Why Do Yorkies Smell So Bad? 14 Reasons + 3 Tips

Why do Yorkies smell so bad

Yorkies sometimes may have a foul odor to their bodies leading to a question: why do Yorkies smell so bad?

In this article, we will discuss:

  • 3 Tips To Get Rid Of The Smell From Your Yorkie
  • 14 Reasons Why Do Yorkies Smell So Bad
  • And much more…

Why Do Yorkies Smell So Bad?

The reason Yorkies have a foul odor is due to an accumulation of body oils and frequent skin rashes and allergies. Another reason for bad odor is due to sweat being trapped into the Yorkie’s dense fur. Thus, frequent grooming along with a healthy diet is necessary to keep your pup from stinking. 

14 Reasons Why Do Yorkies Smell So Bad? 

Here are the top 14 reasons why Yorkies smell so bad.

1. Lack of Proper Grooming

Why Do Yorkies Smell So Bad?

One of the common reasons why do Yorkies smell so bad is because of a lack of grooming. Yorkies have dense hair on their skin and thus are more susceptible to skin diseases and allergies.

Their hair also needs proper brushing to make sure there is good air circulation to the skin. Lack of dog grooming can increase the build-up of natural body oils making their skin greasy. This then causes a foul odor. 

It is recommended to bathe your dog once every 4 weeks to maintain its cleanliness and to remove any smell from your yorkie. If your Yorkie is very active and tends to get its hair dirty easily, you can consider bathing it more often. 

When grooming your dog make sure to be patient and gentle with them as some pups are actually scared of the whole process. Make sure you use the right product for your little Yorkie and not products that will irritate their sensitive skin. Here is an elaborate list of Do’s and Don’t according to PETA for grooming dogs. 

2. Dental Disease/ Periodontal disease

Another top reason for Yorkies smelling bad is dental issues. 

Just like humans, when plaque and tartar get built up in the teeth and gums of dogs, it results in bad breath. Yorkshire terriers are also very prone to gum overgrowth which then produces a foul smell.

Thus, good oral care is extremely important not only to get rid of bad breath but to also protect your little pet from underlying diseases like periodontal diseases.

The following are some common signs and symptoms given by John Huff, a dental specialist from VCA  of periodontal disease in dogs that you can check for in your Yorkie:

  • Discharge from the nose
  • Bad breath
  • Swelling under eyes
  • Drooling
  • Red, bleeding, and swollen gums
  • Visible tartar
  • Difficulty eating

If you notice any of the above symptoms in your Yorkie, check with your vet and get the dental issue treated as soon as possible. 

3. Anal Gland Diseases (or Anal Sac Problems)

Why Do Yorkies Smell So Bad?

If you see your pet scooting its bottom to the ground, it is possible that it has some anal gland issues. A fishy odor is a result of secretion from these anal sacs in dogs. 

Dogs use their anal glands to communicate with other dogs around them. 

According to Anna Burke, an author for the American Kennel Club, anal gland problems are very common among small dogs. The secretion from these glands produces a bad odor. Thus, it is one of the important reasons why your Yorkie may be smelling bad. 

If you think your Yorkie has an anal gland infection it is best to get it checked with a vet. 

Some common signs of anal gland issues are:

  • Excessive licking and chewing around the rear end
  • Distinct smell often described as a mix of feces and fish
  • Scooting and leaving a stain trail behind them
  • Greasy, smelly brown discharge on the floor
  • Diarrhea
  • Painful poop and swollen anal sacs

4. Skin Problems

Skin infections and problems due to environmental allergies (mold, pollen, dust, pesticides, secondhand cigarette smoke), flea bites, food reactions can cause your Yorkie’s skin to become dry, itchy, and flaky. 

Below are 5 natural remedies to soothe dry skin in dogs as per AKC

  • Oatmeal bath
  • Coconut Oil
  • Plain Yogurt
  • Apple Cider Vinegar and Water spray
  • Herbal tea soaks

Sometimes even open wounds, cuts, bites, or lacerations when left untreated lead to the formation of an abscess or pus which produces a bad odor. Make an effort to check your Yorkie regularly for any lacerations or bruised paws. 

5. Seborrhea or Oily Glands

Why Do Yorkies Smell So Bad?

According to PetMD, seborrhea or seborrhea dermatitis is a skin condition of the sebaceous glands that causes the dog’s skin to produce extra sebum and have flaky, itchy, or red skin. 

