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How Often Can You Bathe a Yorkie: (Vet Approved)

Yorkie owners frequently message in asking several important questions about bathing. The most common regards bathing frequency… Just how much should you be bathing your Yorkie to get the best results?

Yorkies should be bathed once every three to four weeks. This is the best bathing frequency to keep them clean without removing their coat’s natural oils.

We’ll explain what to do if your Yorkie smells or gets extra dirty on a regular basis.

How Often Should You Bathe Yorkies

Yorkshire Terriers are best bathed once every 3-4 weeks. This is the ideal amount to bathe a Yorkie to keep them clean but also preserve their natural oils.

Many other breeds (with double coats) do not need bathing as much as this, but Yorkies, having just a single layer need bathing a little more regularly.

Depending on who you ask or what Yorkie forum you read, you’ll hear contrasting advice. This makes bathing a confusing topic.

  • While some owners promote bathing their Yorkie every week or even every few days, this is definitely not advised! Let’s explain why below.
bathing yorkie

Why You Shouldn’t Over-bathe Yorkies

We shouldn’t bathe Yorkies with shampoo more regularly than once every three weeks.

Anything more than this would be considered over-bathing (if you are using shampoo).

  • Using shampoo too frequently will start stripping away the natural oils that the skin produces. Ironically, it’s these natural oils that keep the coat clean and healthy in the first place.

This is why we must avoid using shampoo too often…

What happens if we over-bathe?

Once the coat’s natural oils are stripped away from excessive shampoo use, the coat and skin will temporarily become very dry, brittle, and itchy…

Shortly after this period, the coat will compensate for being so dry by over-producing the natural oils…

Eventually, the coat will turn exceptionally greasy, oily, and smelly.

That’s the result of overbathing.

While we intend to keep our Yorkies clean and smelling good, quite the opposite happens. And as you can imagine, a nasty cycle begins where we keep bathing our Yorkies more and more to keep up with the dirty, smelly coat.

  • And as PetMD states: “Bathing too much can irritate the skin, damage hair follicles, and increase the risk of bacterial or fungal infections.”

➡️ Interesting: Why & When Do Yorkie Puppies Change Coat Color

What If Your Yorkie Needs Frequent Bathing?

If your Yorkie lives a particularly active lifestyle: always out in the park, forest, the beach, or muddy areas, then extra bathing may be necessary.

In this case, it’s absolutely fine to rinse off your Yorkie with water as much as you need to.

The issue is with the overuse of shampoo. Not rinsing.

At first, you might think they’ll smell bad just rinsing with water, but once their coat is sufficiently dry, there should be little to no smell.

  • Water rinsing doesn’t strip her coat of the crucial natural oils needed to keep her clean. This is why we can rinse with water as much as we need to.

Shampooing should still be kept to once every 3-4 weeks. If your Yorkie does get dirty often, then once every three weeks is perfectly fine for a thorough shampooing.

What Dog Shampoo To Use For Yorkies

Something Yorkie owners often ask us is the type of shampoo they should be using.

And the answer is easy!

The only type of shampoo to use with your Yorkie is a natural ingredient dog shampoo. No other type of shampoo.

➡️ Our favorite natural ingredient dog shampoo for years has always been: ⭐ 4Legger Natural Ingredient Organic Aloe Vera & Coconut

And yes, we’re even talking about regular dog shampoo. (always avoid them)

  • Natural-ingredient dog shampoos are mild and do not contain harsh chemicals, detergents, soaps, alcohol, parabens, and fragrances.

Regular pet shampoos contain all of this. All of which go towards stripping the coat of those important oils.

Please do not use:

  • Human shampoo
  • Dawn washing liquid
  • Regular pet shampoo

The only other safe alternative to natural-ingredient dog shampoo would be baby shampoo. But even still, this should be temporary until you’re able to get the good stuff!

Fascinating Topic: Do Fully Black Yorkies Exist?

