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Yorkie Diarrhea

Yorkshire Terrier Diarrhea

Answer to: My Yorkie has Diarrhea, what can I do? Puppy or Adult

Canines can suffer from intestinal woes just as humans do. This section is going to discuss the problem of Yorkshire Terrier Diarrhea. We will talk about what it means when this strikes a Yorkie puppy and also reasons that an adult may suddenly have this issue.

While any sized dog can develop this problem and it should always be taken seriously, for toy breed dogs, one bout of diarrhea can cause serious dehydration issues.

Ongoing, chronic diarrhea can cause rapid weight loss, and for such a small toy dog as the Yorkshire Terrier, this can quickly become quite a serious issue.

All owners should be prepared and know what to do if this happens to their Yorkie. It often strikes quickly without warning. 

So, whether your puppy or dog currently suffers from this or you just want to know what to do if it happens, this section will be of great help to you.

We will discuss:
  • What This Is (technically)
  • What Causes This
  • Other Symptoms – Diarrhea can be accompanied with mucus, vomiting, blood and other issues
  • Treatment – Both at home and when you should take your Yorkie to the veterinarian.

When a Yorkie puppy or older dog has diarrhea, the bowel movements will be very loose or in more severe cases, a liquid. There are many causes of diarrhea that range from something as simple as a change in the diet to more serious medical issues such as infection. This can be acute (happening just once) or it can be chronic (an ongoing issue). This can also happen to a dog of any age. In many cases, this can be more dangerous when this happens to a young puppy or an older, senior dog.

Other Symptoms that Can Occur Alongside Diarrhea

Flatulence – It is common for a dog to have gas when he has diarrhea. There can be a lot of air mixed in with the stools and also it can be expelled at other times.

Blood in the stools- This can be bright red (called hematochezia) or dark (melena). If the blood in the diarrhea is bright red, this means that it is fresh. Most often, it is caused when a Yorkie strains. Small tears in the rectal area can cause small to moderate amount of bloody diarrhea. If a Yorkie puppy or dog has dark blood (it will look black) this means that it is ‘old’. This means that it is forming from an interior part of the body and then being discharged with the diarrhea. It can come from the stomach, esophagus, or from the small intestine. Rarer would be that it originates from the oral cavity, nasal cavity or lungs.

Mucus – While this can be disturbing to see, mucus is commonly seen in dogs with diarrhea. A dog’s intestines are lined with mucus, it looks like a jelly-type substance and it works to keep the lining of the colon moist and lubricated. If a Yorkie has a strong bout of diarrhea, the mucus can be carried out with the stool.
Lethargy- Diarrhea can be quite draining on a little Yorkie. Being so tiny, this can take quite a toll on a Yorkshire Terrier, causing the dog to feel very weak within a short amount of time.

Dehydration- When a dog has even one short bout of diarrhea, it can quickly cause dehydration. This is because a lot of water is taken from the body and expelled with the stools. Signs are weakness and sunken in eyes.

Fever- The normal temperature of canines is between 99.5-102.5 ° F. A Yorkie will technically have a fever if his or her temperature is 103.5 ° F (39.7° C) or higher. If the diarrhea is due to food sensitivity, fever will not usually be present. However, if it is due to an illness or infection, this may be a symptom.

If you are not sure if your Yorkie has a high temp, you can check this at home. You will want to obtain a pet thermometer (found at your local pet supply store or at the Yorkie Specialty Shoppe). Clean it with rubbing alcohol, cover the tip with petroleum jelly and carefully insert it into the Yorkie’s rectum, taking care to only insert it about ½ the length of the insertion tip. (Larger dogs would need a deeper insertion, small toy dogs like the Yorkshire Terrier only need it put in a tiny bit)  
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Vomiting- It is not uncommon for a Yorkie to have diarrhea and vomiting. These two things can go hand in hand. When a dog is suffering from both of these issues, it can dramatically increase the chances of developing dehydration. If the vomit is yellow and foamy, this usually means that it is stomach bile.

Decreased appetite- Feeling sick, whether it is due to a food allergy or a sickness can be very draining. It is very common for dogs to not want to eat when they have diarrhea.

