One of the best things about a Yorkshire Terrier is its silky-soft coat. Whether a Yorkie has hair down to the floor or just a bit of fluff, that coat requires a lot of care and attention.
Don’t be alarmed! While Yorkies do need a bit of special grooming, it’s something easily manageable and incredibly rewarding.
With just a few tips and tricks, you will be grooming your Yorkie like a pro.
How often should a Yorkie be bathed?
Because of their fine, hair-like coat and delicate skin, Yorkies should be bathed every 1-2 weeks with a gentle, natural, and moisture-rich shampoo. In between baths, Yorkies must be combed daily, preferably with a detangling spray or leave-in conditioner, to remove knots and prevent matting.
Like many dogs, some Yorkies have more sensitive skin than others. If you notice their skin becoming dry or irritated, reduce the frequency of bathing.
How do you bathe a Yorkie?
As Yorkies have a single coat of long, human-like hair, they require special care when washing.
Here is a step-by-step guide to washing a Yorkshire Terrier the right way.
1. Comb to remove knots and tangles.
Yorkies’ long, fine hair easily tangles. Not only will your pooch be harder to clean with tangled hair, but without regular brushing, knots will turn into matting that becomes difficult and painful to remove.
Washing does NOT replace combing, so take extra care to get that silky hair nice and loose before going near that tub.
A great tip for combing your Yorkie is to first spray with a detangling spray, massage it into the fur, and then comb. This will make combing easy and pain-free while adding essential moisture to your dog’s skin.
One of the best detangling sprays for Yorkies is the TropiClean D-Mat Pet Tangle Remover (on Amazon) which detangles and adds shine. This spray is made without any alcohol, parabens, or dyes, and is a cruelty-free product.
2. Find the perfect temperature.
Remember the fairytale, Goldilocks and the Three Bears? Well, drawing a bath for your Yorkie is bound to make you feel a bit like the protagonist. At first, the water will feel too hot, then too cold, and only after many tweaks will it feel just right.
The issue with water temperature is that Yorkshire Terriers as a breed are slightly prone to dry skin. Water that is too hot is bound to irritate them and suck out too much of their hairs’ natural oils. At the same time, being a toy breed, Yorkies’ body temperatures are fickle—it isn’t comfortable for them to rapidly get hot or cold.
So, the trick is to draw them a bath that doesn’t feel warm to the touch, but closer to room temperature, if not, slightly cold. If it feels warm to your touch, it is too warm for your Yorkie.
3. Make it fun!
Many dogs dread bathtime. As soon as they hear that water running, they run. If your dog already loves taking a bath, you can skip this part.
But, for those of us who have to battle our pups to take a bath, the best plan of action is to bribe them. That’s right, I’m talking about lots and lots of treats! Getting your Yorkie to associate bathtime with tasty rewards will make the whole process easier for you, and more pleasant for your pup.
4. Protect your Yorkie’s ears.
When water gets in a Yorkie’s ears, yeast and bacteria can grow which can cause serious ear infections. You need to be especially careful to prevent any water from getting into the ear canal.
Something easy you can do is gently push a couple of cotton balls into your dog’s ears before the bath. Or, if you want something a bit more secure, many groomers swear by pet shower caps that cover the head and keep the ears dry.
Just make sure not to drench your Yorkie’s head with water. The best way to clean their head and face is by using a sponge to gently dab and wipe, avoiding the ears as best as you can.
After the bath, thoroughly dry the ears and allow your dog to shake to its heart’s content. This helps to expel water lurking within the ear canal.
5. Use the right shampoo.
Once you get your Yorkie nice and wet, take your shampoo and work it in, building up a nice lather.
You must use the right type of shampoo, not shampoo for humans, and not regular old dog shampoo. Again, Yorkies have a special type of fur and are prone to dry skin. You should make sure to get something natural, mild, and moisturizing.
See the Best Shampoos for Yorkies section below.
Work the lather starting from the scruff of the neck. Pay special attention to the parts that get the dirtiest, like the paws and the backend. And of course—keep water away from those ears! Use a sponge on the head and face, keeping suds out of your dog’s eyes.
6. Rinse and dry.
To avoid skin irritation, thoroughly rinse any product out of your Yorkie’s coat. For the head, rinse and dab carefully with a damp sponge. Use your hands to block the ear canal while rinsing.