Should You Bathe a Yorkie In Winter?

As Yorkies can get particularly cold during winter, should we risk bathing them while the temperatures are low?

Of course, we still want to keep our Yorkies clean and healthy, so avoiding bathing altogether isn’t recommended.

If you have an appropriate bath tub and warm rooms to dry your Yorkie sufficiently, then it should be absolutely fine to bathe your Yorkie throughout winter.

If your home or water temperature is particularly cold, then it would be best to find a professional service in your local area to avoid the risk of hypothermia or shocking your Yorkie.

5 Bathing Tips For Yorkies

1. Always brush before bathing

To maximize the result of each bath time, it’s crucial to give your Yorkie a 10-minute brush before getting them wet.

This will remove any existing dead hair before it clumps up when wet. Avoid wasting shampoo on dead hair, and each bath time will yield much better results.

We recommend using a slicker brush or a pin & bristle brush (using the pin side) for Yorkies.

2. Never use hot or really warm water

It’s always best to only use room temperature water when bathing your Yorkie. The only exception to this will be during winter where it’s okay to use slightly warm water.

Using hot or overly warm water will do two things:

  • Dry out their skin and coat
  • Cause them to get very cold once bathing stops

While we might think it’s nice to use warm water, it’s important to stick to room temperature/lukewarm water only.

3. Keep talking and reassuring them

Many Yorkies get a little timid or scared during bathtimes. One way to ease the nerves and keep them calm and happy is to constantly talk, praise, and reassure them.

A calm Yorkie will allow you to do a better job of bathing. It will also make each time easier, until eventually your Yorkie actually enjoys being bathed. The end goal!

4. Once you finish rinsing, rinse again!

Owners often place more time and effort on shampooing rather than rinsing. I know I sure used to!

However, rinsing is so crucial that it’s advised to rinse 3 or even 4 times before you start drying.

Leaving any amount of shampoo, even just a few suds, can cause skin irritation, itchiness and many subsequent problems to come.

Rinsing is just as important as shampooing!

5. Dry thoroughly

While we might be inclined to let our Yorkies run around and dry naturally, we must towel dry them and even use a hairdryer (on a low setting) to completely dry them.

Letting your Yorkie run around wet or damp could cause them to get too cold. The only exception to this would be in the heart of summer when temperatures outside are particularly warm (over 20C, 70F).

Yorkies & Shaving: What You Must Know

Yorkie Bathing FAQs

Let’s cover some of the most common questions asked about bathing Yorkies.

How Much Should You Bathe a Yorkie?

Once every 3 to 4 weeks is the best frequency to bathe a Yorkie.

No. It’s important to avoid over-bathing your Yorkie with shampoo to preserve their natural oils. For washing emergencies, exceptions can be made, or simply rinse with water if you must bathe regularly.

Owners must wait until two weeks after their Yorkie’s final vaccination shot before getting them wet. After this point, it’s okay to bathe your Yorkie for the first time.

Baby shampoo is safe for use on Yorkies. Still, baby shampoo is not ideal for long-term use. A natural ingredient dog shampoo is the best shampoo for Yorkies.

Always avoid concentrated shampoo near the eyes of your Yorkie. Use water and a small amount of suds to rub around the face, carefully avoiding the eyes, nose, and mouth.

Never use Dawn to wash your Yorkie. Dawn washing liquid is far too strong and contains harsh chemicals that are not safe for dogs.

The best way to dry a Yorkie after bathing is to towel dry them or use a hairdryer on a low setting. If using a hairdryer, do not get too close to their coat/skin and never stay on the same spot.

Thanks for reading, back to more Yorkie articles


Before making any decisions that could affect the health and/or safety of your dog, you should always consult a trained veterinarian in your local area. Even though this content may have been written/reviewed by a trained veterinarian, our advice to you is to always consult your own local veterinarian in person. Please read our full dislcaimer if you have any questions.