Weight loss- Due to the combination of a lack of appetite and the expulsion of the stools, a Yorkshire Terrier can lose weight very rapidly. Since the Yorkie is a tiny dog to begin with, just a weight loss of one pound is something to be concerned about and to take note of.
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The first step to treat an acute NON severe case of diarrhea is to limit food for a 12 to 24 hour period. If a Yorkie is sensitive to a food ingredient, this gives the stomach a rest. If the diarrhea is due to another medical cause, this will limit the amount of watery stools that are expelled (which can quickly lead to dehydration, weakness and weight loss). During this time, you will want to be sure to offer a LOT of water. What can you to to help a Yorkie drink enough water? If the water is fresh, clean and cold. We always recommend using a filter for the kitchen tap water. There can be all sort of nasty elements in tap water (and can be the cause of the diarrhea in the first place!). So, use filtered water, make sure that the bowl is clean (clean it at least 2 times per day) and replenish it often with fresh, cold water.

If a Yorkie’s diarrhea can seemed to clear up within this time frame, it can help to then offer a bland diet. It is best to begin with a low salt chicken broth and mashed up potatoes pieces. If that is tolerated, you may want to have the next meal be tiny pieces of boiled white breast chicken meat and plain, un-salted, un-seasoned white rice. Blend together well. If you suspect food allergies or a food sensitivity, keep the dog on this diet for two weeks. It can take that long for the trigger to go away. Then slowly introduce a new food. One new ingredient every 2 weeks. This can include: baby peas, carrots, potatoes, fish, etc.

FOR MODERATE TO SEVERE CASES - If the diarrhea is not clearing up or if a Yorkie has other persisting issues like bloody diarrhea, moderate to severe vomiting, extreme weakness, fever and/or signs of dehydration, it will be important to bring the dog to an experienced and reputable veterinarian. The vet will run tests to find the cause of the symptoms. This often includes testing of a stool sample and blood tests. Other tests may include an ultrasound, cultures and/or a biopsy. For dogs that are very weak and dehydrated, an IV may need to be run in order to stabilize them.


Never ignore diarrhea when it comes to a Yorkie puppy. It CAN be fatal. The top five most common reasons for a Yorkie puppy to have diarrhea are:

1. Stress – Going to a new home, meeting new people and/or new animals, seeing new sights and hearing new sounds can be very overwhelming for a young puppy. Please follow a proper schedule of socialization and introduction. Note: You may wish to read Faye Dunningham’s top rated book: The Well Socialized Dog. It’s a great guide for puppies and Yorkies of all ages.

2. Change in diet – All dogs, and particularly small dogs like the Yorkshire Terrier need a very slow change when switching foods. With a gradual introduction, the change can result in stomach upset, vomiting and diarrhea.

3. Ingestion of a foreign object – Puppies are notorious for mouthing inedible objects. This can be a serious issue and can be fatal.

4. Parasites – This must be treated by a vet. A puppy can be born with worms or they can be transferred to the pup when he is nursing. Other possible parasites are Coccidia and Giardia.

5. Viral infection – There are many types of viral infections, and one of them is parvovirus. It is a particularly harsh infection and is fatal for many puppies. Because this is a possible cause of diarrhea with Yorkies, it is best to have a veterinarian determine the cause, which will include checking for Parvo. (Note: Parvo can pop up in the cleanest of settings, so please do not believe that only ‘dirty kennels’ are the origination points of this disease.)

There are some things that an owner can do to help prevent bouts of diarrhea with their Yorkie.

1. Never change foods fast. If you are switching to a new diet, do this gradual over the course of 4 weeks, mixing the two foods together and making a gradual change.

2. Puppy-proof the house, even for an older Yorkie. ON a regular basis, go over all of the flooring to search for any small objects that could be mouthed (Remember, it does not need to look like a food!) Dogs have been known to mouth and swallow keys, paper clips, coins and other odds and ends.

3. Keep your Yorkie up-to-date with his vaccinations and de-wormings.

4. Keep trash cans out of reach- This is a source of nasty bacteria.

5. When walking your dog outside, be aware of what he or she may try to mouth. Don’t let your Yorkie eat grass and do not allow your dog to lap water from puddles.

6. Introduce your Yorkie to elements in a slow, proper fashion. Limit stress if possible, for example if a large number of people are going to be coming to your home, do not lock your dog away but do offer a quiet corner with a comfy dog bed and some fun toys so that your Yorkie can retreat if feeling overwhelmed. 
A Final Thought

When humans have a bout of diarrhea, they can pass it off by saying, “Oh, I must have ate something that I shouldn’t have!” or they may know that they’ll suffer for a few days from a stomach bug but then all will be fine. However, with toy breeds dogs like the Yorkshire Terrier, diarrhea (alone or with vomiting, blood or other symptoms) can be quite serious and fatal in some cases. Please do not pass this off as ‘nothing’. It is important to bring your Yorkie to the vet for proper treatment.
Other helpful pages:

Yorkshire Terrier is eating feces - How to stop coprophagia 
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