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New Years

The Yorkie New Year's Resolution Challenge


It's Time for a Fresh Start

Well, another year has come and gone. Though we can't stop the pages on the calendar from turning, we can make the most of it. Why not leave behind the bad and bring along the good, for the best year ever? There's nothing like a fresh start. 

Which means it's the perfect time
to make a New Year's resolution
for your Yorkie

No matter how much time and effort we put into caring about the people and animals that we love, there is always room for improvement. 

We challenge you to make a pledge to choose 1 New Year's resolution in regard to your Yorkie's care. If you want to choose more than one, that's fantastic. But, even just opting for one of these can make a huge difference to your Yorkie... either in happiness levels, comfort... even an extended life span.

7 Resolutions
for Ultimate Yorkie Health & Happiness
for the New Year... 

Which do you pledge to follow?

All of these will benefit your Yorkie in some way, so let's get started! 

I pledge to make sure my Yorkie
gets enough exercise, no matter what

What went wrong? When the weather is dreary or even downright cold, it's not easy getting out of the house. Then, there's always the issue of just not having enough time in the day. Or maybe, your Yorkie seems just fine without taking lots of walks?

What effect can this have? Staying inside too much can have very negative consequences, both behavioral and physical. Despite some myths, toy breeds do not 'self exercise' indoors. Exercising twice per day helps a Yorkie maintain muscle tone and keeps the entire body healthy: the heart, liver, immune system, and more. It can help prevent certain cancers and is even believed to help prevent canine cognitive dysfunction (the canine equivalent to Alzheimer's). 

Exactly what to do: Prepare weather-wise. If either you, your Yorkie or both of you are cold or wet, walks will be cut short. If you live in an area with cold winters, choose a quality coat or vest sized for tiny dogs. A cute one is the Kuoser Cozy Waterproof Windproof Vest; the extra-small fits dogs 4 to 6 pounds. 
Treat your puppy or dog's paws with a quality wax, to help with traction and to protect from the cold, ice melt chemicals, road salt and 'snow balling' (tiny pieces of snow or ice that gets wedged in between paw pads or toes). For this, Musher's Secret Pet Paw Protection Wax is an excellent choice. It absorbs quickly, stays on for up to 2 weeks, and allows the paws to breathe while offering protection. 

Plan exactly when you will take your Yorkie out for two 20-minute walks per day. And stick with this unless there's a blizzard, sub-freezing temperatures or a meteor strike. 

I pledge to protect my Yorkie
from neck injury

What went wrong? Far too many owners attach the leash to a collar without giving it a second thought. This may be because they do not know what can happen with this method... or simply because it's what they have always done before. And maybe there wasn't a problem so far. The key words are 'so far'. 

What effect can this have? With a collar, unless a Yorkshire Terrier is well-trained to heel perfectly in place, any time that the dog walks ahead pulling the leash, jumps over or up or otherwise makes the leash go taut, all pressure is applied directly to the neck. 

This can trigger collapsed trachea, a terribly painful incurable condition that this breed is prone to. Tracheal rings surrounding the windpipe crush inward. For some dogs, anti-inflammatories, cough medicine, and rest will help. For others, surgery must be performed. 

Exactly what to do: Use the collar only for ID purposes or better yet, throw it away. Choose a comfortable, easy to put on, appropriately sized harness for your Yorkie instead. For this, the Puppia Harness Soft B Vest is a great choice, particularly for the winter. It offers more fabric on the flanks than some harnesses. The extra-small fits dogs as tiny as a 7.5" neck measurement. It's super easy to place this on via a handy velcro patch, and it comes in 13 colors.  

I pledge to help prevent my Yorkie
from getting painful dental disease

What went wrong? While there are some great dental products for canines that work to some degree, too much emphasis is placed on them, leading owners to believe that one dental treat a day is all that is needed for full dental protection. In other cases, owners just may not realize what terrible things can happen to a dog's teeth if they are not taken care of. 

What effect can this have? The Yorkshire Terrier breed is very prone to tooth decay. Without dental care, plaque will build up on the teeth. It will eat away at the enamel and it will grow under the gum line. Teeth will become infected. Infection can spread up into the sinuses or the body can even go into sepsis shock. Once rotted enough, teeth will loosen and fall out. And this, of course, is not anything close to pain-free for the dog. 

On the other hand, sticking to an at-home care plan and having your Yorkie's vet do an oral exam once per year can play a huge role in preventing these issues. 

Exactly what to do: Have your Yorkie's veterinarian perform a dental exam to identify any existing conditions. If there are any, have them resolved. Then, start with a clean slate.

