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Shampoo, Coat Products

The Best Shampoos for Yorkies

And the Importance of Conditioners & Leave-in Coat Sprays


With the Yorkshire Terrier, that has a single coat of hair (as opposed to fur), it is very important to choose your coat products wisely. This is not just a matter of appearance (though that is certainly an element as well); but the health of both the skin and coat will be greatly affected by shampoos and conditioners. 

Every product that comes into contact with your Yorkie will either be beneficial or detrimental in a number of ways; from how your Yorkie smells, to whether or not the skin is dry and itchy, to the integrity of the hair. 

In addition, using a leave-in conditioning spritz has a host of benefits year-round. 

There are several shampoos that can help for common yet frustrating issues including those seen with allergies (dry skin, itching, rash, hot spots, brittle coat) and infections or infestations (including mites, mange, and others).

In this section we will cover:
  • The importance of a good shampoo
  • What a terrific conditioner should do
  • The benefits of a quality leave-in product
  • Specialty and medicated shampoos

The Importance of a Good Shampoo

When it comes to shampoo for your Yorkshire Terrier, it's important to know what you should be expecting of it and what the wrong ones are capable of doing. 

1) Proper removal of body oils. 

A big element revolves around body oils. Round the clock, dogs produce natural body oils. These act as natural moisturizers and skin protectors. 

These do not evaporate; so, as time goes on there is an accumulation. 

Just about 3 weeks after a bath (if that bath was successful and the shampoo did its job in removing them), enough oils will have built up that if they are not properly washed away, they will have a negative effect. 

Tiny hairs get trapped, the oily mix will clog skin pores, block natural air flow, and start to smell. The blocked skin pores can cause skin eruptions (pimples), rash, and/or itching. 

In time, the coat, in turn, will start to lie flat, may appear oily, and will pick up the odor as well. 

Since water cannot rinse off those oils, the right shampoo is needed to effectively wash away all of those accumulated body oils. The goal is to start with a clean slate. 

Problems arise, however, if an inferior dog shampoo is used. If it does not have the right cleansing agents this important step in the bathing process will not be accomplished. Second-rate shampoos will merely skim over the skin and coat, making the bath unsuccessful. 

A Yorkie may never have a fresh, clean smell and his body will never truly be clean as it should be. 
2) Proper pH balance. 
All shampoos (from cheap to fantastic) have a pH balance. And if the pH balance does not match what your Yorkie needs, it can be damaging to both skin and coat. 

Canines have a pH between 6.5 and 7.5. And finding a shampoo that matches this is vitally important for breeds like the Yorkie that have coats of hair. 

If the pH is off, the shampoo can be terribly harsh. This will cause a gradual deterioration of the skin, which manifests as dry spots, irritated skin, rash, and/or peeling. 
For the coat, this damages hair follicles which affect proper growth and erodes the outer cuticles of the hairs, which strips away shine and leaves the coat very vulnerable to the elements (sun, arid air, contact friction, etc.)
3) Moisturizing qualities.

With canine skin being much more delicate that human skin and fine hairs that make up the coat, it is vital that a shampoo properly moisturize the skin. Some less-than-ideal shampoos are often tricky this way; they will feel good in your hands as you are scrubbing but those ingredients will not be absorbed.

A really great shampoo, on the other hand, will contain quality ingredients such as aloe and almond oil that is absorbed by top layer skin cells and open hair cuticles.

4) Soothing qualities.

It is very common for Yorkshire Terriers to have dry skin issues simply due to their coat not offering much protection from the many elements that can affect the skin. When you give your Yorkie a bath, this is an opportunity to lavish your puppy or dog with a soothing product that can provide relief.  
Kush, photo courtesy of Steven Benigno
Collodial oatmeal is fantastic in this way, this should be a top ingredient in your Yorkie's essential shampoo. 

And other elements such as eucalyptus, peppermint, and tea tree oil are great natural ingredients that can bring about immediate relief for dry skin or skin issues due to allergies. 
Stiles, at 1 and 1/2 years old, 
photo courtesy of Michaela 

What a Terrific Conditioner Should Do

A really great conditioner will fall in step with the shampoo, offering the same soothing and restorative ingredients as not to cancel out the benefits that were gained during the wash.

It must also be able to be properly rinsed away. This is an issue seen with many inferior dog conditioners; they are so thick with cheap oily ingredients that they feel great while being applied, but they do not rinse out well enough. 

If so, though a Yorkie may look great for the first few days, this leads to a buildup near the skin which blocks proper air flow and it leads to a buildup on the coat, which covers natural shine. 

Also, a fantastic conditioner will go one step beyond this. 

Immediately after the shampoo, while your Yorkie is still in the skin or tub, the hair cuticles are open. 

This is your one opportunity to infuse the hair strands with super moisturizing ingredients that will boost both hair strength and integrity. 
And, for excellent results, as we touched on above, this must be able to be done will still being able to be properly rinsed out. 