According to Tammy Hunter, DVM, from VCA hospital, seborrhea can be either a primary or a secondary disease. Primary seborrhea is inherited and is seen in breeds like:

  • West Highland White Terriers
  • Cocker Spaniels
  • Basset Hounds

Secondary seborrhea on the other hand is called idiopathic seborrhea, does not have exact causes. It can be caused due to underlying problems like:

  • Environmental factors like humidity and temperature changes
  • Internal and external parasites like ticks, mange mites, and fleas. 
  • Poor diet with lack of Omega 3 fatty acids
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Musculoskeletal diseases

Dr. Tammy Hunter says that many dogs have a foul smell associated with seborrhea. As seborrhea is associated with excess sebum production, Yorkies who usually have dense hair fall victim to this. The smell keeps getting more foul if the seborrhea is worsened by the presence of a second bacterial or yeast infection. 

If you suspect your yorkie has seborrhea, consult a vet to determine the type of seborrhea and the treatment options available. 

6. Fleas Problem

A flea-infested Yorkie who is allergic to the saliva of the fleas will experience severe skin itchiness. This, in turn, would lead to rashes and even severe skin conditions. 

According to PetMD, fleas can lay about 20 eggs per day. Thus, if your Yorkie’s flea infestation isn’t taken care of from the very start, it can lead them to develop skin wounds and bruises due to excessive body itching which might lead to bad dried blood odor along with further skin problems. 

Here are common symptoms of fleas in dogs:

  • Excessive body scratching, licking, and biting
  • Loss of hair
  • Scabs
  • Skin infections and rashes
  • Ear infections
  • Flea dirt

Here’s an informative video on how to get rid of fleas in dogs:

7. Ear Infections

Ear infections are common in Yorkies as they have hairy and floppy ears. Bacterias and viruses may cause rashes around or in the ear. Ear mites feed off of your Yorkie’s ear wax and dead skin cells which causes further damage. So, ear infections can be one of the reasons for why do yorkies smell so bad.

A very common ear infection is a yeast infection which leads to a very pronounced odor. According to PetMD, a yeast infection in dogs occurs when there is excessive candida production in their body. This leads to a very musty smell in your Yorkie’s ear. 

There are many over-the-counter medications to treat ear infections in Yorkies. Here is everything you need to know about ear mites in dogs as per AKC.  You can also speak to your vet for more information. 

8. Food Allergies

Why Do Yorkies Smell So Bad?

Seasonal or any type of food allergy in your Yorkie might cause them to have skin inflammation. This in turn may cause their glands to produce excess sebum and oil-producing a very musty odor. 

Red meat allergies are very common in dogs. These foods contain preservatives or additives like food coloring that may lead your pet to have skin inflammation, rashes, allergies. As per Dr.Catherine Barnette, DVM at VCA hospitals, some common dog food allergies include:

  • Beef
  • Lamb
  • Duck
  • Soy or gluten

Take a look at the best 5 food picks if you have an allergic Yorkie.

9. Unhealthy Diet

Feeding your Yorkie more than required or having an unhealthy dietary plan can also cause skin issues. Their skin then starts producing excess sebum from certain glands in the skin which leads to a musty smell. A poor diet can also lead to a yeast infection which again produces a bad odor. 

In particular, these are 3 things you should keep in mind when planning a healthy diet for your little Yorkie:

  • Make sure to include food of high protein like chicken and quinoa.
  • Keep away all kinds of additives, preservatives, fillers, and byproducts that may cause harm to your little four-legged pet
  • Include superfoods like flaxseeds, apples, and sweet potatoes to your little Yorkie’s diet plan. 

If you are concerned about what exactly to include in your Yorkie’s diet, check out our extensive guide here.

10. Flatulence/Gas 

It is normal for all dogs to pass gas. However, if the gas really stinks, there must be an underlying problem. The reason behind it may be intolerable or certain food allergies that must have led your Yorkie to suffer from flatulence. This issue can be dealt with by speaking to a veterinarian who might then suggest dietary plans and changes. 

Dr.Tammy Hunter, DVM from VCA hospitals state the following to be the main causes of flatulence in dogs:

  • Compulsive eating
  • Internal Parasites
  • Tumors
  • Spoiled food
  • Dairy products
  • Spicy food
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
  • Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO)
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

11. Respiratory Problems

Sometimes problems in the respiratory tract of the dog can cause them to have bad breath and odor. 

