How to Groom A Yorkie
If you wanted a dog that doesn’t require much grooming and care, you picked the wrong dog with the Yorkie! Yorkshire Terriers are considered high-maintenance in terms of grooming, especially Yorkies with a long coat.
Still, grooming your Yorkie and helping him look his best can be a fun and rewarding experience. If neglected, however, it can leave your pup with painful knots and tangles and pull at his delicate skin. It can also lead to hygiene issues.
Here’s a comprehensive look at everything you need to know about Yorkie grooming from how often to bathe a Yorkie to the best Yorkie grooming tools to have at your disposal.
Yorkie Grooming Tools to Have on Hand
Grooming a Yorkie doesn’t have to be too time-consuming or difficult as long as you have the right Yorkshire Terrier grooming supplies for the task. The following are the most important Yorkie grooming tools you’ll want to have handy but there are optional tools discussed below that can make certain tasks a bit easier.
- Pet nail clippers like the Epica small pet nail clippers
- Pet shampoo and conditioner. Lillian Ruff and Earthbath are good choices.
- Hair dryer. You can use your own or try this affordable clip-on dog hair dryer.
- Electric trimmer. If you want to trim your Yorkie’s hair at home, invest in a quiet clipper like this cordless oneisall trimmer.
- Dog brush. Don’t use a slicker brush; Yorkies don’t have an undercoat. Use a soft bristle brush for a short coat or a detangling pin brush for a long coat.
With these basic Yorkie grooming supplies in hand, you’re ready to tackle everything from bath time to hair cuts.
Cleaning & Bathing Your Yorkie
Yorkies need regular baths to remove dirt and natural oils from their hair. The easiest way to bathe your Yorkie is filling the tub so it’s about armpit-deep first; some Yorkies are scared of the sound of running water.
Use a quality doggy shampoo with a neutral pH that helps detangle their hair without irritating their skin. Earthbath All Natural Pet Shampoo works well because it has soothing oatmeal and a gentle scent. Lillian Ruff dog oatmeal shampoo and conditioner is also a good option, especially if you want your Yorkie’s hair soft and smooth. Don’t use human shampoo as the pH can be too harsh for your pup and lead to itchy, dry skin.
Apply the shampoo to your hands then massage into your Yorkie’s coat. Pay special attention to the rear and underbelly but save the head for last. Don’t use shampoo around your pup’s eyes, ears, and mouth. Rinse the shampoo away completely and follow up with a quality dog conditioner.
While you can use a regular detachable shower head or even a plastic cup to rinse your pup, you may want to invest in a Waterpik pet wand shower attachment to make bath time faster, easier, and more enjoyable for you both. The contoured combing spray massages and rinses and it can be used indoors and outdoors.
After bath time, hand dry your pup with a towel then use a hair dryer to mostly but not completely dry your Yorkie’s hair. If your Yorkie has long hair, make sure you brush it out while you dry it. Always use the lowest heat setting on the dryer to avoid hurting your Yorkie’s sensitive skin. Keep the air moving through your pup’s hair, being careful to not aim the hair dryer for long on the ears, the face, and under the tail.
How can I make my Yorkie’s hair soft?
The secret to make your Yorkie’s hair soft and shiny? Conditioner combined with regular baths and brushing. After shampooing, apply a high quality pet conditioner like Lillian Ruff or Burt’s Bees and allow it to sit for about 5 minutes before rinsing.
Conditioner doesn’t just make your pup’s hair soft; it also makes it easier to brush and helps prevent matting.
How often should you bathe a Yorkie?
As a general rule, you should bathe your Yorkie around every 2-3 weeks. It’s okay to bathe your Yorkie weekly but this usually isn’t necessary. Yorkies with long hair may need to be bathed more often than pups with short hair.
How often do you bathe a Yorkie puppy?
Yorkie puppies can be bathed every couple of weeks, just like adults. It’s a good idea to get your pup used to taking regular baths while they’re young so they can get accustomed to the water and noise.
Keeping your Yorkie clean between baths
Your Yorkie probably needs a little help to stay clean between baths, especially if he has long hair. Fragrance-free dog grooming wipes are helpful for cleaning around the underbelly, rear, and legs. You’ll also want to pay attention to the eyes to clean away eye gunk with a flea comb and warm, damp towel.
How do you clean a Yorkie’s face?
Yorkies tend to have teary or weepy eyes. This can lead to a buildup of “gunk” around his eyes which may cause an infection or hair rot if left unchecked. To keep your Yorkie’s face clean, make sure his hair is pulled back away from his eyes. Clean the corners of your pup’s eyes every day with a simple flea comb which has fine stainless steel teeth perfect for removing crust and mucus around the eyes.
Brushing & Styling Your Yorkie
Even if your Yorkie has a short coat, you should be brushing their hair every day to clear away dead hair, detangle their hair, and distribute body oil evenly for a healthy, bright coat. By brushing your pup’s hair daily, you can also prevent painful matting and tangles that can be painful and time-consuming to remove later.
