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Caring for a Yorkie

The Goal: Healthy and Happy!

We are happy that you are reading this, because it means that you are a loving owner and wish to give the best care possible to your Yorkie puppy or dog. 

Properly caring for a Yorkie actually begins before you even bring your pup home (getting the environment ready for him or her)...And continues non-stop into the senior years.

Let's talk about:
  • Home Adjustment
  • Puppy care
  • Grooming
  • Teeth
  • Feeding
  • Health...And more
Yorkshire Terrier puppy with shirt on
Major, 11 weeks old
Photo courtesy of Ricka Spikes
A New Home

If you are about to bring a puppy or an adult dog home, you can do some things to make this transition easier for him or her. A puppy can undergo quite a bit of stress. This is difficult for some owners to understand, since they, themselves, are so excited....However it is a lot for a little puppy to take in all at once.
so cute Yorkie puppy
Harper Grace, 2 years old
Photo courtesy of Stephanie Fairchild
He or she must suddenly leave the only home that they knew, leave their mother and littermates and become accustomed to a completely new environment. He or she may feel overwhelmed from:
  • New noises
  • New people
  • New scents
  • Getting used to a new sleeping area
  • Feeling unsure of their safety
  • Feeling uneasy regarding their food and water needs
There are steps that you can take, both before the big day or on the day that you bring him or her home to help things fall together nicely.

Do have only immediate family members at your home. 
While you will want to show off your new Yorke, it is best to allow him to become used to those whom he will be living with...And after a few weeks you can slowly allow others to meet and greet.  

Do not allow any other dogs near your new Yorkie until he or she has had all of their puppy shots. Also, so not bring your new pup out for a walk or bring them to any public areas in which there could be (or was) dogs present. Therefore, no pet stores, parks, etc....Once all puppy shots are done (usually by week 12 or week 14), you can then bring him or her anywhere you wish.

Do choose a spot for the food and water bowl and do not move them. Taking care of a Yorkie of any age will mean doing things that make them feel secure and safe. Dogs can become very nervous if they do not know where to go when thirsty or hungry. Make this easy for them and never remove the dishes (unless you are cleaning them of course). You will free-fed (leave food out all day) until the age of 3 months.

Do choose a quiet area to a quality dog bed within a small gated off area or indoor canine playpen. This breed likes to have a nice, soft, warm area to retreat to when feeling tired or overwhelmed. Sometimes if there are children, babies, a lot of people or other pets in the house, this breed likes to be able to walk away and have some quiet time...And then once he or she re-charges or perhaps takes a nap, they will then re-join the family.
Taking Care of Your Young Puppy

As mentioned above, it is best to free-feed until the age of 3 months old. Due to their size, puppies are susceptible to hypoglycemia...This is a term that means a rapid drop in blood sugar levels. It can be fatal in some cases. It can happen quickly...And is often caused by: Stress and/or not eating enough. Therefore, it is important to have fresh food and fresh, cool water out and available at all times.

When ever you bring your puppy for vaccinations, keep a close eye on him or her for at least 6 hours afterward. A pup can have an allergic reaction to any of the shots. Signs can include swelling of the eye area or of the entire face, trouble breathing and excessive drowsiness. It can happen quickly, so keep have this in mind even for the drive home.

Be patient when housebreaking, remember that he or she does not know what you expect, and it is up to you to show them. Use proven methods and be dedicated to the process him or her learning.

Always secure your Yorkie when in the car. It is easy to think that nothing will happen.
Yorkie puppy jumping up
Rex, 5 months old
Photo courtesy of Mandi 
However, dogs are so helpless if another driver were to cause an accident. Remember that you have control over your car...but you have no control over other drivers. Canine seat belts can be used for adults...Yorkies under age 2 should be in a canine car seat that is properly attached to the back seat. (The front passenger seat is not a safe place as the air bag, if it were to go off, can cause fatal injuries).
When you are walking your little one, please consider using a harness and not a dog collar. This is so important, especially for dogs who are just learning how to follow along with you...or for adult dogs that are a bit hyper when walking. If he or she was to lunge away while on just a leash and collar, all of the pressure goes onto the fragile neck. This can easily cause the health issue of collapsed trachea. A harness displaces the pressure all over the body: The chest, shoulders and back. Also, you will have more control over your Yorkie by doing this.

Walk your Yorkie twice per day.  This is in addition to bringing him outside for potty needs. Walks are deliberate, brisk exercise for a set amount of time. Do remember to go at a pace that is brisk for your puppy. You can start off with short 15 minute walks twice per day and work up to longer ones as your Yorkshire Terrier grows and become accustomed to walking. Twice per day outings will help him release pent-up energy which will help him be better behaved when inside the home.   

Be aware of teething issues. While this can be a trying time for owners, it is not fun for the pup either. They are having discomfort and pain...with a seemingly never-ending need to relieve the itchiness in their gums. Do offer some great chew toys...and ice cube are always appreciated...they love to play with them as they slide around and the cold helps with teething discomfort.
6 month old Yorkshire Terrier puppy
Hattie, 6 months old
Photo courtesy of Julie Bailey
You can give your Yorkie a bath beginning at the age of 8 weeks old. Due to their size, it is best to use the kitchen sink. Do sterilize it first with antibiotic soap or bleach, making sure to rinse it extremely well before you begin the bath. Do not fill it while your Yorkie is in the sink....It is best to fill it first and then gently place them in. Many puppies are afraid of the running water, both the sound and the feeling. 

You only need 3-4 inches of water. Do use a hypo-allergenic canine shampoo and conditioner. Be sure to rinse well. It can help a nervous Yorkie if you fill a large bucket before hand and then use a small cup to scoop out what you need for rinsing. For those who do just fine with bathing, you can use the faucet or attached hose.

Go right from the bath to a nice, soft and warm towel. Do not rub. You will want to gently pat them and basically hug them while they are cuddled in the towel to remove the excess water. Read a lot more about grooming

Play time is very important and an integral part of caring for a Yorkie. Like walks, it allows the dog to release pent up energy and the extra exercise keeps them healthy.
It will also help him or her receive a good nights sleep. And lastly, it allows for bonding, socialization and learning commands. Do remember that too much exercise is NOT good for a growing puppy...It can interfere with the development of growth plates.

Play time can include anything from tossing a ball to playing hide and seek. Try to use command words when you are playing, so that this time achieves 2 goals. Use a new puppy's name a lot...And simple commands such as "Come" and "Fetch". 
Why Socialization is So Important

All dogs of any age must have socialization to be a well rounded and happy dog. This should begin in the early puppy months...and if you have brought an older Yorkie home, remember that it is never too late to begin. Without proper socializing, a dog will never learn how to interact with the world. This can produce a nervous and stressed dog that may then have behavioral issues and/or barking problems.

Your Yorkie will depend on you to gradually show them what a park is, what a neighbor is, what other dogs are...all of it. Do not rush him or her into any situation. Allow for a gradual introduction to any new element, whether this be meeting the dog who lives next door or swimming in the pool in the summer. Go slow and give lots of will give your Yorkie self element that any dog needs to be happy.
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