Issues in parts of the dog’s respiratory system like the throat, trachea, throat, nose, and mouth cause breathing problems in them. It can lead to problems like dyspnoea (difficulty in breathing) and tachypnea (rapid breathing). 

Respiratory problems like asthma, cold, sneezing, wheezing, and coughing along with other lung problems can also cause bad breath along with other serious conditions like pneumonia, lung tumors, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), and more. 

Common signs of respiratory problems in dogs as per PetMd findings include:

  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Excessive coughing
  • Gagging after coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Blue gums
  • Fainting

If you observe any of these symptoms in your Yorkie, you should contact your vet immediately and get it treated before the situation worsens. 

12. Chemicals

Your little pet may be having an allergic reaction to the chemical you may have used for cleaning your carpet, the detergent you use on their bedding and sheets, or the shampoo you are using on them. This may aggravate skin rashes and allergies and if not treated leads to a bad pungent smell. 

You can replace these harsh chemicals with natural acidic cleaners like lemon and vinegar for your home. Here are 5 natural dog-safe cleaning products given by the American Kennel club that you can use to clean. 

13. Underlying Medical Conditions

If your Yorkie has an underlying medical condition like hormonal imbalance and Cushing’s syndrome.

Cushing’s syndrome or hyperadrenocorticism according to the American Kennel Club is caused by a tumor in the pituitary gland. It takes time for these symptoms to develop. Some common signs include:

  • Extreme thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Weak Muscles
  • Lesions on the skin
  • Obesity
  • Hair loss

Due to Cushing’s syndrome, they may tend to have greasy skin and oily skin which then produces a bad odor and causes them to smell a little funky. 

14. Dirty Bedding

Dog owners want their dogs to have a nice and comfy bed for them to relax. Often what happens is they forget to clean their pet’s bedding which can lead pets to be flea-infested or smell bad.

Dr.Tina Wismer, DVM, recommends pet owners wash their dog’s bedding every two weeks to maintain good hygiene and the health of their pet. 

3 Tips To Why Do Yorkies Smell So Bad? 

Now that we have looked at possible reasons for why do Yorkies smell so bad, let’s look at some ways you can deal with the issue. It is important to remember that these solutions vary according to the issue your Yorkie is facing. 

Thus, identifying the cause of the problem and then using the right technique to solve it will help directly tackle the issue at hand. 

1. Bathe Your Yorkie With An Anti-fungal Shampoo

Using an anti-fungal shampoo for your Yorkie will help get rid of fleas and ticks on their skin.

Curaseb Medicated Shampoo for Dog & Cats - Treats Skin Infections & Hot Spots - Chlorhexidine & Ketoconazole – Veterinary Formula

Using good shampoos for your Yorkie will not only help get rid of bad odor and smell but will also make it easier to remove dead hair and built-up sebum on the skin that causes the bad odor in them. 

Looking out for shampoos for your Yorkie? Take a look at the 7 best shampoos for your Yorkie here.

Watch this adorable video of a Yorkie owner bathing his little Yorkie. 

2. Wash Your Yorkie’s Face and Brush Their Teeth

Yorkshire terriers are dogs known to have dense hair on their eyes, ears, and faces. Therefore, it is important for you to wash and clean their face every time they have had a meal. This will reduce bad odor. 

Veterinarians recommend using facial wipes dogs to clean their faces. These facial wipes are only effective if you trim and cut your Yorkie’s hair. 

Pogi's Grooming Wipes - 100 Hypoallergenic Pet Wipes for Dogs & Cats - Plant-Based, Fragrance-Free, Deodorizing Dog Wipes

Yorkies are prone to more dental health issues than other dog breeds. Thus, make sure your brush their teeth regularly to get rid of built-up plaque and Tatar. This will help reduce bad breath in your pet. In addition to brushing, you can give your Yorkie, dental chews and put them on a healthy nutritious diet. 

C.E.T. VEGGIEDENT Flex Tartar Control Chews for Dogs - Extra Small

3. Clean Their Bedding

In addition to keeping your dog clean, it is important to also wash their bedding, sheets, cushions, and even inside the cushion. This will help reduce the transfer of dirt, fleas, and bacterias to your Yorkie. This may help in reducing bad odor in your Yorkie completely. 


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