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7 Reasons Yorkies Smell & How To Prevent It (For Good)

Let’s face it, no one likes a stinky Yorkie (even us owners). This article explains why your Yorkie might end up smelling bad, the best solutions to fix it and how to prevent it from happening again in the future. We cover everything you need to know on this topic.

It’s true that Yorkies are prone to smelling bad. Typical reasons include ear infections, skin issues, poor diet, poor dental hygiene, overbathing, dirty paws, or impacted anal glands. Thankfully, there are many solutions available.


Are Yorkies Smelly Dogs?

It isn’t the same for every Yorkie, but yes, most will go through some stinky periods in their life for a range of reasons. Some dog breeds are lucky and rarely smell no matter what happens, but unfortunately, Yorkies are not part of that group.

However, despite the fact that Yorkies are prone to bad odor, it can nearly always be resolved and with a few good habits can be prevented from happening again.

7 Reasons Why Yorkies Smell Bad

Below are seven of the most common causes that account for nearly all cases of bad odor in Yorkies. If you’ve got a stinky Yorkie on your hands, rest assured the reason is below…

1. Ear infections

A surprisingly common source of bad smell are ear infections. Yorkies with their hairy ears are prone to ear infections, and if one develops enough, it will end up smelling quite pungent.

Typical signs that indicate your Yorkie has an ear infection include head shaking or tilting, bad smell coming from face area, not letting you touch her head or whining when you do, and excessive scratching at her ear.

2. Skin issues

“Skin issues” include many different problems, from dry skin, yeast infections, ringworm folliculitis and more Any problem to do with the skin can not only become a serious health issue, but can end up smelling bad too.

Dry skin is a common culprit and is usually the start of something worse. Dry skin results in a lot of scratching, which can eventually create a wound and get infected. Infections can cause our dogs a lot of pain and can end up smelling bad.

Yeast infections are another very common issue. In short, when a build-up of bacteria gets out of hand (usually in the warm humid or dirty areas), it can develop into a full-blown yeast infection. Yeast infections smell very strong and somewhat cheesy. It’s important not to mistake the natural “corny” smell of the paws for a yeast infection.

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3. Poor diet

A poor diet can be the catalyst for a myriad of problems. In terms of bad smell, a diet that doesn’t work well for your Yorkie can result in sensitive stomachs and excess gas. This could cause bad breath or excessive flatulence.

A poor diet can also lead to a range of allergies, ultimately affecting your Yorkie’s skin and coat in a bad way. Many of the issues to do with the skin can stem from poor nutrition.

4. Poor dental hygiene

Dental hygiene is a potential source of bad smell you’ll want to check right away. Not only can it be caused by bad diet, but more than likely your Yorkie has a build-up of plaque and tartar. Which is essentially just bacteria, and as we know, bacteria does not smell good.

The truth is that most dog owners don’t invest enough time into keeping their dog’s mouth clean, and is therefore one of the most common sources of bad odor. We need to brush their teeth with special canine toothbrushes & toothpaste, as well as have regular dental check ups.

5. Overbathing

Ironically enough, overbathing does not lead to a better-smelling Yorkie. While Yorkies, in general, should be bathed more than other breeds, bathing too much will eventually lead to a greasy smelly coat (and possibly skin issues).

Bathe your Yorkie once every 3 to 4 weeks to keep them clean, without running the risk of overbathing and stripping them of their natural oils. It’s also important to use a natural ingredient dog shampoo, and avoid regular ones with harsh chemicals.

6. Dirty paws

The paws are the main point of contact to the ground, and you would be surprised by the amount of dirt and foul substances our dogs walk in every day.

Your Yorkie could have walked in something foul or rotten while out on their daily walk and brought it back into the house.

It could also be possible that they have a yeast infection (as explained above). The paws are the typical area where yeast infections develop.

7. Anal glands

Impacted or infected anal glands are a common source of stinky fishy odor that can happen to Yorkies of all ages.

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Just inside a Yorkies rectum are two anal gland sacs which are supposed to secrete a small amount of foul-smelling substance with each poop. This is essentially used a scent marker and is actually very important in the canine world.

However, for various reasons, these anal glands may develop issues, and secret this foul-smelling substance when it shouldn’t. If this is the case for your Yorkie, you may witness them scoot their bums along the ground.

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Resolving Bad Smell In Yorkies

So what are the solutions?

The first thing to consider is whether or not the cause is obvious. If you can immediately identify one of the causes listed above then you may have an appropriate plan of action already.

Check where the smell is coming from

This is crucial. The first thing to do is confirm where the smell is coming from. Is it coming from her paws? coat? breath? ears? or face in general?

Locating the source of the smell is the first thing to do, as this will help you figure out the cause.

Consider your Yorkie’s recent activities

Has your Yorkie recently been out for a long walk in the park? Could her paws be dirty? Or is this a smell that’s been lingering around for a while now?

If it’s been around for a while, it could indicate skin issues, yeast infections, bad breath or dental issues.

Inspect your Yorkie thoroughly

Give your Yorkie a thorough inspection and check her all over. Even if you think you’ve found the cause already, it’s still important to inspect everywhere, as you may find additional sources of smell that indicate further health issues.

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When You Should Visit a Vet

After inspecting your Yorkie and identifying the likely source of the smell, what should you do… Can you fix this at home or should you visit your vet?

When it’s advised to speak to your vet:

  • You suspect an ear infection with a strong smell coming from the ears
  • You have found ample plaque and tartar build up in the mouth with foul breath
  • You have found rashes, skin infections, yeast infections or open wounds
  • You suspect your Yorkie has impacted anal glands
  • After a lot of consideration you have no idea where the smell is coming from
  • If your Yorkie has already been smelling bad for quite some time

If any of the above apply to your situation then it’s best to speak to your veterinarian for either direct help, or further health inspections.

Good Habits To Prevent Your Yorkie From Smelling

Let’s run through a list of good habits and preventative measures to keep your Yorkie smelling good.

  • Only bathe once every 3 to 4 weeks at a maximum
  • Use only natural ingredient dog shampoo
  • Gently brush your Yorkie for 5-10 minutes daily to remove dirty and muck build up
  • Use baby wipes or dog grooming wipes to give her a light freshen up (once a week)
  • Make sure her diet is high quality and working well with her stomach
  • Brush her teeth with dog toothpaste every day (or at least 3-4 times per week)
  • Have bi-yearly dental health check ups
  • Frequently wash and dry her paws after her walks (dry them thoroughly)

By following the tips above, you’ll keep your Yorkie smelling neutral and pleasant.

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Before making any decisions that could affect the health and/or safety of your dog, you should always consult a trained veterinarian in your local area. Even though this content may have been written/reviewed by a trained veterinarian, our advice to you is to always consult your own local veterinarian in person. Please read our full dislcaimer if you have any questions.