Educate Yourself On Your Breed Of Choice
Before we brought home our first Australian Silky Terrier, we purchased a book on raising and caring for these types of dogs. There are quite a few available, but I love the book “Silky Terrier: A Comprehensive Guide to Owning and Caring for Your Dog” by Alice J. Kane.
This book has more than 135 colored pictures, and covers subjects such as the history of the breed, a Silky’s characteristics, puppy and every day care, training your dog, health of the breed, behavior issues and care for your older dog.
This breed is not for everyone, so it is smart to do your homework first before you add a member to your family. This book is one of the best guides I have read, and is well worth the price paid.
My son-in-law is allergic to dogs and cats, but he actually does quite well around our Silky. He is miserable around his mothers cat, but I feel the claims stated about Silky Terriers being “hypo-allergenic” have some validity. The Silky’s fur is considered to be more like hair, and some say it’s like human hair. Silky’s don’t shed their fur, it simply grows much like ours, and therefore it needs to be trimmed, cut and groomed on a regular basis.
Grooming Your Silky Terrier
Our first Silky didn’t go to the groomers until she was 8 years old. All those years I faithfully bathed her and brushed her beautiful silky fur several times a week.
While the Silky does have a gorgeous shiny and soft coat, it requires a lot of time and effort to keep it looking nice. Failure to stay on top of your grooming can result in a heavily matted coat. Their fur is so fine that it tangles and matts easily and quickly.
Many dog brushes were not effective for me, they simply glided over the top of the snarls instead of removing them. I found a wire comb to be the best grooming tool for our dog
Dental Care for the Silky
Both of our Silky’s have had dental issues. I started brushing my dogs teeth with a meat flavored dog toothpaste and a small finger brush. Starting this dental care routine when our dog was a puppy really made a difference.
I never tried teeth brushing on our first dog until her teeth were already in bad shape. Brushing them didn’t help at that stage, and we had to pay to have the vet clean her teeth. This was expensive and our dog had to be put under anesthesia for the procedure, which I didn’t feel was healthy for her. She never took to the brushing because I didn’t start it during her puppy years. A Silky’s poor teeth can give them terribly bad breath. My vet assured me that this breed is subject to “poor teeth”.
Both of our Silky Terriers have been excellent watch dogs in that they bark whenever they hear a strange noise. I always know when a car is in my driveway or someone is at my door because my dog will start barking uncontrollably.
She calms down when she recognizes the “intruder”, but she definitely likes to bark. Some people use shock collars on their dogs to control barking, but I personally feel this is inhumane.
We did purchase a device that she wore around her neck that gave off a high pitched sound when she barked, but she only barked louder when she heard it. Total failure for us.
You can try spraying your pet with water, this works for some people, and some Silky Terriers bark more than others.
Pee Pads for Puppies and Older Dogs
Our dog was successfully house trained early on, but since we purchased her in the winter, we had to train her to go on pee pads. As she got older she couldn’t always hold it all day long and she would do her business on the carpet in front of our back door. As an aging dog, she was not able to “hold it”, all night long and she would relieve herself on the rug in front of our toilet. We placed pee pads on our bathroom floor, which she always used. I found the cheaper pee pads just as effective as the expensive brands.
Both of our Silky Terriers had knee problems. Our first Silky actually torn her ACL, which required surgery to repair. Our second Silky, had a luxating patella, which caused her knee to go out of joint. This caused her to limp and sometimes drag her back leg.
Our vet told us we could give her a baby aspirin twice a day, or every 12 hours. There are different ways you can give aspirin to a dog. Manufacturers make special chewable forms of aspirin specifically for dogs, or you can use baby aspirin. Our dog doesn’t like the taste of baby aspirin, so when I use that kind I put it inside a Greenies Pill Pocket. When done this way she thinks she is getting a treat when she gets her aspirin.
We only give our Silky aspirin when her pain is obvious or she is limping badly. Too much aspirin can cause stomach problems, just like it can in humans. To keep her leg healthy we give her a special supplement containing glucosamine, condroitin, MSM and vitamin C. There are many brands on the market so finding one that works for you should not be too difficult.
Enjoy Your Silky Terrier
Silky Terriers are a great breed and we have thoroughly enjoyed our two Silky’s. Their temperaments can be different, just as humans can. Our first Silky was a total lap dog and would spend hours a day on my lap. Our second Silky was much more aloof, and would not sit on anyones lap for even a few minutes.
Both of our dogs have been extremely aggressive around other dogs, and they think they are as big as their bark. This can make for a dangerous situation, since our Silky has attacked large dogs twice. Always have your Silky on a leash when you are out and about or walking your dog.
This is a fun loving breed, and our Silkies have always loved children. This is a very intelligent breed and they are easy to train. I have read that Silky’s can be difficult to house break, but ours learned quite easily.
Silky Terriers have a long lifespan, so be sure this breed is right for you before you bring one home. I prefer getting this breed from reputable breeders rather than a pet store because it is a breed that is known for coming from pet mills.
The Silky is a great dog for a large household or a single person. Since they are so small, they do not need to be walked on a daily basis. This makes them a good choice for a person living in a city or an apartment. We have thoroughly enjoyed this breed.