Everyday Care of Your Yorkshire Terrier
Enter into a sensible discussion of dietary and feeding considerations, exercise, grooming traveling and identification of your dog.
Dogs do not need to be bathed as often as humans, but bathing as needed is essential for healthy skin and a healthy, shiny coat. Again, like most anything, if you accustom your pup to being bathed as a puppy, it will be second nature by the time he grows up. You want your dog to be at ease in the bath or else it could end up a wet, soapy, messy ordeal for both of you!
Brush your Yorkshire Terrier thoroughly before wetting his coat. This will get rid of most mats and tangles, which are harder to remove when the coat is wet. Make sure that your dog has a good non-slip surface to standon. Begin by wetting the dog’s coat. A shower or hose attachment is necessary for thoroughly wetting and rinsing the coat. Check the water temperature to make sure that it is neither too hot nor too cold.
|BOWING THE TOPKNOT
The Yorkshire Terrier, like other longcoated toy breeds, typically sports a topknot on his head. The fall, or the long hair on the head, is gathered and tied with a silky ribbon or bow, contributing to the Yorkshire Terrier’s unique expression. When forming a topknot, gather all of the hair from the outside corners of the eyes and the top of the head between the ears and down the neck; brush up together and band or tie it securely. Some breeders prefer to use two bows.
|SOAP IT UP
The use of human soap products like shampoo, bubble bath and hand soap can be damaging to a dog’s coat and skin. Human products are too strong; they remove the protective oils coating the dog’s hair and skin that make him water-resistant. Use only shampoo made especially for dogs. You may like to use a medicated shampoo, which will help to keep external parasites at bay.
Next, apply shampoo to the dog’s coat and work it into a good lather. You should purchase a shampoo that is made for dogs; do not use a product made for human hair. Wash the head last; you do not want shampoo to drip into the dog’s eyes while you are washing the rest of his body. Work the shampoo all the way down to the skin. You can use this opportunity to check the skin for any bumps, bites or other abnormalities. Do not neglect any area of the body—get all of the hard-to-reach places.
Once the dog has been thoroughly shampooed, he requires an equally thorough rinsing. Shampoo left in the coat can be irritating to the skin. Protect his eyes from the shampoo by shielding them with your hand and directing the flow of water in the opposite direction. You should also avoid getting water in the ear canal. Be prepared for your dog to shake out his coat—you might want to stand back, but make sure you have a hold on the dog to keep him from running through the house.
Most of the mats and tangles that you will find on your Yorkshire Terrier will be on the underside or belly. Pet shops sell various conditioners and detangler solutions that can help remove tangles. You can shred part of the mat with your fingers and work it out with a comb. Be patient. If you spend the necessary time brushing every day, you should never have to resort to cutting a mat from your dog’s coat.
The ears should be kept clean and any excess hair inside the ear should be trimmed. Ears can be cleaned with a cotton ball and liquid cleaner or ear powder made especially for dogs. Be on the lookout for any signs of infection or ear-mite infestation. If your Yorkshire Terrier has been shaking his head or scratching at his ears frequently, this usually indicates a problem. If his ears have an unusual odor, this is a sure sign of mite infestation or infection, and a signal to have his ears checked by the veterinarian.
Your Yorkshire Terrier should be accustomed to having his nails trimmed at an early age, since it will be part of your maintenance routine throughout his life. Not only does it look nicer, but a dog with long nails can cause injury if he jumps up or if he scratches someone unintentionally. Also, a long nail has a better chance of ripping and bleeding, or of causing the feet to spread. A good rule of thumb is that if you can hear your dog’s nails’ clicking on the floor when he walks, his nails are too long.
Before you start cutting, make sure you can identify the “quick” in each nail. The quick is a blood vessel that runs through the center of each nail and grows rather close to the end. It will bleed if accidentally cut, which will be quite painful for the dog as it contains nerve endings. Keep some type of clotting agent on hand, such as a styptic pencil or styptic powder (the type used for shaving). This will stop the bleeding quickly when applied to the end of the cut nail. Do not panic if this happens, just stop the bleeding and talk soothingly to your dog. Once he has calmed down, move on to the next nail. It is better to clip a little at a time, particularly with black-nailed dogs.
A dog that spends a lot of time outside on a hard surface, such as cement or pavement, will have his nails naturally worn down and may not need to have them trimmed as often, except maybe in the colder months when he is not outside as much. Regardless, it is best to get your dog accustomed to the nail-trimming procedure at an early age so that he is used to it. Some dogs are especially sensitive about having their feet touched, but if a dog has experienced it since puppyhood, it should not bother him.
Hold your pup steady as you begin trimming his nails; you do not want him to make any sudden movements or run away. Talk to him soothingly and stroke his hair as you clip. Holding his foot in your hand, simply take off the end of each nail in one quick clip. You can purchase nail clippers that are specially made for dogs; you can probably find them wherever you buy grooming supplies.
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