Tooth and Nail Care
As already mentioned, you should brush your Yorkshire terrier's teeth regularly to avoid tartar and plaque buildup and the need for frequent veterinary cleanings. Brushing every day is ideal, but if you can't manage that, try for at least two or three times a week. Nails need to be kept short enough not to interfere with walking.
Chews for Teeth
In addition to brushing your dog's teeth, you can give him chew treats that help to remove plaque and tartar. A product called Greenies comes in a size specifically for toy dogs and does a good job of removing tartar. Be sure your dog chews the Greenie into bits — the dog should not gulp it down whole. Some dogs need a little encouragement to eat a Greenie the first time, but most eventually come to enjoy the treat.
Some groomers also scale (clean) dogs' teeth. Before you give the go-ahead for such a service, ask for and check references. Opinion is divided on how safe a procedure this is, so you want to be sure that the professional you choose is highly trained and experienced. Also, be sure no tranquilizers are used. While this procedure may be thorough, it will likely be expensive. If your veterinarian has to clean your dog's teeth, the dog will almost always be anesthetized — anesthesia can cost quite a bit as well. Clearly, the best option is to brush the dog's teeth yourself.
The Yorkshire terrier standard calls for black nails, meaning you can't see the blood vessel inside the nail. Black nails can be difficult to trim, especially for an owner who is nervous about hurting her dog. However, with enough practice, this challenge can be overcome.
Ask the breeder or your veterinarian to show you how to trim nails, pointing out where the nail narrows and starts to curve, and what the inside of the nail looks like as you get close to the quick. You can always cut a little at a time, examine the inside, and then cut a little more. If your dog has dewclaws, don't forget to trim them. These don't have as much opportunity to be filed down with walking.
You shouldn't hear your dog click when she walks across an uncarpeted floor — that's a sign the nails are too long. Overlong nails push the toes out of position and can create sore feet. Always keep nails trimmed to avoid any damage to your dog — and your hardwood floors.
Get your pup used to nail trimming gradually, if the breeder hasn't already done this. Trim one nail and give a treat. If your pup is still calm, trim another nail and give another treat. Don't be in a hurry to get the job done. Instead, concentrate on keeping it as positive as possible, with plenty of patience and lots of treats.
Have some styptic powder on hand in case you make a mistake. Qwik Stop is a popular, widely available brand. If you cut a little too much and get a drop of blood, put a pinch of the powder directly on the cut and pat it in a little. The bleeding should quickly stop.
Hold your pup's foot gently for nail clipping, not in a tight grip, and use your trimmers to cut the tip off one nail. Those who use a Dremel tool to grind the nails rather than cut them say it's easier to avoid mistakes this way because nail is removed gradually. However, you must be sure that no hair gets tangled in the tool. You'll also need to let the tool run nearby without using it first, so the dog can get used to the sound it makes before you bring it close to him.