Georgie, photo courtesy of Jamie Stanton
3. Spritz/ Coat Spray
If you brush a dry coat, you'll be missing out on the many benefits of a leave-in spray. This type of product is also referred to as a finishing spray, leave-in spritz, conditioning spray, or brushing spray. And, this plays a huge role in many grooming
aspects. A good leave-in will:
- Create a nice soft texture and add shine.
- Help the coat repel dirt, debris, contact irritants that can cling to the coat such as lawn care chemicals and airborne allergens like pollen, and even small splashes of urine.
- Add a layer of protection from environmental elements including dry winter air and damaging UV rays of the sun in the summer.
- Help prevent split-ends and breakage - When you ‘dry brush’, you risk causing split ends. Each individual hair strand of a Yorkshire Terrier has an outer protective layer called the cuticle. The tip of each strand is where that layer is most vulnerable to damage. It can wear away due to external stress such as brushing.
- Protect the coat from contact friction - All day long your Yorkshire Terrier’s coat is coming into contact with things… the carpeting, flooring, furniture, bedding, etc. And each time the hair rubs against surfaces, it can wear down the hair's natural protective layer. There can be static issues and over time the coat can lose its shine.
- Help your Yorkie smell clean and fresh - Sometimes it's hard to keep a dog smelling nice in between baths, but the right leave-in spritz can make a huge difference in this regard.
So, when you brush your Yorkie, do so with a protective spritz. It will be just the thing to give you the desired outcome and will continue to work after the brushing is done.
If your Yorkie's coat is shaved or trimmed very short, you can spray some of the product into your hands and then work it into the coat before you brush.
If your Yorkie's coat is a medium to long length, spritz as you go, section by section. Do NOT use a lot (a little goes a long way) and start at the roots, working the brush down in nice sweeps that distribute the product through the hairs. If your Yorkie has a very long coat, you may need to spritz again at the halfway mark for each hair section and then brush out to the tips.
In general, under normal conditions, you can spritz each time you brush and if you are super busy and 3 or 4 days have gone by without a full body brushing, spritz a bit into your hands and scrunch it into the coat, making sure to get the hair tips.
There are a couple of great choices for a leave-in that works alongside brushing:
If your Yorkie's main issue is keeping clean and/ or tangles, The Stuff
is a great choice. This does everything you'd expect it to do and has a light scent.
And, if adding a nice fragrance while you brush is one of your top goals, Nootie Daily Conditioning Spritz
is fantastic. This also has all the benefits previously listed but additionally has some delectable fragrances including warm vanilla cookie, cucumber melon, sweet pea & vanilla, coconut lime verbena, and Japanese cherry blossom.
Milo, at 3 years old, photo courtesy of Donna Smith
What to Do if You Find a Mat
Before you brush your Yorkshire Terrier, you will comb through the coat to separate the hairs and check for any mats. But, what do you do if you find a mat? The worse thing you can do is ignore it. Mats occur when hairs become tangled. If this is left alone, it will not resolve itself. Rather, more and more hairs will be pulled into the knot. The mat will grow and skin will become pinched.
If you discover a mat, you can:
1) Try to work it out by hand.
For this, slather your hands with your Yorkie's coat spritz (as long as it serves as a detangler; see previous under Spritz/Coat Spra
y) and gently try to undo the knot by pulling out just a few strands of hair at a time. This can take quite a while, so you may wish to take breaks before your Yorkie becomes restless.
2) If you cannot remove the mat by hand, the best thing to do is snip it off with a mat remover tool.
This will ensure that the damage stays localized and does not spread to other areas of the coat. While no one wants to cut off a piece of their dog's coat, rest assured that if the mat is small and cut with a properly sharp tool, this will not be that noticeable and the hair will regrow.
Be careful what you use for this.
Some mat removers double as raking combs that go through the coat to remove the undercoat of dogs that have thick fur and you certainly do not want to use this on a Yorkshire Terrier that has a silky coat of hair.
It's best to use something like the Hertzko Mat Remover
which has a small blade area, those blades are curved with safety edges, and the blade itself is very sharp to effectively remove the mat in one go.
3) A mat is an indication that the coat is not being brushed often enough or that a detangler product needs to be used more often. So, this is your signal to make some changes. You may need to set reminders to brush your Yorkie (see next) or start using a better coat spray that works to prevent tangles.
Cricket, at 8 years old, photo courtesy of Patricia Bruni