Recommended Shampoo & Conditioner for the Yorkshire Terrier

The following shampoos meet every requirement of what a top-quality shampoo must have. In addition, these have fantastic natural fragrances. These contain no DEA, parabens, phosphates, synthetic dyes, or perfumes. 

* Do note that if your Yorkie is suffering from severe skin problems, we will cover specialty and medicated shampoos up ahead. 

For a wonderful 'every bath' shampoo, we love the line of Earthbath:
These coat products are amazing. They are 100% all natural, using plants and fruits to keep the coat super-nice and to resolve any coat issues. There are no additives at all and the pH is right on point. As a nice added bonus, the fragrances are so luscious. 
1. Earthbath's Oatmeal & Aloe Shampoo also contains vanilla and almond, making this a superior shampoo that is a great choice for your essential, 'basic' shampoo. This 4-tier combination not only prevents issues from occurring, but also has healing properties to resolve issues such as dry skin and itching. 
2. Earthbath Eucalyptus & Peppermint Shampoo offers a fantastic formula if your Yorkie has irritated skin; both of these ingredients are cooling and soothing. 
3. If your Yorkie's coat is looking dull, the Earthbath Orange Peel Shampoo formula is outstanding for bringing back shine and color intensity. And,as you can imagine, the fragrance is amazing. 
4. For a complementary conditioner, look to Earthbath Oatmeal and Aloe Conditioner . It works flawlessly with all of the formulas. And will work to close the hair cuticles that open during the shampooing process, leaving a silky, soft finish. Massage this in and let it stay on the coat for 5 full minutes before rinsing out. 
Misha, photo courtesy of Jeannine

The Amazing Benefits of a Quality Leave-in Coat Spray

One grooming product that is overlooked by many owners is a quality leave-in spritz. Yet, the right one is packed with elements that will benefit a Yorkie round-the-clock and year-round.

When you give your Yorkie a bath, top-notch shampoo and conditioner is the way to offer a healthy foundation. But, what about those 3 weeks in between? What is there to protect the skin and coat? 

This is where a leave-in coat product comes in.

A good coat spray will have the following benefits:

1. Protect against dry air in the winter.

This is a top concern for this breed, when long cold winters brings about very arid air that can have a damaging effect on a Yorkie. 
Skin can become dry and the hair can lose moisture. A spritz will fight against this all winter-long.
2. Offer protection in the summer.

The more that you take your Yorkie outside for regular exercise, the better. However, this breed's silky coat of hair does very little to offer protection from the sun.

Daily sun exposure can cause sun damage and even cause dark spots to develop on the skin. While a basic coat-spray will add a layer of protection from the sun, if your Yorkie is outside a lot in the summertime, you may want to opt for a spritz that contains a canine sunscreen. 
3. Help protect the coat from contact friction, static, and split ends. 

Every time something comes into contact with the coat, this adds to a general wearing that can eventually lead to the cuticles thinning or separating and/or cause breakage that affects the integrity of the strands. 

For a Yorkie's coat to fall soft and silky, a daily spritz will serve a barrier to stop any sort of damage.

4.Work hand-in-hand when brushing. 

A Yorkie's coat should not be brushed dry; a light mist of a leave-in is recommended for regular grooming. 

5. Add shine

While a coat spray is providing the above mentioned benefits, this brings about a much healthier coat that is naturally shiny. 

6. Bonus of a fresh scent. 

With a good leave-in, your Yorkie can always smell he was just shampoo'd. You'll want to look for a product that has a clean fragrance while not being over-powering. 
Brandy, photo courtesy of Raffaella 
7. Prevent mats.

If your Yorkie has a medium to long coat, you understand the importance of preventing tangles. A quality leave-in will work to keep hairs from knotting. 
8. Help repel dirt and debris.

Fine matter is picked up by the coat round the clock, including both outside elements such as pollen, dirt, and grass and inside elements such as carpet fibers and lint. The leave-in will work as a barrier so that these elements do not stick to the coat. 
9. Is good for all coat lengths.

If your Yorkie has a very short hair cut, or even a shaved coat, a leave-in is still needed. In fact, without much hair to offer protection, a leave-in spritz is needed more than ever. 

And if your Yorkie has a long coat, it goes without saying that a leave-in conditioner is a must to maintain coat strength and health. 

Spritzing Tips

It is recommended to do a light spritz every 2 or 3 days. You do not want to overdo it; each application should be a light misting. 

If your Yorkie has a very short or shaved coat, you'll want to spritz this into your hands and massage it into all areas. 

If the coat is medium to long, hold the bottle 5 inches or so from the body, do a light spritz about 1 inch from the roots, and then brush down to distribute the product. When done, you can spritz some into your hands and then scrunch the tips. 