Before brushing your pup, spray his hair with a dog leave-in conditioner like Warren London, working it through tangles with your fingers. The conditioner will make it easier to brush your pup’s hair and prevent breakage.
Use a comb for catching tangles and brushing tiny areas like your Yorkie’s face. A rubber-tipped pin brush is best for the entire body, especially long hair.
How to deal with Yorkie tangles and mats
Any area of your Yorkie’s coat can become tangled or matted but there are definitely problem areas like behind the ears and the armpits. Don’t try to comb out mats or force a comb through a tangle; this will hurt your pup and probably make them forever terrified of the brush.
Instead, detangling spray and your fingers to gently untangle knots.
Large mats should be pulled apart and split lengthwise. Instead of combing the mat out of your Yorkie’s hair, carefully comb the hair out of the mat. Sometimes cutting out the mat is the best option but you’ll need to be careful to avoid damaging your Yorkie’s skin. Try placing a comb between the skin and the mat to make sure you aren’t pulling on or nicking your pup’s skin.
When to start grooming your Yorkie
While a Yorkie puppy doesn’t need much in the way of brushing or trimming as an adult, it’s still a good idea to introduce your pup to the tools and techniques you will use. Getting a puppy used to being brushed and the sound of electric trimmers will dramatically reduce their stress and anxiety when the time comes for a full grooming session.
How to do a Yorkie top knot
If your Yorkie has a long show coat, you’ll need to pay special attention to the hair on top of his head. Many Yorkie owners who keep their pup’s hair short in the puppy cut still prefer to keep the head hair long and pulled back. Your Yorkie’s “bangs” will block their vision and get tangled without care. The best way to groom your Yorkie’s head is adding a top knot which keeps the hair back from the eyes.
A top knot is easy to do. Use your pin brush to remove all tangles then make a part in your Yorkie’s hair with a comb. Gather the section of hair at the top of the head from the outer edges of your pup’s eyes to the back of the bump in the center of the head. With the hair gathered, divide it into a front section and back section.
Put a latex band around the front section no closer than 1″ from the skin. Repeat this for the back section, using some hair from the front section to get the hair to lie flat. You can then add a decorative Yorkie bow to the front section of hair.
Unlike other dog breeds, Yorkies grow hair, not fur. Without regular trimming, your Yorkie’s hair will touch the floor and quickly get tangled and dirty. Regular trimming is important to keep your Yorkie’s coat tangle-free, comfortable, and clean, especially if your Yorkie has a long coat.
If you’re comfortable, you can easily give your Yorkie trims at home with an electric trimmer.
The most important areas to trim include:
- The undersides of the paws to remove stray hairs
- Top 1/3 of the ears to help the ears stand erect
- Around the rectum to prevent feces from sticking to the hair
You may choose to give your Yorkie the short puppy cut for ease of maintenance and to help your pup stay comfortable in the summer. You can also stick with the long “show” cut which requires more work to avoid tangles and maintain clean, sharp lines.
Does Yorkie hair grow fast?
Yorkie hair grows very quickly. That’s a good thing if you make a mistake giving them their trim. A Yorkie puppy’s hair can grow back within weeks. The hair on the top of the head of a Yorkie puppy usually doesn’t need to be tied back until the pup is 9 months old but the hair near the mouth and eyes needs to be trimmed monthly. In areas where the hair is kept very short, such as around the rear, you will need to give your Yorkie a trim every 2-3 weeks.
Nail Care for Your Yorkie
In nature, a dog’s nails are kept at a good length by walking on rough surfaces. Because your Yorkie is largely living in the house on soft surfaces, they will need help to keep their nails short. If your pup’s nails get too long, they can break or get caught on surfaces. This will be extremely painful.
Get your Yorkie used to having their nails cut by starting early. The Epica small pet nail clippers are a good option to cut your pup’s nails safely and in seconds.
As a general rule, you should clip your Yorkie’s nails every 3 to 8 weeks. The nails on the front will likely need to be clipped more frequently than the back nails.
How to Cut a Yorkie’s Nails
Clipping your pup’s nails is easy with the right technique. The most important thing to remember is the inner part of the nail (the pulp) has a lot of nerves and blood vessels. You’ll want to avoid cutting into the pulp.
You’ll find it easier to cut your pup’s nails after a bath when they are softer and more flexible. Start by sitting or crouching behind your pup so you have easy access to their paws. Press the paw pad with your thumb with the paw in your palm to make the nails come out. They’ll be much easier to cut. Make conservative cuts until you’re used to clipping your dog’s nails to make sure you don’t hit the quick or pulp. If you aren’t sure where the pulp is located, look under the nail. You can safely cut to the area that looks hollow and thin.
If you cut down to the pulp and your pup starts bleeding, apply styptic powder. Styptic powder for dogs is good to have on hand anyway to help treat minor cuts. Miracle Care styptic powder also includes benzocaine to numb the nail.