mortality is heart-wrenching. No one wants to think about the day they will lose their partner in crime, but it is a sad fact that everyone must contend with someday. It is far better for one to be prepared beforehand and take every precaution to prolong their life. A Yorkie owner must know the answer to the question, what do Yorkies usually die from?
Sad though, we have no choice other than to accept it as it is a fact of life. Thankfully Yorkies are a hardy breed that usually stays healthy and does not have many health issues. But there are respiratory issues and certain conditions that could complicate your little pals’ health. And that’s precisely what this blog will cover and other related topics, including ways to prolong their lifespan. But first, let’s discuss the average lifespan of Yorkies.
Average Life Expectancy of a Yorkshire Terrier
Yorkies are a hale and hearty breed that does not often have many health issues throughout its lifespan. But even healthy Yorkies are prone to feel sick occasionally; nothing too serious about it. However, you cannot, in any way, neglect the situation at hand or take it lightly. And if your little pup has been under the weather recently, be extra vigilant in such a situation.
When it comes to smaller breeds of dogs like Yorkies, even slight indigestion could cause severe health issues. It could easily result in the Yorkie losing a lot of weight, which is already on the lower end of the spectrum, and significant fluctuation in its blood sugar levels. There is also a severe risk of dehydration that could easily complicate any health situation. So, yes, you cannot in any way take their illness lightly, no matter how minor it may seem to be.
The average life expectancy of Yorkies is around 12 to 15 years, depending on the environment. In general, females of this breed live longer than their male counterparts by about 1.5 years. It is also wise for one to neuter their Yorkies early as it calms your companion down and prevents them from running on the road.
Road accidents are often the main cause of death among Yorkies as well as other smaller breeds. It is primarily due to the small stature of the animal, making it difficult for vehicles on the road to spot them.
What Do Yorkies Usually Die from?
A 20-year study on the different breeds of dogs has clarified that larger breeds often die due to musculoskeletal and gastrointestinal causes. In comparison, smaller breeds like Yorkies usually have endocrine-related issues. Endocrine relates to the pancreas, pituitary glands, and thyroid complications. The study also showed that Yorkies tend to live longer as well. Still, even then, there are specific Yorkie-related health issues one needs to keep in mind while taking care of them.
Leading Cause of Death in Yorkie Puppies
The first year for a Yorkie puppy is quite challenging, but that is not so different from other dog breeds. It is more common for a Yorkie puppy to die in the first year of life than in the next four years.
According to the latest estimation, 50 percent of newborn pup deaths happen within the first five days. Thirty percent of deaths occur within the next ten weeks. There is not much difference between the life expectancy of a Yorkie pup and a pup of any other breed.
Also Read: 10 Longest Living Large Dog Breeds
Common Health Problems in Yorkie Puppies and Adults
Here are some of the most common health problems a Yorkie may suffer from.
One of the deadliest conditions that a Yorkie could suffer from is rodents. A Yorkie can catch these dangerous rodents from mud or puddles. The symptoms of Leptospirosis include fever, shivering, vomiting, and diarrhea.
And even when you have vaccinated your dog against this condition, there are many strains of this disease that your dog will always be susceptible to. Vaccination does help, but you still cannot take your eyes away from them. Just make sure your buddy does not go into an area where rodents usually defecate.
2. Respiratory complications
Respiratory issues are pretty common in Yorkies and constitute about 16 percent of deaths among this breed. It is quite an astronomical number, so naturally, it behooves one to always be on the lookout for any kind of respiratory issue that their companion might have. If caught early, there are several treatment options that one can opt for.
Some of the common respiratory conditions include collapsed trachea, pulmonary fibrosis, and brachycephalic syndrome. In the case of aged Yorkies, the leading cause of the respiratory disease is the gradual degeneration of their lungs. This could lead to bronchitis.
Cancerous cells are also another common reason for death among Yorkies. Some cancer conditions are more commonly found than others. These are cancers of the mammary gland, skin, bones, lymphoma, and soft tissue sarcoma. Luckily the majority of them are treatable, but only if they are found in their initial stages. Regularly inspect your pet for any kinds of lumps and bumps as it is often the first sign of the presence of cancerous cells.
Parvovirus is usually found in Yorkie puppies. It is usually transmitted via another dog or infected animal waste. There are many symptoms that one can look out for in this condition, like constant pain, diarrhea, and vomiting. These are common and can be easily picked on.