Recommended Leave-in Coat Sprays for the Yorkshire Terrier

It is of utmost importance that the coat spray meets all of the requirements of protection, BUT without weighing the coat down. 

For an essential 'daily' spritz, we have 3 favorites:
1. The Stuff - This is an awesome conditioner and detangler all in one. Plus it works very effectively to repel dirt and tiny debris that can cling to coats. It is also hypoallergenic and has the correct pH balance. It is very concentrated, so go easy with this; if you use too much, the coat will be weighed down. A light mist while brushing is all that is needed. 
2. Nootie Daily Spritz - If you want the coat to be soft, soft, silky, and smelling fantastic, this is the one you want. Nootie comes in all sorts of fun, lovely scents including Japanese cherry blossom, sweet pea and vanilla, Lilly flowers, coconut lime, and cucumber melon.
3. If you are looking for a coat spray with a sunscreen, Chris Christensen Ice on Ice with Sunscreen is an excellent choice. It has all of the above mentioned benefits, but with added sunscreen if a Yorkie is spending a lot of time outside in the summertime. 
Beau, photo courtesy of Karla 

Specialty and Medicated Shampoos

For allergy related issues: 

Without a doubt, the type of medicated shampoo that owners search for the most is one that helps resolve issues related to allergies. And this is not surprising, since allergies can cause a wide range of reactions that can make a Yorkie exceedingly uncomfortable. 

This will include very dry skin, skin rashes, hot spots, and irritated skin and coat issues including brittleness and thinning hairs. 

If you are looking for a good shampoo for a Yorkie that has minor to moderate issues related to allergies, the above mentioned Earthbath Oatmeal and Aloe, and accompanying conditioner, is a great choice. 

However, if your Yorkie is really suffering, it will be time to use specialty products that are highly concentrated to offer both immediate relief and long-lasting healing. 

For the shampoo, while you will be searching for a medicated shampoo, keep in mind that what you really want is an allergy shampoo with natural remedies.
You do not want to use chemicals if they are not needed as these can cause more irritation. 

One of the best allergy shampoos is Moosh Shampoo. This superior shampoo is ALL-NATURAL. It has bentonite clay which has impressive healing qualities that is wonderful for helping with hot spots and itching. It has neem and argan oil with provides much needed restoration and healing for dry skin, while also working as a natural antiseptic, antibacterial, and anti-fungal.

And both shea butter and aloe vera also offers much needed relief from itching and moisturizes irritated skin. 

Since you will be using a hot spot spray (next), it is best to shampoo with this every 2 to 3 weeks. Once it is thoroughly massaged into the coat, allow it to soak in for 2 to 3 minutes before rinsing it out. 
For a hot spot spray: When a Yorkie has intense itching and skin problems, one of the most helpful things you can do is offer all-day relief. And the way to do this is to use a quality, effective spray that can be directly applied to the areas that are bothering your little guy or gal the most. 

There are two good choices:

1. Vet's Best Hot Spot Spray for Dogs - This is an all-natural spray that contains tea tree oil, aloe vera, and chamomile to provide fast relief. This works extremely well for most Yorkies with skin issues and often offers relief as soon as you spray it on. You can apply this on troubled areas up to 3 times per day at first. As the itching and hot spots resolve, you may wish to use this one time every 1 to 3 days for maintenance. 
2. If your Yorkie is having a major reaction with super-intense itching with patches of irritated, swollen, or raw skin, it's time to use a safe, medicated product. We recommend a spray that contains both hydrocortisone (which provides fast relief from swelling and itchiness) and lidocaine (which offers fast relief from pain). Our choice for this is SynergyLabs Clinical Care Medicated Spray
You'll want to use this 2 times per day for the first week, and then 1 time a day after that. While you should be working on eliminating the root cause of the hot spots (food allergy, seasonal allergies, contact allergies, etc.), this can significantly resolve hot spots. 
For skin infections and skin infestations:

If you suspect mange, mites, yeast infection, or bacterial infection, it is always best to have your Yorkshire Terrier examined by the veterinarian for an exact diagnosis. What may appear to be mites may be yeast and vice-versa. 

This said, if you are looking for a medicated shampoo to fix skin infections or issues and are not able to reach the vet as of yet, you may be able to resolve this at home with a quality antiparasitic and antiseborrheic shampoo.

One of the best is SynergyLabs Clinical Care Medicated Shampoo. This has coal tar, salicylic acid & micronized sulfur which can treat parastic infections, seborrhea, mange, fungal, and bacterial infections. 
You May Also Like:

Choosing the Best Brush for a Yorkshire Terrier - How the pin type, heads, tension & sizing all play a role in a superior brush that lends to a beautiful coat. 
Best Methods for Carrying a Yorkie While on the Go - Want to bring your Yorkie with you but not sure how that will work out? See comfortable, fun options to keep your Yorkie right by your side. 
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