How to Groom a Westie
West Highland Terriers are popular dogs because they are small, friendly, and fairly easy to train. However, you pay for that in their grooming; Westies have special needs in order to groom them properly and it’s easy to forget something important and end up with a scruffy looking dog. If you follow these steps on how to groom a West Highland Terrier, you can ensure that your dog looks good, feels good, and that both of you derive more enjoyment from each other.
Tools: To groom a West Highland Terrier, you’ll need the following:
- An electric trimmer
- A medium trimmer
- A fine trimmer
- A hard and soft teasel
- A comb
- Scissors, straight, curved and serrated
- Nail Clippers
- Cotton swabs with hydrogen peroxide in case of spotting
Someone to give you a hand if your dog is twitchy or just to hold the head while you trim
You want to give your dog a grooming every six to eight weeks or so as the under hairs of a Westie are very fine and easily tangled. You will also need to trim your dog’s nails every couple months to prevent breakage or damage to your things. Finally, regular trims get rid of the bits of hairs around the ears, head, and bum.
Every week you should brush your dog’s coat with a soft bristle brush because the undercoat is fine and soft and easily knotted while the overcoat is wiry. Running a brush through both weekly keeps the hairs straight and tidy and also lets you inspect your dog for any physical abnormalities or any little injuries he might have picked up. It’s also good bonding between you and your Westie.
Every six to eight weeks, you’ll want to do a major grooming and trimming. If you don’t want a professional to do it, then you’ll have to do it yourself. Start out by straightening the wiry overcoat, making sure that the line running down the spine to the butt is clear and distinct. Untangle the knots in the long, wiry overcoat with a comb or even your fingers. Westies traditionally have the neck, back and side clipped very short, but the belly hair and the fringe on the legs need only to be trimmed to get rid of split ends. The tail should be clipped so that it’s shaped like a carrot-tipped on top and wider on the bottom.
In addition, you may also wany to consider dog and cat boarding and training. This will help your pet to maximize its potential and abilities. Just like how important grooming is, training is also a crucial activity for pets.
Finally, you’ll want to trim the hairs on your Westie’s face-this is where you might want a partner to hold your dog’s head steady while you work. You don’t trim this short, but rather simply trim out the long hairs to give your dog’s face a fuller, rounder appearance. This can easily be accomplished by combing up the hairs between the ears and the beard with a wet comb and trimming away the longer hairs like a hair stylist does to human hair. Trim the hairs inside the ears and clean the inside with a soft cloth. Trim your dog’s nails by cutting down the nail to a bit above the quick, but don’t cut the quick or you’ll cause bleeding. The quick is the dark red part of the nail. If you do cut the quick, quickly apply pressure to it to stop the bleeding. If your dog gets dirt spots on him soon after this grooming, you can blot them out by applying hydrogen peroxide to a cotton ball and blotting out the stains.
Washing your dog is a simple matter and should be done at about the same rate as a major grooming. Use only very gentle shampoos as the skin of a West Highland Terrier is sensitive. Very carefully shampoo the hair and make sure to dry your dog quickly so he’s not uncomfortable.
There are plenty of books with diagrams on how to cut and brush your Westie to get the professional appearance so you can get this look for cheaper. However, it is recommended that you take your dog to a groomer at least once so the groomer can tell you what your dog needs and how to do it yourself. It may also give you a break from doing it-grooming any dog, no matter how good natured, can be a ticklish business and stressful on both the dog and the owner if they’re not used to doing it. However, these tips should allow you to keep your dog tidy with minimal fuss.