Using an appropriately sized canine toothbrush or a finger brush and an effective canine toothpaste, brush your Yorkie's teeth at least once per day, twice is optimal. Never use human paste, its toxic to dogs, and canines need a non-foaming product so that they do not choke. 

A good choice is the Petrodex Dental Kit for Puppies and Small Dogs; this comes with both a fingertip brush and a spiral toothbrush sized for small dogs, and a great gel paste that has a poultry/mint flavor (so your Yorkie may very well enjoy having his/her teeth cleaned). 
In addition to this, you may wish to opt for a canine dental water supplement. While these are marketed as being 'all you need', we still highly recommend brushing. However, this sort of product can work well to destroy plaque, kill bacteria, and freshen breath, all with a teaspoon added to your dog's water dish. One like Oxyfresh Pet Oral Hygiene Solution is effective and your Yorkie will not even notice that it's been added. 
Finally, offer an effective canine dental treat. These play a role in overall good dental hygiene. Note that these are very hard treats (they have to be in order to help remove plaque), so these should only be given when you are there to supervise your Yorkie's chewing. One of the most popular ones is Greenie Teenie Grain-Free Dental Treats which is sized for dogs as small as 5 pounds. 

I pledge to keep my Yorkie safe
when in the car, just as I would
with a child

What went wrong?  Buckling up a pet follows the same logic as buckling up a child; however, perhaps it is because this is not legally required in some states that not all owners do this. 

Someday, all states may have a law for buckling up pets. New Jersey does; it falls under 'improperly transporting an animal' and carries a $250 to $1000 fine. Hawaii has had a law for quite a while for having an unrestrained pet in the car; fine vary depending on if a dog in on the driver's lap or loose in the car.

Other states, such as Arizona, Connecticut and Maine have distracted-driving laws which can be enforced in regard to pets. 

Another factor may be owners not realizing just how terribly dangerous this is, what type of injuries can occur or that even a slow-moving crash can be fatal to a toy sized dog. And there is always the issue of owners believing that they can keep their dog safe on their lap or in their arm. But it is just not possible in most cases.

What effect can this have? According to the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there are over 5 million car accidents, per DAY, in the U.S.

Think it only happens to bad drivers? It can happen no matter what. You have no control over other drivers or how your own car may malfunction or operate due to road or weather conditions. The average person will be in 3 car accidents and most accidents occur within 15 miles from home. 

Without being properly restrained, in a vehicle that is traveling at 35 mph, a Yorkshire Terrier that weighs 5 pounds (2.26 kg) will be thrown with the force of a 225 pound object (102 kg) object. This can cause severe bodily injury including broken bones, fractured neck, severe internal injury to vital organs, brain damage and death. 

Exactly what to do:  If you already have a certified canine car seat, make a pledge to use it every time your Yorkie is in the car with you. If you do not have one, make a pledge to obtain one. 

Do be careful of used seats; they may have been recalled, may no longer be under warranty, or may have broken parts which make them unsafe.

Little Yorkies do best with booster seats. This allows them line-of-sight out of the windows and keeps them close to partially opened windows, which can cut down on motion sickness. These are also great because they can hold treats and toys, which can be useful on long drives.
If you choose this as your New Year's resolution for your Yorkie, you can't go wrong with the Kurgo Skybox Dog Booster Seat . This sits nice and high so your little guy or gal has a great view out the windows and is super sturdy. 
Please note that it is extremely dangerous to clip the seat's belt attachment to a dog's collar. This can be deadly. It is meant to be connected to the ring of a harness (see resolution # 2). 

I pledge to never subject my Yorkie
to the harmful chemicals
and contaminants
found in unfiltered tap water

What went wrong?  What is legally allowed to be in tap water is so shocking that many people are in denial. It's almost impossible to consider that it's a real issue. 

For those that do not know what's actually in it, giving tap water to a dog seems so natural, that not much thought goes into this. 

What effect can this have? 42 states have water that is contaminated with over 100 chemicals never even tested for safety. But, that's not all. Many states allow a percentage of toxins. Elements in tap water can cause a wide range of disease and ailments even with minimal consumption.

Fluoride, barium, beryllium, chlorite, dhloramines, antimony, and trichloroethane (1, 1,2) just to name a few. These have been proven to cause everything from high blood pressure to intestinal lesions to liver, kidney and immune issues. 

Exactly what to do:  Install a filter to your kitchen tap, pledge to only offer bottled water, or use a quality filtering water pitcher.

