Why is my Yorkie turning GREY? (3 possible reasons)

In this blog post, we will answer the following question: Why is my Yorkie turning grey? We will give you three possible reasons why the color of your Yorkie started to change, and also talk about taking care of a senior dog. 

Why is my Yorkie turning GREY?

There are several reasons why your Yorkie is turning grey, but mostly this is happening because of genetics. 

Hair coloring occurs thanks to melanin, a pigment that is produced in each hair follicle and is also present in humans. When there is a dysfunction in the production of this compound, the well-known gray hair appears.

With age, a dog’s coat can start to turn white. Normally it occurs after seven or eight years of life, which is when it goes from being an adult to an elderly if it is of a large breed, small breeds make the transition between nine and ten years of life.

However, in some cases, they appear much earlier. Even at one or two years of age, the first graying can be detected. What is this sign of premature aging due to?

Possible reasons why your Yorkie is turning grey

Gray hair can appear for various reasons, so there are several factors to take into account. Among the main ones, the following stand out:

The age and genetics of the dog. In older dogs, these are the two most common reasons that explain the appearance of whiteness.

It is normal that, over the years, the dog’s body does not function in the same way as when it is young. Along with the white strands, other signs of aging appear, such as reduced agility or ability to concentrate, learning, and socialization difficulties.

Unfortunately, it is impossible to fight the years. The same goes for inheritance. In fact, it is known that dogs with black and dark coats are more likely to have gray hair than those with lighter shades.

Stress. If gray hair appears in a young dog, it may be due to anxiety, fear or impulsivity problems. This causes the dog to age prematurely.

Hormones such as adrenaline or norepinephrine can affect the genes that control hair pigments, causing hair discoloration.

The stress of the keepers, for example, causes the animal to also feel more anxious, favoring the appearance of gray hair.

Other possible causes of their nervousness can be loneliness, the feeling of abandonment, the loss of a loved one, or believing that they have been displaced by the arrival of a baby or a new furry that has monopolized all your attention.

A bad diet. Poor nutrition, where there is a lack of basic vitamins, can also cause the dog to age prematurely. The quality of the water you drink is equally important, as high levels of chlorine can lighten the color and shine of your hair.

Factors such as the size of the dog or its sterilization status, on the other hand, seem not to have much to do with the appearance of gray hair.

Where do the first gray hairs appear?

The first white hairs tend to be concentrated, above all, on the muzzle, on the eyebrows, around the eyes, and in other areas of the face such as the muzzle.

They can progressively become visible in other parts of the dog’s body. If you find that your furry friend is suddenly turning a lot whiter than he was, pay attention to him.

Do not forget that some health problems are closely related to anxiety, so it would be advisable to consult a veterinarian if the onset is very fast or early.

If it is confirmed that the dog suffers from stress or phobias that make him nervous, your next goal should be to help him relax so that he is not in that state of permanent tension.

Exercise and pampering will be essential for you to overcome your blocks. Also, you can try techniques like tapping or aromatherapy.

In any case, keep something very in mind: premature aging of a dog is not normal and, therefore, it is important to determine what the problem is and treat it so that it does not go further.

Older dog: what are the signs that my dog ​​is aging?

As in any living being, the aging of the dog is accompanied by physical and sometimes behavioral changes. The appearance of the signs of old age varies of course between dogs and especially according to their breed and size since large dogs live shorter lives than small ones. Here are the main signs of aging you can spot in your pooch.

At what age do you consider a dog to be a senior?

A dog is considered to be old in proportion to its life expectancy. Thus, the first signs of old age are likely to appear around the age of 9 for small dogs, 8 years for medium dogs, and 6 years for large dogs. This threshold beyond which the aging of the animal begins to be felt is called the threshold of senescence. 

We can then observe various physiological changes (graying hair, difficulty moving, impaired senses …) and psychological (senility, anxiety, incontinence …).

Obviously, the aging process in dogs is not going to happen overnight, it fortunately takes several years! However, it is important to know how to recognize the signs in order to adapt your lifestyle, diet, and care to provide in order to support it as best as possible in its old age.

