With its long silky hair, the Yorkshire terrier has one of the most distinctive coats in the canine world. And while this luxurious coat is beautiful, it can also be quite a job to care for.
The Yorkie's hair is almost identical to human hair, which makes the breed a good choice for those with pet allergies. The downside is that like human hair, your Yorkie's hair continues to grow, and without attention, can become easily matted. To keep your pooch looking spiffy, he needs regular grooming and daily care.
The long and short of Yorkie grooming
How frequently your dog needs to be professionally groomed depends on the length and texture of his coat. A soft coat or cottony coat is much more difficult to maintain than the smooth silk coat. Soft hair mats more, is more difficult to keep clean, and breaks more easily. If this is your Yorkie's coat, consider having his hair clipped into a short puppy cut to keep your home grooming chores to a minimum.
While the long flowing coat is the style you typically see in breed books and at dog shows, it takes patience and constant care to achieve that look. Floor-length manes require monthly visits to the groomer. And, if you want to keep that long silky coat tangle-free, daily brushing and weekly shampooing is up to you. Let it go and your dog will end up a snarled mess.
Think short for Summer
Like all toy dogs, Yorkies may become overheated in extreme temperatures regardless of whether they have a long or short cut. If your dog is a pet rather than a show dog, a short summer cut may be a smart idea. Likewise, as a "single-coated" breed, Yorkies don't have an undercoat to protect them from the cold. So remember, he may need a sweater when the temperature drops.
Tips for smooth brushing
Never brush your dog's coat while it is totally dry. For smooth going, mist him with a mixture of water and conditioner before brushing.
Use a good pin brush with a rubber back--natural bristle brushes can break the fine hairs of your dog's coat. Avoid brushes with small balls on the end of the pins, which can pull at the coat and break it. After brushing, use a wide-toothed grooming comb and comb the coat to remove any stubborn snarls.
Treat any knots or mats gently. Don't rip through the hair. Gently pick as much apart with your fingers as you can and work from the ends up to get the mat out.
Be sure to check the hair surrounding the anus-it can become matted with feces. If your dog is professionally groomed regularly, this should not be a problem.
Whichever style you choose for your Yorkie, just be sure to keep him clean and brushed. Since this breed loves attention, grooming can become an activity that your dog learns to enjoy with you. And that can make it worth every bit of effort.
As your dog ages, you’ll likely notice changes in your best pal’s energy levels, routine and even muzzle. Older pets may require adjustments to help them get around, exercise and live their best life as a senior. One important aspect of caring for a dog entering their golden years is diet.
When it comes to diet, every dog has unique, individual needs, regardless of age. So, there's no one easy answer to the question of soft food versus hard food. Both types of food can provide your dog with the nutrition they need — as long as you feed your dog a high-quality dog food that’s nutritionally balanced and complete.
Signs Your Senior Dog May Benefit from Wet Food
If your dog has very specific health concerns, such as aging joints or weight issues, consult with your vet for more information about what type of food best addresses your dog's needs. That being said, there are a few reasons why you may consider switching your senior dog to soft food.
As your dog gets older, their teeth may become more sensitive, which can make chewing kibble more difficult and even uncomfortable. Switching to a soft food can help to alleviate your pet’s oral discomfort when eating.
However, if your dog is experiencing serious pain at mealtime from a condition like tooth decay or gingivitis, switching to soft food won't remedy the problem. Make sure you talk to your vet about oral care and dental treatment.
Digestion begins in the mouth with saliva, so if your dog has a tendency to scarf down meals, they may not be adequately chewing the food or adding enough saliva to it. Soft food can aid with digestion because it's more easily chewed.
It’s no surprise that wet food has a higher moisture content when compared to dry kibble. If your senior pup is prone to urinary-tract issues or simply needs a little help staying hydrated, canned dog food may be a good choice.
Aging dogs tend to have a slower metabolic rate compared to their younger years, which puts them at a higher risk of becoming overweight or obese. Many nutritionally balanced wet dog foods offer high protein content with fewer carbs than dry food, which can benefit older dogs with slower metabolism. Always talk to your vet if you have concerns about your pup’s weight.
While wet food may be less than appetizing to humans, the opposite is true for dogs! If your aging best friend has started turning their snout up to dry food, wet food tends to be more appealing to picky eaters. Mixing wet food and kibble offers your pup a variety of flavors and textures; try adding wet food as a topper on dry food for a real treat!
Whether you choose dry food, soft food or a mix of both, ask your vet before making any transition. And when it's time to switch your dog's food, remember to do it slowly — even if it's the same brand and flavor — to help prevent stomach upset and allow your dog time to adjust.