Luckily Parvovirus is usually treatable and with over 90 percent success rate in recovery. It is a condition only found in Yorkie pups, and very few cases are found over the age of 2. The best precaution is to get their puppy vaccinated against Parvovirus, usually between 14 to 16 weeks.
Canine distemper is a condition you probably have not heard about before. It is a serious and contagious condition causing death among Yorkies and other smaller breeds as well. The virus attacks the animal’s nervous, gastrointestinal, and respiratory systems. The result would be the same as what is usually observed in the case of rabies.
Symptoms of Canine distemper include vomiting, nasal discharge, fever, seizures, and paralysis. The last one could be pretty critical as, in many of the recovery cases, the canines usually suffer from some extent of permanent nervous system damage. A Yorkie can get in contact with this virus through another infected dog or even through shared food and water bowls without proper cleaning.
Yorkie puppies have a small and fragile body, and the case is not very much different when it comes to adult Yorkies as well. Sadly, it is quite common for Yorkie puppies to get injured, either due to self-inflicted wounds or by children who do not understand how fragile this species actually is. It is pretty easy for them to harm Yorkie puppies. So much so that even a tiny tumble down the stairs could be fatal.
We have already discussed road accidents being one of the leading causes of death among Yorkies, both adults and puppies. Yorkies are pretty quick and can be easily crushed beneath an unsuspecting vehicle. So, one is advised to keep a keen eye on their Yorkie and don’t leave them unattended out of the house.
Hypoglycemia is a dangerous condition in Yorkie puppies. They are usually found under the age of 5 months old. In this condition, the puppy’s blood sugar level can drop too low, resulting in your buddy feeling distressed. It could easily turn into a life-threatening condition if it is left untreated.
8. Brachycephalic airway syndrome
This is a collective name given to any kind of abnormalities found in the upper airway region. It would be improbable if you have heard of this respiratory condition before, but it is nonetheless a leading cause of death among Yorkies.
This condition is often found in the ages of one to four and will develop inflammation in the airway. Alternatively, this condition could also lead to straining of the heart, which results in the pup having difficulty breathing.
9. Congenital disease
Congenital diseases are pretty common in the Yorkshire Terriers. Around 10 percent of deaths in this breed happen due to congenital diseases. One is more prevalent in Yorkies among all Congenital diseases: liver shunts. In this condition, the blood in the system cannot reach the liver, simply shutting it off. Since the liver is shut off, this prevents it from detoxing the chemicals and waste from the body, leading to the quickly worsening of health conditions.
Other health conditions than just what is mentioned above could cause death among Yorkies, like infection and Diabetes. However, most of them are treatable and complete recovery is also possible. One only needs to keep a keen eye on their Terrier and connect with the vet immediately if they suspect any such condition.
Foods That Could Cause Complications to Yorkies
You might be tempted to give your Yorkie what you eat or table scraps. They have the cutest eyes that make it nearly impossible for one not to give in. However, this could lead to disaster as many foods are toxic to Yorkies. Most of what humans eat is harmful to Yorkies and could easily lead to severe health conditions and, in some cases, even death. Let’s look at some food items that one should never give to Yorkies.
1. Chocolate, coffee, and caffeine
Any food item containing any of the three or all of them combined should be kept away from the Yorkies at all costs. Take the case of chocolate, for example. Chocolates contain theobromine in some quantity, which is quite harmful to dogs. Even a small amount of theobromine could cause health complications like vomiting, diarrhea, heart problems, seizures, and tremors. In such a condition, one should immediately take their bud to the vet.
It is simply no brainer; you should keep alcohol away from dogs, any breed, not just Yorkshire Terriers. The good news is that dogs usually do not like alcohol; their strong smell does the job. But even then, your dog can ingest alcohol in large quantities, which would not be good.
The large intake of alcohol results in vomiting and dehydration in smaller breeds like Yorkies and would require immediate medical attention.
3. Macadamia Nuts
Even a couple of nuts could be deadly for Yorkies. Ingesting Macadamia Nuts results in dogs’ weakness, tremors, and high fever. In such a situation, it is recommended that one connects with their vet immediately, who decides the best option depending on the condition. The vet would likely be forced to induce vomiting in your dog to remove the ingested nuts.