Physical signs of aging in dogs

Paying attention to the symptoms of aging in your dog helps keep him healthy longer. To do this, we can observe several signals that are relatively easy to take into account:

  • a duller general appearance, being observed mainly at the level of the hairs: the appearance of gray or white hairs, loss of hairs in places, less thick and less shiny fur.
  • impaired sight: older dogs tend to lose their sight, which can lead to blindness in the event of cataracts; one then observes an opacity of the crystalline lens and the animal may seem more and more disoriented in its environment, bumping into itself while moving because it becomes visually impaired.
  • a hearing impairment that can go as far as advanced deafness: it happens that the dog no longer responds to calls, has reactions of a surprise because he does not hear you coming, etc.
  • weight loss possibly accompanied by loss of appetite: like the elderly, older dogs may show less interest in food, be pickier, and have trouble eating; conversely, he can gain weight if his diet is no longer suitable.
  • digestive and intestinal disorders, renal insufficiency: one can observe diarrhea and vomiting, constipation, incontinence (sometimes due to senility), dehydration, increased thirst, or on the contrary a refusal to drink and/or s ‘feed-in cases of renal failure.
  • diabetes: any dog ​​having passed the old age threshold should be checked for diabetes by the veterinarian, in the event of weight loss and increased thirst with or without decreased appetite.
  • poorer general shape: lack of vitality, difficulty in exerting effort, shortness of breath, fatigue, reduced motivation for playing and going out, loss of motor skills, stiffness, osteoarthritis, long periods of sleep.

Psychological signs of aging in dogs

They necessarily go hand in hand with the physical difficulties and fatigue felt by the dog. He may then show less enthusiasm for his formerly favorite activities, be less responsive to your requests, seem disoriented in certain even well-known places, want peace or even isolation, become home-like or morose, show signs of depression. 

Some or all of these symptoms may or may not be related to what is called dog senility, a degeneration caused by the gradual breakdown of brain tissue.

The dog with senility can bark or moan for no apparent reason, sometimes inadvertently, experience disorientation in space, no longer bear loneliness, and feel anguish which can lead him to do silly things in the absence of his teachers: defecate indoors, behave destructively in the house, lie on beds, enter rooms that have always been forbidden to them … 

These signs reminiscent of separation anxiety can occur when he did not suffer from it before.

What can I do to help and accompany my old dog?

To soothe the elderly dog ​​in this new period of his life, it is first necessary to provide him with more quiet time and a comfortable place away from sources of agitation. We can offer him a larger basket where he can lie down despite his pain, a thicker cushion, a blanket. 

In general, we will be careful not to disturb or solicit him more than he needs. ‘is necessary, while being present and benevolent towards him. It goes without saying that reducing the frequency and duration of walks is recommended if you seem to no longer enjoy them as before.

Particular care must be taken for his well-being and his health: do not make him run, prevent him from going up and downstairs, regularly checking the condition of his eyes, ears, hair, hair. examine for tumors or any abnormal growth … In short, routine hygiene and surveillance should be increased in frequency, as well as visits to the veterinarian. 

Two to three consultations per year are recommended, including two complete health check-ups (against an annual check-up in non-senior dogs). These check-ups will make it possible to detect any anomaly or emerging pathology, in order to take care of them as quickly as possible and thus improve the comfort and life expectancy of your companion.

Certain alternative medicines can also bring well-being to aging dogs: homeopathy, herbal medicine, osteopathy, etc. Consult your veterinarian if there is the slightest doubt about your animal’s state of health and get advice on the aspects to be adapted: care, food, supplements, medication.

The bottom line

In most cases, a Yorkie is turning grey because it is getting old. In some cases, grey hair appears much earlier. Even at one or two years of age, the first graying can be detected.  This is not usual, however, and it means that your dog is stressed. 

Hormones such as adrenaline or norepinephrine can affect the genes that control hair pigments, causing hair discoloration. The stress of the keepers, for example, causes the animal to also feel more anxious, favoring the appearance of gray hair.

Other possible causes of their nervousness can be loneliness, the feeling of abandonment, the loss of a loved one, or believing that they have been displaced by the arrival of a baby or a new furry that has monopolized all your attention.

If you have any questions or comments on the content, please let us know!

FAQ on Why is my Yorkie turning grey?

Are Yorkies low maintenance?

Yorkies are not low maintenance, on the contrary. This breed is a barker, it can be difficult to train and needs regular exercise. Besides, a Yorkie’s hair needs to be groomed very often, combed every day. 

Are Yorkies expensive to take care of?

Yorkies are not more expensive to take care of than most of the dogs. Food for a Yorkie may cost you around $300/year. But you should add to the bill veterinarian care, toys, tickets (if you want to travel with your dog).

Are Yorkies good pets to have?

Yorkies are considered good pets to have and they are very popular dogs. They are great family pets, are hypoallergenic, and believed to be very sociable and affectionate.

Why are Yorkies so bad?

Some consider Yorkies bad as pets because, being a small breed, it is prone to develop small size dogs’ behavior issues. Owners need to be aware of this and train their dogs. They can still bite and do a lot of damage. 

References

Pets.webmd.com

Wikipedia.org

Hi, I am Martin, I am a pet lover! I own a Golden retriever and a Long-eared Owl. They keep me company & I often had questions about them which I couldn't find answers for online. I put this hub together for people like me & you.

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