As every Yorkie owner knows, these little dogs take a fair bit of upkeep. If you’re tired of taking your pet to the groomer, it’s a good idea to learn how to do it yourself. Grooming a Yorkie is a labor-intensive process, but it’s also one that almost any dog owner can learn how to do.
How to Groom a Yorkie
Get Your Tools
As you get ready to groom your Yorkie, you’ll want to gather up all of your tools. This will not only speed things along for you, but it will give your dog fewer chances to get anxious during the grooming process. You will definitely need:
- Brushes (pin & bristle and slicker)
- Eye cleaning solution
- Dog ear cleaner
- Cotton balls
- Eye wipes
- Dog shampoo
- Dog hair clippers
- Nail clippers (scissor style, though a dog nail grinder works as well)
- Styptic powder or baking soda
- Dog toothpaste and toothbrush
Start with Brushing
A huge part of keeping your Yorkie looking his or her best is making sure that you take care of his or her coat. You’ll always want to make sure that you keep your Yorkie’s hair untangled, a process that’s generally helped along with a good brushing. If you can slowly brush out his or her coat with a pin and bristle brush, you’ll get rid of most of the knots.
Once you’re done with that, you’ll switch over to the slicker brush. This brush will separate the layers of the coat and help you to get rid of dead hair. Once that’s done, your Yorkie’s coat should already look significantly better.
Ear and Eye Cleaning
The next step you’ll take is to clean your dog’s ears. The great news is that all you’ll usually need to do during this step is to wipe off your dog’s ears. If there’s a lot of build-up, though, you’ll need to get a good liquid dog ear cleaner and carefully clean out your dog’s ears – in a pinch you can make your own homemade dog ear cleaner. Generally this is best done when he or she is already taking a bath.
This is also a great time to clean your dog’s eyes. Yorkies have a tendency to build up ‘tear stains’, which are actually deposits of a type of discharge that’s the result of allergies. You can keep the stains from forming by wiping them away with damp cloths from time to time, of course, but picking up some eye wipes to use at bath time is also a good way to get rid of the problem once the stains have set.
Check for Fleas and Ticks
It’s absolutely vital that you check your Yorkie out for fleas and ticks. Though it’s always a good idea to go with prevention by using a flea collar for dogs first, you’re still going to want to check your pet for infestations from time to time. Remember, these pests can make your dog very sick so a thorough check is never a bad idea.
Take a moment during your grooming process to perform a quick pest check by flipping your dog over and investigating those spots on your pet on which fleas and ticks love to congregate. Pay special attention to the spots where your dog’s limbs join his or her body as well as his or her groin, as these are hot spots for fleas.
So, what do you do if you find these pests?
If you find fleas, you’re going to start by picking a dog flea treatment. There are plenty of different choices on the market right now, most of which are quite effective. While just pulling a flea out might seem easier, a good treatment is definitely more helpful.
Ticks are a little more hands-on. If you have an unattached tick wandering around, just grab it with some masking tape and throw it away outside. If the tick is attached, you’ll want to grab the tick with some tweezers and pull it out by the head. Do this part slowly, both to keep your dog from getting pinched and to ensure that you get the flea’s entire head out of your dog’s body.
As a note, you’re definitely going to want to wash your pet’s dog bed and blankets after you are done grooming him or her. The last thing you want is to let your dog get re-infested right after grooming.
From time to time, you’ll want to bathe your Yorkie. While you’ll want to be aware of how often you should wash your dog because excessive bathing isn’t a great idea, it’s a good way to ensure that your Yorkie gets completely clean. Doing so takes some effort, but it’s definitely worthwhile.
You’ll want to start by pouring the water for your dog, preferably when he or she isn’t in the room. The water shouldn’t be too hot – a little warmer than room temperature is best – and you should make sure that your dog is well-prepared by giving him or her a treat before putting him or her in the bath.
From here, you’ll want to grab your dog shampoo. Yorkies are notorious for having sensitive skin, so make sure that you pick something that’s relatively free of extra scents or ingredients here.
This is probably the most difficult part of grooming a Yorkie, yet it’s also the part that’s going to play the biggest role in keeping your Yorkie looking great. There’s a reason why most people get their dogs groomed professionally, of course, but that’s not to say that you can’t handle the job yourself – it just means that you need to be prepared for a fairly involved process.
You’re probably going to want to start by cutting your Yorkie’s hair fairly short. It’s not only the easiest way to cut your dog’s hair, but it’s also a great way to give your dog some relief from the heat while also minimizing the number of ways that you can mess up. As a bonus, it also gives you longer between each haircut!