4. Grapes and Raisins
Who could say no to a couple of Grapes and Raisins? Surely, a couple of them would not hurt the Yorkie, would they? It is just the kind of attitude that you should not have. As a matter of fact, Grapes and Raisins contain fatal toxins that could result in Kidney failure in your dog. Naturally, you should make sure that it never happens.
5. Yeast Dough
Yeast Dough is another fatal food item that could heavily impact your dog’s health. The yeast dough would enter the dog’s stomach and then swell up. This results in bloating and gas issues in Yorkies and other small dog breeds. The stomachache could be pretty painful as well, requiring immediate treatment.
6. Onion and garlic
And lastly, we have onions and garlic, which are also harmful to dogs. Their smell could induce nausea and vomiting in Yorkies. And if Yorkies consume onion and garlic in a large quantity, they irritate the red blood cells. But on the other hand, crushed garlic works excellently for pest control. So, it would be best if you speak to your vet before taking any measures regarding the use of onions and garlic.
How Can One Extend the Lifespan of Their Beloved Pet?
There are ways for one to prolong the lifespan of their beloved companion. Just follow the below-listed advice to the letter, and you can avoid the risk of losing your buddy before their time.
1. Get your pup vaccinated
Ask any vet, and the first thing they would recommend is to vaccinate your pet without having any gaps in the immunization schedule.
Your vet will more than likely recommend core vaccinations for Parvovirus, distemper, canine hepatitis, and rabies. And if your dog is at severe risk, they would recommend more vaccinations at a later date. The vet would also recommend keeping your pup away from unvaccinated puppies until the vaccination is complete. And even after the vaccination, you would be asked to keep up with regular checkups.
2. Minimizing the chance of trauma
As mentioned earlier, trauma is common in Yorkies. But it can be easily avoided as well with some simple countermeasures and proper precautions.
- If you have children in your household, train them on how to take proper care of the pup. This is essential as small breeds require special care and handling compared to larger species.
- You should ensure that there is no place where your pet can jump from an unsafe height. You can use pet steps and cushions to assist your pup in jumping on and off the bed and sofa.
- Avoid collars and instead opt for a body harness with a leash. This helps prevent the collapse of the trachea.
- Attach a small dog bell to their harness
- Take advantage of the pet car seat offerings available in the market, which would reduce the chances of your dog being injured in the car.
3. Spray or neuter your pet
It is highly advised that one spray or neuter their Yorkie. It could quickly increase the likelihood of Yorkies surviving for a longer period. In fact, according to a study done by the University of Georgia, spraying or neutering results, on average, a 25 percent increase in the lifespan of female dogs and 14 percent for males. Additionally, spraying reduces the risk of infectious disease as well.
However, this also increases the risk for autoimmune diseases in Yorkies.
4. Look out for a nutritious diet for your buddy
You must have heard countless times how essential a nutritious diet is for humans. The same is the case with dogs, although their diet is quite different from what we humans usually eat. A healthy diet strengthens your pet’s immune system and prevents life-threatening diseases from occurring as well.
Many market products are over-processed and contain little to no nutritional value. You need to find nutritious foods for your dog that do not have any fat and are rich in vitamins and minerals. Another option is reaching out to the vet for suggestions regarding the same.
5. Keep your active
Staying active is as helpful for dogs as it is for humans. But keep them away from any mud and dirty area as it could result in Leptospirosis or being infected with any other dangerous disease. Schedule a 20-minute walk every day for your Yorkie.
6. Regular grooming of your pet
Ticks, fleas, and even lumps and bumps are pretty common in dogs. And while they are not that dangerous, the condition could escalate and severely impact your friend’s health. By regularly grooming your dog, you can easily catch many of these issues and take immediate remedial action.
So, these are the possible reasons behind what Yorkies usually die from. Therefore, consider all the points and ensure such situations never arise with your Yorkie.
Regardless of how hard it might be, your best bud will pass away one day. The only thing you can do is stay strong and ensure that they live a long, healthy, and happy life.
Meet Madison Phillips, your compassionate guide to pet well-being. With experience from VCA Animal Hospitals and Laxton Vet Clinics Bellaire Inc. Madison honed her skills and embraced the balance of medical expertise and compassion, through her articles, she simplifies pet care, whether you’re a newbie or an experienced pet parent.