If you are using a conditioner, make sure you read the bottle and follow instructions. Some conditioners need to be rinsed out and others don’t.
Once you are all finished, make sure to dry your Yorkie ASAP. Again, Yorkies are small and prone to rapid temperature shifts. If you leave your dog wet and go off to make a phone call, your pup will get very chilly.
Wrap your dog in a towel and gently massage to remove most of the water. Next, you can use a hairdryer on a low heat setting to finish the job. Keep the hairdryer moving and don’t linger too long on any one area to avoid drying and irritating the skin.
7. Moisturize and protect.
The last step I’d recommend is to apply a leave-in conditioner to protect the skin and coat of your now sparkling clean Yorkie. These products come in sprays and creams that go on right after the bath to lock in some extra moisture.
Simply spritz your pooch a few times—or for creams—work some product into the fur, before giving one last good comb to evenly distribute the product.
This will leave your Yorkie tangle-free, shiny, and smelling great.
For leave-in conditioners for Yorkies, I recommend BarkLogic’s Leave in Conditioner & Detangling Spray (on Amazon). This spray is infused with calming and moisturizing lavender essential oil and aloe for amazing protection.
Best of all, the product is natural, hypo-allergenic, and made without sulfates, phthalates, parabens, or other chemicals harmful to your pet.
Can you bathe a Yorkie too often?
Yes, you can bathe a Yorkie too often. While we humans usually need a bath once a day, most dog breeds can go for weeks without one. Washing too often is sure to damage your Yorkie’s skin.
A bath every one to two weeks will suffice. In between baths—make sure to keep your dog neat, moisturized, and smelling fresh with a detangling spray or leave-in moisturizer and plenty of combing.
What is the best shampoo for Yorkies?
Your Yorkie needs high-quality shampoo. If I haven’t stressed this enough, Yorkshire Terriers have a unique coat and special skincare needs. Moisture is key. Natural is key. We want to avoid irritating and drying chemicals.
While a low-quality shampoo can lead to discomfort, a great shampoo gives softness, sheen, and moisture.
Important note: never use human shampoo on a Yorkie. While some pet owners and groomers recommend baby shampoo, that just won’t fly. Human skin (scalp included) is slightly acidic. pH-balanced shampoos for humans are around 4.5 to 5.5.
This pH will surely irritate your Yorkie’s skin. Baby shampoo is a bit milder, but still not great for Yorkies. Your dog needs a shampoo with a pH between 6.5 and 7.5 which is significantly more alkaline than human shampoos.
One of the best, groomer-recommended Yorkie shampoos out there is Vermont Soap Pet Magic Dog Shampoo (on Amazon). This Vermont Soap is USDA-certified as a food-grade product and works closely with organic farm organizations to sustainably source ingredients.
- Certified Organic - USDA Approved
- Concentrated Pet shampoo
- Pure gentle Castile soap
The shampoo is mild on the skin and rich with essential oils.
If your Yorkie has fleas and ticks and you’d like to safely remove them, Wondercide Natural Flea & Tick Shampoo (on Amazon) is a great choice. While most flea and tick shampoos contain harsh chemicals, this shampoo bar is all-natural.
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Geranium and citronella oils keep the bugs away while organic coconut, olive, and castor oils work with shea butter and aloe vera to nourish and protect the skin.
Caring for a Yorkies Coat
While it may seem like a daunting task, caring for your Yorkie’s skin and coat is quite simple.
In between baths, use a good detangling spray with regular brushing to prevent hair from matting and tangling.
Wash your Yorkie every one to two weeks with high-quality shampoo and room-temperature water. Don’t forget to keep those ears nice and dry. Finish with a leave-in conditioner for extra moisture and protection.
As long as you maintain a healthy cycle of combing and bathing with gentle and moisture-rich products, your Yorkie will always be clean, beautiful, and happy.
While Yorkies do have special grooming needs, once you break down the steps and find the right products, it all becomes a breeze.
One of the most rewarding things about owning a Yorkie is running your fingers through his or her beautiful soft coat. With just a quick comb and condition a few times a week and a bath every week or so, your doggo will have the most incredible coat and healthy skin.
Just follow our steps to the perfect Yorkie bath, get yourself a high-quality shampoo, and be sure to brush out those tangles!
Last update on 2021-02-25 at 12:22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API