While cutting your Yorkie’s hair short does help, you’ll also need to embrace the concept of maintenance trims. These are little trims that you’re largely going to do around your dog’s face and eyes, which can help reduce irritation and make your dog much happier. Likewise, you’ll want to make sure that you trim around your dog’s groin and paws to help ensure that he or she stays clean.
Yes, tooth brushing is part of a good grooming program. It’s not necessarily the first thing you’ll think of when you think about keeping your dog well-groomed, but keeping your dog’s teeth nice and clean actually helps to keep him or her healthy.
As you can imagine, your first step is probably going to be to figure out how often you should brush your dog’s teeth. Most vets would love for you to do this job once a day, but it’s fine if you can only get to it a couple of times a week. Luckily, though, it’s a fairly easy process that you can get out of the way in just a few minutes.
This is a much easier job if you start with a puppy, but you can convince many older dogs to get their teeth brushed when you use the right kind of dog toothpaste. The more effort you put into making this process quick and painless, though, the easier that it will be.
Nail and Paw Care
It’s always a good idea to pay attention to your Yorkie’s paws. The last thing you want is for your dog to have his or her feet get hurt, which can make it hard for him or her to move around and even lead to health problems. As such, another major part of grooming has to do with paw care.
For most Yorkie owners, paw care means nail trimming. Unfortunately, Yorkies don’t really do enough damage to their nails on a daily basis to wear them down, so you’ll have to learn how to use dog nail clippers. This is a process that probably doesn’t have to be done more than once a month, but it is one that you need to know how to perform.
You’ll definitely want to start by figuring out if it’s actually time for a trim. If you can hear your dog walking around on bare floors or if you see that his or her nails are curving downward, it’s time. Waiting until this point is a good idea, though, as you don’t want to start trimming when your dog’s nails aren’t quite ready.
Actually clipping your dog’s nails might be a bloody affair the first time. You’ll want to make sure that you don’t hit the quick of the nails, which will be very painful for your dog and quite messy for you. This is why you’ll need styptic powder (or baking soda) on hand to deal with any messes.
With that in mind, you’ll want to start your clipping slowly. Scissor-style clippers are always useful here, as they allow you a little more control. You’ll only cut a little bit – no farther than you feel safe with cutting. Stick to the parts of the nail that are translucent so that you can avoid the quick and ensure that your dog doesn’t get traumatized with the cut.
If you do happen to cut your dogs quickly, don’t panic. Get the powder and apply it directly to the dog’s nail – it will stop the bleeding and give you time to calm your pet down. Once that’s done, give him or her a treat and stop trimming for the time being.
A Note on Debris
Finally, make sure that you clean out any debris that you happen to find while you’re trimming your dog’s nails. Yorkies are great at picking up all kinds of little pieces of debris between their toes, so clean them out as soon as you find them. Doing so can save your dog from a fair bit of pain and will allow your dog to stay much more mobile.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How can I groom my Yorkie at home?
Grooming your Yorkie at home is really a matter of learning what to do to keep your dog looking and feeling great. You’ll want to brush your dog’s fur on a regular basis, clean his or her teeth, trim his or her nails, and make sure that your dog gets a bath when necessary. You’ll also want to be able to trim your Yorkie’s coat when it is needed, so you’ll want to spend some time learning how to cut a dog’s hair and how to properly style your Yorkie if you’re looking for something more than just a short, functional cut.
2. How do you trim a Yorkie’s face?
The short answer is here is that you trim a Yorkie’s face very, very carefully. You’ll want to use a small pair of grooming scissors and carefully snip away the hair from around his or her eyes, being careful not to startle your dog into moving too quickly. The key is always to be as conservative as possible here, as choosing to leave the hair a little longer might mean that you have to cut the dog’s hair more often but it will also reduce the risks of accidentally poking your dog in the eyes or snout with the scissors.
3. What is the best haircut for a Yorkie?
The best haircut for a Yorkie is, of course, the haircut with which you feel the most comfortable. If you were to ask the dog, though, he or she would almost certainly say that a shortcut is definitely the best. After all, a shorter cut allows your dog to stay cooler during the warm months, it allows him or her more freedom of movement, and it even makes it harder for your dog to pick up fleas and ticks. If you’re grooming your dog, it’s also the easiest cut to give him or her without messing up.
4. How do you untangle matted Yorkie hair?
You’ll want to start by using a pin brush to slowly but effectively remove any large tangles you’ll find. The goal here is not to pull on the tangles, but rather to gently remove them as well as you can. Once you’ve gotten the bigger tangles, you’ll move on to a slicker brush so that can get rid of any smaller bits of matting and so that you can give your dog’s coat the glossy look that is so well-loved.