I pledge to keep not allow
my Yorkie to ingest harmful
food chemicals

What went wrong?  Treats laden with artificial coloring, preservatives and/or flavoring are 1] cheap (so it's easy on your wallet) 2] take up 80% of the shelves in the pet aisle at the local supermarket (so it's easy to grab) and 3] designed to look scrumptious (so it's easy to fall into the trap and think you're getting your Yorkie something great). 

Some very well-known brands are simply horrible. Often, the bigger the name, the worse the offender. 

What effect can this have? Chemicals added to inferior dog snacks and food can cause an array of issues. This includes upset stomach (queasy, vomiting, diarrhea) and/or skin reaction that manifests as itching, a rash, dry skin and/or a drying of the coat that makes hairs feel brittle. 

Often, when a dog appears to be allergic to a certain food, it is actually the additives that he is having trouble with. This can be soy (which has MSG), dyes, or terrible synthetic preservatives that companies use to save money. 

And, when ingredients are inferior, your dog is not receiving the proper levels of protein, vitamins, minerals, and other elements vital for proper nutrition. Foods with fillers often lead to a dog eating grass and/or feces. 

Exactly what to do:  Make a pledge to have your Yorkie on a healthier, cleaner, diet. 
There are a few outstanding options for 100% all-natural kibbles. First, Wellness CORE Grain-Free for Small Breeds is top-of-the-line, it really cannot be beat. It has absolutely no grains, no synthetic preservatives, no artificial flavoring, no by-products, no soy, or any other ingredients that you want to avoid. 

The base is turkey and chicken. There's lots of fruits and veggies like apple, blueberries, carrots, broccoli, spinach, and kale. And, it has excellent levels of omega via salmon oil and flaxseed. There is also glucosamine and chondroitin, which support healthy joints. Finally, this is sized for small dogs (2 pounds and up). 
If your Yorkie does fine with rice (and, really most dogs do, despite the hype about this), a great choice is Wellness Complete Health for Toy Breeds . This has no wheat, corn, or soy. And, if has no synthetic preservatives, coloring, flavoring, or by-products. The base is also chicken and turkey. Other ingredients are brown rice, peas, carrots, spinach, potatoes, blueberries, and apples. Just like the CORE, this is preserved with a vitamin blend (it'll say mixed tocopherols). 
If you are looking for a different protein base, Merrick Lil Plates Grain-Free for Small Breeds is one to consider. There are lamb, beef, and salmon recipes. These are completely grain free and these have no soy or other nasty ingredients. The beef recipe includes both beef and lamb, peas, potatoes, apples, blueberries, and a wide range of vitamins and minerals. This also has a good amount of probiotics.
For snacks, look for all-natural, wholesome brands without any chemicals, additives or preservatives. And look for made in the USA or made in North American (which includes Canada). One of our favorites is Fruitables Crunchy Dog Treats . These come in a variety of tasty fruity flavors and are super healthy. 

I pledge to spend more
quality time with my Yorkie

What went wrong?  Trying to win the lottery didn't pan out, so with work, errands and the like, life is super busy and there's just no time for everything we wish we could do. Our Yorkie seems happy enough, so we never planned on adding anything into the mix. 

What effect can this have? If your Yorkie is a happy, well-adjusted dog, this probably means that you are indeed spending enough time with him. He knows and feels like he's part of the family, so he's at ease and doesn't need to vie for your attention. This said, it can't hurt to try and add in at least 15 minutes a day of extra one-on-one time.

If you are guilty of not spending enough quality time with your Yorkie, this can have an effect such as pent-up longing for interaction. A dog can feel a wide range of emotions including jealousy and disappointment. 

Exactly what to do:  All it takes is 15 to 20 minutes per day that you set aside to spend time together. If there is a certain day of the week when this is just not possible, that's okay, just try to set the time aside for the remaining days. 

There are many ways to go about doing this. You can decide to take your Yorkie along with you to run errands when you would normally keep him at home. You can choose to have a short session each day of teaching him a new command, which is a great team effort and bonding experience. 

You may opt to play a puzzle game like the Trixie Gambling Tower with your Yorkie; these are great as well for bonding as you both work together. You'll teach him how to nose levers and paw lids to find a treat. It's a great way for a dog to gain self-confidence. 

No matter what you choose to do, as it is a period of time with no distractions and one-on-one interaction, that is all that matters. 
Have you chosen one or more resolutions for your Yorkie? If so, we're behind you all the way; let's make this year the healthiest, happiest year yet! 

You may also like:

What are Teddy Bear Yorkies?  Is this an actual variety? A hair cut? Something else? 
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