Monday, August 8, 2011

5 Best Hygiene tips for Yorkies and other Small Breed Dogs

As all dog owners know, every breed is different. They all have their own little individual quirks and behaviors, needs and issues. When it comes to the hygiene of a Yorkie or other small breed dogs, there are a few things you have to look out for to keep your little one safe and happy and most of all, healthy.

1. Grooming. Vet checks are a given. Every dog needs a check up, regular shots, but a trip to the groomers can be just as important. Because they have hair rather than fur and don’t shed, it keeps on growing just like ours does. Consequently, they need regular brushing and hair cuts so they don’t become a tangled mess. Not only will it look bad, but it’s also very itchy and uncomfortable for your dog. Tangles and mats don’t dry well when wet and can hold moisture close to your dog’s skin for long periods of time and can actually promote wounds in those areas.

2. Eyes. Many small breed dogs have issues with “weeping eyes” and you can see it clearly on light colored animals that often have a dark stripe leading from their eye to their muzzle. This is perfectly normal and helps to keep their eyes flushed and clean, but does require a little bit of regular maintenance. Picking off the dry pieces and not letting it build up is important. A gentle cleaning with a warm wet cloth can keep the area free of hard and itchy build up.

3. Ears. Any dog, small breed or otherwise, should have their ears checked and cleaned on a regular basis but for breeds with continually growing hair rather than fur it’s even more important. The hair in the ears needs to be clipped or plucked on a regular basis to avoid infection. It’s also much easier to clean out dirt and debris if you can actually see inside the ear. Clean with a moist cotton swab along all of the visible areas. NEVER put a q-tip inside your dogs ear canal past the point that you can see it. This should be left to a vet as you can do serious damage.

4. Teeth. Small breed dogs seem to have far more problems with their teeth than larger breeds do and good teeth are essential to your dog being able to eat properly (and avoid painful rotten or abscessed teeth and gums.) Brushing their teeth regularly is the obvious solution but some animals are simply not interested in letting that happen! Taking a “finger brush” available at any pet store and rubbing a small amount of dog toothpaste over their gums and teeth can also help, as will crunchy dog bones. Your annual vet check should also always include an oral exam.

5. Body temperature. Again, because of the difference between a non-shedding dog versus a shedding one, it’s important to understand that your dog can overheat or get dangerously cold very quickly. As they can’t grow a dense winter coat, Yorkies often need some type of sweater in the colder months, even for short trips to pet waste stations. Always grab a warm garment along with your dog waste bags for trips outdoors. Once indoors, the garment should be removed to allow the skin to dry. In the summer months, keep them well hydrated and well groomed to avoid overheating.

Everyone wants their furry friend to be safe and healthy and as long as you know the specific things to watch with whatever breed your dog may be, there’s no reason that they can’t live a long and happy life by your side.


mary said...

i am having my very fist tiny yorkie this week and have found your tips extremely helpful thankyou so much.

Anonymous said...

Our very first Yorkie will be entering our home on Friday and we are very exited and cannot wait for him. Thank you for these tips.

Sarah Lopez Suhar said...

due to bad divorce many years ago I lost my little miniature Yorkshire terrier Her name is Mitzi ... and have the opportunity now to get both Male an female ... Please help