Silky terriers look like jumbo Yorkshire terriers. They tip the scales at 10 pounds, but they still have the same long, flowing locks. When you adopt a silky, be ready to add her grooming to your daily regimen and don't be surprised if she has a tendency toward dry skin.
The Silky Coat
Silky terriers are known for their long, silken hair. Their coats can grow up to six inches long and require daily attention to keep their silky coat looking good and their skin and hair healthy. If your silky terrier's hair isn't kept clean and free of mats it can change the condition of her skin and cause dry flaking or even a rash or infection.
Dry Skin And Other Problems
Dry skin on a silky terrier is usually a symptom of another issue. While the problem can be poor grooming, sometimes even a well-groomed silky can develop dry skin. Allergies, for instance, can cause your silky terrier's skin to become red and itchy, requiring treatment to control the symptoms and keep your dog's skin from becoming infected. One form of seborrhea will cause your silky's skin to become dry and flaky and can lead to yet another skin problem that plagues silky terriers: a yeast infection of the skin. If your silky develops a yeast infection an itchy rash will result. You'll see symptoms like flaky, crusty skin and an unmistakable, distinct odor.
Help For Dry Skin
You can take steps to keep your silky terrier's skin moisturized and healthy. An oatmeal bath, for instance, will soothe her skin and help it retain moisture. Another option is to talk to your vet about supplementing your dog's diet with fatty acids. They'll work to calm your pup's itchy skin and will keep her coat shiny, too. Don't look for immediate results with supplements, though. It can be up to two months before your silky's skin and coat show the benefits but they'll keep her healthy and looking good for the long haul.
You always have the option of having the groomer clip your silky terrier's long hair into a shorter style but if you keep your terrier's hair long it will require daily brushing to discourage tangling and matting. A daily brushing routine is the perfect opportunity to inspect your terrier's skin to make sure it isn't drying out or, if it is, to catch the problem early. A pin brush is the tool of choice for this task. Brush your terrier's coat in sections to ensure you don't miss any tangles and to allow you a thorough inspection of every inch of her skin.
When it comes to bathing, frequent baths may not be necessary, especially if your silky is prone to dry skin. Just like humans silky terriers have hair types and if your little one's hair is normal to dry you should choose a moisturizing shampoo when shopping for her grooming products. Silkies with extremely dry skin should have a medicated shampoo prescribed by the vet or at least have the vet recommend an over the counter shampoo. Conditioners are made to help bond moisture to the hair, but your little silky's dry skin will also benefit from a moisturizing conditioner.
- Silky Terriers; Brenda Belmonte
- Your Purebred Puppy.com: Silky Terrier Health Problems and Raising a Silky Terrier Puppy to be Healthy
- ASPCA Complete Guide to Dogs; Sheldon Gerstenfeld
- Vet Info: Dog Yeast Skin Infection
- American Kennel Club: Silky Terrier
- The Doctors Book of Home Remedies for Dogs and Cats; the Editors of Prevention Health Books
Elle Di Jensen has been a writer and editor since 1990. She began working in the fitness industry in 1987, and her experience includes editing and publishing a workout manual. She has an extended family of pets, including special needs animals. Jensen attended Idaho and Boise State Universities. Her work has appeared in various print and online publications.