Keeping your Yorkies coat clean and luscious isn't the only thing you need to do to ensure a well groomed Yorkie. There are other parts that need regular care too, like their ears, teeth, toenails and their anal glands. You could say that these aren't the easiest, nor the most pleasant tasks, but nonetheless, they need to be taken care of as well. And as we've said before, doing these regularly makes them less intensive and easier to do for you and your Yorkie.
Let's Start with the Ears
To get a thorough clean, we'd recommended some cotton balls and some commercial ear cleaning solution, if you can get your hands on some. Start by dampening the cotton ball and squeezing most of the moisture out. While holding the ear flap, gently wipe the inside of the ear. Try your best to get into all the little creases and folds. Try not clean too deep—a good guide to follow is to clean what's easily reachable and visible. You might end up using two or three cotton balls if the ear is dirtier than normal.
It's good practice to clean your Yorkshire terrier's ears at least once a week—but if they play a lot outside and enjoy getting dirty, twice a week is great, too.
Can my Yorkie get an Ear Infection?
That's a definite YES. And isn't a good thing either, of course. You can tell if your yorkie has an ear infection if their ears are very dirty and have a lot of matter in them. They will most likely smell bad and the skin will be red and hot—quite similar to an ear infection in babies. If this is the case, it's honestly best to make an appointment with your vet. Ear infections in Yorkshire terriers can be painful and often do not get better without treatment.
Cleaning Your Yorkie's Teeth
Just like us, your yorkie needs a good teeth scrubbing every now and then. Again, this can be done weekly. Dirty teeth can lead to bacteria buildups, infections and diseases. A lot of the time bacteria from a dirty mouth can lead to complications in your yorkie's heart, kidneys and liver.
When you first starting brushing your yorkie's teeth, start gently and work gradually. Pick a spot in the mouth, brush a couple times and stop. Remember to praise them and make them feel proud about handling it, and then carry on to a new spot. In the beginning stages it'll be more about getting them used to the action more than anything, so the first couple of sessions don't need to be thorough cleans.
Using a child's electric toothbrush will work wonders. Make sure to use toothpaste specifically made for dogs as the chemicals in our toothpaste may not be safe for your yorkie. If you don't have dog toothpaste, or struggle to find, you can substitute with a mix of baking soda and water (enough water to make a paste, so not too much, and not too little).
If the gums are red and bleed, there's a buildup of plaque or a chipped tooth, we recommend taking them to a vet before doing the cleaning yourself.
The Anal Glands
On either side of the anus there are glands that produce oils that are secreted when your yorkie relieves itself. What's interesting is that the oil is unique to each dog, which is why you'll find dogs often smelling each others feces.
Sometimes you'll see your yorkie dragging its bum on the floor, this could could be either attributed to intestinal worms, but is more likely to occur from the glands producing too much oil and filling the glands or the stool being soft. When the glands are fool they put pressure on the anus and cause irritation—and obviously the easiest way for your yorkie to relieve the irritation is by performing that odd butt-slide which scratches the glands. When they do this though, it often leads to more dirt being added to the mix.
"Expressing" the anal glands isn't always necessary yourself, as your yorkie will do this themselves, but if you do notice their might be a problem, you can do this manually when you groom them. The next time you take your yorkie to the vet, ask about the anal glands.
Time to Trim those Toenails
A good pair of nail clippers to use for your dog are the scissor-shaped ones with the odd, curved blades. They make it easier to manoeuvre, see the nail and get the job done properly.
Start with your yorkie sitting on your lap or on your designated grooming table, like we mentioned before. Place a paw in your hand and move the hair away from around the desired toe/toenail. The nail is curved over the quick—once passed the quick the nail will curve more and become thinner. You can see where the quick ends from underneath the nail, it's where the nail kind of looks hollow. The underside of the nail directly under the quick will be flat. You want to make sure you DO NOT cut too close to the quick—this can cause immense pain for your yorkie, causing them to cry and the nail to bleed—and this really isn't good. So try clip just a little after the quick. See the illustrations below from PetHelpful.
If your Yorkshire terrier is sensitive to getting their nails clipped, do one paw at a time, taking a break and praising them, and then carrying on. You can even do each paw over the course of four days to make it more comfortable for your yorkie.
Toenail Trimming Tip
How do you know when they're too long? If your yorkie stand upright, without moving, the toenails should NOT touch the ground. You may hear them click-clack when running, which is fine—they just shouldn't touch the ground if it's standing upright and still.
We hope these tips help you keep your Yorkie neat and tidy, and free of problems. If you haven't read our blog post about hair grooming and cleaning, check it out here.