How To Groom A West Highland Terrier
Learning how to groom a West Highland Terrier will certainly cut your grooming bill if you're lucky enough to have a "Westie" share your life. With a luxurious white coat and a sweet disposition to match, the Westie is a ball of fun but can get quite dirty very fast. In fact, you'll have to perform some sort of grooming task on a daily basis in order to keep a West Highland Terrier looking his best.
To groom a West Highland Terrier, you will need:
- A good quality dog shampoo and conditioner. You can use regular baby shampoo but, because of the need to moisturize a Westie's coat, a dog shampoo will give a silkier feel.
- A tear staining removal solution
- Ear cleaning solution
- Cotton balls
- Electric clippers or a pair of good quality scissors for cutting hair
- Toenail clippers or a Dremel
- The first thing to do when you're ready to groom a West Highland Terrier is to get the bath water running. Since these are smaller dogs, you can bathe them in a large sink to spare your back. Make sure to put down a non-skid surface for the dog's security and run warm water up to the dog's knees. Wet the entire dog and run a small amount of shampoo right down his back. Lather, rinse, repeat. Follow up the Westie's shampoo with a good quality conditioner. A Westie's coat is fairly thick so have lots of dry towels available with which to dry him. A good bathing schedule is once a month or more frequently if the Westie's white coat becomes soiled.
- After the bath softens his nails, start clipping. Dog toe nails grooming should be done once a week or so but at least after each bath when the nails are softer. On this schedule, the toe nail quicks (the red part which feeds the nail) will remain short. Only use a Dremel if you've acclimated the dog to the grinder and you know what you're doing. Dremels can be very hot and painful in the wrong hands.
- Swab the eye tear stain areas with the stain removal on a cotton ball. Clean ears by applying ear solution to a cotton ball and swabbing only as deeply into the ear as you can see. Never insert a q-tip or any other object deeper than you can see into the ear.
- Depending on your preference, part of the grooming routine may be to clip a West Highland Terriers face hair into the shape you prefer. Lots of people like a very rounded head appearance on Westies but they're also adorable unclipped. Make sure though that the hair around the eyes is shorter or contained in a barrette so it doesn't foul their vision.