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Why Do Yorkies Lick So Much?

If you’re the new pet parent to a Yorkshire Terrier dog, or Yorkie, then you may be surprised by all the licks you’re getting.

Yorkies are an affectionate dog breed that licks a LOT, so you best get used to this behavior.

Of course, this can get excessive and such behavior is not ideal.

Below well share reasons why you may notice a Yorkie licking and how to prevent this behavior when it becomes excessive.

About The Yorkie

yorkie playing with toy

The Yorkie was bred in the 19th century in Yorkshire, England.

Interestingly, it is regarded as the smallest breed as it weighs a maximum weight of 3.2 Kilograms, equivalent to 7 pounds.

Its height ranges from 7 to 8 inches.

Yorkies are very energetic, hence very playful.

Their small stature does not hinder them from jumping all over.

However, they exhibit a very peculiar character, which is licking.

As a dog owner, you wonder why Yorkies lick so much.

Reasons Why Yorkies Lick So Much

Some Yorkies licking is entirely natural.

However, when they lick excessively, it may signify that all is not well.

For example, it can serve as a clue that your Yorkie is feeling unwell, has serious health complications, is anxious, or it can be a way of portraying unhappiness.

This article shall explain why Yorkies lick so much and how you can control the licking, so stick around to get answers.

You shall also get answers on distinguishing between normal and excessive licking, which may need you to pay keen attention or visit a vet.

Most dog owners, especially those who pet Yorkies, will tell you that this little creature can swirl its little tongue around something a million times in just seconds.

However, some people may find this behavior annoying and frustrating.

Why and when do they lick a lot, then? Read on to find out.

yorkie licking little girl

To Show Affection and Attention

Dogs often show affection by kissing their keepers.

Their kisses are equivalent to licks.

So if your Yorkie constantly licks you, they may be portraying their affection and gratitude to you.

Interestingly, Yorkies only exhibit affection for people they trust and have formed a deep affection for.

Yorkies don’t just lick to show love to just anyone.

Yorkies also lick a lot often when their companion is anxious or upset.

They may try to comfort the dog owner or be mischievous and want attention.

There are numerous other reasons, as explained subsequently.

Boredom, Anxiety, or Stress

Yorkies are very energetic.

Earlier in their existence, people used them to catch mites and rats in the mines.

These traits trickled down to subsequent generations, and most Yorkies have a high desire to run, chase, play and pounce on their owners or other dog’s breeds or surfaces.

Hence when the Yorkie is bored, it tends to excessively lick you or the air to entertain and keep itself busy and active.

It may be trying to communicate that it’s time to take them for a walk.


Nausea or Health Problems

One symptom that can be used to check if your Yorkie is feeling nauseous or sick is if they are licking themselves excessively.

Often, when a dog is feeling nauseous, the salivary glands produce a lot of saliva.

So the dog tries to reduce the saliva by licking themselves around their mouth and nose.

Licking that may indicate a health problem may include:

  • Excessive licking on one particular region usually suggests that the dog is in pain in that region. In addition, licking may be a way to help cope and cool down the pain. Another sign that the dog is in pain is general distress from the dog.
  • Excessive licking on the paws may depict that your Yorkie has a related gastrointestinal-related disease or a chronic pancreas disorder.
  • Licking on inflamed areas – this usually indicates your Yorkie may have dermatitis-related conditions.


Yorkies can also develop allergies.

If you notice them liking their paws, bellies, and back vigorously, it may signify an allergic reaction.

The dog may react to harsh environmental conditions or some food.

This allergic reaction is usually exhibited after the dog has spent time outside or consumed after eating certain foods.

Examples include fertilizers, grass, and weeds.

For example, when some bits of fertilizer get into the dog’s paw, they may react. You can solve this by washing their paws after walking outside.

yorkie in a basket

Dental Issues

Your Yorkie may lick excessively due to dental issues.

This breed is very prone to dental-related problems.

They have a small gum that makes them more likely predisposed to gum and jaw diseases.

They can also have an excessive tartar accumulation on their jaws.

One way the Yorkies try to ease this discomfort is through licking.

Additionally, when they swirl the tongue around their mouth, they can remove food residues.

Infestation of Fleas

Generally, when dogs are infested with fleas, they usually react in various ways, and so do Yorkies.

Fleas make their coats very itchy and dry.

When Yorkies are infested with fleas or other insects, they excessively lick their coat, representing the amount of discomfort they are in.

Other reactions apart from licking include excess scratching, chewing their coat, and general dullness of the fur.

You should ensure the flea remedy is administered rapidly to avoid multiplication of fleas.

Driven by Curiosity

Most dog breeds are very curious.

They want to know more about their surroundings and the environment.

In this case, people use their five senses to feel, touch, and smell things.

Likewise, in the case of Yorkies, they use their tongue to lick on things to gather more information about them.

Yorkshire Terrier

To Lick the Salty Taste of Your Skin

The human skin releases excrete through the sweat in the skin pores.

The sweat has some acids and salts.

These salts are very delicious to the Yorkies, so they may be obsessed with licking your face.


The habit might sound simple, but some dogs may excessively exhibit licking due to the dog’s behavior from an early age.

For the Yorkie, this may seem normal.

Additionally, the Yorkie may feel physiologically good when they lick themselves, their owners, or surfaces.

When Yorkies continuously lick, a hormone called endorphins is released.

This hormone is often referred to as the “feel-good” chemical in the brain.

The Yorkie feels relaxed and good when licking.

How To Stop Yorkie Licking

Yorkies are very friendly; however, their obsession with licking people, themselves, or surfaces may deter interested people from keeping them.

Hence, the question of whether excessive licking by Yorkies can be controlled arises.

The good news is that the mechanisms outlined below will effectively manage Yorkies’ excessive licking.

Most times, Yorkies licking is natural, but you may find it frustrating and want to control it.

Below are some practical tips that will eliminate this nuisance issue.

Exercise Your Yorkie

Your Yorkie is probably bored and needs some exercise to keep it busy.

Playing with your Yorkie or walking keeps it busy and redirects its focus.

Plan a regular exercise routine for your Yorkie, and you will see the excessive licking dramatically reduced.

yorkie in swimming pool

Visit a Vet

If your dog exhibits licking that may point to the Yorkie being unwell, then the best thing is to visit a vet.

A vet will find the root problem, and your Yorkie can get a proper diagnosis, hence correct medication.

Teeth Cleaning

If you notice your dog regularly licking its jaw, clean its teeth.

Don’t be surprised!

Your Yorkie teeth need to be cleaned regularly, especially after eating solid food.

A vet can also do cleaning professionally at least once a year.

Cleaning eliminates tartar buildup and food residue in their mouth.

The removal of tartar reduces gum and jaw discomfort and definitely will reduce their licking habits.

Train Your Yorkie

Training the Yorkie can help alleviate the anxiety and unsettledness that the dog might feel.

If not well trained, the nauseous dog might seem nagging.

But with good training, they can learn how to control how they feel to reduce their licking.

woman training yorkie

Change Their Food

If your Yorkie is reacting to a certain type of food, it is advisable to change its diet.

Additionally, you should consult with your vet for other allergic reaction solutions.

Suppose the environment triggers the allergy, such as weeds or grass the dog steps on.

Then, you can reduce the irritation by washing the dog’s paws after walks.

Final Word

Yorkies are cute and compassionate pets to have.

They lick a little more than an average dog, but that is part of their communication.

They might be expressing their affection or communicating discomfort.

If the licking is way past the normal habit, you should see a vet.

But all in all, they are just loving, playful, and full of energy.

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National Canine Research Association of America